Upgrades make Retina MacBook Pro a better bargain

By James Galbraith, Macworld |  Hardware, Apple, laptops

To see how these new updates affect performance, we ran our Speedmark 8 overall system performance benchmark suite, which helps us compare the new system's results to those of previous systems and other Apple portables. The new 13-inch 2.6GHz Retina MacBook Pro earned a Speedmark 8 score of 190, about 3% faster than the 13-inch base model with its 2.5GHz Core i5 processor. With both systems sharing so many specifications (graphics, flash storage, RAM), its not surprising that most tests results were very close, and some were even identical.

The high-end 13-inch 2.6GHz Core i5 Retina MacBook Pro's Speedmark 8 score was 24% higher than that of the high-end 13-inch 2.9GHz Core i7 standard MacBook Pro, due almost entirely to the Retina MacBook Pro's faster flash storage. The 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro was faster in seven tests, including a file duplication test that took five times longer to complete on the non-Retina MacBook Pro's standard 5400-rpm hard drive. The standard MacBook Pro, with its discrete graphics and speedier Core i7 processor, was faster in seven tests, including MathematicaMark 8, Portal 2, and Cinebench's OpenGL and CPU tests.

If you're trying to decide between a MacBook Air and a Retina MacBook Pro, you'll be interested to know that the Retina MacBook Pro was 14% faster overall, with processor-intensive tests showing the biggest differences. The Retina MacBook Pro was 40% faster than the MacBook Air in our Handbrake test, 17% faster in the Cinebench CPU test, and 7% faster in the MathematicaMark 8 test. The extra RAM in the MacBook Pro helped it earn a 34% higher productivity score in PCMark running on Windows 7 using VMWare Fusion.

Despite having twice the amount of RAM and slightly faster processor, the new high-end 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro was just 3% faster than the previous high-end 15-inch model that had the same graphics and flash storage. The new high-end model was 5% faster overall than the new base 15-inch Retina model. When comparing the performance of the new low-end 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro and the new high-end 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, you see a very large difference between the two, with the 15-inch model being 47% faster overall. In both Portal 2 and Cinebench's OpenGL tests, the discrete graphics in the 15-inch model displayed more than twice as many frames per second as the 13-inch model's integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000.

Bottom line

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