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 Roundup: MacBook Air
Related Forums: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro

Top Rated Comments

Klae17 Avatar
120 months ago
Waiting for the quad-core sky lake 15in rMBP.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mattopotamus Avatar
120 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
120 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
120 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
120 months ago
Tick-tock...

Be careful, Katniss!
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
redheeler Avatar
120 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

General Apps Messages

iMessage Down for Some Users [Update: Service Restored]

Thursday May 16, 2024 3:00 pm PDT by
The iMessage service that Apple users to send messages to one another appears to be down for some users, and messages are failing to go out or are taking an extra long time to send. There are numerous reports about the issue on social networks and a spike of outage reports on Down Detector, but Apple's System Status page is not yet reporting an outage. Update: Apple's status page says...
iOS 17

Troubling iOS 17.5 Bug Reportedly Resurfacing Old Deleted Photos

Wednesday May 15, 2024 5:29 am PDT by
There are concerning reports on Reddit that Apple's latest iOS 17.5 update has introduced a bug that causes old photos that were deleted – in some cases years ago – to reappear in users' photo libraries. After updating their iPhone, one user said they were shocked to find old NSFW photos that they deleted in 2021 suddenly showing up in photos marked as recently uploaded to iCloud. Other...
iphone 15 pro max vs iphone 16 pro max

iPhone 16 Pro Max Looks This Much Bigger Beside iPhone 15 Pro Max

Thursday May 16, 2024 4:51 am PDT by
This year's upcoming iPhone 16 Pro Max is expected to get a boost in overall size from 6.7-inches to 6.9-inches, and a new image gives us a good idea of how the current iPhone 15 Pro Max compares to what could be Apple's largest ever iPhone. The image above, posted on X by ZONEofTECH, shows a dummy model representing the ‌iPhone 16 Pro‌ Max alongside an actual iPhone 15 Pro Max. Dummy...
iOS 17

iOS 17.5 Bug May Also Resurface Deleted Photos on Wiped, Sold Devices

Friday May 17, 2024 12:24 pm PDT by
A bug in iOS 17.5 is apparently causing photos that have been deleted to reappear, and the issue seems to impact even iPhones and iPads that have been erased and sold off to other people. A Reddit user wiped an iPad following Apple's guidelines in September of 2023 before selling it off to a friend. That friend updated the iPad to iPadOS 17.5 this week, and began seeing the Reddit user's old ...
oled m4 ipad pro grainy display reports

OLED iPad Pro Users Report 'Grainy' Displays, But It May Not Be a Defect

Friday May 17, 2024 5:57 am PDT by
Some new M4 iPad Pro models are exhibiting a visible static grain pattern across the OLED display, according to several user reports on Reddit (1, 2, 3) and the MacRumors Forums. Image credit: MacRumors user bk215 Users who see the grain generally report that it is most noticeable in dark environments with the display set at a low to medium brightness while viewing content with gray or muted...
Delta Hands On Feature

iPhone Emulators on the App Store: Game Boy, N64, PS1, PSP, and More

Thursday May 16, 2024 12:45 pm PDT by
In April, Apple updated its guidelines to allow retro game emulators on the App Store, and several popular emulators have already been released. The emulators released so far allow iPhone users to play games released for older consoles from Nintendo, Sony, SEGA, Atari, and others. A list of some popular emulators available on the App Store so far follows. Released Delta Delta is...