Notebookcheck

Apple MacBook Pro 15 (Late 2016 2.9 GHz, 460) Notebook Review

Andreas Osthoff, Till Schönborn, 02/07/2017

Top specification. We have already reviewed the entry-level of the new Apple MacBook Pro 15. Our test sample today is the high-end SKU, and the graphics card AMD Radeon Pro 460 is particularly interesting.

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The current MacBook Pro 15 is the first major redesign in the last few years. As well as a slimmer and lighter chassis, the big highlight is obviously the Touch Bar. It is a small display above the keyboard and replaces the function keys. Our review showed that the functionality mainly depends on the software support, but it can actually make the handling rather more complicated in practice.

One of the biggest issues is probably the radical change of the port situation. Although 4x Thunderbolt 3 (USB Type-C) make the device quite future-proof, you will need adapters in the foreseeable future. Despite some problems, however, the current MacBook Pro is still a good product in many respects. This includes the great case, the excellent display, and the low emissions.

Our test sample today is the high-end model, where we checked (almost) all upgrade boxes in Apple's online store: Core i7-6920HQ (Skylake), 16 GB LPDDR3 RAM, 1 TB PCIe-SSD, and AMD Radeon Pro 460. This comes at a price though. While the entry-level model is available for $2399, Apple charges $3499 for the test model.

The two models of the current MacBook Pro 15 obviously use the same chassis constructions, so we will not cover sections such as the CaseConnectivityInput Devices, or Speakers in this article. All this information is available in our in-depth review of the entry-level model with the Core i7-6700HQ and the Radeon Pro 450. Instead, we focus on the (additional) performance of the components and the effects on the emissions as well as the battery runtimes.

Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460) (MacBook Pro 15 2016 Series)
Processor
Graphics adapter
AMD Radeon Pro 460 - 4096 MB, Core: 907 MHz, Memory: 1270 MHz
Memory
16384 MB 
, 2133 MHz LPDDR3 RAM soldered
Display
15.4 inch 16:10, 2880x1800 pixel 220 PPI, Apple APPA030, IPS, glossy: yes
Storage
Apple SSD SM1024L, 1024 GB 
Connections
4 USB 3.1 Gen2, 4 Thunderbolt, Audio Connections: Headset, Brightness Sensor
Networking
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.2
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 16 x 349 x 241 ( = 0.63 x 13.74 x 9.49 in)
Battery
76 Wh Lithium-Polymer
Operating System
Apple macOS 10.12 Sierra
Camera
Webcam: 720p FaceTime HD Camera
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo Speakers, Keyboard Light: yes, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
1.83 kg ( = 64.55 oz / 4.03 pounds), Power Supply: 369 g ( = 13.02 oz / 0.81 pounds)
Price
4039 Euro

 

As with the previously reviewed entry-level configuration of the Apple MacBook Pro 15, our current test model is equipped with the APPA030 panel. It is still an IPS screen with a resolution of 2880x1800 pixels, which results in a pixel density of 220 PPI. There are no scaling issues, which is typical for macOS, so you can always enjoy a sharp picture.

This time, we measured the screen running Windows via Bootcamp to get additional measurements. The determined results are slightly worse compared to the first test model (also APPA030), but they are still pretty good in general. The average luminance is 400 nits and can also be used on battery power. So far so good, but Apple seems to be using different panels. Our test model with the less powerful Core i7-6820HQ and the AMD Radeon Pro 455 is equipped with the APPA031 panel, which is noticeably brighter at up to 560 nits.

