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Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 in review: Still a very good multimedia laptop in 2020?

Is the expensive Core i9 worth it? The MacBook Pro 15 2019 is also available with the Intel Core i9-9980HK. However, the cooling system is already at its limits with the smaller processors, so the upgrade is hardly worth it. The GPU upgrade to the Radeon Pro Vega 20 from AMD on the other hand makes more sense.
Andreas Osthoff 👁 (translated by Andreas Osthoff),

In addition to the MacBook Pro 15 with the "smaller" Intel Core i9-9880H and the Radeon Pro Vega 16, we also take a look at the fastest SKU with the Core i9-9980HK and the AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20. Are the additional prices really justified, or are you better off with the less expensive version? We focus on the performance of the two main components in this article; further information for all other review sections is available in our previous reviews of the Apple MacBook Pro 15:

Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20 (MacBook Pro 15 2019 Series)
Processor
Intel Core i9-9980HK 8 x 2.4 - 5 GHz, Coffee Lake-H
Graphics adapter
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20 - 4096 MB, HBM2
Memory
32768 MB 
, DDR4-2400, Dual-Channel, soldered
Display
15.4 inch 16:10, 2880 x 1800 pixel 221 PPI, APPA040, IPS, glossy: yes
Mainboard
Intel Cannon Lake Z390 (Cannon Lake-H)
Storage
Apple SSD AP1024, 1024 GB 
, 940 GB free
Soundcard
Apple Audio Device
Connections
4 USB 3.1 Gen2, 4 Thunderbolt, 4 DisplayPort, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm Stereo, 1 Fingerprint Reader, Brightness Sensor
Networking
Broadcom 802.11ac (a/b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4/ac = Wi-Fi 5), Bluetooth 4.2
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 15.5 x 349.3 x 240.7 ( = 0.61 x 13.75 x 9.48 in)
Battery
83 Wh Lithium-Polymer
Operating System
Apple macOS 10.15 Catalina
Camera
Webcam: Facetime HD
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo, Keyboard: Butterfly v3, Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, 91-Watt-PSU USB-C, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
1.83 kg ( = 64.55 oz / 4.03 pounds), Power Supply: 369 g ( = 13.02 oz / 0.81 pounds)
Price
3499 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Rating
Date
Model
Weight
Height
Size
Resolution
Best Price
89 %
01/2020
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
i9-9980HK, Radeon Pro Vega 20
1.8 kg15.5 mm15.4"2880x1800
89 %
01/2020
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 16
i9-9880H, Radeon Pro Vega 16
1.8 kg15.5 mm15.4"2880x1800
90 %
12/2019
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
i9-9880H, Radeon Pro 5500M
2 kg16.2 mm16"3072x1920
87 %
08/2019
Dell XPS 15 7590 9980HK GTX 1650
i9-9980HK, GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile
2 kg17 mm15.6"3840x2160
12/2019
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme G2-20QV000UGE
i5-9300H, GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q
1.7 kg18.4 mm15.6"1920x1080
87 %
12/2019
Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition
i7-9750H, Quadro RTX 5000 Max-Q
2.2 kg17.8 mm15.6"3840x2160

Size Comparison

362 mm / 14.3 inch 246 mm / 9.69 inch 18.4 mm / 0.724 inch 1.7 kg3.77 lbs358 mm / 14.1 inch 246 mm / 9.69 inch 16.2 mm / 0.638 inch 2 kg4.41 lbs357 mm / 14.1 inch 235 mm / 9.25 inch 17 mm / 0.669 inch 2 kg4.41 lbs355 mm / 14 inch 235 mm / 9.25 inch 17.8 mm / 0.701 inch 2.2 kg4.87 lbs349.3 mm / 13.8 inch 240.7 mm / 9.48 inch 15.5 mm / 0.61 inch 1.8 kg4.03 lbs

Performance – High Scores for the MBP 15

Processor – i9-9980HK

The Core i9-9980HK is the fastest mobile processor from Intel. It has 8 cores including Hyper-Threading and can reach up to 5 GHz (for 1 or 2 active cores), but only if certain conditions are met (Thermal Velocity Boost). The HK-CPU also features a free multiplier, which enables overclocking. However, the actual performance depends on the cooling performance, especially in a slim device like the MacBook Pro 15. More technical specs are available in our CPU section.

