Notebookcheck

Apple MacBook Pro 15 (Late 2016, 2.7 GHz, 455) Notebook Review

The perfect balance? We also review the mainstream configuration of the new MacBook Pro 15. The test model is faster than the entry-level spec thanks to the Core i7-6820HQ and the AMD Radeon Pro 455, but is it worth the additional price?

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For the original German review, see here.

After we have already tested the entry-level model as well as the high-end spec of the current MacBook Pro 15 from Apple, we also check the performance of the mainstream configuration for $2799. The additional $400 compared to the entry-level spec includes a slightly faster processor (Core i7-6820HQ), twice the amount of SSD capacity (512 GB) as well as a faster graphics card AMD Radeon Pro 455.

We already covered the important new features of the current MacBook Pro generation, which include the slimmer chassis, the reworked keyboard and obviously the Touch Bar above the keyboard, which replaces the function keys. We will once again focus on the performance and the emissions in this review update. The display is also a small surprise, but more on that below. All the information about the other areas of the Apple MacBook Pro 15 is available in our in-depth review of the entry-level model.

We also just reviewed the new 2017 model of the Dell XPS 15, which is one of the biggest competitors for the MacBook Pro. Contrary to Apple, however, Dell uses the latest Kaby Lake processors and Pascal GPUs from Nvidia.

Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.7 GHz, 455) (MacBook Pro 15 2016 Series)
Graphics adapter
AMD Radeon Pro 455 - 2048 MB, Core: 855 MHz, Memory: 1270 MHz, GDDR5
Memory
16384 MB 
, 2133 MHz LPDDR3 RAM soldered
Display
15.4 inch 16:10, 2880x1800 pixel 220 PPI, APPA031, IPS, glossy: yes
Storage
Apple SSD SM0512L, 512 GB 
Connections
4 USB 3.1 Gen2, 4 Thunderbolt, Audio Connections: Headset, Brightness Sensor
Networking
Broadcom BCM15700A2 802.11ac (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) ( = 0 oz / 0 pounds)

 

The display is actually a surprise, because contrary to the entry-level model and the high-end spec, which were equipped with the APPA030 panel, this test model uses the APPA031 screen. It is obviously once again a 15.4-inch IPS display with a resolution of 2880x1800 pixels, but Apple seems to use multiple suppliers.

We already know this procedure from many other manufacturers in the mobile segment, but there are often important differences between the panels. This is also the case here, because the APPA031 produces better results in almost all tests. This starts with the luminance, where we can determine almost 570 nits. That the average luminance drops to ~520 nits is a result of the darker upper-right corner, which also affects the brightness distribution (83%). However, you cannot see a difference in practice due to the enormous luminance. The black value is a bit surprising, because it is a bit better at 0.29 cd/m² – despite the higher luminance. This also results in a contrast ratio of more than 1900:1 – only OLED panels are better in this respect. Even the very good 4K display of the old Dell XPS 15 cannot compete with these results. We are already eager to see whether the new XPS 15 9560 might perform better (review soon).

545
cd/m²
546
cd/m²
521
cd/m²
568
cd/m²
568
cd/m²
527
cd/m²
522
cd/m²
524
cd/m²
470
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 568 cd/m² Average: 532.3 cd/m² Minimum: 5.1 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 83 %
Center on Battery: 568 cd/m²
Contrast: 1912:1 (Black: 0.297 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 1.4 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 2.3 | - Ø
99.9% sRGB (Argyll) 77.4% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.29
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.7 GHz, 455)
APPA031, , 2880x1800, 15.4
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 Retina 15 inch 2015-05
APPA02E, , 2880x1800, 15.4
Dell XPS 15-9550 i7
SHARP LQ156D1JX01 Dell PN: 7PHPT, , 3840x2160, 15.6
Dell XPS 15 2017 9560 (7300HQ, Full-HD)
Sharp SHP1453 LQ156M1, , 1920x1080, 15.6
Response Times
-21%
9%
-7%
-25%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
46.4 (18.8, 27.6)
46 (18, 28)
1%
47.3 (22.1, 25.2)
-2%
58 (21, 37)
-25%
54 (33.2, 20)
-16%
Response Time Black / White *
39.2 (7.6, 31.6)
56 (11, 45)
-43%
31.2 (16.7, 14.5)
20%
35 (12, 23)
11%
52.4 (33.2, 19.2)
-34%
PWM Frequency
119000 (80)
117000 (80, 200)
Screen
-25%
-0%
-21%
-60%
-64%
Brightness
532
401
-25%
465
-13%
315
-41%
344
-35%
392
-26%
Brightness Distribution
83
90
8%
92
11%
82
-1%
90
8%
89
7%
Black Level *
0.297
0.3
-1%
0.33
-11%
0.34
-14%
0.38
-28%
0.26
12%
Contrast
1912
1400
-27%
1464
-23%
1003
-48%
950
-50%
1538
-20%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
1.4
3.33
-138%
1.4
-0%
2.07
-48%
5.34
-281%
4.9
-250%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
2.3
2.73
-19%
1.5
35%
1.9
17%
4.84
-110%
7.2
-213%
Gamma
2.29 105%
2.48 97%
2.34 103%
2.62 92%
2.21 109%
2.11 114%
CCT
7165 91%
6457 101%
6650 98%
6514 100%
7395 88%
6911 94%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
77.4
78.09
1%
58
-25%
89
15%
64.2
-17%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
99.9
99.97
0%
91
-9%
100
0%
98.9
-1%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-23% / -24%
5% / 2%
-21% / -21%
-34% / -50%
-45% / -56%