388
cd/m²
402
cd/m²
388
cd/m²
413
cd/m²
420
cd/m²
421
cd/m²
381
cd/m²
391
cd/m²
403
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 421 cd/m² Average: 400.8 cd/m² Minimum: 5 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 90 %
Center on Battery: 420 cd/m²
Contrast: 1400:1 (Black: 0.3 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 3.33 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 2.73 | - Ø
99.97% sRGB (Argyll) 78.09% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.48
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
Apple APPA030, , 2880x1800, 15.4
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
2880x1800, 15.4
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.7 GHz, 455)
APPA031, , 2880x1800, 15.4
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
APPA02E, , 2880x1800, 15.4
Dell XPS 15-9550 i7
SHARP LQ156D1JX01 Dell PN: 7PHPT, , 3840x2160, 15.6
Response Times
0%
15%
6%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
46
46
-0%
46.4
-1%
58
-26%
Response Time Black / White *
56
56
-0%
39.2
30%
35
37%
PWM Frequency
Screen
19%
17%
-5%
-25%
Brightness
401
465
16%
532
33%
315
-21%
344
-14%
Brightness Distribution
90
92
2%
83
-8%
82
-9%
90
0%
Black Level *
0.3
0.33
-10%
0.297
1%
0.34
-13%
0.38
-27%
Contrast
1400
1464
5%
1912
37%
1003
-28%
950
-32%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
3.33
1.4
58%
1.4
58%
2.07
38%
5.34
-60%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
2.73
1.5
45%
2.3
16%
1.9
30%
4.84
-77%
Gamma
2.48 97%
2.34 103%
2.29 105%
2.62 92%
2.21 109%
CCT
6457 101%
6650 98%
7165 91%
6514 100%
7395 88%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
78.09
77.4
-1%
58
-26%
89
14%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
99.97
99.9
0%
91
-9%
100
0%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
10% / 15%
16% / 17%
-5% / -5%
-10% / -19%

* ... smaller is better

CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN Grayscale (calibrated)
CalMAN Grayscale (calibrated)
CalMAN ColorChecker (calibrated)
CalMAN ColorChecker (calibrated)
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps (calibrated)
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps (calibrated)

Both models of the MacBook Pro 15 are roughly on par with a contrast ratio of around 1400:1 thanks to the slightly lower black value. We can also measure slightly higher DeltaE-2000 deviations on Windows. The grayscale still hits the important mark of 3, while the colors just miss this. The result can be improved by a calibration, although the saturation is still too high – the panel could perform much better in theory. sRGB is fully covered; AdobeRGB by 78%.

sRGB coverage: 99.7%
sRGB coverage: 99.7%
AdobeRGB coverage: 78%
AdobeRGB coverage: 78%

Performance

We have already mentioned that the test model is the fastest model of the current Apple MacBook Pro 15 lineup. However, the upgrades are not cheap: The Core i7-6920HQ (up to 3.8 GHz) adds $300 and the AMD Radeon Pro 460 (4 GB GDDR5) adds $200. The most expensive upgrade is the jump from the 256 GB SSD to the 1 TB model, where Apple charges a hefty sum of $600. All models are currently available with 16 GB LPDDR3 RAM.

The entry-level model of the MacBook Pro 15 with the Core i7-6700HQ and the Radeon Pro 450 is no slouch to begin with, so there is the question of whether the upgrades are really worth it. By the way, the latest Kaby Lake chips are not available yet. Apple still ships the MacBook Pro 15 with Skylake processors and LPDDR3 RAM until the upcoming refresh (probably next autumn).

Processor

The Intel Core i7-6920HQ is one of the fastest mobile quad-core processors (TDP: 45 watts) from the Skylake generation and runs with a base frequency of 2.9 GHz and a Turbo of up to 3.8 GHz (2 cores: up to 3.6 GHz, 4 cores: up to 3.4 GHz). The Turbo levels are therefore identical to the new Kaby Lake Core i7-7700HQ, while the direct successor, i7-7920HQ is up to 300 MHz faster. As with other products from the past, Apple basically removes the usual TDP limit and allows a continuous power consumption of 100 watts. The temperature is therefore the only limiting factor.

Cinebench R15 Single (Windows): 3.6 GHz
Cinebench R15 Single (Windows): 3.6 GHz
Cinebench R15 Multi (Windows): 3.4 GHz
Cinebench R15 Multi (Windows): 3.4 GHz
The processor is fast, but warms up to 97 °C.
The processor is fast, but warms up to 97 °C.

We can see a processor temperature of up to 97 °C (~207 °F) in the benchmarks, but the maximum clock of 3.4 GHz can be maintained. Even the extremely demanding tool Prime95 is executed with a steady clock of 3.3 GHz – a very good result.

But how does the more expensive MacBook Pro perform within our comparison group? The advantage over the base processor Core i7-6700HQ is 10 to 15% and only 5 to 8% over the i7-6820HQ. It is questionable whether this justifies an additional charge of $300. At least, normal users will not notice a difference in practice.

