Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

Review: Apple's 15-in. MacBook Pro delivers on speed, battery life

Michael deAgonia | Dec. 17, 2013
The move to faster PCIe flash storage offers a noticeable boost in performance

If you've bought apps from the App Store, restoring your purchases to the new computer is simple. Launch the App Store (under the system-wide Apple menu in the menubar), go to Purchases Tab, log into iCloud (you may have to answer some security questions),and then click Install on the apps you want installed.

Essentially, if you're already in the Apple ecosystem, moving from one machine to another is remarkably painless.

In everyday use, this MacBook Pro generally runs quiet and is cool to the touch. Unless you're powering through something that's taxing the CPU, like rendering video, you're not likely to hear any noise coming from the fans. (When this laptop is going full blast, you'll hear a sound more like the soft hissing of static than the typical whine of a fan.)

Performance and battery tests
To test performance, I have a specific iMovie project I like to render. The iMovie '11 file is always exported using Apple's "Large" settings, resulting in an h.264 m4v file with a 960-by-540-pixel resolution. The 2.8GHz quad-core i5 iMac from 2010 rendered the movie project in 68 minutes; the latest iMac renders it in 47 minutes and 55 seconds. Last year's 2.6GHz Retina MacBook Pro did it in 65 minutes and 27 seconds; this model shaves off another three minutes.

Interestingly, the recently-released 64-bit iMovie '13 renders my project much faster than the older iMovie '11, but I can't confidently report those numbers because iMovie '13 never completes the rendering; the program coughs up a -50 error code about two-thirds of the way through. That's really too bad; iMovie '13 takes advantage of the 64-bit processing power built into Macs that iMovie '11 did not, and if rendering was consistent for the rest of the file, I could extrapolate that the project would finish around the 20-minute mark. That's about a third-the time needed before!

To really stress the battery, I ran this MacBook Pro through the same test I used on the 2013 MacBook Air. The battery was at 100% charge with screen brightness set to 80%, and the laptop set to sleep after 10 minutes of inactivity. Display dimming and Power Nap were turned off in the Energy Saver system preference. The Internet connection was routed through a corporate Wi-Fi network — complete with AD-authentication — and the laptop was connected to an external 22-in. Dell display set in portrait mode.

I opened up Mail, which checked for new email once a minute; Safari, which had multiple open tabs (though Flash was not installed); iCal; Terminal; Notes; Pages; Messages and Tweebot. I also had a virtual copy of Windows XP in Parallels 8 running BeyondCompare, Lync and Office (mostly Excel).


Previous Page  1  2  3  4  5  Next Page 

Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.