Apple's fastest new MacBook Pro is slowed down by heat


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/07/22/apples-fastest-new-macbook-p.html


#2

The more the years go by the more I feel compelled to stick with the late 2011– 2012 models we’ve been using. If I feel the urge for something better maybe I’ll just trying to cram in more RAM and an SSD and keep this thing going and see if that satisfies the itch.


#3

I don’t really understand the need to shove the best processor in a laptop unless you are doing serious work on it. At which point, your CAD, graphics, or video work is probably being done on a 17" chassis, and cooling is less of an issue, or at least it should be. For 95% of laptops a well designed Core i5 is more than sufficient.


#4

I’m beginning to sense that I may be waiting for a while.

Do you know what sunk cost fallacy is?


#5

I have two bits of advice for @SeamusBellamy. One, do you actually need the highest end CPU that Apple sells? Decades of computers never being fast enough have taught a lot of nerds to always buy the highest end of a product line. In this modern era of fast SSDs, CPUs that don’t get better every year, and software that doesn’t require a better faster machine with every update, that habit is outdated. Unless you need as many cores as it is possible to get, then avoid the 9 core MBP - the more modestly specced models don’t have thermal issues.

Two, Apple reflexively goes for less noise/more heat when designing their computers. Fans in Macs run extremely slowly by default, even if this means the entire device gets warm or hot to the touch while doing nothing much. Fortunately, there are several utilities that override the default fan speed in macs. I have found that upping the fan speed on my Mac Mini slightly is enough to bring temperatures down dramatically, and does not result in an annoying level of sound. I assume that installing Macs Fan Control on the new i9 MBP will solve its thermal throttling issues at the expense of making its fan loud enough to hear in a quiet room.


#6

This issue is actually a little more nuanced than the headlines would reveal. First, most people have no need for an i9 CPU - the base models are completely fine for most use cases.

Second, Premiere Pro is notoriously heavy on even the best systems. Other testers have found that aside from Premiere, every video editing app performs better on the i9 model compared to the base i7 model. Maybe this is something Apple should have accounted for anyway, but I don’t think it’s fair to place all the blame on Apple and Intel when Adobe seems to have done so little to optimize its pro application.

Finally, it seems likely that Apple made the assumption several years ago that Intel would be able to continue decreasing the thermal footprint of its CPUs. Apple designed laptops accordingly, but Intel hasn’t been able to keep pace with its roadmap; the best CPUs just run hotter and use more power than their predecessors when under load.


#7

So while I agree with the logic of your reply, to think that a top end computer is so poorly designed that it cant even meet it’s full potential is kinda laughable.

Here is a new Mclaren supercar. After a mile the rev limiter keeps you at 100 kmh to keep the car from damaging itself.


#8

Here’s a post worth checking out: https://www.reddit.com/r/apple/comments/90ns82/jonathan_morrisons_2018_macbook_pro_i9_extensive/?st=JJWXE58N&sh=c258c62d

TL;DR, Adobe’s app is the outlier. All other video editing apps tested perform faster on the i9 model. For Premiere users, it’s helpful to know that the new MacBook Pro isn’t for them. For everyone else, it’s nice to know that the i9 model lives up to its promise of being the fastest Apple laptop available.


#9

Apple could also realize that their highest end laptop is for pro users who care first about functionality, not aesthetics. While your arguments make sense, they don’t excuse the fact that Apple has prioritized slimness and design over just making a piece of hardware that works. I think it’s safe to say that most Apple power users do in fact use Abobe software, Premiere and After Effects, Media Encoder and the rest of the CC suite. Sacrificing performance for cool looks, prioritizing a thin chassis over cpu cooling, is frankly idiotic for a power user machine. Sorry. Yes, Intel could make cooler running chips. Yes, Adobe could improve their code. It’s Apple’s responsibility to make the best laptop for their power users given the way those things are currently designed. Otherwise, why bother do it at all? iPad “Pro” tablets for all!


#10

"From all the testing, it seems that the temperatures can be just kept under control for CPU-only stress. But as soon as you use the GPU, too, the added heat causes the CPU to throttle to compensate.

So you’re buying a notebook with a great CPU and a decent GPU, but you cannot fully use both at the same time."

