The new MacBook Pro 15 is just slightly faster than the MBP 15 2017 and clearly beaten by the XPS 15
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Apple's new MacBook Pros are heavily discussed right now and there are multiple reports about problems with severe CPU throttling. Our initial benchmarks with the new 13-inch model (here in review) were not very reassuring, so we were eager to see how the larger MacBook Pro 15 2018 handles the new CPU. We just received the device and performed some benchmarks, and the results are disappointing.
Our test model is equipped with the Core i7-8850H, which is the second fastest option for the new MBP 15. It offers two more cores than the predecessor, so we expected a significant performance advantage over the old quad-core processors you find in the 2017 MacBook Pro 15. However, the advantage is very small. Even a single Cinebench R15 Multi run is too challenging for the cooling solution and the MBP 15 just manages ~950 points. For comparison: The current Dell XPS 15 with the supposedly slower Core i7-8750H scores more than 1200 points.
The performance drops further after the initial run and the average result after 36 runs is just 832 points. This means the advantage over the MacBook Pro 15 2017 with the quad-core Core i7-7700HQ is just 13%, and the difference should be even smaller the more runs we perform. A comparison with the current Dell XPS 15 9570 is interesting as well, because its current quad-core Core i5-8300H is basically on par except for the first run. The situation is even worse for Apple when we look at the Dell XPS 15 with the Core i7-8750H. It suffers during the Cinebench loop as well, but is still 5% faster after 50 runs compared to the best score of the MacBook Pro 15. The XPS 15 with the less expensive processor is almost 18% faster on average. This is a real slap in the face for Apple, because some users of a so-called Pro laptop require steady CPU performance. Not everybody is just watching YouTube videos, browsing the web or writing mails.
The situation might be a bit better with the 2018 entry-level model, but we can clearly state that the cooling solution of the MacBook Pro is insufficient for the new 6-core CPUs. Instead of just putting new CPUs in the old device, Apple should have reworked the cooling unit. However, we do not expect a full redesign in the near future (at least 1-2 years). We will continue testing, but potential buyers of the new MacBook Pro 15 should take the entry-level model and then add the other components based on their requirements. You can save the additional dollars for the optional CPUs.
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