Laptop

What Is Happening with the 16" MacBook Pro?


We’ve seen so many leaks, rumors and even actual proof found in Beta versions of macOS, that clearly showed that Apple is working on a brand new generation of MacBook Pro’s. 

We were expecting to see a new MacBook Pro by the end of October, but that hasn’t happened so here’s an update on everything we know so far and what is really the status of the this 16” MacBook Pro!


It is now November which means that Apple has not had any event in October this year like most of us were expecting, or at least were hoping. 

Apple has two big events every single year. We have WWDC in June, which is Apple’s software event where they announce the new versions of iOS, macOS & tvOS, then in September we have the big hardware focused event, where Apple introduces the brand new iPhones, the new Apple Watch and sometimes a few more things as well.

However, the Macs and the iPads never really had a place in any event. WWDC was always too full with software and the September event was always too full with the iPhones. So because of that, Apple sometimes has two more events in the year. A March event where they release new entry level iPads, and an October event where they release new Macs and iPad Pros.

However, when it comes to Mac events it’s a bit more complicated, as Apple need to wait for Intel to release new processors before they can update their machines. 

Now the MacBook Pro and Air are by far the most popular Macs that Apple has ever made and because, unlike the iPhones which get updated every 2-3 years, Macs don’t really get updated that often there is always a lot of hype around a new generation.

The current generation of MacBook Pros came out in 2016, the previous gen came out in 2012 and the one before that came out in 2008. So it seems like every 4 years, Apple releases a brand new design. So a new design to this generation isn’t expected until 2020.

But as you may know, Ming-Chi-Kuo, Bloomberg, DigiTimes Taiwan, and pretty much every well known source has said that Apple will be releasing a new 16” MacBook Pro in 2019, which was supposed to be launching by the end of October. But all this was quite weird. Why would Apple release the new generation of MacBook Pro’s a year earlier than usual, and why didn’t they have any event to announce it?

Especially considering the amount of issues that this generation has had, ranging from severe keyboard issues, thermal throttling issues, creaking noise issues, faulty speaker issues and much more, if a you were going to bring out a new generation that solved those problems you’d make a big deal out of it wouldn’t you?

I’ve made multiple videos with my own issues with this generation of MacBook Pros, and how Apple’s customer support is just straight up garbage when it comes to dealing with expensive devices such as this. Full video on how Apple still hasn’t fixed my broken $5000 MacBook Pro here

Overtime Apple has attempted to fix the keyboard issues with small upgrades to the keys (Source: iFixit)

Overtime Apple has attempted to fix the keyboard issues with small upgrades to the keys (Source: iFixit)

In short, this generation needs to be replaced as soon as. Apple tried “fixing” the keyboard with every new model that they’ve launched since 2016, with small improvements in the key-cap mechanism but they just couldn’t, just because the butterfly key-switch mechanism was faulty from the very start. Apparently this new generation is said to come with a brand new mechanism, the scissor mechanism, which funnily enough was the one that previous generations of MacBook Pros had. This will give us more key travel than before, since at the moment you can barely even feel the keys moving. So a fixed keyboard is the first change.

We’ll also be getting a larger display, a 16-16.4” panel from the 15.4” one that we have on the current model, whilst also getting slimmer bezels. 

The body will also be getting thicker in order to improve cooling but that’s mostly it, in terms of the main changes.

So that doesn’t seem like a lot. We’ve actually made our own concept, in which we increased the size of the touchbar to make it even more usable and extend it to the very top of the frame, as before, this area was unused and it just didn’t look good at all. However, it seems like the changes would be even smaller than we expected.

French Website, MacGeneration found an icon of the 16” MacBook Pro in the latest macOS Catalina 10.15.1 Beta that even has a file name that says 16” in silver & space grey. However, it looks pretty much identical to the current model. But this is as official as it gets until the unveil. 

The MacBook Pro 15” (Left) compared to the leaked 16” icon (Right) (Source: MacGeneration)

The MacBook Pro 15” (Left) compared to the leaked 16” icon (Right) (Source: MacGeneration)

Unfortunately, unless you put them side by side you cannot really tell the difference. By putting them side by side you can see that the entire machine is indeed larger and the bezels are slightly thinner, but the differences are so small that I just cannot call this a new generation of MacBook Pros.

Even though the bezels are thinner, they’re still thicker than on something like a Dell XPS 13” 2-in-1 or many of the more modern laptops released in 2019. We still have the big chin with the MacBook Pro branding on the bottom which I don’t really like, it’s way too fat and it takes up way too much unnecessary space. I always preferred the previous look of the 2012 Retina MacBook Pro’s that had no branding at all on the display.

Now, there are a few other changes that we get, aside from the slightly thinner bezels and the larger display. For example, if you look at the top left section of the touchbar on the 16” MacBook Pro icon, you can see that there seems to be a space in between the touchbar and a button on the left. Now, we’ve even had a second image that was discovered by developer Guilherme Rambo in macOS 10.15.1 beta again, that shows the full official image of the right hand side of the new 16” MacBook Pro. And there’s probably one thing that you’ve noticed right away, and that is how the touchID sensor is separated from the touchbar now. 

The 16” (Bottom) appears to leave some space between the touchbar and a button on the left (Source: MacGeneration)

The 16” (Bottom) appears to leave some space between the touchbar and a button on the left (Source: MacGeneration)

This means that the button on the left is most likely the escape key which will also now be separated from the touchbar as well. That was one of the main complaints that developers had, I had it as well, since escape is a key that I do hit very often in certain apps and not having a physical key for that, can be extremely frustrating. 

Also in this image we can also see the keyboard, but to me at least, it looks identical to the current gen, with no more key travel than what we have now. So that’s pretty disappointing to see.

Keep in mind that if this is a new generation then this is what we’ll get for the next 3-4 years. Which means a total of 6-8 years with what’s mostly the exact same design and what looks to be the same keyboard.

The touchbar is looking to be the same size as before, maybe even a bit shorter because of the introduction of the escape key. When you take into account that you have laptops such as the Asus ZenBook Duo that have two fully usable displays, or laptops that are 2-in-1 with pen support as well, and a 22 hour battery life and crazy specs and features like that, the MacBook Pro feel extremely old and already outdated, even before it’s out!

Unless of course, this is not a new generation of MacBook Pro’s!

Every new generation has seen some massive changes, in pretty much every single way. The 2012 Retina MacBook Pro was by far the biggest change ever, in a MacBook Pro. It had a high resolution Retina Display, something never before seen in a laptop, a full flash storage from the HDD of the previous generation, it had a design that was pretty much half the thickness of the previous model, and it was lighter, so it was years ahead of the previous generation.

