From a performance standpoint, the 2012 MBP lines up basically where we would expect it. My tester was the high-spec SKU with the same 2.6GHz i7-3720QM, 8GB of DDR3, and 1GB GT 650M as Anand’s Retina MacBook Pro evaluation unit, with the primary hardware difference being the 750GB mechanical hard drive in place of the Samsung PM830-based SSD in the rMBP. Performance matched up pretty close, with the MBP being just a tick behind the rMBP in most of our benchmark suite. And with the performance deltas we're talking about, it's really almost like splitting hairs. 

3D Rendering Performance - Cinebench R11.5

3D Rendering Performance - Cinebench R11.5

iMovie '11 Performance (Import + Optimize)

iMovie '11 Performance (Export)

Final Cut Pro X - Import, Optimize, Analyze Video

It appears that the i7's Turbo mode is less aggressive in the MBP versus the Retina, possibly due to the revised cooling system that the Retina model has. The 2012 MBP retains the same thermal design as the 2011 model, so it's unsurprising to see that Apple is being more cautious with it.

Boot Performance

iPhoto 12MP RAW Import

Adobe Lightroom 3 Performance - Export Preset

Adobe Photoshop CS5 Performance

The SSD-based Retina obviously has faster boot times and performs significantly better in any disk-based activity. Based on my limited experiences with the Retina, it really feels substantially more responsive. Our usual recommendation from the last couple of years stands here too: if you're buying a new MacBook Pro, your first upgrade should be to add an SSD.

Starcraft 2 - CPU Bench

Starcraft 2 - GPU Bench

Starcraft 2 - CPU Bench

Starcraft 2 - GPU Bench

Half Life 2 Episode Two Performance

GPU performance is substantially improved over the 2011 MBP, with the GT 650M outpacing both the HD 6750 and 6770, to say nothing of the HD 6490 in the early 2011 Pro. We saw roughly equivalent performance with the rMBP again, with the MBP maintaining a slight edge over the Retina, but again with a margin of less than 5%.

We took a look at performance over time, and as expected, Ivy Bridge and Kepler do a really good job of minimizing heat buildup over time and the corresponding amount of throttling that occurs. Through 40 runs of our Half-Life 2 test (at native res with maxed out settings), I ended up with nearly identical numbers the entire way through, with a very slight downward trend emerging (the delta between the average of runs 2 through 10 was a bit under 1% better than the average of runs 32 through 40). It's pretty much a flat line all the way across, the new chips really let the MBP run at significantly lower temperatures. Using it versus a Core 2 or SNB MacBook Pro, it noticeably doesn't get anywhere near as hot to the touch in day to day use.

Light Workload Battery Life

Medium Workload Battery Life

Heavy Workload Battery Life

Battery life is pretty solid – we got a bit over 7 hours in our light web browsing test (with dynamic GPU switching on), a hair over 6 with dynamic GPU switching off (forcing the GPU to stay on), close to 5.5 hours in our medium-heavy browsing workload, and a bit over 2 hours in our brutal, heavy use case test (which adds a 1MB/s file transfer and a looping 1080p video to our heavy browsing test). Apple quotes 7 hours of “normal” use, and that’s about right based on my standard usage – if you use your notebook for light browsing and word processing with medium levels of brightness, you’ll get at least 7 hours if not a bit more. Obviously, once you start hitting the dGPU hard, it’ll die pretty quickly, but at least GPU efficiency has improved enough that just leaving the GPU on in light workloads doesn’t run down the battery too much. 


Meet the 2012 MacBook Pro, just like the 2011 MacBook Pro. The non-Retinized Display: Still Good


View All Comments

  • dagamer34 - Thursday, July 19, 2012 - link

    There is no scaling hardware in the rMBP. Apple instead uses custom software scaling algorithms. Did you really read Anand's review?

    Regardless, with a Mac, you are basically paying for support up front in the form of stores where you can easily get your Mac serviced, and if it's badly screwed up, totally replaced.
  • Sunburn74 - Friday, July 20, 2012 - link

    If thats true, how come with every windows laptop, anand is sure to include little macbook and macbook air jabs here and there? Reply
  • robco - Friday, July 20, 2012 - link

    Most likely be cause Apple sweats the details in their designs while others don't. If they can't get something adequate for their goals off the shelf, they design their own. I've yet to see a review of an ultrabook where it manages to have a good display, good keyboard, solid build quality and, the big one - a trackpad that works well. Yet the MacBook Air hits all these points. The panel is decent (not the very best, but good), the keyboard is great to type on and backlit, the unibody design is solid and the multitouch trackpad works great. Battery life is also very good.

    I think it's the frustration that other companies are either unwilling or unable to design laptops with the same level of care and attention to detail. Apple provides a very good end-to-end consumer experience. It's a shame that so far few have come close to matching it.
  • Sunburn74 - Saturday, July 21, 2012 - link

    No what I'm saying is, if anand truly believes there is no cross shopping between apple and windows machines, why with every windows machine review he has little jabs about how they pale compared to apple and he throws in an obligatory "you can buythis machine but for more money you can just buy apple", but with apple reviews he fails to mention that windows machines exist at all.

    You can't play both sides of the field at once.
  • seanleeforever - Thursday, August 2, 2012 - link

    because Anand is a Mac lover (i think he made similar statement in one of his apple product review) and as such, he felt obligated to point out how inferior other PC manufacture is in comparison.

    it is like, when you describe how smart a monkey is, you always list a human as a reference, but you never do the other way around.

    Me, on the other hand, don't care crap about apples' product. it is too limiting and i think OSX is (at least to me) less functional than windows, which fits college girl perfectly since all they do is facebook and youtube, and you don't have to worry as much when clicking randomly ads or fancy icon on the web.

    i have yet to see a serious programmer use mac. just saying.
  • mavere - Thursday, July 19, 2012 - link

    Considering that only Apple laptops can legitly run OSX, it means that if you're in the market for a Macbook, you're pretty much *only* in the market for a Macbook.

    The sparse comparisons to other Macbooks were warranted in context of a barely upgraded product, and the review even ends in an anti-endorsement!

    Honestly, you're just complaining because you have preconceived notions of the brand, and are just upset (for some reason) that the reviewer didn't build up on those biases, even if he didn't refute them at all.
  • Sunburn74 - Friday, July 20, 2012 - link

    Not really. There are plenty of people who consider both macs and windows. I consider myself in that category. I'm willing to switch to a macbook air if the price is right, OS regardless. However, I just don't see why I should suffer through an OS switch at those prices compared to what comparable windows machines offer.

    But thats just the thing: when guys like us who have no problem putting bootcamp on say an iMac or something, or having 2 or 3 oses, or dare I say run linux if our mood so fits us read reviews like this, we get no actual information other than "drool anand loves macs... buy one....drool some more".

    How about some objectivity? Some comparisons for people who could buy a macbook pro or could end up going with a nice high end sony vaio or something.
  • ggathagan - Friday, July 20, 2012 - link

    But that has been done to death in so many other articles, it ends up with the reviewer essentially beating a dead horse.

    Seriously, do you really need the reviewer to state for the umpteenth time that if you are platform-neutral, you tend to get better value from a non-Apple product; that you pay extra for the Apple name and look?
  • Krane1 - Sunday, August 12, 2012 - link

    I doubt that. Maybe one half of 1%. Other than that, you either buy foreign or domestic Reply
  • ananduser - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    I am eagerly awaiting for the MBP 13" review. Reply

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