* ... smaller is better

The panel also leaves a very good impression in respect to the color accuracy and the average color deviations for the colors and the grayscale compared to the P3 color space are already smaller than 3 ex-works. However, the APPA030 panel of the entry-level model was slightly better in terms of grayscale performance. All in all, the APPA031 panel is therefore the better choice, and it also has an advantage in terms of black-to-black response times (39.2 vs. 56 ms).

Grayscale (full luminance with adapter against diffuse light)
Grayscale (full luminance with adapter against diffuse light)
Grayscale (full luminance)
Grayscale (full luminance)
Grayscale (reduced luminance)
Grayscale (reduced luminance)
ColorChecker (target color space P3)
ColorChecker (target color space P3)
ColorChecker (target color space P3) – measured from a distance of 5 cm
ColorChecker (target color space P3) – measured from a distance of 5 cm
ColorChecker (target color space P3) – measured from a 45-degree angle
ColorChecker (target color space P3) – measured from a 45-degree angle

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
39.2 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 7.6 ms rise
↘ 31.6 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 95 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (26.7 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
46.4 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 18.8 ms rise
↘ 27.6 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 73 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (42.8 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM not detected

In comparison: 57 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 6577 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Performance

Every model of the current MacBook Pro 15 is a powerful multimedia notebook. All SKUs are equipped with 16 GB RAM and PCIe-SSDs, only the capacity differs from 256 GB up to 2 TB. Users can only customize the quad-core processor as well as the graphics card. Our test model is the mainstream spec, which retails for $2799 in Apple's online store. This model includes a 512 GB SSD and the slightly faster CPU/GPU combination (Core i7-6820HQ and AMD Radeon Pro 455).

Processor

Intel's Core i7-6820HQ is a powerful mobile quad-core processor with a TDP of 45 Watts. The base frequency is 2.7 GHz with a Turbo range of up to 3.6 GHz for one core (2 cores: 3.4 GHz, 4 cores: 3.2 GHz), which is only 100 MHz higher compared to the Core i7-6700HQ from the entry-level spec. Apple still uses Skylake chips, although the new chips based on the Kaby Lake architecture are already available (~10% faster thanks to higher clocks). The processor is also equipped with the integrated HD Graphics 530 GPU, but it is only available on macOS (Boot Camp Windows only dGPU).

Intel XTU – idle
Intel XTU – idle
Intel XTU – Prime95
Intel XTU – Prime95
Cinebench R15 Multi loop (macOS)
Cinebench R15 Multi loop (macOS)

As per usual, Apple removes the standard TDP limit and does not restrict the processor – only the temperature is a limiting factor. The benchmark results are therefore good and the processor can maintain its maximum clock in the benchmarks. We also ran a loop of the Cinebench R15 Multi test on macOS, but there are only small fluctuations after more than 80 runs. Only extreme workloads, like Prime95 on Windows, result in processor temperatures of almost 100 °C, where the clock will start to drop a bit. We are still within the Turbo Boost range; throttling is no problem when you only stress the CPU.

Overall, the Core i7-6820HQ is between 6-9% (Single/Multi) faster than the standard i7-6700HQ. The Core i7-6920HQ from the top-spec is another ~6% faster, which is also the case for the new entry-level Kaby Lake chip i7-7700HQ. More benchmarks with the i7-6820HQ and the other processors are available in our Tech section.

Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
Intel Core i7-6920HQ
163 Points ∼84% +6%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
Intel Core i7-6920HQ
156 Points ∼80% +1%
Schenker XMG P507 PRO
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
161 Points ∼83% +5%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.7 GHz, 455)
Intel Core i7-6820HQ
154 Points ∼79%
Dell XPS 15-9550 i7
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
147 Points ∼75% -5%
Dell XPS 15 2017 9560 (7300HQ, Full-HD)
Intel Core i5-7300HQ
146 Points ∼75% -5%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
Intel Core i7-4870HQ
144 Points ∼74% -6%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
Intel Core i7-4870HQ
143 Points ∼73% -7%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
141 Points ∼72% -8%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2016 (2.9 GHz)
Intel Core i5-6267U
131 Points ∼67% -15%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Schenker XMG P507 PRO
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
742 Points ∼35% +5%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
Intel Core i7-6920HQ
740 Points ∼34% +5%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
Intel Core i7-6920HQ
729 Points ∼34% +4%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.7 GHz, 455)
Intel Core i7-6820HQ
704 Points ∼33%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
666 Points ∼31% -5%
Dell XPS 15-9550 i7
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
663 Points ∼31% -6%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
Intel Core i7-4870HQ
594 Points ∼28% -16%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
Intel Core i7-4870HQ
589 Points ∼27% -16%
Dell XPS 15 2017 9560 (7300HQ, Full-HD)
Intel Core i5-7300HQ
508 Points ∼24% -28%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2016 (2.9 GHz)
Intel Core i5-6267U
339 Points ∼16% -52%
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
5580
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
21079
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
12740
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
154 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
704 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
100 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
98 %
Help

System Performance

Subjectively, the mainstream configuration of the current MacBook Pro 15 does not reveal any performance problems, either. Thanks to the fast SSD and the powerful components, the whole system is very responsive and applications are launched quickly as well. The synthetic PCMark 8 (Boot Camp Windows) supports our impression and ranks the test model between its two siblings.

PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Schenker XMG P507 PRO
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SSD 960 Evo 500GB m.2 NVMe
5180 Points ∼80% +15%
Dell XPS 15 2017 9560 (7300HQ, Full-HD)
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7300HQ, WDC WD10SPCX-75KHST0 + SanDisk Z400s M.2 2242 32 GB Cache
4884 Points ∼75% +8%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
Radeon Pro 460, 6920HQ, Apple SSD SM1024L
4755 Points ∼73% +5%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
Radeon R9 M370X, 4870HQ, Apple SSD SM0512G
4638 Points ∼71% +3%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.7 GHz, 455)
Radeon Pro 455, 6820HQ, Apple SSD SM0512L
4522 Points ∼69%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
Radeon Pro 450, 6700HQ, Apple SSD SM0256L
4426 Points ∼68% -2%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2016 (2.9 GHz)
Iris Graphics 550, 6267U, Apple SSD AP0256
4218 Points ∼65% -7%
Dell XPS 15-9550 i7
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
3950 Points ∼61% -13%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Schenker XMG P507 PRO
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SSD 960 Evo 500GB m.2 NVMe
4320 Points ∼72% +16%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
Radeon Pro 460, 6920HQ, Apple SSD SM1024L
4066 Points ∼68% +9%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
Radeon R9 M370X, 4870HQ, Apple SSD SM0512G
3821 Points ∼64% +2%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2016 (2.9 GHz)
Iris Graphics 550, 6267U, Apple SSD AP0256
3738 Points ∼63% 0%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.7 GHz, 455)
Radeon Pro 455, 6820HQ, Apple SSD SM0512L
3728 Points ∼62%
Dell XPS 15 2017 9560 (7300HQ, Full-HD)
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7300HQ, WDC WD10SPCX-75KHST0 + SanDisk Z400s M.2 2242 32 GB Cache
3659 Points ∼61% -2%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
Radeon Pro 450, 6700HQ, Apple SSD SM0256L
3637 Points ∼61% -2%
Dell XPS 15-9550 i7
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
3121 Points ∼52% -16%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3728 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
4569 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4522 points
Help

Storage Devices

We already mentioned that all SKUs of the MacBook Pro are equipped with fast PCIe-SSDs. Only the capacity differs from 256 GB up to 2 TB, but the additional prices are quite extreme. An upgrade from the 512 GB SSD in our test model to the 2 TB version will set you back by $1200. There is at least no criticism for the performance, because at transfer rates of around 2000 MB/s for read and write operations, the SSDs are among the best you can get.