CPU data after three CB R15 Multi loops
CPU data after three CB R15 Multi loops

Our observations are basically identical to the other versions of the MacBook Pro 15: We can see a power consumption of up to 100 Watts when the load starts, but this obviously results in high chip temperatures very quickly. After that, the consumption levels off at around 57 Watts for a short time and then drops to ~52 Watts. HK CPUs are most likely specifically selected chips that can handle the high clocks, so the processor should be a bit more efficient (slightly higher clock at the same TDP) compared to the recently reviewed MBP 15 with the Core i9-9880H, for example.

However, the advantage is small and the additional price for the HK processor is not really worth it. Most private users should be more than happy with the default 6-core CPU, and the i9-9880H is the most sensible choice if you really want an 8-core chip. We are still far away from the full performance of the 9980HK anyway; our average score (from our own reviews) for this processor is 23% higher. The new MacBook Pro 16 with the "smaller" and less expensive Core i9-9880H is also almost 10% faster.

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Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20 Intel Core i9-9980HK, Intel Core i9-9980HK: Ø1308 (1257.47-1327.02)
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 16 Intel Core i9-9880H, Intel Core i9-9880H: Ø1238 (1170.34-1317.35)
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M Intel Core i9-9880H, Intel Core i9-9880H; macOS 10.15.1: Ø1407 (1386-1435)
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M Intel Core i9-9880H, Intel Core i9-9880H; Win 10: Ø1296 (1268.87-1362.31)
Dell XPS 15 7590 9980HK GTX 1650 Intel Core i9-9980HK, Intel Core i9-9980HK: Ø1314 (1090.6-1600.38)
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Dell XPS 15 7590 9980HK GTX 1650
Intel Core i9-9980HK
201 Points ∼87% +11%
Average Intel Core i9-9980HK
  (181 - 215, n=13)
199 Points ∼87% +10%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H
184 Points ∼80% +2%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H
184 Points ∼80% +2%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 16
Intel Core i9-9880H
181 Points ∼79% 0%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
Intel Core i9-9980HK
181 Points ∼79%
Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition
Intel Core i7-9750H
178 Points ∼77% -2%
Average of class Multimedia
  (36 - 214, n=415)
133 Points ∼58% -27%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Average Intel Core i9-9980HK
  (1327 - 1930, n=14)
1656 Points ∼38% +25%
Dell XPS 15 7590 9980HK GTX 1650
Intel Core i9-9980HK
1600 (1090.6min, 1367.66P1 - 1369.3max) Points ∼37% +21%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H
1435 (1401min - 1435max) Points ∼33% +8%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H
1362 (1268.87min - 1362.31max) Points ∼31% +3%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
Intel Core i9-9980HK
1327 Points ∼30%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 16
Intel Core i9-9880H
1317 Points ∼30% -1%
Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition
Intel Core i7-9750H
985 Points ∼23% -26%
Average of class Multimedia
  (72.4 - 1815, n=435)
536 Points ∼12% -60%
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
181 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
1327 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
134.2 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.5 %
Help
PCMark 10
Digital Content Creation
Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition
Quadro RTX 5000 Max-Q, i7-9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
6601 Points ∼51% +34%
Dell XPS 15 7590 9980HK GTX 1650
GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile, i9-9980HK, Toshiba XG6 KXG60ZNV1T02
6110 Points ∼47% +24%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 16
Radeon Pro Vega 16, i9-9880H, Apple SSD AP0512
5583 Points ∼43% +14%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
Radeon Pro Vega 20, i9-9980HK, Apple SSD AP1024
4911 Points ∼38%
Average Intel Core i9-9980HK, AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20
 
