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Apple MacBook Pro 13 2020 has arrived: Ice Lake only improves GPU performance, would AMD's Ryzen be the better choice?

Apple MacBook Pro 13
Apple MacBook Pro 13
The new MacBook Pro 13 has arrived in our office. The new Ice Lake processor is pretty much identical to the predecessor in term of performance, only the integrated GPU is a bit faster. Is the switch to AMD long overdue?

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After Apple replaced the bigger MacBook Pro 15 with the MacBook Pro 16 (with some new features) in the end of last year, many users also hoped for a switch to a MacBook Pro 14 for the smaller model. However, this is not the case and the announcement of the 2020 MacBook Pro 13 was pretty sobering with limited upgrades: Yes, you get a new Ice-Lake processor from Intel, but the only major upgrade seems to the implementation of the new Magic Keyboard.

We now have the entry-level model of the MacBook Pro 14 (4x Thunderbolt 3) for 2129 Euros in our editorial office and we already ran some benchmarks, but the results are rather sobering. The new Ice Lake processor Core i5-1038NG7, which is exclusively available in Apple's subnotebook, should be more efficient than its predecessor, more precisely be faster at the same power consumption. However, this is not the case for our unit and we can see the clock disadvantages of Intel's 10 nm process, because the CPU clock is actually lower at a higher consumption compared to the old model (4x 3.2 GHz @~35W vs. 4x 3.4 GHz @~33W in the 2019 MBP 13). The per-MHz performance is a bit better though, so the final result is pretty much identical, which is also the case for the single-core performance. It is interesting that it takes a couple of runs before the performance levels off after the fans have reached their maximum speed.

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Apple MacBook Pro 13 2020 2GHz i5 10th-Gen Intel Core i5-1038NG7, Intel Core i5-1038NG7: Ø761 (725.23-768.15)
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2019 i5 4TB3 Intel Core i5-8279U, Intel Core i5-8279U; macOS: Ø750 (744.32-757.06)
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2019 i5 4TB3 Intel Core i5-8279U, Intel Core i5-8279U; Win10: Ø741 (717.66-745.63)
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2019 2TB3 Intel Core i5-8257U, Intel Core i5-8257U: Ø634 (611.7-637.97)

We can see a performance improvement of the integrated GPU, at least in the synthetic benchmarks. We will have to wait for more test results in our final review to see how the lack of eDRAM cache of the Iris Plus Graphics 655 affects the performance in real-world applications. After the initial tests, the Iris Plus Graphics G7 is between 30-45 % faster depending on the test and therefore on the expected level for this iGPU when we compare the results with other Windows devices.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 15 i7-1065G7
Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), Intel Core i7-1065G7
4612 Points ∼100% +5%
HP Spectre x360 13-aw0013dx
Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), Intel Core i7-1065G7
4512 Points ∼98% +3%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2020 2GHz i5 10th-Gen
Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), Intel Core i5-1038NG7
4374 Points ∼95%
Dell XPS 13 9300 4K UHD
Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), Intel Core i7-1065G7
4263 Points ∼92% -3%
Average Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU)
  (2924 - 4630, n=19)
4143 Points ∼90% -5%
Acer Swift 3 SF313-52-71Y7
Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), Intel Core i7-1065G7
4138 Points ∼90% -5%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (230 - 11501, n=400)
1469 Points ∼32% -66%
3DMark
2560x1440 Time Spy Graphics
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 15 i7-1065G7
Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), Intel Core i7-1065G7
847 Points ∼100% +3%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2020 2GHz i5 10th-Gen
Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), Intel Core i5-1038NG7
825 Points ∼97%
Dell XPS 13 9300 4K UHD
Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), Intel Core i7-1065G7
754 Points ∼89% -9%
Average Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU)
  (526 - 847, n=16)
731 Points ∼86% -11%
HP Spectre x360 13-aw0013dx
Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), Intel Core i7-1065G7
685 Points ∼81% -17%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (85 - 3098, n=62)
629 Points ∼74% -24%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2019 i5 4TB3
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655, Intel Core i5-8279U
619 Points ∼73% -25%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 15 i7-1065G7
Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), Intel Core i7-1065G7
3062 Points ∼100% +6%
Dell XPS 13 9300 4K UHD
Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), Intel Core i7-1065G7
2891 Points ∼94% 0%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2020 2GHz i5 10th-Gen
Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), Intel Core i5-1038NG7
2883 Points ∼94%
HP Spectre x360 13-aw0013dx
Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), Intel Core i7-1065G7
2874 Points ∼94% 0%
Acer Swift 3 SF313-52-71Y7
Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU), Intel Core i7-1065G7
2743 Points ∼90% -5%
Average Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 (Ice Lake 64 EU)
  (1487 - 3156, n=18)
2649 Points ∼87% -8%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2019 i5 4TB3
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655, Intel Core i5-8279U
2004 Points ∼65% -30%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (222 - 8093, n=279)
1174 Points ∼38% -59%

We have already mentioned that these are just the initial performance impressions and we will obviously run more benchmarks and applications for our final review. So far, however, we have the impression that the 2020 MBP 13 is just an upgrade to implement the new keyboard and get more time for the MacBook Pro 14, which is probably not ready yet. It certainly makes sense to continue using Intel CPUs at this point (familiar platform, no major design changes required, supply situation), but a MacBook Pro 13 with AMD components (Renoir) would have been much more interesting for the user, especially in terms of CPU performance.

The full review of the new MacBook Pro 13 2020 Core i5 will be published next week. Please leave a comment if you have questions or request for the review.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 05 > Apple MacBook Pro 13 2020 has arrived: Ice Lake only improves GPU performance, would AMD's Ryzen be the better choice?
Andreas Osthoff, 2020-05-22 (Update: 2020-05-22)
Andreas Osthoff
Editor of the original article: Andreas Osthoff - Managing Editor Business Notebooks
I grew up with computers and modern consumer electronics. I am interested in the technology since I had my first computer, a Commodore C64, and started building my own PCs after that. My focus here at Notebookcheck is the business segment including mobile workstations, but I also like to test new mobile devices. It is always a great experience to review and compare new products. My free time is filled with a lot of sports, in the summer mainly on my bike.