The 512 GB model is particularly faster than the 256 GB drive in terms of write performance (+500 MB/s) and is therefore on par with the larger 1 TB drive. However, all three models have conspicuously low 4K values at ~10 MB/s. One thing to note here is that our benchmarks (CDM and AS SSD) were performed running on Windows (Boot Camp). This can easily be a lack of optimization of Apple's Boot Camp driver, but we did not notice any problems in practice.

Apple SSD SM0512L
Sequential Read: 1405 MB/s
Sequential Write: 1425 MB/s
512K Read: 817 MB/s
512K Write: 953 MB/s
4K Read: 9.65 MB/s
4K Write: 13.2 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 619 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 499 MB/s

GPU Performance

AMD's Radeon Pro 455 is a mainstream graphics card based on the Polaris architecture. Contrary to the fastest model from the series, the Radeon Pro 460, you only get 786 of the full 1024 shaders and the core clock of the Polaris 11 chip (14 nm) is a bit lower as well at 855 MHz. The memory equipment is similar to the base model of the MBP 15 at 2 GB GDDR5-VRAM (128-bit). The performance of the Radeon Pro 455 should be somewhere between the other two available GPUs.

3DMark Time Spy Stress Test
3DMark Time Spy Stress Test

This assumption is mostly supported by the synthetic benchmarks (Windows Boot Camp), although the distance is greater to the Radeon Pro 460 than to the Radeon Pro 450. The 455 cannot keep up with the old GeForce GTX 960M in the 3DMarks, either. Dell's XPS 15 shows what is currently possible in this segment. The new GeForce GTX 1050 is between 50-70% faster in the GPU sub-scores.

The Radeon Pro 455 is also beaten by the 460 and also the Nvidia Quadro M1000M in terms of OpenGL performance. The 455 does not have an advantage over the 450 from the base model in the Unigine Valley test, either. The Radeon can at least utilize its full potential under load; our test with The Witcher 3 was executed at a steady 855 MHz (75 °C) and the 3DMark Time Spy Stress Test was executed successfully as well.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Schenker XMG P507 PRO
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), Intel Core i7-7700HQ
21922 Points ∼100% +307%
Acer Aspire VX5-591G-D0DD
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), Intel Core i7-7700HQ
9713 Points ∼44% +80%
Dell XPS 15 2017 9560 (7300HQ, Full-HD)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), Intel Core i5-7300HQ
8201 Points ∼37% +52%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
AMD Radeon Pro 460, Intel Core i7-6920HQ
6749 Points ∼31% +25%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.7 GHz, 455)
AMD Radeon Pro 455, Intel Core i7-6820HQ
5388 Points ∼25%
Dell XPS 15-9550 i7
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M, Intel Core i7-6700HQ
5279 Points ∼24% -2%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50 20ENV509PB
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M, Intel Xeon E3-1535M v5
5143 Points ∼23% -5%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
AMD Radeon Pro 450, Intel Core i7-6700HQ
4502 Points ∼21% -16%
HP ZBook Studio G3
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M, Intel Core i7-6820HQ
4225 Points ∼19% -22%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
AMD Radeon R9 M370X, Intel Core i7-4870HQ
3593 Points ∼16% -33%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2016 (2.9 GHz)
Intel Iris Graphics 550, Intel Core i5-6267U
2696 Points ∼12% -50%
Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga 20GQ-0004GE
NVIDIA Quadro M500M, Intel Core i7-6500U
2382 Points ∼11% -56%
3DMark - 1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Schenker XMG P507 PRO
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), Intel Core i7-7700HQ
16873 Points ∼100% +349%
Acer Aspire VX5-591G-D0DD
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), Intel Core i7-7700HQ
7741 Points ∼46% +106%
Dell XPS 15 2017 9560 (7300HQ, Full-HD)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), Intel Core i5-7300HQ
6393 Points ∼38% +70%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
AMD Radeon Pro 460, Intel Core i7-6920HQ
4584 Points ∼27% +22%
Dell XPS 15-9550 i7
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M, Intel Core i7-6700HQ
4201 Points ∼25% +12%
Lenovo ThinkPad P50 20ENV509PB
NVIDIA Quadro M2000M, Intel Xeon E3-1535M v5
4188 Points ∼25% +11%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.7 GHz, 455)
AMD Radeon Pro 455, Intel Core i7-6820HQ
3759 Points ∼22%
HP ZBook Studio G3
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M, Intel Core i7-6820HQ
3478 Points ∼21% -7%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
AMD Radeon Pro 450, Intel Core i7-6700HQ
3252 Points ∼19% -13%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
AMD Radeon R9 M370X, Intel Core i7-4870HQ
2501 Points ∼15% -33%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2016 (2.9 GHz)
Intel Iris Graphics 550, Intel Core i5-6267U
1657 Points ∼10% -56%
Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga 20GQ-0004GE
NVIDIA Quadro M500M, Intel Core i7-6500U
1585 Points ∼9% -58%
Unigine Valley 1.0 - 1920x1080 Extreme HD Preset OpenGL AA:x8
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
AMD Radeon Pro 460, Intel Core i7-6920HQ
16.5 fps ∼100% +17%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
AMD Radeon Pro 460, Intel Core i7-6920HQ
16.4 fps ∼99% +16%
HP ZBook Studio G3
NVIDIA Quadro M1000M, Intel Core i7-6820HQ
16.4 fps ∼99% +16%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
AMD Radeon Pro 450, Intel Core i7-6700HQ
14.2 (min: 8.7) fps ∼86% +1%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.7 GHz, 455)
AMD Radeon Pro 455, Intel Core i7-6820HQ
14.1 fps ∼85%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2016 (2.9 GHz)
Intel Iris Graphics 550, Intel Core i5-6267U
9.6 fps ∼58% -32%
Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga 20GQ-0004GE
NVIDIA Quadro M500M, Intel Core i7-6500U
6.3 fps ∼38% -55%
3DMark 06 Standard
25873 points
3DMark Vantage P Result
16522 points
3DMark 11 Performance
5774 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
15766 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
3463 points
3DMark Time Spy Score
1254 points
Help