4911 Points ∼38% 0%
Average of class Multimedia
  (1001 - 9234, n=141)
3860 Points ∼30% -21%
Productivity
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 16
Radeon Pro Vega 16, i9-9880H, Apple SSD AP0512
7868 Points ∼76% +42%
Dell XPS 15 7590 9980HK GTX 1650
GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile, i9-9980HK, Toshiba XG6 KXG60ZNV1T02
7494 Points ∼72% +35%
Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition
Quadro RTX 5000 Max-Q, i7-9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
6892 Points ∼66% +25%
Average of class Multimedia
  (1407 - 8339, n=142)
6424 Points ∼62% +16%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
Radeon Pro Vega 20, i9-9980HK, Apple SSD AP1024
5532 Points ∼53%
Average Intel Core i9-9980HK, AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20
 
5532 Points ∼53% 0%
Essentials
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 16
Radeon Pro Vega 16, i9-9880H, Apple SSD AP0512
9770 Points ∼85% +23%
Dell XPS 15 7590 9980HK GTX 1650
GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile, i9-9980HK, Toshiba XG6 KXG60ZNV1T02
9701 Points ∼85% +22%
Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition
Quadro RTX 5000 Max-Q, i7-9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
8970 Points ∼78% +13%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
Radeon Pro Vega 20, i9-9980HK, Apple SSD AP1024
7972 Points ∼70%
Average Intel Core i9-9980HK, AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20
 
7972 Points ∼70% 0%
Average of class Multimedia
  (2891 - 10539, n=142)
7900 Points ∼69% -1%
Score
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Radeon Pro 5500M, i9-9880H, Apple SSD AP1024 7171
5500 Points ∼68% +28%
Dell XPS 15 7590 9980HK GTX 1650
GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile, i9-9980HK, Toshiba XG6 KXG60ZNV1T02
5469 Points ∼67% +27%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 16
Radeon Pro Vega 16, i9-9880H, Apple SSD AP0512
5407 Points ∼67% +26%
Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition
Quadro RTX 5000 Max-Q, i7-9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
5317 Points ∼66% +24%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
Radeon Pro Vega 20, i9-9980HK, Apple SSD AP1024
4305 Points ∼53%
Average Intel Core i9-9980HK, AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20
 
4305 Points ∼53% 0%
Average of class Multimedia
  (1144 - 6514, n=143)
4130 Points ∼51% -4%

GPU Performance – MBP 15 with Radeon Pro Vega 20

GPU-Z Radeon Pro Vega 20
GPU-Z Radeon Pro Vega 20
Time Spy stress test
Time Spy stress test

We are already familiar with the AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20 GPU from our review of the 2018 MacBook Pro 15, back then in combination with Intel's 6-core Core i9 CPU. Just like the Vega 16, the Vega 20 also uses the newer GCN5 architecture compared to the other Radeon Pro GPUs (GCN4 architecture), which improves the efficiency. We have already shown that in the previous review.

The Vega 20 is about 15-20% faster than the smaller Vega 16 in the synthetic 3DMark benchmarks and roughly on par with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650. There is a significant advantage over the default Radeon Pro 560X, because the Vega 20 is ~60% faster. The GPU performance is also stable under sustained workloads (see The Witcher 3 loop and 3DMark Time Spy stress test), so this is definitely a recommendable upgrade. The Radeon Pro 5500M in the new Apple MacBook Pro 16 on the other hand is another 20-30% faster.

