Apple’s new MacBook pro laptops were unveiled just three weeks ago, and have been in users’ hands for only two. Having spent a week using one of the 16-in. versions, I can say it represents a huge leap for Apple’s computer platform by tying together all of the elements of the company’s computing vision.

How the MacBook Pro performs: the TL;DR

  • Performance data confirms Apple’s launch claims; it’s fast.
  • Battery life and performance mean you can achieve much more with these Macs.
  • You effectively end up with a reference monitor in your backpack.
  • You’ll hardly ever hear the fan; these Macs run cool.
  • Desktop performance on the go that’s as effective in the office as in the field.
  • An overall triumph of design and execution, from the processor to the OS.
  • Apple’s move to M-series processors raises the status of its entire Mac fleet.

Astonishing performance

I’ve been working with the mid-range 16-in. model equipped with an M1 Pro chip that has a 10-core CPU, 16 GPU cores, and 16GB of unified memory. It costs $2,699 (and is available to the same specifications in a 14-in. model for $2,499).

Cast your mind back to the late 2019 MacBook Pro with an Intel Core i9-9980HK chip; it yielded Geekbench scores of 1,087 (single-core) and 6,823 (multi-core). Then recall the M1-based 13-in. MacBook Pro from last year; it achieved 1,706 (single-core) and 7,385 (multi-core) scores. (The M1-based MacBook Air hit similar numbers.)

I couldn’t quite believe the data I generated with Geekbench testing on this MacBook Pro: On average across five tests, the new Mac hit 1,755 (single-core) and 12,547 (multi-core). That’s as good as a late 2017 iMac Pro or an entry-level late 2019 Mac Pro — in a system you can carry under one arm.

This performance boost reflects how Apple configured the cores on these chips. As part of Apple’s processor evolution, it turned an additional two cores on these systems into high performance cores. That move is reflected in these results.

You’ll get work done faster

What that performance means is significant. Put simply, if your work involves using computers at peak performance to get development, design, video, or scientific research calculations done, these new Macs will help you get work done faster. On an individual basis, that’s significant, but if your company runs fleets of machines, you may well see significant cost savings and productivity increases over time if you deploy these.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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