Gaming Performance

The performance of the AMD Radeon Pro 455 on Windows 10 is often not sufficient for the combination of the Full HD resolution and high graphics details. You will have to reduce some details in challenging titles to ensure smooth gameplay, like Rise of the Tomb Raider, The Witcher 3 or Battlefield 1. Within the Apple models, the Radeon Pro 455 is between its siblings, but it is much closer to the Radeon Pro 450 due to the low amount of VRAM. If you plan to play a lot, you should definitely get the more powerful Radeon Pro 460. The GeForce GTX 1050 is once again much more powerful and can even handle challenging titles at high details. A big problem for Windows 10 gamers is the mediocre driver support for the graphics card. The regular driver launches from AMD do not support the Radeon Pro GPUs in the MacBook Pros. A manual installation was not successful, either. This means the GPU cannot use its full potential when you use Windows / Boot Camp and there will also be problems with upcoming titles in the future.

The macOS gaming performance is, as usual, much lower compared to Windows 10. Ported games like Tomb Raider do not perform as well as their Windows 10 counterparts.

Rise of the Tomb Raider - 1920x1080 High Preset AA:FX AF:4x
Acer Aspire VX5-591G-D0DD
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, SK Hynix Canvas SC300 512GB M.2 (HFS512G39MND)
47.4 fps ∼100% +90%
HP Omen 15-ax007ng
GeForce GTX 965M, 6700HQ, Adata IM2S3138E-128GM-B
37.4 fps ∼79% +50%
Asus Strix GL753VD-GC045T
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Micron SSD 1100 (MTFDDAV256TBN)
37.1 fps ∼78% +49%
HP Pavilion 17 FHD V3A33AV
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, SanDisk Z400s SD8SNAT-128G
30.2 fps ∼64% +21%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
Radeon Pro 460, 6920HQ, Apple SSD SM1024L
25.8 fps ∼54% +4%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.7 GHz, 455)
Radeon Pro 455, 6820HQ, Apple SSD SM0512L
24.9 (min: 22) fps ∼53%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
Radeon Pro 450, 6700HQ, Apple SSD SM0256L
20.9 (min: 19) fps ∼44% -16%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
Radeon Pro 450, 6700HQ, Apple SSD SM0256L
20.7 (min: 18) fps ∼44% -17%
The Witcher 3 - 1920x1080 High Graphics & Postprocessing (Nvidia HairWorks Off)
Acer Aspire VX5-591G-D0DD
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, SK Hynix Canvas SC300 512GB M.2 (HFS512G39MND)
37.3 fps ∼100% +52%
Dell XPS 15 2017 9560 (7300HQ, Full-HD)
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7300HQ, WDC WD10SPCX-75KHST0 + SanDisk Z400s M.2 2242 32 GB Cache
34.6 fps ∼93% +41%
Asus Strix GL753VD-GC045T
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Micron SSD 1100 (MTFDDAV256TBN)
29.1 fps ∼78% +18%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
Radeon Pro 460, 6920HQ, Apple SSD SM1024L
28.9 fps ∼77% +17%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.7 GHz, 455)
Radeon Pro 455, 6820HQ, Apple SSD SM0512L
24.6 (min: 20) fps ∼66%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
Radeon Pro 450, 6700HQ, Apple SSD SM0256L
20.3 (min: 17) fps ∼54% -17%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
Radeon R9 M370X, 4870HQ, Apple SSD SM0512G
14.9 fps ∼40% -39%
Battlefield 1 - 1920x1080 High Preset AA:T
Acer Aspire VX5-591G-D0DD
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, SK Hynix Canvas SC300 512GB M.2 (HFS512G39MND)
55.9 fps ∼100% +93%
Dell XPS 15 2017 9560 (7300HQ, Full-HD)
