13-Inch MacBook Pro With M2 Chip Outperforms Base Model Mac Pro Despite Costing Nearly $5,000 Less
The new 13-inch MacBook Pro with the M2 chip appears to be faster than a base model Mac Pro in benchmarks, despite costing nearly $5,000 less.
In an apparent Geekbench 5 result that surfaced on Wednesday, the new 13-inch MacBook Pro achieved a multi-core score of 8,928, while the standard Mac Pro configuration with an 8‑core Intel Xeon W processor has an average multi-core score of 8,027 on Geekbench 5. These scores suggest the new 13-inch MacBook Pro, which starts at $1,299, has up to 11% faster multi-core performance than the base model Mac Pro for $5,999.
Higher-end Mac Pro configurations are still able to outperform the M2 chip, such as the 12-core model, but at the cost of $6,999 and up.
Given the Mac Pro has other benefits like expandability, configurable GPU options, larger built-in SSD storage capacity options, and much larger RAM options, this certainly isn't an apples-to-apples comparison, but the benchmarks are nevertheless a testament to the impressive performance of Apple silicon chips in more affordable Macs.
A sample of average Geekbench 5 multi-core scores for various Macs:
- Mac Studio with M1 Ultra: 23,366
- Mac Pro with 28-core Intel Xeon W: 20,029
- 14-Inch and 16-Inch MacBook Pro with M1 Max: 12,162 to 12,219
- Mac Pro with 12-core Intel Xeon W: 11,919
- 13-Inch MacBook Pro with M2: 8,928 (based on a single result)
- Mac Pro with 8-core Intel Xeon W: 8,027
- 13-Inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air with M1: 7,395 to 7,420
The Mac Pro and the high-end Mac mini are the only Intel-based Macs remaining in Apple's lineup. During its March event, Apple teased that a new Mac Pro powered by Apple silicon is coming, with an announcement widely expected by the end of this year.
The new 13-inch MacBook Pro will be available to order worldwide starting this Friday, with deliveries to customers and in-store availability beginning June 24. Apple is also releasing a redesigned MacBook Air with the M2 chip in July that should likewise outperform the base model Mac Pro for an even lower starting price of $1,199.
Top Rated Comments
Then the new MacPro will come out and become the current trophy holder - only to be supplanted in the future by the next laptop.
This leap frog cycle of laptop and Mac Pro has been going on for decades.
Someone has already said it here, but it bears repeating: if you don't know why you would need a Mac Pro then you don't need a Mac Pro. (The same goes for the M1 Max/Ultra).
Good luck adding 512GB RAM, quad high-end AMD workstation-class GPUs (and yes, they will thrash the M2 on GPU-heavy tasks, especially if they're not lovingly hand-optimised for Metal and the Apple Silicon GPU) or maybe 4 specialist PCIe video/audio interface cards to that MacBook Air - or maybe fitting an internal RAID array. OK you could use an external PCIE cage but those only provide a fraction of the 64 lanes of PCIe bandwidth that the Mac Pro offered.
What's true is that the base, $6000 8 core Mac Pro (with a worse GPU than the iMac) has never made sense as a stand-alone purchase, unless you were in a very small niche that just needed those specialist PCIe cards. With that CPU and GPU, even the top-end Intel iMacs and MacBook Pros offered comparable power.
I'd wager that most serious Mac Pro customers spent at least another $6000 on internal expansions and upgrades (whether they were third party or Apple). That's the bit you can't do on an iMac or MacBook.
What's changed with M1 is that the raw CPU power of the M1 Ultra in the $4000 Mac Studio now beats even the top-end Xeon available in the Mac Pro (something like a $7k upgrade over the base MP) - but even that glosses over a few points, like, the M1 Ultra tops out at 128GB RAM while the MP can take 1.5TB (...about half of that $7k CPU upgrade is not to just get more, but to get the M-suffix version that supports up to 2TB RAM). ...and you have to very carefully pick your benchmarks for the M1 Ultra to compete with some of the high-end GPU options you can fit to the Mac Pro.
The Intel Mac Pro probably is heading for obsolescence in the long term, and we know that Apple are going to offer some sort of Apple Silicon-based replacement Real Soon Now, but the sort or enterprises that need Mac Pro-level expandability can't turn on a dime, and a lot of work needs to be done on optimising the software they use before they can switch to Apple Silicon.
Also remember that computer pricing is enormously dependent on economies of scale - and Apple sell vastly more MacBook Airs than they do Mac Pros.
Even compared to PC hardware you'd probably need to spend Mac Pro-like prices to get Xeon-W, ECC and (these two are important) 1.5TB RAM capacity and 8 PCIe slots with comparable numbers of lanes. However, that skipped over a whole class of much cheaper machines with maybe 3-4 PCIe slots, 512GB RAM capability and maybe better-value AMD procesors. My main beef with the 2019 Mac Pro was not that it was a bad machine, but there was such a huge gulf between the totally non-expandable iMac and the insanely expandable Mac Pro.