The 2016 generation that we have now, was a much smaller upgrade. Aside from the DCI-P3 displays, slightly thinner bezels, space grey colour, the downgraded keyboard and touchID and touchbar, we didn’t really get much else. 

This is mostly because we’ve reached to a point where laptops have become as good as they can be and the only things that we can improve are the specs. Unless of course we have dual displays or innovative concepts such as that, which Apple doesn’t usually do first.

MacRumors posted a gif of the current 15” MacBook Pro and the 16” MacBook Pro leaked image and like I said, they’re pretty much identical, I will leave a link to it here so you can see what I am talking about. The touchbar appears to maybe be a bit taller, barely even noticeable and luckily the top portion of the case is now a bit slimmer. The keys do seem to have more space in between, than on the current 15” model, which is always a welcome change.

So judging by all these official images that were actually found in macOS 10.15.1 beta, the release of the 16” MacBook Pro seems to be imminent. 

Now, Ming-Chi-Kuo actually released a report this week, updating his research note on the 16” MacBook Pro. In it he said that Apple would only switch to a scissor switch keyboard, in Q2 or Q3 2020. Which means either June or September of next year. And he was also the one that initially talked about Apple working on a scissor keyboard switch for the new MacBook Pro 16” for this year. So if that gets delayed, there’s a very high chance that this MacBook Pro 16” will also get delayed, rather than shipping with the old style keyboard which would be another disaster. 

The headline from the article on MacRumors where Ming-Chi Kuo said it was likely that the new keyboard would be mid 2020 (Source: MacRumors)

The headline from the article on MacRumors where Ming-Chi Kuo said it was likely that the new keyboard would be mid 2020 (Source: MacRumors)

DigiTimes reported that Apple will begin receiving shipments of the 16” MacBook Pro. That’s another reason why I do see this being delayed is because of Intel and AMD.

Intel’s 10th generation processors have indeed launched, but these are only the Y and the U series. So the 7W and 15W ones that are aimed at the MacBook Air and the 13” MacBook Pro are here, but not the H series, which represents the 45W processors aimed at the 15” MacBook Pro’s. 

Those are only coming out next year, around May-June, just in time for a truly next generation of MacBooks Otherwise, if this 16” MacBook Pro gets released before then we would still be getting the exact same processor, the Intel 9980HK, that we already have in the May 2019 release. The same goes for the GPU. Aside from the Vega 20 that we got back in November 2018, which is already an outdated architecture, we haven’t had anything new from AMD since. Now, maybe Apple is working alongside AMD on a custom RDNA GPU, similar to what Sony and Microsoft are doing for the PS5 and Xbox 2, but don’t get your hopes too high. The chances of that happening are extremely slim. 

There are a few more leaks that I want to mention. We did a very detailed video on the 16” MacBook Pro back in July and that was when we had barely any leaks on it, and it that video I talked about a few interesting things that I’ve noticed.

A leaked power adapter from the suspected 16” MacBook Pro showing the 96W Charging (Source: Chongdiantou)

A leaked power adapter from the suspected 16” MacBook Pro showing the 96W Charging (Source: Chongdiantou)

For example, how the upcoming Apple Pro Display XDR supports up to 96W of power output, but the current gen 15” MacBook Pro’s, only support up to 87W. So my theory here was that the new 16” MacBook Pro would require either a 94W or a 96W power adapter. 94W was also an option since the new LG UltraFine 5K display supports up to 94W of power output via thunderbolt 3, rather than 96W. And it seems like there’s been a leaked power adapter, presumably for this 16” MacBook Pro that actually shows a 96W USB-C Power adapter. So it seems like my theory might have been correct here and we should be seeing a 16” MacBook Pro with a power requirement of 96W.

In case you’re wondering what we might need those extra 9W of power for, well it’s very likely for the display, which is not just going to be larger but there’s a very high change that Apple will also brand this display a Pro XDR display to match it up with their actual Mac Pro Pro XDR display and also the new Super Retina XDR naming that they’re now using in iPhones. So this display will very likely be brighter than the 500 nit panel that we currently have in the current generation of MacBook Pro’s. 

I’m just very disappointed that this new 16” MacBook Pro which is supposed to be a new generation of MacBook Pro’s, only seems to be a very slight week to the current gen, which we might have to stick with, for the next 4 years. There’s no FaceID, no larger TouchBar, no touchscreen, no flappable display, no OLED display and nothing really that would make this truly next gen.

2019 13" MacBook Pro (Baseline) Review


This is a 13” MacBook Pro that Apple has just released last week. But wait Daniel, you’ve already reviewed the 8-core 15” MacBook Pro as well as the 13” 2019 MacBook Pro, so what is this?

Well this is the $1,300 baseline model that doesn’t have a touch bar, or quad-core processors and hasn’t been updated since 2017, or at least it was until this year where it has received a massive upgrade whilst retaining the same $1,300 price point! 

So lets discuss what changes we have received this year on Apple’s baseline model.


BUILD

So first of all, it now has the same 5th generation butterfly keyboard that we got on the other 13” and 15” MacBook’s from earlier this year, with the new sturdier build which should resolve the issues that consumers were having with the previous iterations where they keys were sticking or breaking entirely.

In terms of the typing experience. It’s very similar to the 2018 MacBook Pros, with the 4th butterfly keyboard iteration, so they feel more springy and mushy than the 2017 and 2016 models but they’re also not as loud as those. So if you don’t like Apple’s butterfly keyboard because of the low key travel and lack of feedback, you won’t like this one either. If you do, then this one’s better than the last generation. 

Apple did add all 2019 MacBook’s to the keyboard replacement programme so if it breaks, Apple will replace it for free for the next 4 years, so that’s good! 

The keyboard is a very important part of any laptop so I’m glad to see that Apple improved it this year, again. 

Speaking of the keyboard, we finally have a touch bar on this! Yes the non-touch bar MacBook Pro now has a touch bar which means that Apple is no longer selling any MacBook Pros that do not come with one, which is something that they should’ve done from 2016 in my opinion.

The 13” Baseline model now features a touch bar, as well as TouchID

The 13” Baseline model now features a touch bar, as well as TouchID

This means that you get extra controls in a lot of your apps, most of which are useless since you can do them so much faster with keyboard shortcuts, but for those of you who are not familiar with keyboard shortcuts, the touch bar can indeed be very useful. If you take Photoshop for example, the touch bar gives you access to great tools such as the ability to resize a brush or swipe through the blending modes which is just amazing! 

Alongside the touch bar we also get a TouchID or fingerprint sensor! This is in my opinion even better than the touch bar since you can unlock you Mac very easily and you can also scan you finger to fill in passwords and make Apple Pay payments, so it’s an incredibly useful thing to have. 