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7300HQ, WDC WD10SPCX-75KHST0 + SanDisk Z400s M.2 2242 32 GB Cache
50.1 fps ∼90% +73%
Asus Strix GL753VD-GC045T
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Micron SSD 1100 (MTFDDAV256TBN)
46.5 fps ∼83% +61%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
Radeon Pro 460, 6920HQ, Apple SSD SM1024L
40.9 fps ∼73% +42%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.7 GHz, 455)
Radeon Pro 455, 6820HQ, Apple SSD SM0512L
28.9 (min: 26) fps ∼52%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
Radeon Pro 450, 6700HQ, Apple SSD SM0256L
24.2 (min: 22) fps ∼43% -16%
Anno 2205 - 1920x1080 High Preset AA:4x
Asus Strix GL753VD-GC045T
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Micron SSD 1100 (MTFDDAV256TBN)
43.7 (min: 40) fps ∼100% +150%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
Radeon Pro 460, 6920HQ, Apple SSD SM1024L
25.9 fps ∼59% +48%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
Radeon Pro 450, 6700HQ, Apple SSD SM0256L
18.3 (min: 16) fps ∼42% +5%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.7 GHz, 455)
Radeon Pro 455, 6820HQ, Apple SSD SM0512L
17.5 (min: 16) fps ∼40%
Call of Duty Infinite Warfare - 1920x1080 High / On AA:FX
Schenker XMG P507 PRO
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SSD 960 Evo 500GB m.2 NVMe
114 fps ∼100% +184%
Asus Strix GL753VD-GC045T
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Micron SSD 1100 (MTFDDAV256TBN)
51.1 (min: 35) fps ∼45% +27%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
Radeon Pro 460, 6920HQ, Apple SSD SM1024L
46.3 fps ∼41% +15%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.7 GHz, 455)
Radeon Pro 455, 6820HQ, Apple SSD SM0512L
40.2 (min: 31) fps ∼35%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
Radeon Pro 450, 6700HQ, Apple SSD SM0256L
36 (min: 27) fps ∼32% -10%
low med. high ultra4K
Counter-Strike: GO (2012) 145fps
BioShock Infinite (2013) 23037.8fps
Sims 4 (2014) 50.6fps
GTA V (2015) 37.111.1fps
The Witcher 3 (2015) 69.524.614.2fps
Dota 2 Reborn (2015) 67.261.522.8fps
World of Warships (2015) 18870.753fps
Anno 2205 (2015) 8617.57.7fps
Fallout 4 (2015) 27.8fps
Rainbow Six Siege (2015) 16252.733.7fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) 8424.918.3fps
XCOM 2 (2016) 7027.217.95.9fps
Far Cry Primal (2016) 70323020fps
The Division (2016) 8825.218.5fps
Hitman 2016 (2016) 7520.4fps
Ashes of the Singularity (2016) 33.821.319.3fps
Doom (2016) 53.119.8fps
Overwatch (2016) 17865.830.118.7fps
Deus Ex Mankind Divided (2016) 59.521.58.9fps
FIFA 17 (2016) 107fps
Mafia 3 (2016) 32.815.1fps
Battlefield 1 (2016) 10928.925.3fps
Civilization VI (2016) 6928.821.6fps
Farming Simulator 17 (2016) 71.725.822.8fps
Titanfall 2 (2016) 33.128.8fps
Call of Duty Infinite Warfare (2016) 40.234.4fps
Dishonored 2 (2016) 44.120.6fps
Watch Dogs 2 (2016) 54.420.7fps
Resident Evil 7 (2017) 14659.434.619.7fps

Emissions

System Noise

The fan behavior of our test model basically does not differ from the other models. The fans are always active, but you can only hear a slight murmur in very quiet environments. They react to load very late and increase their speed seamlessly. A normal 3DMark06 run was not enough to increase their speed. Sustained workloads (multiple benchmark runs and The Witcher 3) result in a slightly higher noise at ~38 dB(A) compared to the other models. The maximum noise is also a bit higher (48 dB(A)). This is probably a result of the Boot Camp driver, because the indicated BIOS version differs from the other test models.