If we compare the scores for professional workloads, the performance depends heavily on the individual applications or sub tests, respectively. The Vega 20 is sometimes on par with the Quadro P3200, and sometimes it is only comparable to a Quadro P1000 or even P620. More benchmarks (applications and games) are available in our Tech section.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition
NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 Max-Q, Intel Core i7-9750H
26465 Points ∼100% +112%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
AMD Radeon Pro 5500M, Intel Core i9-9880H
14725 Points ∼56% +18%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20, Intel Core i9-9980HK
12474 Points ∼47%
Dell XPS 15 7590 9980HK GTX 1650
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile, Intel Core i9-9980HK
12388 Points ∼47% -1%
Average AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20
  (12104 - 12474, n=2)
12289 Points ∼46% -1%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 16
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 16, Intel Core i9-9880H
10569 Points ∼40% -15%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X)
AMD Radeon Pro 560X, Intel Core i7-8850H
7590 Points ∼29% -39%
Average of class Multimedia
  (352 - 26292, n=678)
3309 Points ∼13% -73%
3DMark
2560x1440 Time Spy Graphics
Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition
NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 Max-Q, Intel Core i7-9750H
7153 Points ∼100% +172%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
AMD Radeon Pro 5500M, Intel Core i9-9880H
3364 Points ∼47% +28%
Dell XPS 15 7590 9980HK GTX 1650
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile, Intel Core i9-9980HK
3353 Points ∼47% +27%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20, Intel Core i9-9980HK
2633 Points ∼37%
Average AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20
  (2568 - 2633, n=2)
2601 Points ∼36% -1%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 16
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 16, Intel Core i9-9880H
2198 Points ∼31% -17%
Average of class Multimedia
  (142 - 7372, n=98)
1719 Points ∼24% -35%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X)
AMD Radeon Pro 560X, Intel Core i7-8850H
1614 Points ∼23% -39%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition
NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 Max-Q, Intel Core i7-9750H
19821 Points ∼100% +118%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
AMD Radeon Pro 5500M, Intel Core i9-9880H
10399 Points ∼52% +14%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20, Intel Core i9-9980HK
9108 Points ∼46%
Average AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20
  (8979 - 9108, n=2)
9044 Points ∼46% -1%
Dell XPS 15 7590 9980HK GTX 1650
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile, Intel Core i9-9980HK
8532 Points ∼43% -6%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 16
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 16, Intel Core i9-9880H
7745 Points ∼39% -15%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X)
AMD Radeon Pro 560X, Intel Core i7-8850H
5699 Points ∼29% -37%
Average of class Multimedia
  (337 - 19655, n=455)
3193 Points ∼16% -65%
SPECviewperf 13
Solidworks (sw-04)
Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition
NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 Max-Q, Intel Core i7-9750H
120.9 fps ∼100% +44%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
AMD Radeon Pro 5500M, Intel Core i9-9880H
92.3 fps ∼76% +10%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20, Intel Core i9-9980HK
83.91 fps ∼69%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 16
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 16, Intel Core i9-9880H
77.88 fps ∼64% -7%
Average AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20
  (68.3 - 83.9, n=2)
76.1 fps ∼63% -9%
Average of class Multimedia
  (3.69 - 92.3, n=9)
59.8 fps ∼49% -29%
Siemens NX (snx-03)
Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition
NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 Max-Q, Intel Core i7-9750H
280.2 fps ∼100% +698%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
AMD Radeon Pro 5500M, Intel Core i9-9880H
157 fps ∼56% +347%
Average of class Multimedia
  (5.87 - 157, n=9)
36 fps ∼13% +3%
Average AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20
  (35.1 - 36.3, n=2)
35.7 fps ∼13% +2%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20, Intel Core i9-9980HK
35.11 fps ∼13%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 16
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 16, Intel Core i9-9880H
33.7 fps ∼12% -4%
Showcase (showcase-02)
Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition
NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 Max-Q, Intel Core i7-9750H
94.6 fps ∼100% +93%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
AMD Radeon Pro 5500M, Intel Core i9-9880H
62.4 fps ∼66% +27%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20, Intel Core i9-9980HK
49.03 fps ∼52%
Average AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20
  (44.5 - 49, n=2)
46.8 fps ∼49% -5%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 16
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 16, Intel Core i9-9880H
42.49 fps ∼45% -13%
Average of class Multimedia
  (11.3 - 96.2, n=9)
41.3 fps ∼44% -16%
Medical (medical-02)
Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition
NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 Max-Q, Intel Core i7-9750H
79.3 fps ∼100% +366%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
AMD Radeon Pro 5500M, Intel Core i9-9880H
40.07 fps ∼51% +135%
Average of class Multimedia
  (7.96 - 53.1, n=9)
21.2 fps ∼27% +24%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20, Intel Core i9-9980HK
17.03 fps ∼21%
Average AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20
  (15.9 - 17, n=2)
16.5 fps ∼21% -3%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 16
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 16, Intel Core i9-9880H
14.68 fps ∼19% -14%
Maya (maya-05)
Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition
NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 Max-Q, Intel Core i7-9750H
203.6 fps ∼100% +67%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
AMD Radeon Pro 5500M, Intel Core i9-9880H
126 fps ∼62% +3%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20, Intel Core i9-9980HK
122.01 fps ∼60%
Average AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20
  (120 - 122, n=2)
121 fps ∼59% -1%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 16
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 16, Intel Core i9-9880H
106.29 fps ∼52% -13%
Average of class Multimedia
  (27 - 210, n=9)
100 fps ∼49% -18%
Energy (energy-02)
Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition
NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 Max-Q, Intel Core i7-9750H
36.5 fps ∼100% +331%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
AMD Radeon Pro 5500M, Intel Core i9-9880H
17.04 fps ∼47% +101%
Average AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20
  (8.46 - 11.8, n=2)
10.1 fps ∼28% +19%
Average of class Multimedia
  (0.48 - 17.5, n=7)
8.58 fps ∼24% +1%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20, Intel Core i9-9980HK
8.46 fps ∼23%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 16
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 16, Intel Core i9-9880H
4.11 fps ∼11% -51%
Creo (creo-02)
Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition
NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 Max-Q, Intel Core i7-9750H
211.4 fps ∼100% +173%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
AMD Radeon Pro 5500M, Intel Core i9-9880H
93.1 fps ∼44% +20%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20, Intel Core i9-9980HK
77.37 fps ∼37%
Average AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20
  (74.1 - 77.4, n=2)
75.7 fps ∼36% -2%
Average of class Multimedia
  (25.2 - 170, n=9)
70.3 fps ∼33% -9%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 16
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 16, Intel Core i9-9880H
70.16 fps ∼33% -9%
Catia (catia-05)
Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition
NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 Max-Q, Intel Core i7-9750H
207.8 fps ∼100% +84%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
AMD Radeon Pro 5500M, Intel Core i9-9880H
125 fps ∼60% +11%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20, Intel Core i9-9980HK
113.08 fps ∼54%
Average AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20
  (111 - 113, n=2)
112 fps ∼54% -1%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 16
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 16, Intel Core i9-9880H
104.88 fps ∼50% -7%
Average of class Multimedia
  (25.8 - 132, n=9)
80.3 fps ∼39% -29%
3ds Max (3dsmax-06)
Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition
NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 Max-Q, Intel Core i7-9750H
174.2 fps ∼100% +135%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
AMD Radeon Pro 5500M, Intel Core i9-9880H
89 fps ∼51% +20%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20, Intel Core i9-9980HK
74.11 fps ∼43%
Average AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20
  (69.1 - 74.1, n=2)
71.6 fps ∼41% -3%
Average of class Multimedia
  (23.3 - 177, n=9)
68.9 fps ∼40% -7%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 16
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 16, Intel Core i9-9880H
64.17 fps ∼37% -13%
Unigine Valley 1.0 - 1920x1080 Extreme HD Preset OpenGL AA:x8
Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition
NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 Max-Q, Intel Core i7-9750H
75.3 fps ∼100% +116%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
AMD Radeon Pro 5500M, Intel Core i9-9880H
45.6 (22min - 82max) fps ∼61% +31%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20, Intel Core i9-9980HK
34.9 fps ∼46%
Average AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20
  (25.7 - 34.9, n=3)
31.5 fps ∼42% -10%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 16
AMD Radeon Pro Vega 16, Intel Core i9-9880H
30.3 fps ∼40% -13%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X)
AMD Radeon Pro 560X, Intel Core i7-8850H
21.4 (12.5min - 34max) fps ∼28% -39%
Average of class Multimedia
  (6.2 - 45.6, n=17)
20.8 fps ∼28% -40%
3DMark 11 Performance
12516 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
7770 points
3DMark Time Spy Score
2857 points
Help
010203040Tooltip
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20 Radeon Pro Vega 20, i9-9980HK, Apple SSD AP1024: Ø29.4 (25-33)
low med. high ultra4K
The Witcher 3 (2015) 29.4 fps
Dota 2 Reborn (2015) 102 105 84.5 78.3 41.1 fps
X-Plane 11.11 (2018) 72.3 58 49.4 fps