The display also got a very welcome improvement with True Tone support. This means that the color temperature of the display is automatically adjusted so that it matches the light around you, which is amazing! This makes reading so much easier on the eyes, just make sure that you disable it before you do any photo or video editing!

Another big improvement is the addition of the T2 processor. Now this is something that now comes standard in every new Mac aside from the iMac, and it’s this tiny chip that handles a lot of the basic processes that the Intel CPU would normally handle. 

The main advantages of having the T2 are:

  • Better quality photos and video with the built-in camera.

  • Real-Time disk encryption and decryption,

  • Improved audio quality from the microphones,

  • Faster h.265 video encoding so h.265 video exports will be much faster

  • The ability to locate you Mac if its gets stolen, even when it is not connected to a WiFi network.

Unfortunately your Mac will crash more often, especially if you use Thunderbolt, but the majority of people buying this MacBook Pro wouldn’t be doing that much intense work anyways, so for most people the T2 will be a positive thing.

So, so far the new baseline $1,300 13” MacBook Pro seems to have all the features that the more expensive $1,800 model has, however there are a few features that it is missing. 

The speakers for example are identical to the 2017 model. They’re not bad my any means, in fact they’re still better than on most laptops out there but they are just not as powerful and as clear as on the 2018 and more expensive 2019 models of the 13” MacBook Pro. However, they are located right underneath the speaker grills rather than towards the bottom and then the sound being redirected – like it is on the more expensive models. 

The speakers on the baseline model are now under the speaker grills

The speakers on the baseline model are now under the speaker grills

Another lacking feature is when it comes to the Thunderbolt 3 ports. On the $1,800 model we have four whereas on this entry level model we have two. Now for most people this is more than enough, but I just miss the convenience of being able to plug accessories and charge my MacBook from either side, rather than having to do it from the left hand side all the time. 

But probably the biggest downgrade in my opinion, is in terms of the Flash Storage. It is considerably slower than the $1,800 model, with speeds averaging 505 MB/s Write vs 2750MB/s Write and 1333MB/s Read vs 2650MB/s Read. 

PERFORMANCE

Performance wise, this new entry level MacBook Pro is a significant step up from the 2017 model. 

First off we get a Quad Core processor from dual core, so we have the Intel i5 8257U 1.4GHz – 3.9GHz. Now you could upgrade this to the i7 8557U, which has a 1.7GHz base clock from 1.4GHz and can turbo boost to 4.5GHz from 3.9, but I honestly don’t recommend it since the performance is already extremely good on the stock processor.

In Geekbench 4 the 2019 model was 1.11 times faster Single Core (SC) wise and 1.87 times faster in Multi Core (SC)! That's, almost twice as fast as the previous 2017 model and only 1.13 times slower SC wise than the 2019 $1800 model and 1.1 times slower MC wise. So it is very close to the much more expensive 4 thunderbolt 3 model. 

In Cinebench R15 it got 651 points vs 705 on the $1800 maxed out model and this was actually very very close to the 2017 15” MacBook Pro which got 672 points. In Cinebench R20 it got 1628 compared to 1763 on the $1800 model and 1672 on the 15” 2017 MacBook Pro. So again very impressive results, as the baseline MacBook Pro was just 1.08 times slower than the maxed out 13” model with the quad core 2.8GHz processor.

An example of the render we use for our tests

An example of the render we use for our tests

But how does it handle 3D Rendering? Well it only took this MacBook Pro 14 minute and 16 seconds to finish the example render versus 13 minutes and 43seconds on the 2017 15” MacBook Pro. 

I was quite impressed with the temperatures that this was running at as well. The baseline 13” MacBook Pro was running at 90 degrees as the average temperature, and a clock of 2.9GHz from the base 1.4GHz clock. Comparatively, the 13” maxed out 2019 model was running at 94 degrees and a clock of 3.2GHz, whilst the 2017 15” model was running at 97 degrees and a clock of 3GHz. Now the really interesting thing here is that the 13” baseline model only has a single fan, whereas the $18,00 4 thunderbolt 3 port model has two fans, just like the 15” and the temperature and clock speeds were still very good, for a Mac at least. 

So the CPU performance is indeed very impressive on this base MacBook Pro. There’s absolutely no need to upgrade to the 1.7GHz model if the maxed out 2.7GHz 13” model is barely any faster. 

But what about the GPU performance?

As you all know the 15” MacBook Pro’s comes with a dedicated GPU, so if you’re into Video Editing, 3D Modelling, Graphic Design, Gaming or anything that requires a high end GPU you’re going to get significantly better performance from a 15” MacBook Pro.

The 13” models have an integrated GPU. The Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655 on the $1,800 4 thunderbolt 3 port model and the Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645 on this baseline. Now the integrated GPU is even more powerful the more RAM you have in your computer, since it can indeed take use of the system RAM. I am using the baseline 8GB of RAM model for this and I wanted to see how much the GPU is impacted when compared to the maxed out 13” model with 16GB of RAM. 

Firstly, the Cinebench OpenCL test where the baseline MBP was only 1.05 times slower than the maxed out 13” model, a negligible difference. In Cinebench R15, we got 54.69fps compared to 56.56fps on the maxed out 13” model, so again a negligible difference.

Now if you care about gaming, in the Unigine Heaven Benchmark we got 10.3fps versus 11.1fps, so almost the same. In actual games like Fortnite, with all the settings set to EPIC in 1680x1050 resolution, we got about 13fps in the bus drop scene compared to around 15fps.

But if both the CPU and GPU benchmarks are almost identical to the maxed out 13” model, how does it compare in Final Cut Pro X for example, when editing and exporting 4K video?

A snippet of the Final Cut Pro X Project we use for our tests

A snippet of the Final Cut Pro X Project we use for our tests

For this I used our OnePlus 7 Pro Blind Camera test, which is a very demanding 15 minute 4K project, with multiple 4K picture in picture clips and it took the baseline 13” MacBook Pro 51 minutes and 28 seconds to export this versus 50 minutes and 2 seconds on the maxed out 13” MacBook Pro. So the baseline was just 1.02 times slower. Just as a comparison, the maxed out 15” MacBook Pro exported this in just 17 minutes and 44 seconds, so that one was 2.9 times faster than the baseline 13”.

But personally I find the video editing performance in the timeline to be much more important than the actual rendering time. So looking at that in the same project we’re getting about 15-20fps playback in quality and just over 30fps in performance mode. Now, considering that the video itself is 29.97fps, the baseline 13” MBP can actually play this full project back in real time in performance, which is incredible!

