Friday, October 28, 2016

Apple MacBook Pro Review with Retina Display

The day after hardware announcements by Microsoft with the all-in-one Surface Studio and news of Surface Book, its the turn of Apple putting hand to the line-up of its computer. The Cupertino company has not put its hand, at least for now on the iMac or Mac Pro, but is focused on a single, substantial innovation with the new MacBook Pro, which debuts as expected an unprecedented OLED streak, which Apple calls touch bar.

The MacBook new versions are considerably thinned and lightened, so that the 13-inch version overlap with the MacBook Air, destined to disappear or remain in the entry level list. The unibody design of the MacBook Pro has been redesigned and even if the appearance is known with the change in the new color Space Gray, inherited from the iPhone/iPad world, the thickness decreases to 14.9 mm for the 13-inch and weight of 1360 grams has 23% less volume than the previous generation. The 15 inch model with 15.5 mm thickness is 1,800 grams.

Looking at the two models stands out in particular the huge trackpad with Force Touch (pressure sensitive and the "click" is not mechanical) is 46% larger at 13 inches and even twice on the 15th. "The keyboard it is realized with a throttle mechanism (in the Mac world debuted with the MacBook 12-inch) second generation.

According to report on social media some Apple fans, the company in the United States would be removing the non-Retina MacBook Pro 13 from its Apple store. It is the last computers with DVD player that date back to 2012. Because they are still in the Apple store, you may be asking? This is one of Apple's open secrets that are worth telling.

The MacBook Pro 13-inch non-Retina last time was last updated in 2012, which costs relatively little, and is located in the bottom of the page of Apple's online store and has almost obsolete specifications. The processor is an older Intel Core i5 2.5 GHz, has 4GB of memory, a hard drive (slow) to 500GB at 5400 rpm and integrated graphics Intel HD Graphics 4000. The battery lasts about seven hours.

Instead his successors weigh less, have no DVD player and have more powerful processors which also ensure longer battery life (10 hours) as well as having more RAM faster, more powerful integrated graphics and mass storage units SSD less roomy but extremely more fast . Additionally, the retina screen has a resolution and density of points for clearly superior thumb.

Why Apple keeps this computer still in the catalog? Actually it's not even to make money with a lower entry point, because the site shows how to lower the price of the MacBook Pro, the MacBook Pro 1499 EUR 2015 (perhaps also be retired in a few weeks or months to make room for a new generation of ultra-thin). Instead, the "old" 2012 model is a bit 'the open secret of the Apple store and the APR, the Apple Premium Reseller (in shops affiliated third parties). In fact, the old computer 101 model (extended would be the model MD101LL/A in the basic variant) and still sells a lot. The reason, as we shall see in a moment, is simple.

First, the 101 is the only model still with the optical drive, which for some users is absolutely necessary. It is the only MacBook that still use standard hard drives and not solid state (SSD), which offers a lot of storage space at reasonable prices. It is the only MacBook which can be even updated the user RAM . And finally it is relatively cheap even if you carry maximum features: 8 GB of RAM and 1 Terabyte of storage in the aftermarket third party retailers come to propose disks from 2 Terabytes and 16GB of RAM. Moreover, it is not yet obsolete: it has the Thunderbolt, the USB 3, the trackpad multitouch and all relief performance, only between 10% and 25% lower than those of the new brothers.

Who buys it then? Certainly people who want a more spacious machine and with the optical drive, but also many schools and offices, for example, where it is required that can be made ​​internal maintenance (and to which not interesting that the non-retina has a longer screen resolution low).

To all of those subjects that is, who are interested in having a MacBook Pro versatile but affordable, upgradeable at home, repaired in case of disk failure, able to burn DVDs for data storage . If now, as it seems, the "101" is quietly coming out of Apple stores is a bit 'the end of an era, the world in which we lived until recently. Now we have entered the era of the "welded" computers, ultra-thin and inaccessible, that it's quicker to change than to repair them: a whole other world.

In mid-2015 Apple portable line is at a turning point: MacBook makes separate category, Pro 13 has never been balanced, the new Air has become the cheapest offer - but with an uncertain future. And then there's the MacBook Pro 15 , never as now the real work laptop from Apple . And 'the model that the company produces for those who must get serious on the move, and this on the one hand leads to a very focused machine, niche, sector, on the other hand makes it possible to do something expensive and specialized.

