MacBook Pro boosted by Sup­ple­men­tal Update

Ap­ple has ad­dressed the lap­top’s throt­tling is­sues with a sys­tem update, writes Ro­man Loy­ola

Macworld - - CONTENTS -

With Ap­ple hav­ing ad­dressed its throt­tling is­sues with a firmware update for the 2018 MacBook Pro, it’s time to take an­other look at the lap­top and sup­ple­ment our orig­i­nal bench­mark re­sults from our ini­tial re­view.

More bench­marks

This suite of tests are bench­marks that per­form tasks that a pro­fes­sional might do. We ran the tests on the 2018 15in 2.9GHz Core i9 MacBook Pro be­fore and af­ter the update. We also tested the 2017 15in 2.9GHz MacBook Pro for ref­er­ence.

Adobe Pre­miere CC 4K video ren­der

This test in­volved an Adobe Pre­miere video project cre­ated by the Mac­world video team. (You can watch the video at­daDP.) We ex­ported a video to the H.264 for­mat us­ing the YouTube 2160p 4K pre­set and with Max­i­mum Ren­der Qual­ity turned on. When we ren­dered the video us­ing Adobe Me­dia En­coder CC, we set the Ren­derer to the Mer­cury Play­back En­gine Soft­ware Only set­ting in order to iso­late the CPU.

Our tests of the new MacBook Pro be­fore the update showed an 11 per­cent speed in­crease over last year’s model. We weren’t able to repli­cate the loss of per­for­mance that YouTu­ber Dave Lee ex­pe­ri­enced dur­ing his test­ing (his video was the one that brought the throt­tling issue to the fore­front – see

Af­ter the update, we saw a big­ger im­prove­ment over last year’s lap­top – a 22 per­cent in­crease.

Cinebench CPU

Cinebench is a bench­mark that in­volves a 3D ren­der, and its CPU stresses the avail­able pro­ces­sor cores. Ac­cord­ing to Maxon, the scene has about 2,000 ob­jects with over 300,000 poly­gons and an ar­ray of ef­fects. When us­ing all of the pro­cess­ing cores avail­able on each lap­top (six

on the 2018 MacBook Pro, four on the 2017 model), The up­dated 2018 MacBook Pro shows a 25 per­cent boost over the 2017 MacBook Pro. Without the update, the 2018 MacBook Pro had a 17 per­cent in­crease over last year’s model.

Cinebench lets you set the amount of threads you want to test with, so we ran a se­ries of bench­marks start­ing with a sin­gle thread, then two, four, eight, 10, and 12 threads. (Since the 2017 MacBook Pro is a quad-core ma­chine, it can only go up to eight threads.)

Blender BMW CPU

Blender is a free, open-source 3D ap­pli­ca­tion. We used the CPU test of the Blender BMW Bench­mark to test an­other 3D ren­der. The up­dated 2018 model was 19 per­cent faster than the 2017

MacBook Pro. Be­fore the update, the 2018 model was 12 per­cent faster.


One more 3D ren­der­ing test: V-Ray. We used the test de­signed for the CPU. The up­dated 2018 MacBook Pro was 19 per­cent faster than last year’s model. Without the update, the new lap­top was 12 per­cent faster.

An eye on throt­tling

Through­out test­ing, we used In­tel Power Gad­get to mon­i­tor the MacBook Pro’s CPU power us­age and clock speed. The app shows progress as a line chart. Be­fore the update, the 2018 MacBook Pro demon­strated a lot of throt­tling in these tests, and the charts in Power Gad­get some­times looked like er­ratic scrib­ble marks. CPU clock speeds of­ten

dipped down to 2GHz, and as high as 4.8GHz, the lap­top’s Turbo Burst speed. The tem­per­a­ture and power con­sump­tion also showed a lot of vari­ance.

The macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 Sup­ple­men­tal Update had a calm­ing ef­fect on the CPU. Once in­stalled, we saw more ‘flat­line’ type re­sults in Power Gad­get, with the CPU bet­ter able to main­tain its power con­sump­tion, tem­per­a­ture, and base clock speed.

(In­ter­est­ingly, Power Gad­get was up­graded from ver­sion 3.5.2 to 3.5.3 dur­ing the whole MacBook Pro con­tro­versy, and was not avail­able for down­load for a while as the up­grade was be­ing made. It sparked spec­u­la­tion on many web­sites that it was

pur­posely re­moved to stop people from mon­i­tor­ing their MacBook Pro per­for­mance.)

Go in­stall the update

If you plan to buy or bought a 2018 MacBook Pro with a Touch Bar, make sure you in­stall the macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 Sup­ple­men­tal Update (see page 42). (The 13in models without the Touch Bar did not get pro­ces­sor up­dates and weren’t af­fected by this bug.) It makes a big difference in per­for­mance, es­pe­cially for multi-core tasks. And it will help the MacBook Pro run more con­sis­tently.

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In ad­di­tion to In­tel Power Gad­get, we used a watt me­ter to watch the MacBook Pro’s power con­sump­tion. Be­fore the update, we wit­nessed wild fluc­tu­a­tions; this photo was taken be­fore the update. With the update, we saw more level, con­sis­tent wattage

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