General Performance: A Mild Improvement

We know what the GPU upgrade is good for, but what about the mild CPU bump in the 2010 13-inch MacBook Pro?

General OS usage is a difficult thing to quantify, but one measure of performance has always been the number of bounces an icon in the dock makes before an application loads. I decided to take it to the next level and write a quick script to launch 15 applications in a row, timing how long the entire process takes.

I launched, in order: Mail, Safari, Activity Monitor, iTunes, iCal, DVD Player, iPhoto, Photo Booth, Quicktime Player, Disk Utility, Preview, iMovie, Front Row, Garage Band and Aperture.

The entire process stresses both the disk and CPU, which is why we see a huge improvement when going to an SSD as well as differences between CPU speeds.

Application launch performance improves tremendously compared to last year's model thanks to the now standard 4GB of memory. The 2GB last year's model came with just wasn't enough. Now if you upgraded your previous gen 13-inch MBP then you'll hardly notice a performance improvement.

Also pay attention to just how well the Late 2008 MacBook Air does in this test. That's thanks to its SSD. Add an SSD to any of these notebooks and you'll see a similarly awesome increase in performance.

Adobe Photoshop CS4 Performance

The Retouch Artists Speed Test we use for our CPU testing under Windows also works under OS X. We're running the exact same benchmark here, basically performing a bunch of image manipulations and filters and timing the entire process.

Start doing real work with the 13-inch MacBook Pro and you'll note that it's significantly slower than the new 15-inch models. The Core i5 just rocks. Compared to last year's model the new MBP is much faster, but again that's due to the 4GB vs. 2GB of DDR3 that comes standard with the machine. An upgraded 2009 13-inch MBP would be basically the same speed.

Aperture 2 RAW Import

For my Aperture test I simply timed how long it took to import 203 12MP RAW images into the library.

Photographers and digital media creation professionals will want to opt for the 15-inch MacBook Pro, the faster CPU is definitely worth it.

Cinebench R10

In situations where we're not memory bound, the improvement over the previous generation 13-inch model is small. The performance improvement here is 6%. I'd say in most apps you'd see a 2 - 4% improvement over the 2.26GHz 13-inch from last year.

Quicktime H.264 Video Encoding

Our final benchmark is more consumer focused. Here I'm taking an XviD and converting it to an iPhone-supported H.264 format.

Encoding performance is improved over last year's 2GB/2.26GHz model, but no where near as much as the Core i5/i7 managed with the 15-inch model. If you're doing anything CPU intensive, the new 13-inch MacBook Pro isn't an upgrade.

Not Arrandale, but Better Graphics Notebook Performance, Netbook Battery Life
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  • runebinder - Saturday, June 26, 2010 - link

    Huh? I have a glossy screen too, abysmal is certainly not a word I'd associate with it. I'm sitting in a brightly lit room atm and having no issues with the screen at all. In a pitch dark room it's great. Yes the colours may be more accurate on the matte, however I much prefer the glossy, the contrast ratios are better and everything looks more vivid.

    If yours looks that bad I suggest you get it looked at as it sounds defective.
    Reply
  • Aenslead - Wednesday, June 09, 2010 - link

    Another rather irrelevant review of an outdated, expensive, fruit-themed, fanboi toy that still cannot convince me to try it over an ASUS or CLEVO notebook.

    That's all I have to say. Have a nice one.
    Reply
  • mathias_mm - Wednesday, June 09, 2010 - link

    Seriously, I wish people like you could just get banned. Why do you care to comment on the article if you have nothing constructive to say? It really is just flamebaiting, and everyone knows the Mac users will never stop using Macs because of crap like that, just like it's quite apparent you'll never even try a Mac. Reply
  • Aenslead - Wednesday, June 09, 2010 - link

    It's my opinion and I'm entitled to express it as I see fit. I'm an avid AT reader and I will share my thoughts whenever I want, however I want, regardless of what you think. And the fact that you replied means it wasn't an irrelevant comment for you. :)

    I as well have been reading AT since it began, and don't quite fancy how now every 5/10 reviews are somehow Apple related.

    And yes, I will never get a Mac.
    Reply
  • mathias_mm - Wednesday, June 09, 2010 - link

    Okay, maybe I overreacted with the whole banning thing. I'm just sick and tired of this endless flaming it always ends up with, and it always starts with someone writing fanboi or whatever, in a comment saying "I'll never have none of that" or something else that means nothing. Why is that discussion so important to so many people? Is it a matter of pride to support x company instead of y?
    And that is why i decided to comment. The comment itself remains irrelevant, but the tone and the purpose of it (or at least the effect it usually has), is relevant if you value a meaningful discussion in the comments. Which i do.

    I also fail to see how the amount of time you've been here is relevant at all. I've been reading the site for what i guess must be around the same time, some times more often than others, but that doesn't mean i can come here and post whatever. And if Anand prefers to write more about Macs, too bad for you, I really doubt he ever started the site for you in the first place.

