16-Inch MacBook Pro Hands-On: Benchmark and Performance Tests

Apple's new 16-inch MacBook Pro came out last week, and the new machine features a larger display, more maximum RAM, and higher maximum storage, all features designed for Apple's pro user base.

The 16-inch MacBook Pro is using the same 9th-generation Intel processors that were used in the 15-inch MacBook Pro models released in May, but there's a new thermal architecture that Apple says boosts performance. We went hands-on with the new 16-inch MacBook Pro to test those claims, putting it through real world tests and benchmarks.


We tested the base 8-core model, which is the higher-end model priced at $2,799. It has a 2.3GHz Intel Core i9 processor (turbo boost up to 4.8GHz), an AMD Radeon Pro 5500M GPU with 4GB GDDR6 memory, a 1TB SSD, and 16GB 2666MHz DDR4 RAM.

Starting off with Geekbench 5 testing, the 16-inch MacBook Pro outshined the similarly specced 15-inch model that was released earlier this year when it came to multi-core performance.

The 16-inch machine earned a single core score of 989 and a multi-core score of 6733, while the 15-inch machine scored 972 in the single-core test and 5781 in the multi-core test. That's an increase of 16.5 percent, which is a decent performance boost considering these machines have the same processor.

macbookpro16geekbench5
There are even more significant gains with the new 5500M GPU. In an OpenCL test, the 16-inch MacBook Pro scored 30608, compared to the 15-inch MacBook Pro's score of 17904, and in a Metal test, the 16-inch MacBook Pro scored a 29840 vs. the 15-inch MacBook Pro's score of 19065.

macbookpro16openclmetal
Combined, the updated GPU and the new thermal architecture of the 16-inch MacBook Pro have brought some notable performance improvements. Of course, benchmarks aren't reflective of real world usage, so we also did some testing of apps pro users might take advantage of.

In Final Cut Pro X, we exported a five minute 4K video while also running other apps at the same time to test export conditions under heavy RAM usage. The export took two minutes and 35 seconds, half the time of the video.

Conducting the same test in Premiere Pro (with apps like Safari and QuickTime running) the five minute video took three minutes and five seconds to export. These times are similar to what we see with a baseline 2017 iMac Pro.

We also tested Photoshop with multiple other apps open in the background, including Safari with a ton of tabs. The machine was using upwards of 70 percent of the 16GB RAM, but performance was solid with no issues. The fans kicked in of course, but that's to be expected.

It's worth noting that in these tests, the MacBook Pro got just as hot as other i9 MacBook Pros that experienced thermal issues in the past, but power and performance were not throttled per the Intel Power app.

All in all, the new 16-inch MacBook Pro is performing well, and the updated thermal architecture has indeed had a significant positive effect on power management and thermal regulation. The 16-inch MacBook Pro is speedy, stable, and a solid option for the pro user base these machines are designed for.

What do you think of the 16-inch MacBook Pro's performance? Let us know in the comments.

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro 16"

Top Rated Comments

TheAllmighty Avatar
17 months ago
Wow thats fast! But not as fast as the MacBook Pro 2020 model
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CarlJ Avatar
17 months ago

Wow thats fast! But not as fast as the MacBook Pro 2020 model
That's nothing - on the 2025 model, the tests finish before they begin.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nezr Avatar
17 months ago

Here are my thoughts on the new MacBook Pro. I love the increased speed and greater RAM offering, but I'm going wait for the Mac lineup to start featuring Face ID before I make any sort of upgrade. I also think at the current price point of MacBook Pros, it should feature an upgraded camera. A 720p camera is not "Pro" and doesn't cut it in 2019. Other than that, I really like the improvements Apple has made and it is a step in the right direction.
Who cares about Face ID when your watch can unlock the MacBook Pro without even looking at it.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iMi Avatar
17 months ago
I love the performance of the new MacBook Pro. It's a fantastic machine. Really glad I ordered it.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
happyslayer Avatar
17 months ago
Happy to see all the positive reviews and comments about the new 16" MBP. I'm still rocking my 15" 2018 MBP and it's great for what I do. (mainly computer/network support and writing) Also I actually like the feel of the butterfly mechanism keyboard and have had no issues with it. Anyway, one question:

I see all these complaints about the 720p camera. Just curious what do you all use the laptop mounted camera for? I do Skype and Zoom and FaceTime and it's been totally fine. Nobody has complained about the image quality. Do you guys use something special that needs a higher rez cam? Or is it just the idea that a $2400 plus computer "only" has a 720p cam. Just not sure what the complaints about it are. I would like it to have Face ID eventually just for convenience but otherwise, quality seems fine.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Adult80HD Avatar
17 months ago
I ordered a maxed out (well, all but the SSD, 4TB there is still 3x more than I need) 16" when they launched and it arrived today, two days early. I was using a maxed out mid-2018 15" MBP and this thing is *noticeably* faster in everyday use so far. My big reason for the upgrade was my work, where I edit lots of high-resolution photos on a LG SuperFine 5K display (and the new Pro XDR soon!). Adobe Lightroom has been dogging since version 8.4 moved a lot of processing to the GPU (they say you can turn that off, but doing so has no effect on performance problems introduced with version 8.4). With the new 16" it's zipping along really fast. I also do a lot of image stacking using Helicon Focus and timing the same stacks of images, the new machine is easily twice as fast, and on some stacks it finishes the jobs in 1/4 the time of my previous machine.

