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BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

SHOOTOUT: 13" MacBook Pro 'mid 2010'
versus the 15" Alternatives

Originally posted Friday, July 2nd, 2010, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

The 2.66GHz 13" MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo has the same core frequency as the 2.66GHz 15" MacBook Pro Core i7. Could the Core i7 "crunch numbers" that much faster? How about the graphics processor? Is the GeForce GT 330M dramatically faster than the GeForce 320M? We used three CPU tests and three GPU tests to answer these questions. For added perspective, we included the "early 2008" MacBook Pro 2.60GHz Core 2 Duo with the GeForce 8600M.

Cinebench 11.5 is a benchmark based on a professional 3D app called Cinema 4D. It uses all physical and virtual cores to render the CPU test. (longer bar means fastest rating.)

Geekbench 2.1.5 runs an integer and floating point processor test. Then it runs a memory performance and bandwidth test. The overall score is a combination of the four test sections. We ran the 64-bit version of the app. (longer bar means fastest overall rating.)

Compressor 3.5 (from Final Cut Studio) -- We used Apple Qmaster to set up a Quick Cluster that uses all available cores (including virtual). Then we opened the "Willdlife Reel" from the QuickTime HD Gallery and rendered it using Apple's "HD DVD: H.264 60min" preset. Time is in seconds. (Shorter bar means fastest.)

Enemy Territory: Quake Wars -- We used our recorded demo file which we call "BF." Settings are 1280x800 "Maximum Quality" with all sliders at max, all boxes checked, highest choices selected, and 4X multi-sampling. (Longer bar means fastest.)

World of Warcraft -- Our WoW GPU test occurs in FireTree realm. Our warrior stands next to the totem pole at the entrance to Camp Narache (Red Cloud Mesa). He runs East toward the large tree at the top of the hill. Turns around and runs West back to the totem pole. Using Titan Performance addon, we are able to capture min, max, and average frame rate. This test has proven to be a reliable measure of GPU power.

The video settings were 1280x800 "Ultra" at 4X Multisampling. (Longest bar means fastest.)

Bioshock -- The Mac version has been created by Feral Interactive. After the plane crashes into icy uncharted waters, you discover a rusted bathysphere and descend into Rapture, a city hidden beneath the sea. We captured the frame rates as the whale swims past the bathysphere. (Resolution was 1280x800. Longer bar means fastest.)

LEGEND of GRAPHS (RED bar means FASTEST)
MBP 2.66 i7 15" = 'mid 2010' 15" MacBook Pro Core i7 2.66GHz with GeForce GT 330M (512MB GDDR3)
MBP 2.53 i5 15" = 'mid 2010' 15" MacBook Pro Core i5 2.53GHz with GeForce GT 330M (256MB GDDR3)
MBP 2.66 c2d 13" = 'mid 2010' 13" MacBooK Pro Core 2 Duo 2.66GHz with GeForce 320M (256MB GDDR2 SDRAM shared with main memory)
MBP 2.60 c2d 15" = 'early 2008' 15" MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo 2.6GHz with GeForce 8600M GT (512MB GDDR3)
All test units had 4GB of SDRAM and were running OS X Snow Leopard.

WHAT DID WE LEARN?
The 'mid 2010' Core i5 and Core i7 MacBook Pros are significantly faster than the 2008, 2009, and 2010 Core 2 Duo based MacBook Pros whether crunching with the CPU or stressing with the GPU.

If you are on a limited budget, you might consider a used or refurbished 2008 or 2009 Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro since its standalone GPU is stronger than the integrated GeForce 320M used in the 2010 Core 2 Duo MacBook Pros.

We included the Core i5 MacBook Pro in the CPU crunch tests but left it out of the GPU tests. For one thing, when we tested it at higher resolutions, it scored essentially the same as the Core i7 model (since they share the same GPU). For another thing, we forgot to test it at 1280x800 before we returned the borrowed unit. ;-)

Feel free to email your thoughts to me, .

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copyright 2010 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
Email , the webmaster