Noise Level

Idle
30.8 / 30.8 / 30.8 dB(A)
HDD
30.8 dB(A)
Load
38.7 / 48.8 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: 30.4 dB(A)
6820HQ, Radeon Pro 455
Radeon Pro 455, 6820HQ, Apple SSD SM0512L
6920HQ, Radeon Pro 460
Radeon Pro 460, 6920HQ, Apple SSD SM1024L
6700HQ, Radeon Pro 450
Radeon Pro 450, 6700HQ, Apple SSD SM0256L
4870HQ, Radeon R9 M370X
Radeon R9 M370X, 4870HQ, Apple SSD SM0512G
6700HQ, GeForce GTX 960M
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
7300HQ, GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook)
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7300HQ, WDC WD10SPCX-75KHST0 + SanDisk Z400s M.2 2242 32 GB Cache
Noise
4%
3%
1%
-6%
-6%
off / environment *
30.4
29
5%
30.4
-0%
30.3
-0%
Idle Minimum *
30.8
30.3
2%
30.6
1%
28.9
6%
31.4
-2%
31.6
-3%
Idle Average *
30.8
30.3
2%
30.6
1%
28.9
6%
32.5
-6%
31.6
-3%
Idle Maximum *
30.8
30.3
2%
30.6
1%
28.9
6%
33.6
-9%
33.4
-8%
Load Average *
38.7
35.1
9%
34.7
10%
46
-19%
45.2
-17%
47.8
-24%
Load Maximum *
48.8
46
6%
46.3
5%
46
6%
46
6%
47.8
2%

* ... smaller is better

Temperature

The surface temperatures also differ a bit compared to our two previous test models. The center of the top gets a bit warmer at 46 °C, while the maximum temperature at the bottom is ~2 °C cooler. The palm rests are once again conveniently cool.

Stress test: Sensors CPU
Stress test: Sensors CPU
Stress test: Sensors GPU
Stress test: Sensors GPU

We can see a consumption limit of the provided 87-Watt power adapter in our stress test with the tools FurMark and Prime95. The processor levels off at around 2.3 GHz and 91 °C, while the Radeon Pro 455 runs at ~700 MHz and 79 °C. This means there is still some headroom for higher clocks.

Maximum load top
Maximum load top
Maximum load bottom
Maximum load bottom
Max. Load
 42 °C46 °C39 °C 
 42 °C46 °C35 °C 
 29 °C28 °C27 °C 
Maximum: 46 °C
Average: 37.1 °C
38 °C39 °C38 °C
30 °C34 °C31 °C
29 °C29 °C28 °C
Maximum: 39 °C
Average: 32.9 °C
Power Supply (max.)  44 °C | Room Temperature 20.4 °C | Fluke 62 Mini
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.7 GHz, 455)
6820HQ, Radeon Pro 455
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
6920HQ, Radeon Pro 460
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
6700HQ, Radeon Pro 450
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
4870HQ, Radeon R9 M370X
Dell XPS 15-9550 i7
6700HQ, GeForce GTX 960M
Dell XPS 15 2017 9560 (7300HQ, Full-HD)
7300HQ, GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook)
Heat
-2%
2%
3%
-25%
-6%
Maximum Upper Side *
46
44.2
4%
43
7%
43.2
6%
55.9
-22%
47.6
-3%
Maximum Bottom *
39
41.6
-7%
40
-3%
39
-0%
50
-28%
42.1
-8%
Idle Upper Side *
33.6
26
30
28.1
29.9
Idle Bottom *
31.1
25
29.3
27.9
29.8

* ... smaller is better

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The integrated GPU is only available in combination with macOS, so we also performed the idle measurements with it. We used the regular Windows tools for the load scenarios. All in all, there are only small deviations from the other two models, and the 87-Watt power adapter is once again the limiting factor under maximum load.

