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The wacky dual-screen Asus Zenbook does Core i9 better than the MacBook Pro

The wacky dual-screen Asus Zenbook does Core i9 better than the MacBook Pro
The wacky dual-screen Asus Zenbook does Core i9 better than the MacBook Pro
It may not be able to sustain Turbo Boost for very long, but at least the Core i9 in the Zenbook UX580 can maintain base clock rates when under heavy processing load. With such high core temperatures in the 90 C range, however, it's no wonder that the same i9 CPU in the even thinner MacBook Pro is getting a lot of negative press for its supposed throttling behavior.

There are good Core i9 laptops and then there are bad Core i9 laptops. Perhaps to nobody's surprise, thicker Core i9 laptops are generally faster than the thinner ones despite them all carrying the same i9-8950HK CPU. The performance setback for the Core i9 MacBook Pro 2018 is the latest example of pushing the cooling solution a bit too far just to get the vaunted i9 brand in the marketing.

The next thinnest laptop with the i9-8950HK CPU is the Asus Zenbook UX580. Unveiled at Computex 2018, the Asus is just 18.9 mm thick compared to the 15.5 mm MacBook Pro 15 2018. Fortunately for Asus, that additional girth allows the UX580 to maintain base clocks even when subjected to extreme CPU loads.

To test this, we ran Prime95 to stress the Asus at 100 percent CPU load and then monitored clock rate behavior with HWiNFO. Core temperature jumps almost instantaneously to 96 C as shown by the screenshot below, but clock rate is nevertheless in the 3.6 to 4 GHz range compared to the 2.9 GHz base clock of the i9-8950HK. The high Turbo Boost clock rate does not last long, however, as it eventually stabilizes at 3.0 GHz. In other words, we can confirm that the Core i9 CPU in the Zenbook can maintain base clock rates at the very least with only short bursts of Turbo Boost.

We recently tested the Core i7 SKU of the MacBook Pro 15 2018 with a potential Core i9 SKU down the line to investigate its supposed throttling behavior. When considering that the same Core i9 CPU in the thicker Zenbook hovers around 90 C at base clock rates, however, it's tough to imagine how the even thinner Apple design can fare much better.

Note the jump in CPU temperature when Prime95 is initiated. Clock rates are high at around 3.6 GHz before stabilizing at 3 GHz and 87 C for the remainder of the stress test
Note the jump in CPU temperature when Prime95 is initiated. Clock rates are high at around 3.6 GHz before stabilizing at 3 GHz and 87 C for the remainder of the stress test
Prime95 initiated at the 20 second mark. Note that power consumption is highest at the very start of the test before trailing off at about 81 W in order to keep temperatures in check. The results match with our clock rate observations from above
Prime95 initiated at the 20 second mark. Note that power consumption is highest at the very start of the test before trailing off at about 81 W in order to keep temperatures in check. The results match with our clock rate observations from above

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2018 07 > The wacky dual-screen Asus Zenbook does Core i9 better than the MacBook Pro
Allen Ngo, 2018-07-21 (Update: 2018-07-21)
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.