Mid-Range 1.2 GHz Retina MacBook CPU Shows Nice Speed Boost Over Low-End Model

Ahead of last Friday's launch of the new Retina MacBook, we saw several early benchmarks for the entry-level notebook running a 1.1 GHz Intel Core M processor, putting CPU performance for the new machine roughly on par with the 2011 MacBook Air according to Geekbench.

With the machines now available for purchase, we're starting to see Geekbench results for the mid-range 1.2 GHz processor, revealing a significant performance boost over the low-end chip for multi-core benchmarks, but less so for single-core testing.

It will take a little while for Geekbench results to firm up as the machines work through their early housekeeping tasks, but the best results we're seeing so far for the 1.2 GHz model are approaching 2600 on 64-bit single-core tests and over 5300 on multi-core tests. That performance compares to roughly 2400/4450 for the 1.1 GHz model, meaning that the mid-range model seems to be showing performance improvements at least in line with the 9 percent increase in CPU frequency. Multi-core performance in particular seems to be seeing a nice bump with the faster chip.

geekbench_1_2_ghz_macbook
These scores for the 1.2 GHz Retina MacBook are roughly in the same range as the low-end models of the previous-generation Early 2014 MacBook Air, despite the much lower power consumption that has enabled Apple to build an ultra-thin fanless design.

In addition to the 1.1 GHz and 1.2 GHz chip options, Apple is also offering a 1.3 GHz processor as a build-to-order option. We have, however, yet to see any Geekbench results for these chips, and shipping estimates for machines with these chips were at 3-4 weeks when Apple began taking orders on Friday, suggesting it may yet be some time before we see data on their performance.

Apple is taking advantage of Intel's latest "Core M" Broadwell chips for the new Retina MacBook. The chips offer extremely low power usage, but Apple is slightly overclocking these chips for higher performance. The low-end MacBook uses a 5Y31 chip that runs by default at 900 MHz but which supports overclocking to 1.1 GHz at the cost of bumping power consumption from 4.5 watts to 6 watts, and Apple has elected to use the faster speeds to improve performance.

The mid-range MacBook uses the 5Y51 chip, which defaults to 1.1 GHz but which Apple has bumped by 100 MHz to run at 1.2 GHz. The high-end custom MacBook takes advantage of the 5Y71 chip that is designed to run at 1.2 GHz, and Apple has similarly bumped this one by 100 MHz to run at 1.3 GHz.

The Retina MacBook is in very short supply following its launch last Friday, with all stock and custom configurations currently listed as shipping in 4-6 weeks from Apple's online store. The company's retail stores also have yet to begin stocking the new machines, although some (mainly in the United States) do have models on display for customers to test out.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
65 months ago

I still do not understand the selling point of this device.

It is more pricey than an Air and slower. Sure but has a nice screen but if there is an Air revision then it's expected to have the ForceTouch and also a Retina display.

The 256GB 11in Air + 8GB RAM is $100 less and much faster, and if you want a bigger screen then the 256GB 13in Air + 8GB is the same price. Both giving you more ports, performance, and the same battery life(11in Air) or more 13in).

I know I'm probably going to be based but unless you REALLY need USB-C or REQUIRE Retina on a sub 13in device I do not get why you would buy the MacBook. I'm all ears as to why ANYONE thinks this is the perfect device for them over the Air, but I have not seen a single person make that statement.

I do admit the Space Grey is sexy though.


I don't understand why people are trying to figure out why someone wants to buy it.

I'm getting it because I insist on having a retina screen and want something more portable than my 13" rMBP. I don't want to wait for the Airs to get a retina screen. I don't care about having 1 port. I don't do anything that needs a faster more capable CPU. Is this machine expensive? Yes but if I'm willing to pay that much for what it offers, why does it bother others so much?
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
65 months ago
Very nice machine.

Incoming: all the comments from people who are far from the target of this laptop.
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
65 months ago

1.2 Ghz? What a joke. My 2001 Pentium IV was almost twice as fast at 2 Ghz.


Someone needs to get you an instruction manual.
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
65 months ago
Finally a Computer that's as fast as an iPhone ... :D
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
65 months ago

Very nice machine.

Incoming: all the comments from people who are far from the target of this laptop.


