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Apple MacBook Pro 16 Core i9 gets consistently outperformed by the MSI P65 Core i9

Apple's latest Core i9 implementation has improved, but it could be better
Apple's latest Core i9 implementation has improved, but it could be better
After the horrid Core i9-8950HK performance of the 2018 MacBook Pro, Apple's implementation of the Core i9-9880H on its latest 16-inch MacBook Pro is a significant improvement. Nonetheless, the competing MSI P65 and the larger GE75 are able to run the same Core i9 CPU consistently faster.

When Apple dared to put the Core i9-8950HK in its 2018 MacBook Pro 15 last year, reviewers were quick to point out the heavy CPU throttling and the potential for it to perform just marginally better than the less costly Core i7 version at best. The implementation was so poor that Dell became extra wary of its own Core i9 XPS 15 SKU which launched a couple months later and also performed just marginally better than the Core i7 version. These underwhelming results shouldn't be surprising; such super-thin laptops do not have the cooling necessary to exploit and sustain the high Turbo Boost clock rates associated with the Core i9 series.

Realizing this, Intel dropped the base frequency of the 9th gen Core i9-9880H when compared to the 8th gen i9-8950HK (2.3 GHz vs. 2.9 GHz) while upping the number of physical cores from 6 to 8. The approach appears to have paid off as the multi-core performance gap between the Core i7-8750H or i7-9750H and the Core i9-9880H is much wider than what was observed with the Core i9-8950HK. In Apple's case, its Core i9-9880H in the 2019 MacBook Pro 16 is the third fastest in our database out of 8 other laptops equipped with the same Core i9-9880H CPU. The MSI P65 Creator beats it just marginally for second place. Performance sustainability is also better than expected especially when compared to the HP Omen 17 as shown by our CineBench R15 Multi-Thread loop test below.

There are a few caveats as usual. When running the same MacBook Pro 16 under Windows 10 Boot Camp, CPU performance actually drops by as much as 8 to 10 percent. Furthermore, the older MacBook Pro 15 design with the same i9-9880H CPU is the slowest laptop we've tested at roughly 12 percent slower than the i9-9880H in the MacBook Pro 16.

If you're in the market for a Core i9-9880H laptop, the recent MSI GE75 9SG is currently the fastest implementation at roughly 14 percent faster than the MacBook Pro 16 after accounting for any throttling. Its louder fans and larger 17.3-inch form factor are better at maintaining higher Turbo Boost clock rates to edge out every other i9-9880H laptop thus far.

Buy MSI P65 Core i9-9880H now on Amazon
MSI GE75 Core i9-9880H on sale now at Amazon

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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)
HP Omen 17-cb0020ng Intel Core i9-9880H, Intel Core i9-9880H: Ø1291 (1278.24-1450)
MSI P65 Creator 9SF-657 Intel Core i9-9880H, Intel Core i9-9880H: Ø1439 (1417.84-1545.36)
Asus Strix Scar III G531GW Intel Core i9-9880H, Intel Core i9-9880H: Ø1267 (1239.62-1311.65)
MSI GE75 9SG Intel Core i9-9880H, Intel Core i9-9880H: Ø1619 (1602.44-1728.31)
Cinebench R20
CPU (Single Core)
HP Omen 17-cb0020ng
Intel Core i9-9880H
467 Points ∼100%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 16
Intel Core i9-9880H
465 Points ∼100%
Average Intel Core i9-9880H
  (441 - 474, n=6)
457 Points ∼98%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H
453 Points ∼97%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H
442 Points ∼95%
MSI GE75 9SG
Intel Core i9-9880H
441 Points ∼94%
CPU (Multi Core)
MSI GE75 9SG
Intel Core i9-9880H
3712 Points ∼100%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H
3422 Points ∼92%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H
3057 Points ∼82%
Average Intel Core i9-9880H
  (2953 - 3712, n=6)
3277 Points ∼88%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 16
Intel Core i9-9880H
3012 Points ∼81%
HP Omen 17-cb0020ng
Intel Core i9-9880H
2953 Points ∼80%
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
no name
Intel Core i9-9880H
197 Points ∼100%
HP Omen 17-cb0020ng
Intel Core i9-9880H
197 Points ∼100%
MSI P65 Creator 9SF-657
Intel Core i9-9880H
196 Points ∼99%
Average Intel Core i9-9880H
  (181 - 198, n=10)
190 Points ∼96%
MSI GE75 9SG
Intel Core i9-9880H
189 Points ∼96%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H
184 Points ∼93%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H
184 Points ∼93%
Asus Strix Scar III G531GW
Intel Core i9-9880H
183 Points ∼93%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 16
Intel Core i9-9880H
181 Points ∼92%
CPU Multi 64Bit
MSI GE75 9SG
Intel Core i9-9880H
1721 Points ∼100%
no name
Intel Core i9-9880H
1607 Points ∼93%
MSI P65 Creator 9SF-657
Intel Core i9-9880H
1545 Points ∼90%
Average Intel Core i9-9880H
  (1317 - 1721, n=10)
1503 Points ∼87%
HP Omen 17-cb0020ng
Intel Core i9-9880H
1450 Points ∼84%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H
1435 (min: 1401, max: 1435) Points ∼83%
Apple MacBook Pro 16 2019 i9 5500M
Intel Core i9-9880H
1362 (min: 1268.87, max: 1362.31) Points ∼79%
Asus Strix Scar III G531GW
Intel Core i9-9880H
1401 Points ∼81%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2019 i9 Vega 16
Intel Core i9-9880H
1317 Points ∼77%
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 12 > Apple MacBook Pro 16 Core i9 gets consistently outperformed by the MSI P65 Core i9
Allen Ngo, 2019-12-12 (Update: 2019-12-12)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.