But you see one of my favourite things about this new MacBook Pro are those two Thunderbolt 3 ports. Aside from just charging and connecting external HDD’s, Thunderbolt is so powerful that it allows you to connect a full 5K monitor. But if you have a Thunderbolt 3 dock such as the one from CalDigit I have in the video, you can get access to a ton of ports, with HDMI, multiple USB type A ports, while also charging your MacBook Pro, all from that single Thunderbolt 3 port.

By adding an eGPU to your set up you will get a significant improvement in the performance of your MacBook

By adding an eGPU to your set up you will get a significant improvement in the performance of your MacBook

On top of that, you can even connect an eGPU or external graphics card with an enclosure and have some insane GPU performance coming out of this tiny MacBook Pro. Using an eGPU I was able to get over 60fps in Fornite in 1080p, so an even higher resolution than before, with everything on EPIC! So actual gaming is now possible thanks to an eGPU and Thunderbolt 3. Even in Final Cut Pro X, the rendering time was reduced from 51 minutes and 28 seconds to just 34 minutes! Now that is not as fast as a 15” MacBook Pro, but it is a significant improvement of 1.5 times! So an eGPU makes a huge difference and I highly recommend getting one, especially if you have a 13” MacBook Pro that does not have a dedicated GPU.

 

CONCLUSION

Ok, so in the end if you’re thinking about getting a brand new Mac don’t get a MacBook Air, because it only has a dual core processor and no touch bar, get this MacBook Pro Instead. It costs $200 more, but it gives you so many more features and performance wise it’s extremely close to the maxed out $3,100 13” MacBook Pro.

2019 15" MacBook Pro (Maxed Out) Review


This is the brand new 2019 15” MacBook Pro, and out of all the devices that I own this is my true daily driver. I have used this thing solidly for at least 12 hours a day every week day and 5 or more hours at the weekend, so in total I have used this for at least 70 hours every week, and continue to do so.

In this review I want to cover the 3 biggest change!


SPECS

Seeing as the 2019 models has the exact same design as the 2016, 17, and 18 models, there is not much to cover in that regard. But when I say this is the maxed out specs, I mean maxed out, apart from the 4TB of storage. Check out the specs of the model I am reviewing below:

  • 2.3GHz 8-Core 9th Generation Intel Core i9 Processor with Turbo Boost up to 4.8GHz

  • 32GB 2400MHz DDR4 Memory

  • Radeon Pro Vega 20 with 4GB of HBM2 Memory

  • 1TB SSD Storage

The 2019 Model hasn’t changed in design since 2016

The 2019 Model hasn’t changed in design since 2016

 

KEYBOARD

Ok, so in terms of the keyboard, this is Apple’s 5th butterfly design as they have been making small changes every single year since 2015.

Now Apple claimed that they changed some materials to make the keyboard significantly more reliable than before. However Apple did include the 2019 Models to their Keyboard Replacement programme on launch day, which raises doubt into how reliable these keyboards truly are. 

A teardown of the keys on the 5th Generation Keyboard (Source: iFixit)

A teardown of the keys on the 5th Generation Keyboard (Source: iFixit)

iFixit did do a full keyboard teardown and they found that Apple replaced the silicone key switch cap with one made out of nylon, so it’s a bit sturdier and most of the components had slight changes to them, which I mentioned back in my 13” Review so feel free to check that out too.

But it terms of how the keyboard feels, it is very similar to the 2018 one, but feels a tiny bit sturdier. So overall I do like typing on the 2019 15” MacBook’s the most, but it’s still a butterfly keyboard so it’s still bad in terms of key travel and tactile feedback. 

 

PERFORMANCE

Considering that this is the maxed out version, you’d expect the performance to be maxed out too right? Well lets have a look.

Now the difference the 2019 model has over the 2018 model is that we now get an Intel i9 9th generation 8-core processor, which is actually Intel’s fastest laptop processor to date. We also get 8-cores up from 6, 16MP L3 cache up from 12MP on the 2018 6-core models, and a base clock of 2.4GHz down from 2.9GHz but we do get a turbo boost of up to 5GHz from 4.8GHz. Now just to clarify the Turbo Clock speed is just for a single core and only when the temperature is under 60 degrees, this is what Intel’s now calling ‘Thermal Velocity Boost’. 

Unfortunately due to the still weak cooling system this model never reached 5GHz at all in my case. In fact, it even struggled to hit 4.8GHz. The highest that I’ve seen it hit was about 4.7GHz and that was only for a second or so. 

But does it throttle you might ask? Well not as much as the 2018 one did.

Now since I also have the Vega 20 Model, the cooling is indeed better, with the fans being able to reach 6000 RPM’s from 5930 and 5490 on the 2018 non-Vega MBP’s. Add that to the fact that the GPU doesn’t heat up as much as, the CPU can run cooler meaning it can actually run at a higher clock speed than the 6-core 2018 model could, even though this is an 8-core CPU.

So the temperatures were lower when using it, 87-90 degrees was the top celling compared to 98 degrees on the 2018 model, and because of this the 2019 model was also much quieter as the fans didn’t start to spin up this early. 

So how do those 2 extra cores and Vega 20 GPU translate to actual usage?

Well, let’s start out with some benchmarks first. Starting off with the CPU. 

In the Geekbench 4 Single Core CPU test, the 2019 MBP scores 2.9% higher than the 6-core 2018 MacBook Pro, 18.6% higher than 4-core 2017 MBP and 25% higher than the 4-core 2016 MBP. Then in the Multicore test, the 2019 MacBook Pro scores 24.4% higher than the 2018 model, 47.3% higher than the 2017 and 51.2% higher than the 2016. 

In Cinebench R15, the 2019 MBP scores 29.3% higher than the 2018, 48.6% higher than the 2017 and 45.4% higher than the 2016. Yes the 2017 started throttling more than the 2016 it seems. In Cinebench R20, the 2019 MBP scores 26% higher than the 2018, 46% higher than the 2017 and 42.5% higher than the 2016. 

And next up, I ran our ZONEofTECH Keyshot 8 3D Rendering benchmark, which is a very CPU intensive task, and the 2019 model was 38.2% faster than the 2018, so a very big difference there, 53.3% faster than the 2017 and 42.1% faster than the 2016. 

The temperatures were also significantly better. 75 degrees on the 2019 compared to 87 on the 2018, 97 on the 2017, and 98 on the 2016 and the clock speed was at about 2.7GHz versus 2.5GHz on the 2018 model, so very impressive so far.

Now when it comes to the GPU, in Geekbench 4 Compute, openCL test the Vega 20 2019 MacBook Pro was 24.8% faster than the 2018 with the 560X, 43.2% faster with the 2017 with the 560 and 34.6% faster than the 2016 with the 460.  However, the 2016 MacBook Pro was recently replaced by Apple with a brand new case and cleaned fans, which is why I think it’s getting higher scores than our 2017, as there might be some dust in the fans.

