Benchmarks Confirm New MacBook Air Brings Decent Speed Improvements, MacBook Pro Less So

Earlier this week, we shared some Geekbench benchmarks for the Broadwell processors in the new 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro and the new 13-inch MacBook Air, which pointed towards speeds that were comparable to mid-2014 models.

At the time, we noted the results might shift once more data came in and the machines got past their initial housekeeping tasks, and Primate Labs' John Poole has now shared additional benchmarks for all stock versions of the new machines. The new data indicate that performance improvements may indeed be somewhat better than initially thought, though still relatively moderate.

On the new MacBook Air, both the default 1.6 GHz Core i5 chip and the 2.2 GHz Core i7 chip available as an upgrade performed somewhat better than their predecessors on the 32-bit single-core test, but there were more significant gains in the multi-core test for the higher-end processors.

mba-march-2015-multicore
According to the new averages, single-core performance increased 6 percent from Haswell to Broadwell. Multi-core performance on the i5 chip increased 7 percent, while multi-core performance for the i7 model increased 14 percent.

Due to the more meaningful jump in multi-core performance between the 2.2GHz Core i7 chip and the 1.6GHz Core i5 chip, Poole recommends that MacBook Air buyers go for the processor upgrade.

If you're thinking of buying the new MacBook Air I would strongly recommend the i7 processor. It has 20% faster single-core performance and 25% faster multi-core performance for only a 15% increase in price.

Benchmarks of the new 13-inch MacBook Pro showed slight gains over previous-generation models, but the differences were not quite as pronounced as on the MacBook Air. Single-core performance increased between 3 percent and 7 percent from Haswell to Broadwell, depending on the model, while multi-core performance increased 3 percent to 6 percent.

mbp-march-2015-multicore

I have no recommendations regarding the processor for the new MacBook Pro. The performance differences and the price differences between the processors are roughly equivalent.

Intel operates on a "Tick-Tock" chip manufacturing model. Tock upgrades represent a new microarchitecture, while tick upgrades like Broadwell are generally an improvement on tock architecture, leading to improvements in efficiency. As a tick upgrade, the minor speed improvements Broadwell brings are no surprise. Intel's last tock upgrade was Haswell, and its next tock upgrade will be Skylake, coming later this year.

Apple's new 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro and new MacBook Air models are available immediately from the online Apple Store and from Apple's retail stores.

Related Roundups: MacBook Air, 13" MacBook Pro
Related Forums: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro

Top Rated Comments

Klae17 Avatar
103 months ago
Waiting for the quad-core sky lake 15in rMBP.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mattopotamus Avatar
103 months ago
tick-tock always has seemed backwards to me. I would think tick would be the new microarchitecture and tock would be the improvement.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HobeSoundDarryl Avatar
103 months ago
If only Apple had the skills to develop their own CPU and GPU and really show Intel, Nvidea, AMD etc, how it should be done!
YESSSS! Because nobody needs bootcamp or Parallels compatibility with Windows, nor does anyone mind waiting a couple of years for OS X software by entities other than Apple to be re-written (AGAIN) to support yet another CPU (and now GPU) change, likely leaving a few important programs for some without a re-written upgrade. Just loved the switch from PowerPC to Intel back in '06. When can we go through that again (this time without a "rosetta" to keep third party software working until they can get around to re-writing their software again)?

Personally, I think Intel and the others are quite good (great!) at what they do. And the utility that comes from also using Intel is pretty valuable to me (some software that I need only exists for Windows and some client tools only work with windows). 2 fully functional computers in one case is quite great for those who need access to both.

----------

Out of curiousity how many ports do you (or anybody else reading this) use day to day on a notebook?
It's not always about day-to-day. Does your car have optional 4-wheel drive that you can use when you need it? Does your house have heat to use when you need it (in the winter) and AC to use when you need it (in the summer)? Depending on where you live right now, why do you have the other one (heater or AC) you are not using right now?

I like having standard ports for when I need them. For example, anyone buying this very portable, "only 2 pounds" laptop to take on the road for work will almost certainly need the ability to connect to some wired things. Ethernet is still very common- even when wifi is available. For me, I have both at the hotel where I am right now: the wifi is too slow to use but the ethernet screams-- glad I have the dongle for that one with me.

Just needed to print some airline tickets and that involved either plugging in a regular USB cable OR plugging in a USB drive to then plug into the printer (no wireless printing at this hotel). If I had this new MB with me, I'd need another dongle to do the same.

I put a few movies on this MB because I may have some downtime while flying or between flights. However, right now, I have some downtime in the hotel room. The HDTV has basic cable hooked up (glorious SD upscaled to HD for that blurry, "where's the HD???" quality). If I had the HDMI jack or HDMI dongle, I could connect and actually watch something I want to watch in HD on this HDTV (the hotel might even have a HDMI-to-HDMI cable I could borrow, but they certainly would not have a USB-C to HDMI dongle). Back home, no problem, I have the movie in iTunes and an AppleTV. But here is another one of those "when I need it" situations.

