Ap­ple re­leases new Cof­fee Lake-based Macbook Pro lap­tops

New 15-inch model of­fers a 70 per­cent per­for­mance boost; 13-inch model now with quad-core CPUS.

Macworld (USA) - - Contents - By Ro­man Loy­ola and Ja­son Cross

Ap­ple has of­fi­cially un­veiled its lat­est up­grade to its Macbook Pro line of lap­top com­put­ers. While the de­sign hasn’t changed, the new Macbook Pro prom­ises to reach new per­for­mance heights that video edi­tors, au­dio pro­duc­ers, an­i­ma­tors, de­vel­op­ers, and other pro­fes­sion­als will truly ap­pre­ci­ate.

That per­for­mance boost is sup­plied by In­tel’s eighth gen­er­a­tion of Core pro­ces­sors, along with a change in the RAM be­ing used, and new graph­ics pro­ces­sors. The heart of the new lap­tops, In­tel’s “Cof­fee Lake” pro­ces­sors, ac­tu­ally be­came avail­able last April ( go.mac­world. com/ncpu), and Cof­fee Lake PC lap­tops have been on the mar­ket for a cou­ple of months. Now Ap­ple users get a taste of what Cof­fee Lake can do for the Mac:

Ap­ple claims a boost of up to 70 per­cent for the 15-inch Macbook Pro, while the 13-inch Macbook Pro of­fers 2x per­for­mance.

In a me­dia showcase to in­tro­duce the lap­tops, Ap­ple hosted sev­eral demos by “pro users” who have been us­ing the new hard­ware. In one demo, pro­duc­ers from Elas­tic Peo­ple ( go. mac­world.com/elpl), the mak­ers of the “Des­pac­ito” mu­sic video ( go. mac­world.com/desp), talked about how the new Macbook Pro al­lowed them to stop re­ly­ing on prox­ies (smaller copies of the mas­ter files) while edit­ing in Fi­nal Cut Pro X. In an­other demo, mu­sic pro­ducer War­ren “Oak” Felder, who most re­cently worked with pop singer Alessia Cara ( go. mac­world.com/alcr), said that he of­ten pushed Mac hard­ware to its lim­its while work­ing in Logic Pro, and that with the new 15-inch Macbook Pro, he hadn’t “reached that limit” yet.

The new lap­tops in­clude Ap­ple’s cur­rently ship­ping op­er­at­ing sys­tem, macos High Sierra 10.13. The lap­tops can be up­graded to the new macos Mo­jave 10.14 ( go.mac­world.com/ap3b) op­er­at­ing sys­tem when it be­comes avail­able this fall.

Ap­ple’s Macbook and Macbook Air lineup, and the 13-inch Macbook Pro with­out Touch Bar, re­main un­changed.


In ad­di­tion to new pro­ces­sors, Ap­ple is now us­ing DDR4 RAM in the Macbook Pro, which should help per­for­mance. The max­i­mum amount of RAM sup­ported jumps up to 32GB in the 15-inch model, twice the amount of the pre­vi­ous Macbook Pro. The max in the 13-inch ver­sion is still 16GB.

The Macbook Pro con­tains a larger bat­tery, but Ap­ple rep­re­sen­ta­tives said that

the power de­mands of the DDR4 RAM im­ple­men­ta­tion es­sen­tially negates any pos­si­ble gain in bat­tery life over the pre­vi­ous mod­els.

As with the T1 in pre­vi­ous mod­els, the new Macbook Pro has a T2 pro­ces­sor that Ap­ple uses for ded­i­cated pro­cesses, such as the Touch Bar, Touch ID, Se­cure En­clave, and ded­i­cated stor­age en­cryp­tion. (The T2 made its de­but in the imac Pro [ go.mac­world.com/t2ip].) New to the T2’s func­tion­al­ity is sup­port for “Hey Siri,” where, just as on the iphone, speak­ing the phrase trig­gers the Siri dig­i­tal as­sis­tant.

Be­sides the in­ter­nal changes, Ap­ple has made a cou­ple of ex­ter­nal up­dates. True Tone, a fea­ture that orig­i­nated on the iphone, is now in the Macbook Pro Retina dis­plays and Touch Bar. With True Tone, a de­vice can sense the am­bi­ent light of your work en­vi­ron­ment and ad­justs the col­ors so that images ap­pear con­sis­tent.