In CineBench R15, the 2019 MBP was 18.7% faster than the 560X 2018, 35.3% faster than the 560 from 2017 and 33.4% faster than the 460 from 2016. 

Next up we have the Unigine Heaven benchmark and here the 2019 was 38.9% faster than the 2018, 45.7% faster than the 2017 and 49.2% faster than the 2016. 

So overall CPU wise, the 2019 is about 20-40% faster than the 2018 and GPU wise we get about a 40% difference. So quite some substantial gains so far. 

Taking a look at some more real-world usage, in Final Cut Pro X I had our OnePlus 7 Pro blind camera test project and this was a massive one with a ton of 4K picture-in-picture clips, effects, titles and it was a full 15 minute 4K project. The 2019 MacBook Pro only took 16 minutes and 48 seconds to export this versus the 2018 which was 24.3% slower, the 2017 was 34.3% slower, and the 2016 was 33.8% slower. Now while 5 minutes or so doesn’t seem like much, on a bigger and more complex project, that would be substantially more and if you do this on a daily basis it will have a significant impact on your workflow.

Finally let’s have a look at the Disk performance. The 2019 and 2018 models were pretty much identical in terms of Write Speeds, 2017 and 2016 were 35.7% slower when using disk encryption. And in terms of the Read Speeds, the 2019 was identical to the 2018 and 16% faster than 2017 and 2016.

If you don’t use disk encryption for FireVault the results would be much more similar but if you do, since we have the T2 Chip on both the 2018 and 2019 models, the disk decryption is done in real time on the T2 chip itself and we get much higher IO performance. 

Now there are a few more things that I want to address. 

The 2019 model feature brand new thermal paste on its internals (Source: Snazzy Labs)

The 2019 model feature brand new thermal paste on its internals (Source: Snazzy Labs)

The reason why the 2019 is getting much better thermals isn’t just because of the faster fan speeds but also because of a brand new thermal paste. This is what I suspected in our initial video with the ‘20 Things You Didn’t Know’ but Quinn Nelson from Snazzy Labs has now confirmed this in his teardown. 

Also if you’re thinking of using an eGPU on a 15” just don’t! You’re getting far better performance from a built-in dedicated GPU such as a Vega 20, especially in apps such as Final Cut Pro X which does not yet take full advantage of a GPU. A big update will be coming in November, in order to fix that.

Additionally if you’re upgrading from the 13” MacBook Pro you can actually have up to four 4K Monitors at 60Hz, two 5K monitors at 60Hz, or one 6K Apple Pro XDR display, potentially two but that’s not confirmed as of yet. 

T2 Crashes

Aside from the keyboard and the performance I had one more thing that I wanted to address, and that was the T2 processor. 

So, to my surprise I haven’t had any T2 crashes on my 2019 for the past 2 weeks. Unfortunately I had two T2 crashes on the same day on the 2019 MacBook Pro a few days ago. Shortly after I created a return for this model as it clearly has the same T2 issues as previous ones. Yes, after almost 3 weeks of using this daily, I am now sending it back.

The article on MacRumors showing the new model names for the 7 unreleased models (Source: MacRumors)

The article on MacRumors showing the new model names for the 7 unreleased models (Source: MacRumors)

But it wasn’t just because of the T2 crashes, on the exact same day, we’ve had a leak of an ECC (Eurasian Economic Commision) filing that showed Apple registering 7 brand new models of MacBook’s. Two of which are very likely to be that brand new redesign of the MacBook Pro, that Ming-Chi-Kuo talked about with a 16” display, a redesigned cooling system, and new keyboard that seems likely to actually come out this year. So I’m really looking forward to that, and until then this baby is going back!

2019 13" MacBook Pro (Maxed Out) Review


So ever since I was young, I was really interested in Apple Laptops, MacBooks. In fact I started ZONEofTECH from a 2011 13” MacBook Pro and it was such an amazing device overall, especially after my SSD and RAM upgrade. I then upgraded to a 2013 15” MacBook Pro and I now haven’t used a 13” MacBook as my daily driver for 6 years, as I had never found them to be sufficient for what I wanted to use them for which was content creation.

So what has changed since then, and who is the MacBook actually for?


DESIGN

A design comparison between the 15” MacBook Pro (Left) and the 13” MacBook Pro (Right)

A design comparison between the 15” MacBook Pro (Left) and the 13” MacBook Pro (Right)

Now, as the 2019 model is still part of Apple’s 3rd generation of MacBook Pros, which launched in 2016, they also have the exact same design as the 2016 models. This means that we have this single block of aluminium, from which the entire MacBook was machined from and it just looks stunning! In my opinion, it is the best looking laptop on the market, especially in space grey. The 15” has those massive palm-rests, speakers and touch bar gap which I don’t like. However, the 13” looks to be what the entire design generation was based on. Yes, the bezels could be made thinner but, aside from that, this is just a stunning piece of metal to look at. 

This is also a highly portable MacBook, since it weighs just 1.37kg and has an incredibly compact form factor. So if you’re traveling around a lot or you commute to work with your laptop and you need power and portability this MacBook Pro would be the best to get. Also, if you’re coming from a MacBook Air, the 13” Pro feels exactly the same in the hand as the 2018 Air. Additionally, because of that small form factor the 13” Pro would fit perfectly on airplane table seats, or on your lap when you’re traveling by train or bus. So it’s really good for that!

 

DISPLAY

When it comes to the display the 13” is great! In my opinion, both the 13” and the 15” have the best display on any laptop on the market, for creating content at least.

Now, when you compare this to other laptop displays on the market spec wise it looks weak. Razer for example have OLED displays now, up to 4K, whilst Apple’s still using a QHD LCD panel. Now although that it is true, Apple’s panel is actually extremely good. It’s a 500 nit LCD panel that’s also IPS, so you get very good viewing angles. You also have 100% sRGB coverage a DCI-P3 color gamut as well. The resolution of panel is 2560x1600 but at 227PPI, and from the regular viewing distance you cannot see any pixels on this thing at all. This means that text is razor sharp and everything just looks like printing paper.

The reflectivity seems to be identical to the one on the iPad Pro’s which is just 1.8%, so reflections won’t be an issue here. 

Due to the screens 16:10 aspect ratio we get more vertical screen real-estate than traditional laptops

Due to the screens 16:10 aspect ratio we get more vertical screen real-estate than traditional laptops

Now, something that not a lot of reviewers talk about is that this is also a 16:10 aspect ratio display, rather than the traditional 16:9. So compared to more traditional laptops, you do get more vertical screen real-estate, which with a 13.3 inch panel which I really do like, especially for reading.