The update of May 2015 does not change the design does not change the screen and not even change the CPU. Does not lead the transition to the Intel platform, but remains on Broadwell Haswell, and it is a forced choice since Intel has not (or rather had) a Quad Core CPU updated to the latest production.

It is not heresy to think of MBP 15 as a travel laptop. Again there is the Force Touch trackpad, appreciated and adored on MBP 13, and MacBook Air, there is a module PCIe SSD that sets new speed record (the fastest in the industry, nearly 2,000 MB/s write) and above all there is the option of choosing a dedicated GPU AMD , not Nvidia.

The Iris Pro 5200 (Haswell) of the basic model, the top configuration of the range combines a Radeon R9 M370X with 2 GB of GDDR5 , a custom chip for Apple exclusively find on this machine. Finally, it improves the autonomy declared: 9 hours of web browsing , 1 in more equal then the battery weight and space. And 'the result of optimizations to the screen, the transition from OS X Mavericks to Yosemite, and hardware components.

Technical Specs

Apple allows you to purchase two configurations both customizable when ordering components to normal one. Its good to keep that in mind because, between the internal modules, only the SSD PCI-E is replaceable. The rest includes 16GB of RAM DDR3L to 1600 MHz, WiFi ac + Bluetooth 4.0 Broadcom, 2 USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt ports, HDMI, SDXC reader, MagSafe 2, Room 720P and double side microphone. Everything as usual. The screen is a 15.4-inch IPS 2880 x 1800 pixels for a maximum yield of 1920 x 1200 pixels.

Its a budget of doors and possibilities than enough in the workplace. To be honest, a 3rd USB might like, but with two Thunderbolt you get to connect up to 12 accessories in series (6 each), without forgetting their conversion into DisplayPort 5120 x 2880 at 60Hz (AMD version) for a Triple Monitor configuration, or the use of docking station for the study or the shop.

I believe that those who invest € 2000 and passes in a sector car like this to do it even in this, and in fact optical is very likely to have already Thunderbolt and dock accessories to exploit. The flexibility of a laptop that becomes Desktop is the key that Apple itself prefers, and is the reason on which revolves the whole affair.

Portability, performance and battery

MacBook Pro 15 Retina 2015 weighs 2.2 kg , and is little if we think that we think of the aluminum block that contains it and the huge 99.5 WHr battery installed. Enters into a backpack small quite comfortably, and has the usual rugged construction and anti-scratch modern MacBook. I'm trying to tell you that is not heresy to use it for travel everyday . If you need the computing power that allows its hardware to get, you can live with its 2000 grams while on the move. In a way, I see more annoying on the stock exchange its 85 watt charger.

And this is one of the aspects that make it a regret not to have, here, a CPU to 14 nanometers in Broadwell class. Would allow better temperature, noiseless operation, and also improved the GPU integrated Iris Pro (5200 to 6100). Doing extra discourses on autonomy that would be output (to be proven), they are qualities that would approached MacBook Pro 15 MacBook Pro 13 , then use as a portable - as well as workstations.

But it remains, however, a performance margin of 15 inches compared to 13-inch models. The Quad Core i7 CPU and the Radeon R9 M370X ensure, when exploited, to complete the task in half the time required by the duo CPU i7 Dual Core + Iris Pro 6100 - and outclass any Ultrabook Windows of hardware. I leave aside the differences recorded in pure benchmark, and I leave a few practical examples:

I close the conversion of MBP 15 Handbrake an MTS 1080P by 29 seconds in 17 seconds. On a MBP 13 configured at the top (i7 Dual, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD PCI) will use 30. On HP Spectre X360 will serve 40. On MBA i5 2014, 35.

Of MBP 15 I close the rendering of 1 minute with Adobe Premiere Pro with a mounting 1080P H264, BT 10-20 K, maximum quality, in 1 minutes and 3 seconds. MBP 13 of them serving 2:26. MBP 15 index of 2.4 GB of photos and video (187 files) from a USB pen with Adobe Lightroom CC (create new catalog) in about 7 seconds. About 12 Retina MacBook with Core M will serve 20. On Surface 3, 2 minutes and 47 seconds. With Asus UX305, 2 minutes and 35.
View Original

This is to prove to those who could assume the performance approach between Pro 13 and Pro 15 because of failure to hardware evolution, that there is still a net margin in favor of the larger model and expensive. If you need power desktop-class, Pro 15 is the only way forward.