I'm loving the extra screen real estate. It's not immediately obvious but after 4-5 hours on the new machine, going back to the old 15" it was immediately noticeable. I actually didn't have problems with the previous keyboard after the first version was updated, but again, after going back from using the 16" I am appreciating the reversion to a keyboard with greater "feel" and depth to the keystrokes.

If upgrading from a very powerful mid-2018 machine is this noticeable, some of you on the much older machines will see a huge performance difference. BTW, the extra size is barely noticeable vs. the 15" MBP.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

whatsapp privacy banner

WhatsApp Reveals What Happens to Users Who Don't Agree to Upcoming Privacy Policy Changes

Sunday February 21, 2021 1:11 am PST by
WhatsApp has revealed how it will gradually limit the features available to accounts held by users who do not accept the platform's impending privacy policy changes, due to come into effect on May 15. WhatsApp's new banner explaining the privacy policy changes According to an email seen by TechCrunch to one of its merchant partners, WhatsApp said it will "slowly ask" users who have not yet...
new airpods leaked image 52audios

Alleged Leaked Image Claims to Show Third-Generation AirPods and Case

Sunday February 21, 2021 2:49 am PST by
A new image claims to offer our first real world look at Apple's next-generation AirPods. The image, shared by 52audio, showcases both AirPods and the charging case for what the site claims to be the third iteration of the wireless earbuds. 52audio has in the past shared images claiming to showcase different parts of the third-generation AirPods. Most notably, the site in November shared...
2021 mbp sd slot feature2

Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models With HDMI Port and SD Card Reader to Launch Later This Year

Monday February 22, 2021 8:52 pm PST by
Apple plans to release two new MacBook Pro models equipped with an HDMI port and SD card reader in the second half of 2021, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who outlined his expectations in a research note obtained by MacRumors. The return of an SD card reader was first reported by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman last month. "We predict that Apple's two new MacBook Pro models in 2H21 will have...
mac security privacy

Apple Takes Step to Prevent Further Spread of 'Silver Sparrow' Malware on Macs

Monday February 22, 2021 6:13 am PST by
Over the weekend, we reported on the second known piece of malware compiled to run natively on M1 Macs. Given the name "Silver Sparrow," the malicious package is said to leverage the macOS Installer JavaScript API to execute suspicious commands. After observing the malware for over a week, however, security firm Red Canary did not observe any final payload, so the exact threat to users remains a...
iphone 12 pro display video

BOE Rumored to Supply iPhone 13 Display Panels After iPhone 12 Failures

Monday February 22, 2021 9:54 am PST by
Display manufacturer BOE will be one of the main suppliers of OLED panels for iPhone 13 models, according to a new report today from Taiwan's Economic Daily News. BOE is said to be working with touch panel manufacturer General Interface Solution (GIS), part of the Hon Hai Group to develop OLED panels. Multiple iPhone 12 rumors suggested that BOE would supply some panels for the devices,...
pink squares macos

Apple Investigating Issue With 'Pink Squares' Appearing on Displays Connected to M1 Mac Mini

Sunday February 21, 2021 11:08 am PST by
In an internal memo this week, obtained by MacRumors, Apple informed service providers that it is aware of and investigating an issue that may result in "pink squares or pixels" appearing on displays connected to an M1 Mac mini. Image via Twitter user @FatihVidyograf This issue has been reported by users across the Apple Support Communities, MacRumors Forums, and Reddit since the M1 Mac mini...
Top Stories 47 Feature

Top Stories: More iOS 14.5 Beta Changes, iPhone 13 Rumors, Apple Watch Charging Issue Fixed

Saturday February 20, 2021 6:00 am PST by
Apple is continuing to tweak things during the iOS 14.5 beta testing period, and it looks like there will be some nice changes coming in the update when it's released to the public in a month or so. This week also saw the release of a watchOS bug fix update for Series 5 and Series SE owners, addressing a serious issue where their watches may not charge after entering Power Reserve mode,...
google chrome macos big sur

Chrome Used 10X More RAM Than Safari on macOS Big Sur in Recent Test [Updated]

Saturday February 20, 2021 12:52 pm PST by
Under normal and lightweight web browsing, Google Chrome uses 10x more RAM than Safari on macOS Big Sur, according to a test conducted by Flotato creator Morten Just (via iMore). In a blog post, Just outlines that he put both browsers to the test in two scenarios on the latest version of macOS. The first test was conducted on a virtual machine, and the second on a 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro...
m1 mac mini

M1 Mac Users Report Excessive SSD Wear

Tuesday February 23, 2021 7:07 am PST by
Over the past week, some M1 Mac users have been reporting alarming SSD health readings, suggesting that these devices are writing extraordinary amounts of data to their drives (via iMore). Across Twitter and the MacRumors forums, users are reporting that M1 Macs are experiencing extremely high drive writes over a short space of time. In what appear to be the most severe cases, M1 Macs are sai...
maxresdefault

Revisiting Apple's MagSafe Leather Wallet After 3 Months of Usage

Saturday February 20, 2021 8:04 am PST by
Back in November when Apple's MagSafe-compatible Leather Wallet first launched, MacRumors videographer Dan took a look at the accessory and ended up disliking it because of the weak magnetic connection. Dan kept using the Leather Wallet despite its flaws, and after three months with the accessory, his opinion has changed and he wanted to share some new thoughts on it. Subscribe to the ...