Speaking of reading, just like the 2018 MacBook Pro, the 2019 models also have a True Tone display. This means your display automatically adjusts the colour temperature so that it matches the ambient light conditions. So if you’re in a room with a lot of yellow light, the display would match that color, same as a piece of paper does. I do like True Tone a lot for reading and writing scripts such as this but when I’m doing any photo or video-work I need to disable it, otherwise my colors would be all messed up. Which brings me to my first issue with this MacBook and that’s that there is no way to quickly disable True Tone. Realistically it should automatically disable in photo and video apps but it doesn’t, so I have to manually go into the settings and disable it from there. Its not a major issue but it can become laborious over time.

Now, having one display is great but what if you want to use some external monitors?

Well I’m happy to say that the 13” MacBook Pro supports two 4K displays at 60Hz at the same time or one 5K display at 60Hz. There are ways to connect more monitors than just that, which I’ll cover in the Performance section but I would say that two 4K displays is what most people would use on a 13” MacBook Pro anyways. In regard to the internal display, the best scaling for retina resolution would be 1280x800 since that way, every two horizontal and every two vertical pixels make one larger “Retina” pixel. This is how retina scaling works. But 1280x800 makes everything just too big on this display, so I was using it in 1680x1050 which is the highest scaled resolution that you can natively use and I find that one to be the best overall. 

The 13” MacBook Pro can be connected to external monitors via Thunderbolt 3

The 13” MacBook Pro can be connected to external monitors via Thunderbolt 3

Well I’m happy to say that the 13” MacBook Pro supports two 4K displays at 60Hz at the same time or one 5K display at 60Hz. There are ways to connect more monitors than just that, which I’ll cover in the Performance section but I would say that two 4K displays is what most people would use on a 13” MacBook Pro anyways. In regard to the internal display, the best scaling for retina resolution would be 1280x800 since that way, every two horizontal and every two vertical pixels make one larger “Retina” pixel. This is how retina scaling works. But 1280x800 makes everything just too big on this display, so I was using it in 1680x1050 which is the highest scaled resolution that you can natively use and I find that one to be the best overall. 

Overall I do think that the display on this is brilliant. For photo editing, and video editing this is pretty much the best panel on the market for a laptop. However, I do wish that there was a way to turn off True Tone like I mentioned, and additionally I wish that the bezels were smaller, so that we could have say a 14” display in the same form factor.

KEYBOARD

So what about the keyboard? Well, it’s still using Apple’s extremely controversial Butterfly Keyboard switch with a few small improvements. Now, I do not like the Butterfly Keyboard switch, the one on the 2016 15” MacBook Pro was the worst keyboard that I have ever used. I ended up with two broken keyboards, where the keys would stop typing or they typed twice. I do not know who’s idea it was to bring the keyboard over to the Pro’s since no one was asking for them.

Apple did make a small change to the design in 2017 but it wasn’t until 2018 that we got our first big change when Apple added a silicone membrane that would keep debris out of the key switch and prevent them from breaking. This made the keyboard quieter and also added a bit more travel to it.

The new material design of the keys in should resolve the reliability issues (Source: iFixit)

The new material design of the keys in should resolve the reliability issues (Source: iFixit)

The keys on this 2019 model seem to still have that membrane but it appears to be made out of sturdier nylon which means that in theory the reliability issues should be resolved.

But in terms of how the keyboard feels, I do find it a bit sturdier than the 2018 one, which I do like but that as big of an improvement from the previous gen, as the 2018 one was, from the 2017 MacBooks.

The touch bar is still there which I do like having, I prefer having controls rather than not having them at all but realistically I almost never use it. Most of the things are just keyboard shortcuts that I can do from my keyboard much quicker but there are some useful shortcuts in Photoshop which I do like. Things such as brush size, blending modes and more, so some apps are taking good use of the touch bar, but I can count those on one finger. 

 

SPEAKERS

The speakers are also very good on this. They are pretty much the same as on the 2018 models, so they are much better when compared to the 2017 MacBook Pros. Now, Apple did say that they will be adding Dolby Atmos support to the 2018 MacBook Pros and later so that will be coming in macOS Catalina.

 

PERFORMANCE

As I mentioned earlier, the reason I switched from the 13” MacBooks was because they were not sufficient for my needs, but overall I was very impressed by the performance of the 2019 model.

It still uses Intel’s 8th gen processors compared to the 9th gen that the 15” model got. This is because Intel has yet to release an Iris Plus Graphics 9th gen CPU, which Apple needs in this machine. The model I have in the video is the maxed out 13” model with; the i7 8569U with 4 cores, base clock speed of 2.8GHz, turbo boost to up to 4.7GHz, Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655, 1.5GB of DDR4 memory, as well as 16GB of 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory. 

Small tip, the more RAM you have on this device, the more memory the integrated GPU will have and the faster it will run. So if you get this upgrade to 16GB of RAM because it will make a huge difference. 

CPU performance was really good! In Geekbench 4 we got 5,481 Single-Core (SC) and 18,904 Multi-Core (MC). The SC is actually higher than the 6-core 2018 MacBook Pro 15” so that’s very impressive and the MC performance is not that far off.  In Cinebench we got 705 points in R15 and 1763 points in R20, which is pretty much identical to the 2017 15” MBP. 

GPU wise we got 52,165 Geekbench 4 openCL which is even higher than on the 2019 15” MBP because the 13” has a better integrated GPU than the 15”, but then the 15” does have the dedicated GPU as well, which just crushes the iGPU inside the 13”. Taking a look at Cinebench we got a surprising score of 56.56FPS, just 20 FPS lower than the 2017 15” MBP with the Radeon Pro 560 dedicated GPU, which got 77.5 FPS.

So the 2019 maxed out 13” MacBook Pro is very comparable to the 2017 maxed out 15”!

The SSD performance is really good on the 13” 2019 as well. I was getting 2750 MB/s Write & 2650 MB/s Read, not as fast as the 15” 2019 with the same drive size, but very close and enough to handle all 4K workflows.

A snippet from the Final Cut Pro Project we ran on the 13” MacBook Pro with multiple 4K clips

A snippet from the Final Cut Pro Project we ran on the 13” MacBook Pro with multiple 4K clips

Speaking of, the 13” surprisingly handled 4K workflows really well. We used our Final Cut Pro project on the OnePlus 7 Pro Blind camera test which was one of our most demanding projects yet. It had lots of overlays, lots of 4K side by side clips and surprisingly the MacBook Pro 13” could play it back pretty smoothly. It’s not real time but it’s close to. But if we switched to Performance mode from Quality, the playback became even smoother. It wasn’t as fluid as a 15” MacBook Pro, but pretty good considering that this doesn’t even have a dedicated GPU at all. 