Power users that require every bit of performance have another problem right now. The Core i7-6920HQ is certainly a powerful processor, but only slightly faster compared to the new Kaby Lake Core i7-7700HQ. A comparable Core i7-7920HQ should be another 10% faster. However, the Kaby Lake chips will most probably not be available until the refresh next autumn.

The processor performance is not reduced on battery power. More benchmarks with the Core i7-6920HQ are listed in our Tech section.

Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
MSI GT73VR 7RF-296
Intel Core i7-7820HK
172 Points ∼91% +6%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
Intel Core i7-6920HQ (Windows)
163 Points ∼86%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
Intel Core i7-6920HQ (OS-X)
156 Points ∼82% -4%
Schenker Technologies XMG P507 PRO
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
161 Points ∼85% -1%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.7 GHz, 455)
Intel Core i7-6820HQ (Win 10)
154 Points ∼81% -6%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
Intel Core i7-4870HQ (Windows 8.1)
144 Points ∼76% -12%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
Intel Core i7-4870HQ (OS X)
143 Points ∼75% -12%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
141 Points ∼74% -13%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2016 (2.9 GHz)
Intel Core i5-6267U (macOS)
131 Points ∼69% -20%
CPU Multi 64Bit
MSI GT73VR 7RF-296
Intel Core i7-7820HK
864 Points ∼52% +17%
Schenker Technologies XMG P507 PRO
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
742 Points ∼45% 0%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
Intel Core i7-6920HQ (OS-X)
740 Points ∼45%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
Intel Core i7-6920HQ (Windows)
729 Points ∼44% -1%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.7 GHz, 455)
Intel Core i7-6820HQ (Win 10)
704 Points ∼42% -5%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
Intel Core i7-6700HQ (macOS)
666 Points ∼40% -10%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
Intel Core i7-4870HQ (Windows 8.1)
594 Points ∼36% -20%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
Intel Core i7-4870HQ (OS X)
589 Points ∼36% -20%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2016 (2.9 GHz)
Intel Core i5-6267U (macOS)
339 Points ∼20% -54%
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
13571
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
22527
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
5906
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
103.37 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
7.9 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.85 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
98 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
114.74 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
729 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
163 Points
Help

System Performance

The top model of the current MacBook Pro 15 manages very good results in the synthetic PCMark 8 benchmarks (Windows Bootcamp) and can easily beat its less powerful siblings. This is a very fast notebook thanks to the powerful components, and the responsive handling is very enjoyable in practice.

PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Schenker Technologies XMG P507 PRO
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
5180 Points ∼80% +9%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
6920HQ, Radeon Pro 460
4755 Points ∼73%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
4870HQ, Radeon R9 M370X
4638 Points ∼71% -2%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.7 GHz, 455)
6820HQ, Radeon Pro 455
4522 Points ∼69% -5%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
6700HQ, Radeon Pro 450
4426 Points ∼68% -7%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2016 (2.9 GHz)
6267U, Iris Graphics 550
4218 Points ∼65% -11%
Dell XPS 15-9550 i7
6700HQ, GeForce GTX 960M
3950 Points ∼61% -17%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Schenker Technologies XMG P507 PRO
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
4320 Points ∼76% +6%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
6920HQ, Radeon Pro 460
4066 Points ∼72%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
4870HQ, Radeon R9 M370X
3821 Points ∼67% -6%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2016 (2.9 GHz)
6267U, Iris Graphics 550
3738 Points ∼66% -8%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.7 GHz, 455)
6820HQ, Radeon Pro 455
3728 Points ∼66% -8%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
6700HQ, Radeon Pro 450
3637 Points ∼64% -11%
Dell XPS 15-9550 i7
6700HQ, GeForce GTX 960M
3121 Points ∼55% -23%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
4066 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
4984 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4755 points
Help

Storage Devices

All three configurations of the MacBook Pro 15 use similar flash storage chips, only the capacity of the soldered model differs. Our version with 1 TB is slightly faster than the 256 GB model. We can determine sequential transfer rates of up to 2000 MB/s, so this is one of the fastest SSDs. It is also up to 500 MB/s faster (sequential write) than the entry-level model.

