What processor for heat & battery life?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by lbdesign, Apr 8, 2017.


Which MBP processor is best for low heat and long battery life?

  1. 2.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, Turbo Boost up to 3.4GHz

    5 vote(s)
  2. 2.5GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, Turbo Boost up to 3.7GHz

    1 vote(s)
  3. 2.8GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, Turbo Boost up to 4.0GHz

    2 vote(s)
  1. lbdesign macrumors member


    Aug 8, 2016
    If I want to order a BTO Macbook Pro, and can choose whichever custom configuration I want, which processor speed should I choose if I want to optimize for least heat and best battery life?
    eg: does the default processor run cooler because it's slower or hotter because it has to work harder?
    does the fastest i7 option run cooler because it hardly ever has to go to turbo?
    does the default processor use less energy because it has a slower clock speed, or more because it has to turbo more?
    You get the idea of what my confusion is.
    thank you in advance.
  2. Nemozini macrumors newbie


    Jan 16, 2017
    They are all 47 watts. The faster the processor, the quicker it will be done and step down to idle or low freq.

    But the 2.8 GHz is 300$ more. I would skip paying premium on a 4th gen processor.
  3. andy9l macrumors 68000

    Aug 31, 2009
    England, UK
    Those are the 4770-HQ, 4870-HQ and 4980-HQ processors, respectively. As you can see from Intel's spec sheets, they all have the same TDP and typical power consumption. The only thermal difference between these processors is a slight improvement on Performance/Watt rating favouring the 2.8GHz 4980-HQ.

    If you're regularly pushing the processor hard, then the higher performing processor will be better suited as it will finish the task faster, allowing it to return to base clock speed to cool down whilst the others would still be running hard and hot.

    Edit: +1 to what @Nemozini says.
  4. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Do you need a faster processor? What are your tasks, I'd not spend money on a component that you don't need.
  5. andy9l macrumors 68000

    Aug 31, 2009
    England, UK
    As for your question around turbo-boost technology...

    The processors you've identified will all "go turbo" in the same scenarios (given identical conditions). The only difference is that the task you're doing at the time will complete or perform *up to* 15% faster on the 2.8GHz.

    However, few programs/tasks do not utilise multi-threading nowadays, so you'd seldom see a 15% difference - more likely 5-10%. The more cores in use, the more restricted turbo-boost technology is. If it raised all four physical cores to run at 4.0GHz, your processor would likely self-combust in seconds.

    Games were always a good example of where turbo-boost really helps. Traditionally, games haven't made use of multi-threading largely because of the "unknown" nature of them - you could turn left or right at any time, and the computer cannot predict. Processing every single possibility would be far too much work for consumer-level processors. As such, you cannot split up the processing of the game logic and run it in parallel, you have to just run it sequentially on one thread (over-simplified, but you get my gist). So, when you're gaming, the processor can under-clock three of your physical cores that are just running background tasks, and boost the remaining one up to ~4.0GHz to run the game as fast as possible. It will maintain this dynamic configuration until thermal throttling kicks in, where your boosted core's clock speed will start to fluctuate to avoid overheating.

    Video rendering is a great example of where turbo-boost doesn't really help. When you're rendering a video, your computer already knows what the next frame is going to be (the exact opposite to gaming). As such, your processor can break down the rendering task into smaller tasks and distribute it across its cores. It will even virtualise more cores and utilise hyper-threading to complete the rendering task faster. In this scenario, your processor is running extremely hard on all four physical cores plus up to four more virtual cores - turbo-boost will be *heavily* restricted in boosting clock speed. There's simply too much heat already.
  6. zarathu macrumors regular


    May 14, 2003
    Unless you have specialized raw video graphic needs, my very late 2013(built in June 2014) is actually faster than the current 2016 MBP according to GeekBench(with its 2.6 ghz i7-4960 3.8 turbo). And since I didn't want to have to deal with the computer problems with having two GPU's I got the since Iris Pro 5200, which for my tasks works great.

    For most people actually, the Quad core MBP of 2013-2015 is faster than anything they would need for the next 6 or 7 years at least.
  7. lbdesign thread starter macrumors member


    Aug 8, 2016
    Wow, such great info thank you all. This helps a lot.

    It also makes me realize that questioning which graphics card is also in order. Should I assume by the same logic that the best graphics option would run cooler too?

    I'm a graphic designer. Photoshop makes my 2012 MBP really hot. Actually, so does Chrome. It's the first retina MBP, and I think it really struggles with graphics as a result. I do a little video, but mostly web and print. Of course, video is hard on this machine, but that's a given.
  8. lbdesign thread starter macrumors member


    Aug 8, 2016
    Yes, I'm looking at the 2015 model for the ports and the cost. And to provide Apple with one more datapoint saying that pros want pro machines, not experiments in thinness.
  9. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Graphics cards will heat it up more the more powerful they are because typically they are constantly on, doing something rather than finishing a job and returning to an idle state so more performance generally means more heat.

    That being said the new machines have lower power use graphics cards and all reports suggest that they all run cool and quiet except under the most extreme use (hint photoshop really isn't that taxing anymore, if you editing 4k videos it'll be a different story but again all reports say that the new 15 inch pro deals with it with aplomb especially the 460 version in FCPX )

    Chrome is just badly optimised for OSX and is a terrible resource hog on any system a truly awful browser in many ways I have no idea why its so popular.

    The new pros are faster in every metric to the previous models while being thinner lighter and smaller, with far brighter screens using a variety of professional colour gamuts, they have the best processors available in their class and the best graphics in their TDP envelope and still have class leading battery life in OSX . In short they are the most profeesional thin light laptop you can buy. Apple have never made anything else and have always made the same compromises in their notebooks.

    Apple may not make what you want from a laptop anymore but don't pretend that they ever did anything different that is nonsense..
  10. lbdesign thread starter macrumors member


    Aug 8, 2016
    Samuelsan2001, thanks for the graphics card info!
    I did notice in the store that the Pros were running cooler than the M3/M5 Macbooks, which is hopeful.

    Agree that Chrome is a battery and resource hog. But I'm addicted to the extensions and the google ecosystem.

    As far as the Pros go, I still miss having the option of a 17" screen. And a removable battery. And a battery gauge. Soon I'll be missing ports. And Magsafe. And a quiet keyboard. This pro needs to use SD cards and a graphics tablet, and doesn't want to have to jump through hoops to do so, while paying more for the privilege. Don't get me wrong, I'm not angry. And I wouldn't even have a career without Apple. I'm grateful for the great stuff. And Apple does make the best machines — it's why I can type this complaint on a 5-year old machine that's still running flawlessly — I doubt a 5-year-old HP would be as reliable, for example. But Apple has been slowly paring back their range, removing even the illusion of choice. And I don't see the consumer benefitting from the cost-savings efficiencies that result. Example of how this is being received by journalism: Apple's being downgraded.

  11. Sanpete macrumors 68020

    Nov 17, 2016
  12. lbdesign thread starter macrumors member


    Aug 8, 2016
    Agree. Actually the state of most journalism is declining. The democratization of speech via technology cuts both ways. We could not have this conversation without using the very thing that is robbing journalism of its revenue and authority.

    There's also this, closer to home. I realize JD Power isn't inviolable, but still...

  13. Sanpete macrumors 68020

    Nov 17, 2016
    I don't know much about how JD Power does their work, but that result doesn't surprise me. I've heard good things about the Surface.

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