Lab Tested: 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro benefits from flash storage

By James Galbraith, Macworld |  Storage, Apple, flash storage

Tuesday was a very busy day for Apple and we in the Macworld Lab were ecstatic to see the Mac so well represented. Luckily, we didn't have to wait long to get our hands on a new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display.

We tested the $1699 standard configuration model, which has a 2.5GHz dual-core Core i5 processor, Intel's integrated HD Graphics 4000, 128GB of flash storage, and 8GB of RAM. Apple offers a second $1999 model that is identical except it has 256GB of flash storage. The 13-inch Retina display has a 2560 by 1600 native pixel resolution.

Apple still sells non-Retina 13-inch MacBook Pros that have a 1280 by 800 screen resolution. The $1199 model has the same 2.5GHz dual-core Core i5 processor as the Retina laptop and the same integrated graphics, but it has just 4GB of RAM and a 5400-rpm 500GB hard drive. The $1499 non-Retina model has a 2.9GHz dual-core Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000, and a 5400-rpm 750GB hard drive.

13-inch Retina MacBook Pro: Speedmark 8 Scores

Retina vs. non-Retina

We used our new Speedmark 8 benchmark to gauge the performance of the new 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro. It posted a Speedmark 8 score of 184, while the 13-inch 2.5GHz non-Retina MacBook Pro's score was 121. If you examine the individual application scores for Speedmark 8 (see the end of this article), you'll see that the performance differences were mostly due to the fast flash storage in the new Retina laptop. It took roughly 5 times longer for the 5400-rpm hard drive in the non-Retina laptop to complete our file copying and uncompressing tests. As you might expect, results in CPU-intensive tests were very similar. For example, the Retina laptop scored a 1.07 in MathematicaMark; the non-Retina system scored a 1.06.

The 13-inch non-Retina 2.9GHz MacBook Pro with 8GB of RAM closed the performance gap considerably, scoring a 153 in Speedmark 8. It was faster than the 2.5GHz Retina MacBook Pro in CineBench's CPU and GPU tests, the file compression test, Portal 2, and MathematicaMark. The non-Retina's 5400-rpm hard drive took 4.5 times as long to complete the file copy test and uncompress file tests.

13-inch Retina vs. 15-inch Retina

Originally published on Macworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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