Apple SSD SM1024L
Sequential Read: 1458 MB/s
Sequential Write: 1440 MB/s
512K Read: 913.7 MB/s
512K Write: 1058 MB/s
4K Read: 9.786 MB/s
4K Write: 10.9 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 679.3 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 562.1 MB/s

GPU Performance

AMD Radeon Pro 460
AMD Radeon Pro 460

The dedicated graphics card is the AMD Radeon Pro 460, which is based on the smaller Polaris 11 chip. Unlike the two less powerful models Radeon Pro 450 and Radeon Pro 455, however, the 460 utilizes the full number of shaders (1024). Another difference is the VRAM, because only the 460 is equipped with 4 GB GDDR5 VRAM. MacOS will automatically switch between the dedicated Radeon GPU and the integrated Intel HD Graphics 530 depending on the workload, but Windows (Bootcamp) can only use the dedicated GPU.

We used 3DMark (Windows Bootcamp) for the benchmarks. The Radeon Pro 460 is sitting on the expected level between the Nvidia GTX 960M and the GTX 965M both in 3DMark 11 as well as 3DMark Fire Strike (GPU subscores). However, the two new Pascal GPUs GeForce GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti are another 30 and 70% faster in the current 3DMark. The OpenGL performance is on par with the Nvidia Quadro M1000M and roughly 10% behind the Quadro M2000M according to the Unigine Valley benchmark.

The smaller Radeon Pro 450 is beaten by 40 to 50% in general, so the GPU upgrade is the best way to increase the performance of the current MacBook Pro. As with the processor, the GPU performance is not reduced on battery power.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Acer Aspire VX5-591G-D0DD
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), Intel Core i7-7700HQ
9713 Points ∼100% +44%
Schenker Technologies XMG A726
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M, Intel Core i7-6700HQ
8154 Points ∼84% +21%
Asus Strix GL753VD-GC045T
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), Intel Core i7-7700HQ
7360 Points ∼76% +9%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
AMD Radeon Pro 460, Intel Core i7-6920HQ
6749 Points ∼69%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.7 GHz, 455)
AMD Radeon Pro 455, Intel Core i7-6820HQ
5388 Points ∼55% -20%
Dell XPS 15-9550 i7
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M, Intel Core i7-6700HQ
5279 Points ∼54% -22%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M, Intel Xeon E3-1505M v5
5203 Points ∼54% -23%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
AMD Radeon Pro 450, Intel Core i7-6700HQ
4502 Points ∼46% -33%
MSI PX60 6QD
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M, Intel Core i7-6700HQ
4384 Points ∼45% -35%
HP ZBook Studio G3
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M, Intel Core i7-6820HQ
4225 Points ∼43% -37%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
AMD Radeon R9 M370X, Intel Core i7-4870HQ
3593 Points ∼37% -47%
Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga 20GQ-0004GE
NVIDIA Quadro M500M, Intel Core i7-6500U
2382 Points ∼25% -65%
3DMark - 1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Acer Aspire VX5-591G-D0DD
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), Intel Core i7-7700HQ
7741 Points ∼100% +69%
Schenker Technologies XMG A726
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M, Intel Core i7-6700HQ
6103 Points ∼79% +33%
Asus Strix GL753VD-GC045T
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), Intel Core i7-7700HQ
5784 Points ∼75% +26%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
AMD Radeon Pro 460, Intel Core i7-6920HQ
4584 Points ∼59%
Dell XPS 15-9550 i7
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M, Intel Core i7-6700HQ
4201 Points ∼54% -8%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M, Intel Xeon E3-1505M v5
4071 Points ∼53% -11%
Fujitsu Celsius H760
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M, Intel Xeon E3-1505M v5
4053 Points ∼52% -12%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.7 GHz, 455)
AMD Radeon Pro 455, Intel Core i7-6820HQ
3759 Points ∼49% -18%
MSI PX60 6QD
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M, Intel Core i7-6700HQ
3638 Points ∼47% -21%
HP ZBook Studio G3
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M, Intel Core i7-6820HQ
3478 Points ∼45% -24%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
AMD Radeon Pro 450, Intel Core i7-6700HQ
3252 Points ∼42% -29%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
AMD Radeon R9 M370X, Intel Core i7-4870HQ
2501 Points ∼32% -45%
Dell Precision 3510
AMD FirePro W5130M, Intel Core i7-6700HQ
2099 Points ∼27% -54%
Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga 20GQ-0004GE
NVIDIA Quadro M500M, Intel Core i7-6500U
1585 Points ∼20% -65%
Unigine Valley 1.0 - 1920x1080 Extreme HD Preset OpenGL AA:x8
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M, Intel Xeon E3-1505M v5
18.2 fps ∼100% +10%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
AMD Radeon Pro 460, Intel Core i7-6920HQ (Windows 10)
16.5 fps ∼91%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
AMD Radeon Pro 460, Intel Core i7-6920HQ (OS X)
16.4 fps ∼90% -1%
HP ZBook Studio G3
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M, Intel Core i7-6820HQ
16.4 fps ∼90% -1%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
AMD Radeon Pro 450, Intel Core i7-6700HQ (macOS)
14.2 (min: 8.7) fps ∼78% -14%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.7 GHz, 455)
AMD Radeon Pro 455, Intel Core i7-6820HQ (OS X)
14.1 fps ∼77% -15%
Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga 20GQ-0004GE
NVIDIA Quadro M500M, Intel Core i7-6500U
6.3 fps ∼35% -62%
3DMark 06 Standard
27694 points
3DMark Vantage P Result
19234 points
3DMark 11 Performance
6963 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
16824 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
4104 points
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme Score
1980 points
3DMark Time Spy Score
1374 points
Help

