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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  • damianrobertjones - Wednesday, June 09, 2010 - link

    I noticed a real world article with regards to battery life and for the life of me cannot recall the link.

    Anyhow, the guy grabbed six laptops of various battery life etc and simply played a dvd.

    The macbook (Not sure which he used) lasted around 5.5 hours continuous play... the same as the other laptops.

    Baffled??
    Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Wednesday, June 09, 2010 - link

    P.s. I also think that this article gives me nothing that hasn't been said before and wonder why it's been written? Reply
  • BlendMe - Wednesday, June 09, 2010 - link

    AT readers have been asking for a review of the new 13" and the 320M, so he delivered. Reply
  • tim851 - Wednesday, June 09, 2010 - link

    Seriously, am I getting so old that I am the only one who thinks 1280x800 is sufficient for a 13.3" screen? Reply
  • Ninjahedge - Wednesday, June 09, 2010 - link

    Yes.

    /me hands tim a pair of bifocals.
    Reply
  • Dennis Travis - Wednesday, June 09, 2010 - link

    Do you have a pair for me also? :D Reply
  • Ninjahedge - Thursday, June 10, 2010 - link

    /me snaps bifocals at bridge.

    Bifocal Monocles for both!!!!!!!
    Reply
  • FATCamaro - Thursday, June 10, 2010 - link

    hahahaha. nice Reply
  • rfadream - Wednesday, June 09, 2010 - link

    Hey Anand are you sure those temps you measured are in Fahrenheit and not Celsius? Reply
  • jabber - Wednesday, June 09, 2010 - link

    Its amazing the type of quality product you can get from using just slave labour to make it.

    Well done.
    Reply

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