“A key difference here may be that the reviewer used an external drive. That slow down would keep the computer from overheating.”

"I did a transcoding test on the 2017 i7 vs 2018 i9, where the SSD benched at 1.5X faster in the 2018. The 2018 took 20% longer to complete the task despite twice the ram and a wicked fast ssd.

Going to repeat this test (and a few new ones) today just to be sure."

All from the post you quoted
I once again think your advice was sound, “most people have no need for an i9 CPU - the base models are completely fine for most use cases”.
but as you say it would be nice to know that the “i9 model lives up to its promise of being the fastest Apple laptop available.” but I cant, and it’s design won’t even let it reach and sustain it’s own potential.


#12

Maxing out the specs used to be an easy if expensive way for an ordinary user to “future proof” their computer purchase. No longer. Today, instead of “good, better, best,” Apple’s notebook lineup has become “good, better, not intended for ordinary mortals.” The exact same thing will be happening to their non-pro iMac lineup once they get around to updating it.


#13

One thing I’d suggest is that if you do sever with Apple, you won’t have the same problem again. If you pick [Whatever PC brand] because you like them and they’re well made, and then five years from now their new stuff isn’t up to what you’d prefer, you can just switch to another PC brand, and all your software and equipment comes with you.


#14

But the McLaren P1 is limited to 350kph, because the tires would shred at higher speeds, even though the engine and aerodynamics could push it faster.


#15

There are lots of different kinds of pro users, including those who value portability. Not everyone who buys a MacBook Pro is a video editor invested in Adobe’s ecosystem.

Maybe the answer is a workstation/desktop replacement line of laptops. I doubt Apple would ever go that route, but there’s definitely a market for computers like that. Lenovo’s W line and Dell’s Precision line come to mind, and they all perform great. Relative to what Apple sells, they tend to feel a little bulky and inelegant, but they’re among the best ways to maximize performance while still having a computer that’s technically portable.


#16

So 1st this guy did not test “all other video software”. He tested a smattering of common video software to compare to Adobe premier.

Problem is the industry standards are Avid Media Composer (which he didn’t test), Adobe Premier (which causes the CPU to throttle), and Final Cut (which is Apple’s in house product and has been losing market share to Adobe Premier since the transition to X, and as Apple’s computers have stagnated). A significant portion of the professional video business runs on Adobe.

More over Premier isn’t the only CPU heavy application out there. Its not an outlier in that sense. Just sticking with video, encoding software in particular is very CPU heavy. In excess of Premier. To the point where its often used as a tool to benchmark CPUs. And this guy only seems to have tested Final Cut/Apple’s encoding solution. Rather than the most common ones. Any sufficiently CPU heavy task is going to throttle this thing. And video isn’t the only place where CPU heavy tasks come into play.

That’s legitimately a problem. Sure most people don’t need that increase in performance. But in professional and productivity applications you do. And while most of that work doesn’t take place on laptops. Sometimes it has to. This is really just another example of how Apple has abandoned a professional creative space it used to dominate. And a pretty bone headed maneuver. Even for routine use running your parts hot for extended periods of time can seriously impact life span and reliability. And if you toss some multi-tasking in there you’re going to max out the CPU temps even with software that purportedly doesn’t.


#17

I wonder how many iterations it would take for the Mac/PC hardware cost differences to pay for having to replace his software if he switched?

@seyo - This reminds me of how I feel about a lot of modern architecture. “Yes, your house is beautiful! Too bad the faucets leak, adjacent rooms are 20 degrees apart in temperature, and I have to stand in the pantry to use the remote control because there was nowhere in the living room to put the receiver.”


#18

Ok, bad analogy.
On a side note, man, that is bad ass!


#19

It’s OK if you don’t like modern architecture (which is 100 years old), but those things don’t really have anything to do with that. A pre-modern building isn’t going to be any better in any of those regards. I’d recommend getting some washers for your faucets.


#20

Apple doesn’t need to make good products to make money. They just convince the fanboys that their stuff is cool, and ride the wave all the way to the bank.

Even among these commenters, the doubling down to defend incompetence is strong.


#21

I say make the switch.