Gaming Performance

The Radeon Pro 460 is neck and neck with the old GeForce GTX 960M in the gaming benchmarks, but the GTX 965M and the new Pascal chips in particular are usually noticeably faster.

We can see an advantage of around 30 to 40% for the Radeon Pro 460 compared to the Radeon Pro 450 from the entry-level model, but there can be outliers depending on the game. Many modern games can be played smoothly at high details in Full HD. Only more demanding games such as “Dishonored 2” or “Rise of the Tomb Raider” will require some reduced settings to ensure smooth frame rates.

Rise of the Tomb Raider - 1920x1080 High Preset AA:FX AF:4x
Acer Aspire VX5-591G-D0DD
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook)
47.4 fps ∼100% +84%
MSI GE72 965M Ti
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
37.7 (min: 35) fps ∼80% +46%
HP Omen 15-ax007ng
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
37.4 fps ∼79% +45%
Asus Strix GL753VD-GC045T
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook)
37.1 fps ∼78% +44%
HP Pavilion 17 FHD V3A33AV
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
30.2 fps ∼64% +17%
Schenker XMG A505
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
26.4 (min: 24) fps ∼56% +2%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
AMD Radeon Pro 460
25.8 fps ∼54%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.7 GHz, 455)
AMD Radeon Pro 455 (DX12)
24.9 (min: 22) fps ∼53% -3%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
AMD Radeon Pro 450 (DX11)
20.9 (min: 19) fps ∼44% -19%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
AMD Radeon Pro 450 (DX12)
20.7 (min: 18) fps ∼44% -20%
The Witcher 3 - 1920x1080 High Graphics & Postprocessing (Nvidia HairWorks Off)
Acer Aspire VX5-591G-D0DD
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook)
37.3 fps ∼100% +29%
MSI GE72 965M Ti
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
36.8 (min: 29) fps ∼99% +27%
Asus Strix GL753VD-GC045T
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook)
29.1 fps ∼78% +1%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
AMD Radeon Pro 460
28.9 fps ∼77%
MSI GE62-6QD16H11
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
27.4 fps ∼73% -5%
Schenker XMG A505
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
27.1 (min: 21) fps ∼73% -6%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.7 GHz, 455)
AMD Radeon Pro 455
24.6 (min: 20) fps ∼66% -15%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
AMD Radeon Pro 450
20.3 (min: 17) fps ∼54% -30%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
AMD Radeon R9 M370X
14.9 fps ∼40% -48%
Battlefield 1 - 1920x1080 High Preset AA:T
Acer Aspire VX5-591G-D0DD
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook)
55.9 fps ∼100% +37%
MSI GE72 965M Ti
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
51.4 (min: 46) fps ∼92% +26%
Asus Strix GL753VD-GC045T
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook)
46.5 fps ∼83% +14%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
AMD Radeon Pro 460
40.9 fps ∼73%
Schenker XMG A505
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
37.4 (min: 33) fps ∼67% -9%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.7 GHz, 455)
AMD Radeon Pro 455
28.9 (min: 26) fps ∼52% -29%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
AMD Radeon Pro 450
24.2 (min: 22) fps ∼43% -41%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2016 (2.9 GHz)
Intel Iris Graphics 550
15.1 (min: 13) fps ∼27% -63%
Anno 2205 - 1920x1080 High Preset AA:4x
Schenker Technologies XMG A726
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
45.6 fps ∼100% +76%
Asus Strix GL753VD-GC045T
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook)