Back at home, I have everything wireless so I could get by with just one port for charging. But I'm not always at home or where I can depend on the same kind of setup. Instead- for work- I can be in all kinds of situations where there are no direct connections for USB-C (yet). Depending on "just bring an adapter" and/or "just bring a dongle for what you'll need" when you can't always know exactly what you need translates into having to bring ALL of your adapters and dongles so that you are ready for just about anything you'll encounter... OR just trying to deal with ultra slow wifi and/or not being able to print those airline tickets, etc. If a client has wifi access restrictions such that I can only hook in via ethernet, I'd have to have that ethernet dongle along. Etc.

I can't completely swallow the argument for "thinner & lighter" if the price of that is to carry along several accessories to make it work well for what was previously common uses of a mobile computer. Apple might as well move the battery and circuit board outside too to make the next one even thinner & lighter. It seems if they did, some of the faithful would help spin that as a positive as well: "Why does anyone need a battery inside? I just have mine plugged into the wall socket here at home."
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
x34 Avatar
103 months ago
Out of curiousity how many ports do you (or anybody else reading this) use day to day on a notebook?

several all at once:

-magsafe
-usb
-usb

+sd card here and there


--> 1 usb-c = LOL
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TWSS37 Avatar
103 months ago
Tick-tock...

Be careful, Katniss!
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
redheeler Avatar
103 months ago
Were there any updates to the NON RETINA macbook pro?
Im interested in getting a new one but not sure if its still the 2013 model.

No updates to that model since 2012, and there aren't likely to be any more.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iPhone trade in

Apple Adjusts Trade-In Values for iPhones, Macs, and More

Wednesday January 25, 2023 9:40 am PST by
After announcing new Mac and HomePod models last week, Apple adjusted its trade-in values for select devices in the United States. iPhone trade-in values decreased by up to $80, and most Android smartphones also went down. Mac trade-in values remained unchanged or increased by up to $40 depending on the model, while some Apple Watch models increased in value and others decreased. Trade-in...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Side Perspective Feature Purple

iPhone 15 Pro Expected Later This Year With These 7 Exclusive Features

Tuesday January 24, 2023 4:53 pm PST by
Apple's next-generation iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max are expected to be announced in September as usual. Already, rumors suggest the devices will have at least seven exclusive features not available on the standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus. An overview of the seven features rumored to be exclusive to iPhone 15 Pro models:A17 chip: iPhone 15 Pro models will be equipped with an A17...
Mac mini M2 2023

New 256GB Mac Mini and 512GB MacBook Pro Have Slower SSD Speeds Than Previous Models

Tuesday January 24, 2023 1:11 pm PST by
While the new Mac mini with the M2 chip has a lower $599 starting price, the base model with 256GB of storage has slower SSD read and write speeds compared to the previous-generation model with the M1 chip and 256GB of storage. A teardown of the new Mac mini shared by YouTube channel Brandon Geekabit reveals that the 256GB model is equipped with only a single 256GB storage chip, while the...
iOS 16

iOS 16.3 for iPhone Launching Next Week With These 4 New Features

Friday January 20, 2023 11:43 am PST by
In a recent press release, Apple confirmed that iOS 16.3 will be released to the public next week. The software update will be available for the iPhone 8 and newer and includes a handful of new features, changes, and bug fixes. Below, we've recapped bigger features in iOS 16.3, including support for physical security keys as a two-factor authentication option for Apple ID accounts, worldwide ...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Side Perspective Feature Purple

iPhone 15 Expected to Feature Wi-Fi 6E Like Latest Macs and iPad Pro

Wednesday January 25, 2023 5:39 pm PST by
The iPhone 15 will support Wi-Fi 6E, according to a research note shared this week by Barclays analysts Blayne Curtis and Tom O'Malley. The analysts did not specify whether the feature will be available on all models or limited to the Pro models. Apple has added Wi-Fi 6E support to a handful of devices so far, including the latest 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro, 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook...
maxresdefault

Hands-On With the New M2 Pro Mac Mini

Tuesday January 24, 2023 1:45 pm PST by
The new M2-series MacBook Pro and Mac mini models launched today, marking the debut of the first M2 Pro and M2 Max chips. We have the M2 Pro Mac mini on hand, and thought we'd take a look at the machine and do a series of benchmarks to see how it fits into Apple's lineup. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Base model Mac mini machines come with either an M2 or M2 Pro...
apple tv 4k red image

Apple Releases tvOS 16.3

Tuesday January 24, 2023 10:10 am PST by
Apple today released tvOS 16.3, the third major point update to the tvOS 16 operating system that originally came out in September. Available for the Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD, tvOS 16.3 comes six weeks after tvOS 16.2, an update that added Apple Music Sing. The tvOS 16.3 update can be downloaded over the air through the Settings app on the ‌‌‌‌Apple TV‌‌‌‌ by going to System > Software...
maxresdefault

Hands-On With the New M2 Max MacBook Pro

Thursday January 26, 2023 12:14 pm PST by
New 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with the latest M2 Pro and M2 Max chips are available in Apple retail stores and are already in the hands of customers, and we picked up one of the new M2 Max machines to answer all of the questions MacRumors readers considering a purchase might have. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Yesterday, we asked MacRumors fans on...