    And I will also state you should try a Mac seriously some time. I'm not saying buy one, but try t out somehow. Can it ever hurt? :)
    Reply
  • Aenslead - Thursday, June 10, 2010 - link

    Totally agree. I do not think someone like Anand would care to please me - he is bright enough to do whatever he pleases with HIS site, which, I must say, is the one I fully trust in reviews and comments.

    My post was not meant to be productive, constructive or helpful at all - it was a rant. I complained about something I didn't like. Sort of like "why do women get PMS?!"

    I've gone through hell with Mac's, honestly. The business I own provides support for Mac and PC users alike - my latest fight was trying to get a conventional cablemodem-router network to work with a MacBook Pro, a 27" iMac, and some PCs. the MBP kept acquiring 189.170.xx.xx addys, whereas the DHCP was enabled and configured to 192.168.1.xx - setting it manually helped, but it did not enable discovery of the MBP, and could not configure a Calendar program to share schedule with the rest of the PCs.

    I found them less intuitive, more complicated, hardly friendly-user than even a Windows 95 PC.

    I have a PowerMac G4 and a 15" MBP (GF8500, C2D) at the office for software testing and I even tried once or twice to use them as my main working machines, but failed. Linux-failure type, you know? "It's cool, but... I just don't find my way through it".

    Maybe I'm a PC fanboi. Maybe it's what I enjoy the most, besides ranting. I will take a Core i5 Alienware M11x ANY DAY over this Mac.
    Reply
  • B3an - Friday, June 11, 2010 - link

    Aenslead, i totally agree with you.

    And i think Apple in general get way more press and coverage than they deserve, especially on yank sites.

    Also do not like how Anand always seems to be a little bias when reviewing Apple gear, he does not point out obvious floors like he would in other hardware reviews.
    Reply
  • zer0sum - Wednesday, June 09, 2010 - link

    Maybe put a little more thought into your opinion next time...
    The last ten Anandtech reviews are as follows:

    HTC EVO 4G
    MBP 13
    Acer Ferrari One
    OSX Steam performance
    AVADirect Clevo W860CU
    Value SSD Roundup
    ASrock X58
    HP ZR30w LCD
    Asus U30Jc
    Nvidia GTX465

    Throw in at least 3-4 other stories about Asus Computex, Eee Pad and tablet as well.
    Hell, they haven't even mentioned the iphone 4 yet!!

    Whilst you might find an Asus or a clevo more to your liking a lot of people buy a 13" MBP pro because it has some truly impressive features over other brands

    Design, dimensions, weight, build quality, battery life, operating system, trackpad and gestures, firewire800, applications, etc.

    For reference I have a new 13" MBP, a 2008 15" MBP and a new MSI GX640.
    There is no perfect laptop for me and they all have their pros and cons obviously...
    Reply
  • Johnmcl7 - Wednesday, June 09, 2010 - link

    Agreed - for a technical site there's an awful lot of Apple coverage even when there's little to write about while genuinely innovative and more technologically advanced machines are ignored. Specifically I'm surprised the site has never covered the new Sony Z series - Sony have managed to do what Apple claim isn't possible by having up to an i7 processor in a 13in chassis with an Nvidia GT 330m that's smaller and lighter than the 13in Apple Macbook as well as pack in *four* SSDs and packing a 1080p display. Despite all the power it packs, its hybrid graphics setup allows for long batterylife, it also offers an extended battery. I think there's a lot to benchmark and test there particularly the likes of Trim support and general performance of the quad SSDs. Reply
  • Tros - Thursday, June 10, 2010 - link

    Care to mention a model number? I can only find the 13-inch Vaio VPCZ1190X on Sony's website, which comes with NONE of those features, except for a disclaimed 7.5-hour battery life. If you halved pretty much all of those specs and got rid of the GT330m, that matches the Vaio VPC1190X.

    And innovative? Not really. A keyboard backlight is innovative (and Sony was beaten to the punch by a few years). Auto-adjusting screen brightness is innovative (IIRC, Alienware did this a long time ago). Utilizing an accelerometer to shutdown HDDs before crash-impact is innovative (credit to IBM ThinkPads). The multi-touch finger gestures are innovative (first saw this in X11). Switching to a LLVM compiler to transparently take advantage of GPGPU power when it's magnitudes faster/efficient than CPU computation is innovative (Apple). This Vaio laptop? This is doubling transistors among of a sea of manufacturers that believe doubling transistors is the only way to make a better PC. The 13-inch MBP gets special attention for the innovations it brings to the tech-world, while nearly all PC manufacturers depend heavily on CPU-upgrades to sell their machines. More power to AT for focusing on innovations, rather than every variant of laptop that has a few hundred more megahertz.
    Reply

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