YouTuber Claims 15-Inch MacBook Pro With Upgraded Core i9 Chip is Severely Throttled Due to Thermal Issues

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jul 17, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple's new 15-inch MacBook Pro can be upgraded to include a 6-core 2.9GHz Intel Core i9 processor that has demonstrated impressive performance, but one YouTuber is warning customers away from purchasing it with claims that the MacBook Pro chassis can't provide sufficient cooling for it to run at full speed.

    Dave Lee this afternoon shared a new video on the Core i9 MacBook Pro he purchased, and according to his testing, the new machine is unable to maintain even its base clock speed after just a short time doing processor intensive work like video editing.

    "This CPU is an unlocked, overclockable chip but all of that CPU potential is wasted inside this chassis -- or more so the thermal solution that's inside here," says Lee.

    He goes on to share some Premiere Pro render times that suggest the new 2018 MacBook Pro with Core i9 chip underperforms compared to a 2017 model with a Core i7 chip. It took 39 minutes for the 2018 MacBook Pro to render a video that the older model was able to render in 35 minutes. Premiere Pro is not well-optimized for macOS, but the difference between the two MacBook Pro models is notable.

    Lee ran the same test again with the 2018 MacBook Pro in the freezer, and in cooler temperatures, the i9 chip was able to offer outstanding performance, cutting that render time down to 27 minutes and beating out the 2017 MacBook Pro.

    As Lee points out, thermal throttling is in no way unusual and it's seen in all manner of laptops and mobile devices from a range of manufacturers, but he says that "this degree" of thermal throttling is "unacceptable."
    It's not clear if there's something wrong with the MacBook Pro with Core i9 chip that Lee received, because this kind of throttling is likely something Apple would have tested for and not something that other users have reported at this point.

    Because this is just one data point, it's not enough information to reach a conclusion about the i9 chip available for the 15-inch MacBook Pro, but additional testing will certainly follow to shed more light on Lee's video. We have asked Apple for comment on Lee's findings, and will update this post if we hear back.

    Update: Other reports of excessive i9 throttling have been trickling in from Reddit users who have purchased 15-inch MacBook Pros with the high-end chip. These threads are available here and here.

    Article Link: YouTuber Claims 15-Inch MacBook Pro With Upgraded Core i9 Chip is Severely Throttled Due to Thermal Issues
  2. yanksrock100 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 30, 2010
    San Diego
    Will the bad PR ever end? Apple has been facing a lot of issues recently.
  3. mozumder macrumors 6502a

    Mar 9, 2009
    So, set your AC to freezing if you want a faster computer... got it!
  4. swingerofbirch macrumors 68040

    Oct 24, 2003
    The Amalgamated States of Central North America
    Hasn't this been an age-old problem? I've seen YouTubers show how to redo the thermal paste on other MacBooks to get better cooling/performance.

    Edit: I use iStat Menus to permanently keep my late 2013 13" rMBP at max fan speed, and doing light activities I frequently see core CPU temps up to 187. Have seen it go up to 212 F.

    I actually used an infrared thermometer on my powerbrick the other day that gets super hot. It was 169 F.
  5. Old Muley macrumors 6502a

    Old Muley

    Jan 6, 2009
    Titletown USA
  6. farewelwilliams, Jul 17, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2018

    farewelwilliams macrumors 68020

    Jun 18, 2014
    Premiere tries to use the CPU as much as possible by going full 100% utilization. The problem with throttling is that there's a severe penalty if you do hit the temperature threshold.

    Final Cut keeps it under 100% cpu utilization (either that's intentionally done in code, or simply because it's being offloaded by GPU, not sure). Even without full GPU acceleration, Final Cut would still likely complete a render vs Premiere. Just compare the throttling dips. First is Final Cut, and second image is Premiere.


    Not sure if people were expecting Macbooks to be able to withstand 100% CPU utilization for hours. If you were, then the past couple of generations have had the same issue.