But its a different story when it comes to exporting this 15min 4K project. The 13” MacBook Pro 50 minutes to export the project, compared to just 17 minutes and 52 seconds on the 2019 15” MacBook Pro or 26 minutes on a 2017 15” MacBook Pro. So while you can edit 4K video with this, more complex projects are going to take about 3 times more to export than on a 15” model. So if you are doing that, or plan on doing that, on a daily basis this isn’t the MacBook for you. 

Same issue applies to 3D Rendering, this is CPU based by the way. The example render we used took 16 minutes 50 seconds to render on the 13” compare to 8 minutes and 57 seconds on the 15”.

Long story short, if you occasionally do intensive work than the 13” can handle all that, it’s just that it’s going to take it longer than it would take other laptops that have more powerful CPU’s and dedicated GPU’s.

But how does it handle games you may ask. Well in Fornite I has everything set to Epic in 1680x1050 resolution, and I was getting about 15FPS in the bus drop scene. Now you can drop these settings to Medium and drop the resolution and get over 30FPS. but realistically I wouldn’t say that this was a gaming laptop on its own. 

However, something very unique about the 13” model that no other laptops have aside from the 15” model, is four thunderbolt 3 ports. I know a lot of people complained about the lack of legacy ports but thunderbolt is the future and I’m really happy to see Apple fully implementing this across all of their computers.

With thunderbolt, you can not only connecting things such as a 5K monitor to this or 10Gb ethernet adaptor and a ton of very fast external SSD’s . Not only these but you can also connect external graphic cards via an eGPU enclosure and get an NVidia RTX 2080Ti or a Radeon Vega 64 GPU working on this!

This changes the performance entirely! From the 15FPS we were getting in Fortnite, we now pretty much get a solid 60, with an even higher resolution than before. 

Exporting times in FCP X have been reduced to just 32 minutes from 50 minute, which although still not as fast as a 15” MBP with a dedicated GPU, its still a noticeable improvement.

It does depend on the app and how well it takes full advantage of the eGPU. Final Cut Pro does not, at least not at the moment, a big update will be coming this fall. Until then DaVinci Resolve is the best option for eGPU use in video editing, and in that case you’ll see some massive performance gains, and the same applies to games that do take full advantage of the eGPU. Also by using an eGPU you can connect way more monitors to the 13”, since you’ll be connecting those directly to the GPU itself. 

So if you want to go the eGPU route, it’s probably the best laptop for it but it will be more expensive than just buying a 15” MBP which will give you better rendering times out the box. 

BATTERY

So what about the battery life on this?

Well Apple’s claiming up to 10 hours of web-browsing. I didn’t really get 10 hours, I got around 8, which is far better than 5 or so that I got with my 15”.

The reason for this is because since the 13” does not have a dedicated GPU it will last you longer. The 15” does switch to the dGPU quite a lot which kills a lot of your battery.

Now the MacBook Air will last you longer, up to 12 hours, but I would say that the 13” MacBook Pro is more than enough for most people, when it comes to the battery life.

 

PRICE

Now, when it comes to the price, there are a few things that I want to point out.

Only the touch bar model has an update so get that one if you’re considering this (Source: Apple)

Only the touch bar model has an update so get that one if you’re considering this (Source: Apple)

The first is only the touch bar model has been updated in 2019, the non-touch bar MacBook Pro is still the same 2017 MacBook Pro with no updates, and the same old broken keyboard so please avoid buying that! Unless you’re looking for a better MacBook Air for the same price and you don’t care about the keyboard. 

Additionally the configuration from the video costs $2900 which is $500 more than the baseline 15” model that gives you a much more powerful 6 core i7 CPU, a faster 2400MHz ram, as well as a dedicated Radeon Pro 555X GPU.

So the 13” config that I would go for would be the $2000 one which has everything on the base except for the RAM, which I’ve bumped to 16GB. 

If you do any photo or video work, you can of course bump the storage but keep in mind that if you do that, the MBP 15” would be very close in price, just with less storage.

 

CONCLUSION

Ok, so in the end, who is this 13” MacBook Pro for?

Well I would say that this is perfect for students. Students who study computer science who need a bit more power than the average student. Since you get a very powerful QC MacBook Pro, more powerful than what the 15’ QC MacBook Pros used to be this is the MacBook for you. It’s just that the GPU isn’t that great.

However, even if you don’t need a dedicated GPU, this could be perfect for you. Same goes for people that need a very portable laptop that can handle everything they throw at it. The 13” MacBook Pro is actually the most powerful 13” laptop that you can buy CPU wise, and with that thunderbolt expandability you can indeed connect a very powerful Desktop Graphics card which will turn it into a beast of a machine, it’s just that you’ll have to pay for that, even more than a 15” MacBook Pro which will give you better performance per cost.


MacBook Pro Vega 20 Review


Back in July 2018 Apple silently released the new 2018 MacBook Pros, without any event or anything, it randomly appeared on their website and it turned out to be a significant upgrade over the 2017 and 2016 models. It came with an i9 6-core processor, from the i7 quad core one that we got before, it came with 32GB of RAM, the Radeon 560X GPU over the 560, a True Tone Display, an improved keyboard as well as up to 4TB of 3.2GB/s flash storage. This thing was a huge upgrade over the 2017 model.

I’ve been using it every day for 12 hours, sometimes more, for about 6 months now, so what are my overall thoughts?


BUILD

The new wrap that Apple has installed around the keys on the keyboard. Source: iFixit

The new wrap that Apple has installed around the keys on the keyboard. Source: iFixit

Like I said in the introduction, the keyboard itself has had quite a big improvement. I type a lot on my MacBook Pro and with the 2017 model I was forced to use an external keyboard but on this one I can comfortably type fast enough without making a considerable amount of spelling errors.

Apple also added a tiny wrap around the keys to protect them from any dust and debris that could get inside the switches. This makes the keys a bit quieter than before but definitely more tactile as there’s a more key travel thanks to the wraps. 

The speakers are also way better than they were before. I mean, they’re were already great on the 15” 2017 model, but now they have even more bass and they’re also louder than before. 

The new True Tone Display means that the MacBook Pro will automatically adjust the color temperature in order to match the lighting in your room and I honestly love it! It makes reading and writing so much easier on the eyes, and what’s pretty cool about it is that it also works on the TouchBar as well as with LG’s UltraFine 5K and 4K Monitors, as long as you keep the MacBook Pro’s lid open. 

The only issue that I have with True Tone (and it’s quite a big one really) is that if you do any Video or Photo Editing, it will not automatically turn itself off. Even in 1st party apps such as iMovie or Final Cut Pro X it wouldn’t automatically turn off. This means that you would need to constantly remind yourself to dig through the settings app and disable it every single time you need to edit and image or video, otherwise your whole color temperature would be messed up.