Battery Runtime – The high-end SKU of the MBP 15 does not disappoint

The battery runtime does not surprise, because this version of the Apple MacBook Pro 15 also manages around 11.5 hours in realistic Wi-Fi test at an adjusted luminance of 150 Nits.

Battery Runtime - WiFi Websurfing 1.3
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
i9-9880H, Radeon Pro 5500M, 99.8 Wh
718 min ∼27% +5%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 16
i9-9880H, Radeon Pro Vega 16, 83 Wh
690 min ∼26% 0%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20
i9-9980HK, Radeon Pro Vega 20, 83 Wh
687 min ∼26%
Dell XPS 15 7590 9980HK GTX 1650
i9-9980HK, GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile, 97 Wh
467 min ∼18% -32%
Average of class Multimedia
  (96 - 942, n=293)
376 min ∼14% -45%
Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition
i7-9750H, Quadro RTX 5000 Max-Q, 80 Wh
331 min ∼13% -52%

Pros

+ Vega 20 more efficient and much faster than 560X
+ excellent chassis
+ very good screen
+ huge trackpad with great precision
+ usually quiet cooling solution
+ good speakers
+ Titan Ridge Thunderbolt 3 with DisplayPort 1.4 (AMD GPU)

Cons

- Core i9-9980HK cannot utilize its full potential
- insufficient PSU
- fans runs quietly while idling and clearly audible under load
- no Wi-Fi 6
- neither USB-A, HDMI, nor SD reader
- very expensive - especially the upgrades

Verdict – GPU upgrade for MacBook Pro is worth it

In review: Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019. Test model courtesy of: Notebooksbilliger
In review: Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019. Test model courtesy of: Notebooksbilliger

Expensive optional upgrades are often not worth it in laptops, especially in slim devices. This is also true for the MacBook Pro 15 2019. The fastest Core i9 processor offers slightly more performance, but it cannot utilize its full potential by quite a wide margin. The "smaller" 8-core processor is the more sensible choice here.

We can definitely recommend the two GPU upgrades (Radeon pro Vega 16 and Vega 20) though. Thanks to the newer GPU architecture, they are not only faster, but they are also more efficient compared to the regular Radeon Pro 560X. There is no performance drop under sustained workload, either.

Contrary to the Core i9-9980HK, we can definitely recommend the optional AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20.

The sweet spot for the old MacBook Pro 15 2019 is the "smaller" Core i9-9880H in combination with one of the two Radeon Pro Vega GPUs in our opinion. Yes, the optional Core i9-9980HK is slightly faster, but it hardly justifies the additional price. The GPU upgrade on the other hand improves the performance noticeably. Thanks to the higher GPU performance, the final score is also better at 90% compared to the Vega 16 MBP 15 2019. If you are okay with the typing experience of the Butterfly keyboard, the MBP 15 2019 is still a very good multimedia laptop.

Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 20 - 05/15/2020 v7
Andreas Osthoff

Chassis
91 / 98 → 93%
Keyboard
90%
Pointing Device
100%
Connectivity
64 / 80 → 80%
Weight
65 / 20-72 → 87%
Battery
89 / 95 → 94%
Display
91%
Games Performance
81 / 90 → 90%
Application Performance
92 / 90 → 100%
Temperature
89%
Noise
81 / 95 → 85%
Audio
80%
Camera
28 / 85 → 33%
Average
80%
89%
Multimedia - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 in review: Still a very good multimedia laptop in 2020?
Andreas Osthoff, 2020-01-29 (Update: 2020-01-31)
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.