43.7 (min: 40) fps ∼96% +69%
Schenker XMG A505
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
26.1 (min: 23) fps ∼57% +1%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
AMD Radeon Pro 460
25.9 fps ∼57%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
AMD Radeon Pro 450
18.3 (min: 16) fps ∼40% -29%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.7 GHz, 455)
AMD Radeon Pro 455
17.5 (min: 16) fps ∼38% -32%
Call of Duty Infinite Warfare - 1920x1080 High / On AA:FX
MSI GE72 965M Ti
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
57.2 (min: 41) fps ∼100% +24%
Asus Strix GL753VD-GC045T
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook)
51.1 (min: 35) fps ∼89% +10%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
AMD Radeon Pro 460
46.3 fps ∼81%
Schenker XMG A505
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
40.7 (min: 28) fps ∼71% -12%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.7 GHz, 455)
AMD Radeon Pro 455
40.2 (min: 31) fps ∼70% -13%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
AMD Radeon Pro 450
36 (min: 27) fps ∼63% -22%
low med. high ultra
Sims 4 (2014) 164.969.663fps
The Witcher 3 (2015) 83.328.917.4fps
Anno 2205 (2015) 120.925.98.8fps
Rainbow Six Siege (2015) 150.355.245fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) 7625.820.8fps
XCOM 2 (2016) 88.731.921.79.9fps
Far Cry Primal (2016) 74353221fps
The Division (2016) 102.828.922.3fps
Doom (2016) 6530.329.7fps
Overwatch (2016) 201.5106.748.8fps
Deus Ex Mankind Divided (2016) 66.62512.2fps
FIFA 17 (2016) 316.6151.9146.4fps
Battlefield 1 (2016) 132.640.935.4fps
Farming Simulator 17 (2016) 235.592.334.7fps
Titanfall 2 (2016) 115.635.332fps
Call of Duty Infinite Warfare (2016) 85.546.340.6fps
Dishonored 2 (2016) 61.42622.9fps
Resident Evil 7 (2017) 157.847.121.7fps
Discussion

Emissions

System Noise

The behavior of the two system fans is very similar to the entry-level model of the Apple MacBook Pro 15. Once again, the fans are spinning while idling, but the resulting noise of little more than 30 dB(A) is only audible as a subtle murmur in very quiet environments.

When we start to stress the MacBook with our benchmarks, for example, the fans will seamlessly increase their speed up to audible 35 dB(A). Maximum load will result in up to 46 dB(A), which is once again, on par with the less powerful model. This might be surprising at first since our test model is equipped with faster components. We will see that the power adapter is the limiting factor very soon. Both laptops consume the same amount of power in this scenario, so the cooling solution has to handle the same amount of heat. Both fans could reach even higher speeds at up to more than 50 dB(A) in theory.

Noise Level

Idle
30.3 / 30.3 / 30.3 dB(A)
Load
35.1 / 46 dB(A)
 
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Audix TM1, Arta (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 29 dB(A)
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
Radeon Pro 460, 6920HQ, Apple SSD SM1024L
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
Radeon Pro 450, 6700HQ
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.7 GHz, 455)
Radeon Pro 455, 6820HQ, Apple SSD SM0512L
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
Radeon R9 M370X, 4870HQ, Apple SSD SM0512G
Dell XPS 15-9550 i7
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
Noise
-1%
-4%
-3%
-10%
Idle Minimum *
30.3
30.6
-1%
30.8
-2%
28.9
5%
31.4
-4%
Idle Average *
30.3
30.6
-1%
30.8
-2%
28.9
5%
32.5
-7%
Idle Maximum *
30.3
30.6
-1%
30.8
-2%
28.9
5%
33.6
-11%
Load Average *
35.1
34.7
1%
38.7
-10%
46
-31%
45.2
-29%
Load Maximum *
46
46.3
-1%
48.8
-6%
46
-0%
46
-0%