And who is the target of this Macbook? People with more money than brains?
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
65 months ago
Wow, even slightly faster than an iPad Air 2 :P
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Kuo: Apple to Launch Several Macs With Arm-Based Processors in 2021, USB4 Support Coming to Macs in 2022

Thursday March 26, 2020 8:19 pm PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple plans to launch several Mac notebooks and desktop computers with its own custom designed Arm-based processors in 2021, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a research note obtained by MacRumors. Kuo believes that Arm-based processors will significantly enhance the competitive advantage of the Mac lineup, allow Apple to refresh its Mac models without relying on Intel's processor roadmap,...

Apple Says MacBook Air With Retina Display Can Exhibit Anti-Reflective Coating Issues, Unclear if Eligible for Free Repairs [Updated]

Thursday March 26, 2020 8:16 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple this week acknowledged that MacBook Air models with Retina displays can exhibit anti-reflective coating issues, as indicated in a memo shared with Apple Authorized Service Providers and obtained by MacRumors. "Retina displays on some MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro computers can exhibit anti-reflective (AR) coating issues," the memo states. Apple's internal service documentation ...

Hands-On With the New 2020 12.9-Inch iPad Pro

Wednesday March 25, 2020 2:10 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple last week announced new 11 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, and as of today, the new iPads are arriving to customers. We picked up one of the new 12.9-inch models and checked it out to see just what's new and whether it's worth buying. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. When it comes to design, the new iPad Pro models are identical to the 2018 iPad Pro models, but ...

Apple Considering Delaying iPhone 12 Launch 'by Months'

Wednesday March 25, 2020 12:51 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple is preparing to delay the launch of the 2020 iPhones expected to be equipped with 5G technology, according to sources with knowledge of Apple's plans that spoke to Japanese news site Nikkei. Apple has reportedly held internal discussions about the possibility of delaying the launch "by months" over fears of how well iPhones would sell in the current situation, and supply chain sources...

Hands-On With the New $999 MacBook Air

Thursday March 26, 2020 1:45 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Alongside new iPad Pros last week, Apple also refreshed the MacBook Air, adding more storage, faster 10th-generation processors, and an updated keyboard. We picked up one of the new machines to take a look at some of the upgrades added in the 2020 update. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Design wise, there are no real external changes to the MacBook Air's body,...

Apple Offering 90-Day Free Trials for Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X

Thursday March 26, 2020 2:58 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple is offering new free trial options for Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X, its video and audio editing software designed for professional projects, giving customers 90 days to try them out prior to a purchase. The new longer trial options will be beneficial to those who are working from home, including students who are no longer able to work in a classroom environment, and those who are...

Apple Watch Series 6 Could Feature Touch ID Fingerprint Sensor, Pulse Oximetry and Sleep Tracking Support

Friday March 27, 2020 11:28 am PDT by Juli Clover
The upcoming Apple Watch Series 6 set to be released this fall could include a Touch ID fingerprint sensor built into the crown of the device, according to Israeli site The Verifier, which cites "senior sources" who have worked with its staff for a "number of years" as the source of the rumor. It's not clear how the alleged Touch ID fingerprint sensor would be implemented, as the Digital...

Apple Launches COVID-19 Website and App With Screening Tool and Resources

Friday March 27, 2020 9:00 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple today announced that it has released a new COVID-19 website and iPhone app with a screening tool and other resources to help people stay informed and take the proper steps to protect their health during the spread of the novel coronavirus. Apple partnered with the CDC, the White House Coronavirus Task Force, and FEMA on this initiative. The website and app allow users to answer a...

Deals: Huge Refurbished iPhone Sale Discounts iPhone 7, 8, X, XR, and XS (From $120)

Friday March 27, 2020 5:47 am PDT by Mitchel Broussard
Woot is back today with a big sale on refurbished iPhones, including markdowns on the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Woot. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. As with every Woot purchase, those...

A12Z Bionic Chip in iPad Pro Allegedly a Renamed A12X With Extra GPU Core Enabled

Thursday March 26, 2020 6:35 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple's new 2020 iPad Pro models are equipped with an A12Z Bionic processor that's remarkably similar to the A12X chip in the 2018 iPad Pro models, offering little in the way of performance improvements. The A12Z does, however, feature an 8-core GPU while the A12X includes a 7-core GPU, which sets them apart, but new evidence shared by NotebookCheck suggests that the A12Z Bionic is simply a...