It remains difficult to make a comparison between the GPU Radeon and Nvidia earlier. The cards are based on different architectures. The new R9 M370X is a 28 nm on architecture Cape Verde , here clocked at 800 MHz, RAM at 1125 MHz (effective 4500 MHz with 4x multiplier of GDDR5) and a 128-bit bus. It has 640 processors for parallel computing and 40 units for texture mapping.

The GPU Nvidia GTX 750M had a core clock for just faster (926 MHz) and memory at 1254 MHz (5016 MHz effective), but a total of 32 units for texture and 384 computing units. In performance benchmarks, and in those 3D, AMD wins and improves overall performance, but as mentioned it remains difficult to make a comparison test of doubt. We can say that there is an upgrade, not a revolution.

The new GPU AMD does not upset things, but improves benchmarks and temperatures. Battery should be considered excellent for a machine with Retina display, Quad Core CPU and dedicated GPU, but we got used well. In my work done web productivity, with Safari and 7/8 open tab, Skype, Twitter, and Fireworks in the background, I exceed 9 hours. Going with the load and consumption going down, I think it can do 8 hours for advanced outdoor use.

We are at least two hours over even-hardware machines like the Dell XPS 15, certain Alienware and Asus UX501 (which have lower prices, it must be said) and the credit is all battery from 99.5 Whr. Frighteningly huge, too. With Intel Skylake end of 2015, Apple will manage to reduce it then to make the MacBook Pro thinner machines and read?

Temperature control

I was surprised by the noise of this laptop. If you do not launch a rendering, you are not working on Final Cut 4K, if you do not play or put Lightroom to apply CC script of corrections of 100 RAW, can not hear the fan spinning. MacBook Pro 15 is a silent machine when pushed to high revs , but also in most cases pushed manages to produce a soft and subtle rotation, not annoying.

With the scheme in fans, the CPU stabilizes below 70 ° C. The maximum recorded temperature (94 ° C on core - test LuxMark) TG Pro tells me two fans in the vicinity of 6000 rpm. And 'the maximum generated noise, and is capable of reducing the temperature of about 20 ° C in about 15 seconds. In fact, once a scheme, MacBook Pro 15 remains around 75-78 ° C for the time necessary to render, the game or the operation that is. After this, the ventoline remain active until the all below 50 ° C, on average between 40 and 45 ° C if it is not called into question the GPU AMD.

Temperatures are good for a quad-core chip, but not enough to define MacBook Pro 15 a cold machine. By comparison, 13 MBP remains of 29/35 ° C in the use of every day, and so touches 83 ° C peak, but then returns to an average of 60 ° C. The temperature difference is that enough to make pleasant - or just tolerable - the part of the keyboard and the palm rest.

And here come the compromises. MacBook Pro 15 working with a keyboard on the 40 ° C when there is load, even 45 ° C in some areas. The palm rest remains 7/8 ° C colder, but the essence is that you feel some heat under the keys , right next to the hottest point of all - the left lower frame. The good news, if anything, is that these values ​​are recorded in full in June, with outside temperatures in Rome exceed 32 ° C. It's really hot for everyone.

Final Thoughts

MacBook Pro is more responsive and handsome from the Apple catalog, with practical applications off the top rival laptops in this or that context (the same hardware: Dell XPS 15 has better autonomy for the same autonomy: MBP 13 i7 It has twice the performance). The flaw, right, is the 16-GB limit of RAM configurations. Machines like this are the identity and strength of those who still needs real power on the move. They buy to last, and 32 GB of RAM add years of life. It 'a commercial decision that I disagree.

Given the list prices, I do not think it worth the upgrade for users of satisfaction with the edition 2014, especially if the interest is in the model with Intel integrated graphics. It recommended, however, to those who have something more dated, although Retina, because the SSD PCIe module and autonomy "Pro 13" are worth the investment, improve utilization. With OS X El Captain coming, and the prospect of working software to make better use of AMD hardware, and the Force Touch, this might be the only upgrade to the 2015 MBP 15.