And maybe what might be the most an­tic­i­pated up­date to the Macbook Pro—in light of class-ac­tion law­suits ( go.mac­world. com/clac) and a new Ap­ple re­pair pro­gram—ap­ple is in­tro­duc­ing the third gen­er­a­tion of its but­ter­fly key­board. The key­board, with its low pro­file and short key travel, has been im­proved so that it is qui­eter than be­fore. Whether the key­board is more re­li­able and durable re­mains to be seen, and we’ll def­i­nitely make note of the key­board ex­pe­ri­ence in our up­com­ing re­view.


Prices start at $2,399. Here are the key com­po­nents that are spe­cific to the 15-inch Macbook Pro mod­els.

> 6-core In­tel Core i7 and Core i9 pro­ces­sors, with speeds up to 2.9GHZ (Turbo Boost up to 4.8GHZ)

> Base con­fig­u­ra­tion of 16GB of DDR4 RAM (32GB max)

> 4GB Radeon Pro dis­crete graph­ics sub­sys­tem

> Max­i­mum 4TB SSD stor­age > Four Thun­der­bolt 3 ports


Prices start at $1,799. Here are the key com­po­nents that are spe­cific to the 13-inch Macbook Pro mod­els.

> Quad-core In­tel Core i5 and i7 pro­ces­sors, with speeds up to 2.7GHZ (Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHZ)

> Base con­fig­u­ra­tion of 8GB of DDR4 RAM (16GB max)

> In­tel Iris Plus 655 in­te­grated graph­ics 655 with 128MB of EDRAM > Max­i­mum 2TB SSD stor­age > Two Thun­der­bolt 3 ports

The new Macbook Pro is now avail­able for pur­chase at ap­ple.com ( go.mac­world. com/bymp).


This past April, when all of the high­per­for­mance Win­dows lap­tops tran­si­tioned to In­tel’s new 8th-gen­er­a­tion Cof­fee Lake pro­ces­sors ( go.mac­world.com/8tgn), Ap­ple fans were left scratch­ing their heads. If it of­fers such a huge boost in per­for­mance, then why isn’t Ap­ple up­grad­ing the Macbook Pro?

Well bet­ter late than never, as they say. Ap­ple’s bump­ing up the specs of the 13-inch and 15-inch Macbook Pro (with Touch Bar) to the 8th-gen­er­a­tion In­tel chips, plus adding a few other good­ies that should help make them tear through your Fi­nal Cut and Pho­to­shop tasks.

We will test, bench­mark, and thor­oughly re­view the new Macbook

Pros just as soon as pos­si­ble, of course. While you wait, let’s dive into the specs, com­pare them with what we know from Win­dows lap­tops, and paint a pic­ture of just how much bet­ter these new Macbook Pros may be.


The chief ben­e­fit of the new 8thgen­er­a­tion Core pro­ces­sors from In­tel is a boost in core count. In the 13-inch

Macbook Pro, you’re jump­ing up from dual-core Core i5 and

Core i7 CPUS to quad-core.

Cur­rently, the

13-inch Macbook Pro with Touch Bar of­fers a Core i5-7267u at the low end up to a

Core i7-7567u at the high end. These are pro­ces­sors with a

28-watt TDP.

We don’t yet have the ex­act model num­bers of the CPUS in the new Macbook Pros yet, but judg­ing by the an­nounced clock speeds and the sim­i­lar TDP nec­es­sary, we ex­pect to find a Core i5-8259u at the low end and a Core i7 8559U on the high end.

This change would mean higher boost clock speeds (3.8GHZ ver­sus 3.5GHZ on the low-end model, 4.5GHZ ver­sus 4.0GHZ on the high-end model). It also means 6MB of cache in­stead of 4MB. The Iris Plus 655 graph­ics pro­ces­sor is es­sen­tially the same as be­fore, but with dou­ble the em­bed­ded DRAM, which should speed things up a bit at higher res­o­lu­tions.

For the 15-inch Macbook Pro with

Touch Bar, we’re likely look­ing at a bump from the Core I7-7700HQ to the Core i7-8750h on the en­try-level ver­sion, with the maxed-out con­fig­u­ra­tion jump­ing from a Core I7-7920HQ up to Core i9 8950HK. Those pro­ces­sors all have a 45-watt TDP, but it’s a jump in max­i­mum turbo speed from 3.8GHZ to 4.1GHZ on the base model and from 4.1GHZ to 4.8GHZ on the high end.