    The only thing surprising is that the 2018 ended up being slower than 2017 laptops. One explanation is that Premier/Final Cut have 2017 Macbook specific optimizations and they're still working on optimizing it for 2018.
  7. SethBoy macrumors regular

    Jun 23, 2007
  8. KenaiAndrews macrumors member


    Nov 30, 2014
    Toronto, Canada
    If this is true, it's game over for the 15-inch i9 MacBook Pro.
  9. radiology macrumors 6502


    Feb 11, 2014
    Westlake, OH
  10. ThisIsNotMe Suspended

    Aug 11, 2008
    Ah, but because some random guy on YouTube made the claim it is Mac Rumors front page news! LOL.
  11. kylepro88 macrumors regular


    Jul 30, 2006
    I'm wondering how big of a factor Premiere is in the equation. The video below does a similar test and the 2017 model does win, but it's a FCPX test and the 2018 MBP does hold it's base clock speed throughout the test.

    I've always found Premiere and AME to utilize a lot more of the CPU and be all over the map regarding speed, heat, etc.

  12. lec0rsaire macrumors 65816

    Feb 23, 2017
    This reminds me of the 2.9 Skylake i7 in the 2016 15". I believe this was the reason I chose the 2.7 at the time. I would've just gotten the 2.6 but that chip had 6MB of cache vs. the 8MB of the 2.7 and 2.9.

    I figured this would be the case as soon as I realized that the i9 used is an HK variant. K meaning unlocked in Intel nomenclature.
  13. Polymorphic macrumors regular

    Dec 23, 2010
    Dave Lee is not some random guy. His claim warrants further investigation.
  14. bwreynolds72 macrumors newbie

    Dec 7, 2011
    LOL....yeah some random well respected YouTuber with 1.4 million subscribers.
  15. BroTim52 macrumors member


    Mar 14, 2013
    Not good!!! I bought the 13” and I’m completely satisfied!!
  16. Zwhaler macrumors 604


    Jun 10, 2006
    I predicted this thing would need a cooling pad in order to really be used like a pro rendering machine. This kind of confirms it. I'm sure more news will follow, but this is actually worse than I expected.
  17. lec0rsaire macrumors 65816

    Feb 23, 2017
    To be fair, this isn't so much Apple's fault as it is Intel's. Intel has really dropped the ball in the past couple of years. If they don't right the ship soon, AMD will take over the CPU game for a while. They are late with everything and are having lots of trouble shrinking the dies.
  18. cmaier macrumors G5

    Jul 25, 2007
  19. lec0rsaire macrumors 65816

    Feb 23, 2017
    I hope this doesn't lead to failure from overheating. I hope the heatsinks and the way they apply the paste can hold up!
  20. fairuz macrumors 68020


    Aug 27, 2017
    Silicon Valley
    I can't believe Apple would push something so defective. This is some Lenovo-style crap. Waiting to see more tests.
  21. ThisBougieLife macrumors 68000


    Jan 21, 2016
    SF Bay Area, California
    I'm not surprised at all. The ultra-thin chassis with mediocre cooling does what it can. Of course this chip would work better in some huge bulky gaming laptop chassis, but that's not Mac and never will be.

    Part of the reason why my next computer will probably be an iMac :)
  22. cmaier macrumors G5

    Jul 25, 2007
    Seems like apple’s fault, not intel’s, if it’s true. Apple designed the thermal solution for the MBP.
  23. Goldfrapp macrumors 601


    Jul 31, 2005
    Already got burnt by the first-gen MBP+TB. A 3000-dollar lesson learnt.

    Ain’t buying another MBP until Gates switches to Mac.
  24. Naimfan Suspended


    Jan 15, 2003
    I saw my 2.6 i7's CPU score on Cinebench drop significantly the first couple of days when hot, but it has seemed to stabilize in the range of 965 down to 880 or so.

    I'm impressed with this release performance-wise.
  25. Appleaker, Jul 17, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2018

    Appleaker macrumors 68020

    Jun 13, 2016
    As always, there are people that instantly write comments dismissing this and/or defending Apple. I really don’t see the need in doing so in this case.

    For the past few years we’ve seen the BTO CPU throttle under load, in all MacBooks. With 8th gen chips, this is taken to another level and at a point where Apple need to sort it out. They skimp out on things as cheap as thermal paste, which could significantly improve the situation, along with the obvious re-engineering of the thermal situation. It really is inexcusable for Apple to have this solution. It’s yet another negative of the thinner MacBook Pro design.

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1621 July 17, 2018