* ... smaller is better

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2029.335.92531.437.93129.840.4403436.65036.735.86332.733.98028.330.210034.336.312533.434.316024.828.220026.229.425025.529.731524.132.540023.336.350020.837.563020.636.180019.535.510001936.9125019.538160019.440.2200018.840.4250018.841315019.137.7400021.933.3500021.930.6630023.327.2800020.723.21000020.5221250019.9211600019.720.5SPL3349.1N26.3median 20.7Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)median 34.3Delta2.54.5hearing rangehide median Fan Noise

Temperature

Stress test
Stress test

We can determine only small differences for the chassis temperatures between the different models of the MacBook Pro 15. Only the central area (CPU/GPU) warms up while idling and with light workloads, but the average values for the top and the bottom of the base unit are at around 28 °C (~82 °F). We can only see the maximum values of 42 to 44 °C (~108 to 111 °F) during our stress test (Windows). The thermal pictures clearly show the position of the heat pipes from the processors to the fans. However, the palm rests are always conveniently cool (less than 30 °C/~86 °F).

We have already noticed that the components – especially the processor – can reach very high temperatures of almost 100 °C (~212 °F). However, it can maintain the high clocks because the challenging tool Prime95 is executed with ~3.3 GHz. GPU load by FurMark is no problem for the graphics card either, because the core can maintain 907 MHz at a temperature of 77 °C (~171 °F).

The power adapter is the limiting factor during our stress test with both tools (Prime95 and FurMark run for at least one hour). The processor drops to ~2.3 GHz at 84 °C (~183 °F) and the GPU to ~750 MHz at 79 °C (~174 °F). This is unfortunate since the cooling solution still has some headroom.

Max. Load
 36.5 °C44.2 °C38.4 °C 
 29.6 °C42 °C29.4 °C 
 27.8 °C27.1 °C27.5 °C 
Maximum: 44.2 °C
Average: 33.6 °C
40.3 °C41.6 °C38.1 °C
32.5 °C38.3 °C30.2 °C
27.5 °C29.8 °C28 °C
Maximum: 41.6 °C
Average: 34 °C
Power Supply (max.)  44.6 °C | Room Temperature 19.7 °C | Fluke 62 Max
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
Radeon Pro 460, 6920HQ, Apple SSD SM1024L
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
Radeon Pro 450, 6700HQ
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.7 GHz, 455)
Radeon Pro 455, 6820HQ, Apple SSD SM0512L
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
Radeon R9 M370X, 4870HQ, Apple SSD SM0512G
Dell XPS 15-9550 i7
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
Heat
13%
1%
6%
-5%
Maximum Upper Side *
44.2
43
3%
46
-4%
43.2
2%
55.9
-26%
Maximum Bottom *
41.6
40
4%
39
6%
39
6%
50
-20%
Idle Upper Side *
33.6
26
23%
30
11%
28.1
16%
Idle Bottom *
31.1
25
20%
29.3
6%
27.9
10%

* ... smaller is better

Energy Management

Power Consumption

Our power consumption measurements do not reveal big differences either. We use macOS for the idle values, because the integrated GPU works on macOS only. The two measurements under load on the other hand, are performed on Windows (Bootcamp). The MacBook Pro 15 is very efficient in general, which is also confirmed by the comparison with the Dell XPS 15 and the previous MacBook Pro 15. However, our measurements also show a limitation at 90 watts, even though the value could be higher in theory. It is very unfortunate that Apple still uses a power adapter with a nominal output of 87 watts.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.32 / 0.65 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 3 / 9.9 / 12.5 Watt
Load midlight 70.6 / 90.8 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
6920HQ, Radeon Pro 460, 2880x1800
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
6700HQ, Radeon Pro 450, 2880x1800
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.7 GHz, 455)
6820HQ, Radeon Pro 455, 2880x1800
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
4870HQ, Radeon R9 M370X, 2880x1800
Dell XPS 15-9550 i7
6700HQ, GeForce GTX 960M, 3840x2160
Power Consumption
7%
-3%
-31%
-112%
Idle Minimum *
3
2.9
3%
4
-33%
6
-100%
12.5
-317%
Idle Average *
9.9
9.7
2%
10.9
-10%
12.8
-29%
19.6
-98%
Idle Maximum *
12.5
10.1
19%
10.9
13%
13.3
-6%
22.8
-82%
Load Average *
70.6
65
8%
64.6
8%
82.4
-17%
102
-44%
Load Maximum *
90.8
89.5
1%
86.7
5%
91.8
-1%
107
-18%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Runtime