Higher boost clock speeds are nice and all, but the big­gest ben­e­fit is the higher core counts. The pow­er­house 15-inch Macbook Pros jump from 4 cores with 8 threads up to 6 cores with 12 threads. Those who like the more com­pact 13-inch model get an even big­ger in­crease, jump­ing from 2 cores and 4 threads to 4 cores and 8 threads.


Our friends at Pc­world bench­marked the new Cof­fee Lake ( go.mac­world.com/bncl) 6-core pro­ces­sors back in April and came away very im­pressed. One would ex­pect that more cores would equal more per­for­mance in heav­ily multi-threaded ap­pli­ca­tions. Imag­ine their de­light when the new pro­ces­sors de­liv­ered sig­nif­i­cantly

bet­ter sin­gle threaded per­for­mance as well.

For ex­am­ple, one of their WINRAR bench­marks showed the Core i7-8750h (the chip likely to be in the en­try-level 15-inch Macbook Pro) blow­ing the doors off the Core I7-7820HK, a faster chip than the 7700HQ found in the cur­rent 15-inch Macbook Pro.

But dial the test down to a sin­gle thread and it gets real in­ter­est­ing. The 8750H is still faster than the 7820HK, and much faster than the 7700HQ.

That’s the magic of higher boost clock speeds and in­creased cache. If we look at Cinebench per­for­mance scal­ing from one thread up to twelve, we see that even on low thread counts we can ex­pect the new gen­er­a­tion to de­liver around a 15 to 20 per­cent boost, with high thread counts up at 50 per­cent.

Bot­tom line: Ex­pect the 15-inch Macbook Pros to be 15 to 50 per­cent faster in Cpu-lim­ited tasks.

And that’s just the jump from the 4-core to the 6-core chips. Imag­ine the boost we’ll see on the 13-inch Macbook Pro with Touch Bar, where the cache and boost clock speeds go up and the core counts dou­ble. Com­bined with the fact that more apps are able to ef­fec­tively uti­lize 5 to 8 threads than 9 to 12 threads, the 13-inch Macbook Pro is likely to re­al­ize its po­ten­tial more of­ten than the 15-inch model. Ap­ple’s smaller Macbook Pro is go­ing to re­al­ize a big­ger per­for­mance in­crease, more of­ten.


The new Macbook Pros ben­e­fit from more than just the im­pres­sive gains of In­tel’s 8th-gen­er­a­tion Core pro­ces­sors. There are qual­ity-of-life im­prove­ments like True Tone dis­plays (which we love on the ipad Pro, iphone 8, and iphone X), a new third-gen­er­a­tion but­ter­fly key­board that isn’t quite so noisy, and you can load ‘em up with dou­ble the RAM (up to 32GB).

But Ap­ple also snuck the T2 chip (first found in the imac Pro [ go.mac­world.com/ imrv]) into the Macbook Pro. As Ja­son

Snell cor­rectly pre­dicted ( go.mac­world. com/2rev), the T2 (and fu­ture T-se­ries chips) are likely go­ing to push down into all Macs over time. In the new Macbook Pros, the T2 chip does ev­ery­thing it does in the imac Pro: It’s the au­dio pro­ces­sor, it han­dles im­age pro­cess­ing for the Face­time cam­era, it con­trols stor­age (in­clud­ing of­fload­ing file en­cryp­tion), it’s the se­cure en­clave for Touch ID, and it pro­vides se­cure boot and sys­tem man­age­ment.

That means less work for the CPU, which should fur­ther boost per­for­mance just a lit­tle bit. It also means bet­ter Face­time video qual­ity and, fi­nally, “Hey Siri” sup­port on a Mac lap­top. ■

Dur­ing an Ap­ple showcase for the new Macbook Pro, mu­sic pro­ducer War­ren “Oak” Felder talked about how the per­for­mance of the new 15-inch model af­fected his work.

More cores mean much faster mul­ti­threaded per­for­mance.

Even with one thread, In­tel’s pro­ces­sors are faster.

Even with low thread counts, the 8th-gen­er­a­tion Core chips are much faster.

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