Power Consumption
Idledarkmidlight 4 / 10.9 / 10.9 Watt
Load midlight 64.6 / 86.7 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.7 GHz, 455)
6820HQ, Radeon Pro 455
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
6920HQ, Radeon Pro 460
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
6700HQ, Radeon Pro 450
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
4870HQ, Radeon R9 M370X
Dell XPS 15-9550 i7
6700HQ, GeForce GTX 960M
Dell XPS 15 2017 9560 (7300HQ, Full-HD)
7300HQ, GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook)
Power Consumption
1%
8%
-25%
-97%
-23%
Idle Minimum *
4
3
25%
2.9
27%
6
-50%
12.5
-213%
6.6
-65%
Idle Average *
10.9
9.9
9%
9.7
11%
12.8
-17%
19.6
-80%
9
17%
Idle Maximum *
10.9
12.5
-15%
10.1
7%
13.3
-22%
22.8
-109%
10.7
2%
Load Average *
64.6
70.6
-9%
65
-1%
82.4
-28%
102
-58%
77.5
-20%
Load Maximum *
86.7
90.8
-5%
89.5
-3%
91.8
-6%
107
-23%
130
-50%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Runtime

Our third test model also manages the advertised battery runtime of 10 hours. The 76-Wh battery in our MacBook Pro 15 lasts for more than 10.5 hours in our Wi-Fi test at an adjusted luminance of 150 nits, and it even beats the other models by a couple of minutes. You can expect little more than 50 minutes when you really stress the system.

Battery Runtime
WiFi Surfing v1.3 (Safari)
10h 37min
Load (maximum brightness)
0h 54min
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.7 GHz, 455)
6820HQ, Radeon Pro 455, 76 Wh
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 Retina 15 inch 2015-05
4870HQ, Radeon R9 M370X, 100 Wh
Dell XPS 15-9550 i7
6700HQ, GeForce GTX 960M, 84 Wh
Dell XPS 15 2017 9560 (7300HQ, Full-HD)
7300HQ, GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 56 Wh
Battery Runtime
-4%
-2%
31%
40%
4%
Reader / Idle
1039
528
565
WiFi v1.3
637
619
-3%
602
-5%
432
-32%
309
-51%
334
-48%
Load
54
52
-4%
55
2%
105
94%
125
131%
84
56%
H.264
547
516
413
318

Pros

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

Cons

- neither USB-A nor HDMI-out
- defective speakers due to Boot Camp
- 2.4 GHz WLAN issue with attached USB-C device
- fans are (slightly) audible while idling
- very expensive – especially the upgrades

Verdict

In review: Apple MacBook Pro 15 2.7 GHz
In review: Apple MacBook Pro 15 2.7 GHz

The review of the third Apple MacBook Pro 15 configuration actually revealed some surprising results. However, we do not speak about the two faster core components. The processor in our mainstream configuration for $2799 is 100 MHz faster than the base model, which results in a single-digit advantage in the benchmarks, but you will not notice it in practice.

The graphics card AMD Radeon Pro 455 ranks between the two siblings 450 and 460, which is no surprise. However, it is closer to the regular Radeon Pro 450 due to the small amount of video memory (2 GB GDDR5). If you are not happy with the graphics performance of the regular Radeon Pro 450, you would be better off getting the more powerful 460 with 4 GB GDDR5-VRAM.

The big surprise is the screen, which has another designation (APPA031) and manages higher luminance results. The black value does not suffer from that, so the contrast is better as well. It seems to be pure luck right now what panel you get. Both the entry-level version and the high-end spec were equipped with the slightly darker panel, so there does not seem to be a relation with faster components.

We started this review with the question of whether the upgrades are worth it. The answer in this case is: it depends. The processor is hardly any faster and power users will get the optional Core i7-6920HQ anyway, which is also the case for the graphics card. However, the upgrade also includes the larger 512 GB SSD and preconfigured models are often less expensive in online shops, so the model might actually be interesting even when you only want the additional storage capacity. The general advantages and drawbacks of the Apple MacBook Pro 15 still apply here, so we once again want to refer to our in-depth review of the entry-level model.

Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.7 GHz, 455) - 02/13/2017 v6
Klaus A. Hinum, Andreas Osthoff

Chassis
93 / 98 → 95%
Keyboard
90%
Pointing Device
100%
Connectivity
51 / 81 → 63%
Weight
65 / 67 → 96%
Battery
93%
Display
92%
Games Performance
78 / 85 → 92%
Application Performance
89 / 92 → 97%
Temperature
86%
Noise
83 / 95 → 88%
Audio
91%
Camera
53 / 85 → 62%
Add Points
-2%
Average
76%
88%
Multimedia - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Apple MacBook Pro 15 (Late 2016, 2.7 GHz, 455) Notebook Review
Klaus A. Hinum, Andreas Osthoff, 2017-02-17 (Update: 2017-02-21)
Andreas Osthoff
Andreas Osthoff - Senior Editor Business
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.