Ap­ple MacBook Pro 13-inch (2018)

THE POP­U­LAR CHOICE GETS WEL­COME NEW FEA­TURES FOR 2018.

TechLife Australia - - WELCOME - [ ALAN STONEBRIDGE ]

AP­PLE’S RE­DESIGN OF the MacBook Pro in 2016 was di­vi­sive for sev­eral rea­sons. For some, noth­ing but Thun­der­bolt 3 ports and a con­tin­ued lack of a dis­crete graph­ics pro­ces­sor is a pain in the prover­bial. For oth­ers, smaller and lighter without step­ping down to the less ca­pa­ble 12-inch MacBook or 13-inch Air is a bonus.

As with the 15-inch, Ap­ple sup­plied us with a fully-specced model (Core i7, 16GB RAM, 2TB SSD) for re­view.

So what’s changed since 2017? As on the 15-inch, the im­proved, qui­eter key­board is here, and ar­guably more im­por­tant at this smaller size, as it’s pop­u­lar among stu­dents, writ­ers and of­fice types. Like­wise for the True Tone dis­play. When you need to fo­cus on a doc, this makes it much eas­ier on your eyes.

13-inch and smaller MacBooks all lack the dis­crete GPUs found on the 15-inch mod­els, and that hasn’t changed. The dis­play’s pow­ered by an in­te­grated In­tel Iris Plus Graph­ics 655 pro­ces­sor that’s a lot less ca­pa­ble.

That’s clear in our DaVinci Re­solve test, which took about 70 min­utes to fin­ish – more than twice as long as the Radeon Pro 560Xpow­ered 15-inch Pro.

It also took just over 6.5 times longer than when us­ing our Vega 64-equipped ex­ter­nal graph­ics pro­cess­ing unit (eGPU). So, if your pro apps have been up­dated to work with eGPUs, there’s an even stronger ar­gu­ment for bud­get­ing for one to use with a 13-inch MacBook Pro.

In test­ing gam­ing speed, the Iris Plus 655 gives a big­ger boost to frame rates over last year’s Iris Plus 640 than the tiny dif­fer­ence that pro­ces­sor made over 2016’s Iris 540. Even so, it’s barely be­yond the 30 frames per sec­ond ideal min­i­mum, and bear in mind this is an av­er­age. At times, the rate dipped as low as 18.9fps.

We also tested us­ing the newer, more de­mand­ing Rise of the Tomb Raider, but at 1080p at high qual­ity, the three-scene test’s over­all rate was a ter­ri­ble 13.2fps.

As al­ways then, the 13-inch MacBook Pro re­ally isn’t suited to high-end games, or very de­mand­ing pro apps. The good news is that eGPU sup­port added in High Sierra ear­lier this year means this model (and 2016 and 2017 mod­els) ac­tu­ally has a graph­ics up­grade path.

Pre­vi­ous 13-inch MacBook Pros fea­tured a dual-core i5 pro­ces­sor. Now, though, you get a quad-core ver­sion. For in­ten­sive tasks suited to par­al­leli­sa­tion – split­ting up a job across cores – it makes an im­pres­sive dif­fer­ence.

And while Geek­Bench 4 barely ben­e­fits from those ex­tra cores, our Hand­Brake H.264 test puts a heavy work­load on ev­ery avail­able core. It trounced the dual-core i5, tak­ing less than half the time.

As noted ear­lier, though, Ap­ple pro­vided a high spec­i­fi­ca­tion for re­view, with a 2.7GHz Core i7. The stock 2.3GHz Core i5 wasn’t pro­vided, so we couldn’t com­pare Core i5 and i7 per­for­mance across the In­tel 8th-gen range.

13-inch mod­els with a Touch Bar also gain “Hey Siri” sup­port too and the claim of up to 3.2GB/sec SSD read rates holds up here, though again Ap­ple sup­plied its top 2TB drive to us.

There’s one other change to the 13-inch that you won’t find listed on the spec sheet: mod­els with four Thun­der­bolt 3 ports pre­vi­ously throt­tled per­for­mance on the right-side ports. Most won’t no­tice, but it’s good news if you plan to con­nect an eGPU or an­other de­mand­ing pe­riph­eral.

13-INCH MOD­ELS WITH A TOUCH BAR ALSO GAIN “HEY SIRI” SUP­PORT TOO AND THE CLAIM OF UP TO 3.2GB/SEC SSD READ RATES HOLDS UP HERE...

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