It seems that there have been some optimizations since we reviewed the new Apple MacBook Pro 15 at the end of last year. The laptop now squeezes 15 minutes more out of the 76-Wh battery in the WLAN test at an adjusted luminance of 150 nits. The video runtime is even 30 minutes longer. Practical runtimes of 9 to 10 hours should easily be sufficient to last a full business day. As with the previous test model, the battery will last a little more than 50 minutes under load.

Battery Runtime
WiFi Surfing v1.3
10h 19min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
9h 07min
Load (maximum brightness)
0h 52min
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
6920HQ, Radeon Pro 460, 76 Wh
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
6700HQ, Radeon Pro 450, 76 Wh
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.7 GHz, 455)
6820HQ, Radeon Pro 455, 76 Wh
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
4870HQ, Radeon R9 M370X, 100 Wh
Dell XPS 15-9550 i7
6700HQ, GeForce GTX 960M, 84 Wh
Battery Runtime
-1%
4%
16%
16%
Load
52
55
6%
54
4%
105
102%
125
140%
WiFi
WiFi v1.3
619
602
-3%
637
3%
432
-30%
309
-50%
H.264
547
516
-6%
413
-24%
318
-42%

Pro

+ excellent chassis
+ very good display
+ huge Trackpad with great precision
+ quiet and good cooling
+ high WLAN transfer rates
+ good speakers

Cons

- neither USB-A nor HDMI-Port
- power adapter limits under extreme workloads
- 2.4 GHz WLAN issue with attached USB-C device
- fans are (slightly) audible while idling
- very expensive

Verdict

In review: Apple MacBook Pro 15 2.9 GHz
In review: Apple MacBook Pro 15 2.9 GHz

This review update was primarily focused on the performance of the faster components as well as their effects on the emissions and the battery runtime. The dedicated graphics card AMD Radeon Pro 460 left the best impression, because it is about 40% faster (on average) than the entry-level Radeon Pro 450. We think this justifies the additional charge of $200.

We are not so impressed with the processor. The Core i7-6920HQ is about 10 to 15% faster than the regular Core i7-6700HQ, but this is also the case for the new entry-level quad-core i7-7700HQ, so you basically pay $300 for an "old" upgrade. The processor architecture is identical, so switching out the Skylake models with the new Kaby Lake CPUs should not be a big problem, but Apple users will probably have to wait until the next refresh.

We can clearly recommend the GPU upgrade, but the performance of the entry-level processor is usually sufficient.

Another unnecessary problem is the limitation by the power adapter. You cannot use the full performance when you really stress both components. This is even more annoying since the cooling solution still has some headroom. The other advantages and drawbacks obviously apply here as well, so once again, we refer you to our comprehensive review of the entry-level model.

Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460) - 01/31/2017 v6
Andreas Osthoff, Till Schönborn

Chassis
93 / 98 → 95%
Keyboard
90%
Pointing Device
100%
Connectivity
51 / 81 → 63%
Weight
65 / 67 → 96%
Battery
92%
Display
90%
Games Performance
81 / 85 → 96%
Application Performance
94 / 92 → 100%
Temperature
90%
Noise
87 / 95 → 92%
Audio
91%
Camera
53 / 85 → 62%
Add Points
-2%
Average
77%
89%
Multimedia - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Apple MacBook Pro 15 (Late 2016 2.9 GHz, 460) Notebook Review
Andreas Osthoff, Till Schönborn, 2017-02- 7 (Update: 2017-02- 8)