So here’s hoping Apple at least add a shortcut on the touch bar to do this!

 

PERFORMANCE

Ok, let’s talk about the performance. 

So aside from the 2 extra cores and 4 extra threads that we get with the 2018 models, we also get 32GB of 2400MHz DDR4 memory, which is even faster than the LPDDR3 2133MHz memory that we had in the 2017 models. The 560X is about 10-15% faster than the 560 was in 2017. So the main improvement here is in terms of the CPU and the RAM.

Now just 3 months after Apple released the 2018 MacBook Pros, they decided to release one more update. That was an additional GPU option which was the Vega 16 and Vega 20 Options, for the 15” MacBook Pros. Honestly, this broke my heart. Not just mine but everyone else’s who bought a maxed out 2018 model just month or so before. That’s because the Vega 20 models especially, are finally a massive improvement over even the 560X that we got a few weeks before. Apple could’ve at least said that they were going to release a major GPU option a few month later, or release the 2018 models in November, but nope they kept silent and screwed over everyone who bought a 2018 15” MacBook Pro.

But I digress. Anyway here’s how the 2017 compares to the 2018 560X and 2018 Vega 20: 

Geekbench 4 Single Core:

  • 2017 i7 16GB 560 - 4742

  • 2018 i9 32GB 560X - 5608

  • 2018 i9 32GB Vega 20 - 5698

Geekbench 4 Multi Core:

  • 2017 i7 16GB 560 - 15829

  • 2018 i9 32GB 560X - 23795

  • 2018 i9 32GB Vega 20 - 25086

Cinebench CPU:

  • 2017 i7 16GB 560 - 689 

  • 2018 i9 32GB 560X - 1013

  • 2018 i9 32GB Vega 20 - 1073

Disk Read Test:

  • 2017 i7 16GB 560 - 2504R MB/s 

  • 2018 i9 32GB 560X - 3106R MB/s  

  • 2018 i9 32GB Vega 20 - 3081R MB/s 

Disk Write Test:

  • 2017 i7 16GB 560 - 1587W MB/s 

  • 2018 i9 32GB 560X - 3004W MB/s 

  • 2018 i9 32GB Vega 20 2987W MB/s 

Keyshot 8:

  • 2017 i7 16GB 560 - 8:39 

  • 2018 i9 32GB 560X -  5:50

  • 2018 i9 32GB Vega 20 -5:36

The difference in internals between the VEGA and the 560X

The difference in internals between the VEGA and the 560X

Looking at this, even though both the models have the exact same CPU, it seems like the Vega 20 MBP does perform better even in CPU demanding tasks. This is because Apple has slightly redesigned the internals. I took the back covers off and you can see how much bigger the GPU is on the Vega 20 model. This is because the GPU memory is now inside the GPU itself. This is why AMD memory is called HBM2, it’s their second generation of high bandwidth memory and the only way it can be faster than the standard GDDR5 is by being placed inside the GPU rather than outside, like we have on the 560X model.  

The Vega 20 can also achieve more performance per watt than the 560X, meaning that the wattage can be lowered and therefore the GPU temperatures are lowered as well which means that in return the CPU has more room to breathe since Apple’s using a unified cooling system for both the CPU and the GPU. 

But how do they compare in GPU tests?

Cinebench GPU:

  • 2017 i7 16GB 560 -  86fps

  • 2018 i9 32GB 560X - 106fps

  • 2018 i9 32GB Vega 20 - 111fps


Heaven Benchmark:

  • 2017 i7 16GB 560 -19fps

  • 2018 i9 32GB 560X - 21fps

  • 2018 i9 32GB Vega 20 -  38fps


FCP X:

  • 2017 i7 16GB 560 - 13min 51s 

  • 2018 i9 32GB 560X - 11min 48s

  • 2018 i9 32GB Vega 20 - 10min 51s


Starcraft 2

  • 2017 i7 16GB 560 -35fps

  • 2018 i9 32GB 560X - 39fps

  • 2018 i9 32GB Vega 20 - 78fps


Fortnite

  • 2017 i7 16GB 560 - 16fps

  • 2018 i9 32GB 560X - 19fps

  • 2018 i9 32GB Vega 20 - 28fps

So CPU wise you do get a small improvement but GPU wise you get almost a two times increase in performance. So if you’re into gaming this is going to be huge improvement compared to even the 560X model. If you’re into video editing, the improvement is just about 10% on the Vega 20 compared to the 560X. 

Finally the last thing that I want to cover in this section is the T2 processor. So this is something that Apple initially added to the 2017 iMac Pro and then to all new Macs released afterwards.

Graph showing the difference in the Write speeds between the 2018 VEGA, the 2018 560X and the 2017 560

Graph showing the difference in the Write speeds between the 2018 VEGA, the 2018 560X and the 2017 560

The 2018 MacBook Pros, the 2018 MacBook Air, and the new Mac Mini all come with the T2 chip. What it is essentially is an ARM based processor, very similar to Apple’s A10 chip that’s inside the iPhone 7 and it handles all the background system processes such as; the boot sequence, the microphones, the camera processing, even the disk encryption. This is the reason why we got double the write speeds on the 2018 MacBook Pro vs the 2017 model when using FireVault.

So the T2 lifts a lot of the lighter workloads from the main Intel processor, allowing it to perform faster, and what Apple did is remarkable! They have devices that run on both the x86-64 platform as well as the ARM platform. This is something that’s even more difficult to do than a MacBook running just on an ARM processor such as Apple’s A12 or so processors.

But the downside to this is that every Mac with the T2 processor will crash a lot! I’ve had my 2018 MacBook Pro for 6 months at the time of writing this, and this thing has crashed close to 40 times already. And yes, I did lose some work in the process. It’s a nightmare to be honest. I’ve had T2 crashes with the Vega 20 MBP as well, the Mac Mini, 2 Mac Minis actually and the MacBook Air.

So unfortunately, even though Apple’s T2 processor is supposed to make your MacBook more secure, which it does, it also has a negative impact on the usability, just because of how often it crashes your system.

CONCLUSION

So overall, I do love my 2018 15” i9 560X MacBook Pro. It’s by far the best mac that I’ve used and even though it’s far from perfect, what with all the T2 crashes, but it’s still an amazing device overall. I’m using Thunderbolt 3 to its full potential, connecting directly to my server, the Mac Mini, my 5K monitor as well as sometimes my Vega 64 eGPU as well. If you’re into gaming than yes the Vega it is worth it, otherwise the 560X is still a great GPU for content creation.