Benchmark test shows Core i9 severely throttled in 15-inch MacBook Pro

YouTuber Dave Lee is reporting what we already expected would happen with Apple’s latest 15-inch MacBook Pro refresh with the Core i9-8950HK six-core processor crammed inside: Performance throttling. There is just simply not enough space in the 0.61-inch-tall chassis to sufficiently cool the chip, thus to prevent damage from overheating, the MacBook Pro throttles down its speed.

The Core i9-8950HK is Intel’s first “Core i9” chip for mobile, and one of the company’s first six-core chips for laptops. Launched in April, it has a base speed of 2.9GHz, a maximum speed of 4.8GHz, 12MB of cache, and an integrated UHD Graphics 630 component. It’s a powerhouse of a mobile chip, but because of the MacBook Pro’s thin environment, the chip reportedly isn’t reaching its potential.

According to Lee, you can see the throttling begin after a few seconds of rendering in Adobe Premiere. It can’t even maintain its base speed of 2.9GHz, he says, and forget about hitting that maximum turbo speed. To give a taste of the throttling problem, he provides a rendering test.

In a normal office environment, the Core i9 rendered a 4K clip (H.264) in 39 minutes and 37 seconds. That is a few minutes slower than the Core i7-7820HQ four-core chip in 2017’s 15-inch MacBook Pro, which rendered the same clip in 35 minutes and 22 seconds. But when he ran the same rendering test in an open freezer, the Core i9’s time dropped down to 27 minutes and 18 seconds. That’s a 12-minute 19-second difference.

“This degree of thermal throttling is not acceptable,” he says. “This is isn’t something Apple should put out on the market and just blindly sell to people because people that purchase this device will never know their laptop is throttling to this degree. This type of thermal throttling affects the end user.”

This is a significant problem. Professionals looking for high-performance laptops will see these six-core chips — Intel’s Core i7-8750H is the cheaper option of the two — as a selling point for their investment. The base configuration with the Core i7, 16GB of memory and 512GB of storage is $2,799. Bump that configuration up to the Core i9 and you’re paying $3,099. For that price, you should get every ounce of performance the six-core chip provides.

That said, if you’re only using the MacBook Pro with Intel’s Core i9 to troll Facebook or shop on Amazon, you will never see the throttling. But the MacBook Pro really doesn’t target the mainstream user: It’s a MacOS laptop built for professionals that likely use Final Cut, Adobe Premiere, and/or develop software. It’s the “extended computational work” where the MacBook Pro throttles the Core i9’s performance.

Unfortunately, he didn’t go into details about the Core i7’s performance, but the report is good food for thought if you were eyeing the Core i9 version and its hefty ball-and-chain price tag. We expect to see more benchmarks pop up over the coming weeks as testers get their hands on the new MacBook Pros released last week.

Computing

AMD’s new 32-core Ryzen Threadripper chip is out, and you can get one for free

AMD’s 32-core Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX CPU is now available for $1,800. It’s compatible with motherboards packing the TR4 socket and the X399 chipset. The only other new Threadripper chip arriving this month will be the 2950X.
Computing

What's the best laptop? We've reviewed a lot of them -- and this is our answer

The best laptop should be one that checks all the boxes: Great battery life, beautiful design, and top-notch performance. The laptops we've chosen for our best laptops you can buy do all that — and throw in some extra features while…
Computing

Intel’s ninth-generation CPUs could launch on October 1

New rumors point to an October 1 release date for Intels' next-generation CPUs. The 9900K, 9700K, and 9600K could all debut in just a few weeks time, offering higher clocks and increased core counts.
Computing

Lenovo’s new mobile workstations pack a punch with Xeon CPUs, Quadro graphics

Lenovo has two new mobile workstations arriving at the end of August based on eighth-gen Intel Core and Xeon processors. The ThinkPad P1 is the thinnest of the two at 0.7 inches while the bigger ThinkPad P72 measures 1 inch.
Computing

At Def Con, children show how easy it can be to hack an election

How hard is it to hack a voting machine or government website? Well, it turns out that it is literally child's play. Def Con tasked a group of children with hacking replica government websites, and many proved successful.
Smart Home

Samsung SmartThings adds A.I.-based Wi-Fi for faster, smarter home networking

Samsung introduced the SmartThings Wifi, an A.I.-based multifunction mesh networking router with an integrated smart home hub. The device intelligently allocates network speed and bandwidth based on device and application needs.
Product Review

5 generations later, Microsoft's Surface Pro is still the best 2-in-1 out there

At first glance, the 2017 Surface Pro looks like an incremental update to the Surface Pro 4, which was already our favorite detachable tablet. But does the newest version earn its own place at the top of the 2-in-1 heap?
Computing

Google may launch two Pixelbook 2 laptops in October

Google may have a new Pixelbook design to show off in just a few weeks, with a new rumor suggesting two variations on the new laptop will be showcased at the start of October with new Intel hardware under the hood.
Gaming

Wage war on a budget with these fun and free first-person shooters

We all know about Halo and Call of Duty by now, but what about quality titles that won't cost you upward of $60? Check out our picks for the best free first-person shooter games from Paladins to Quake Champions.
Computing

Apple preps production of updated MacBook Air for a 2018 launch

To reach its rumored launch timeline of later this year for its low-cost notebook, Apple is expected to begin production of its updated MacBook Air soon. The sub-$1,000 laptop could launch as early as September or October.
Smart Home

White-hat Chinese hackers turn Alexa into a spy, briefly

A team of Chinese researchers revealed this week that they were able to use a cracked Amazon Echo to exploit a series of Alexa interface flaws to take control over an unteuched Echo running on the same network.
Music

Spotify vs. Pandora: Which music streaming service is better for you?

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.
Computing

Researchers hack John McAfee’s ‘unhackable’ Bitfi cryptocurrency wallet

Researchers have successfully hacked John McAfee's Bitfi cryptocurrency wallet. Researchers show that the device can be hacked, as they have gained access to the device's private keys and passphrase despite McAfee's security promotion.
Computing

Pricing and lack of content are still barriers against the adoption of VR

A recent survey questioned 595 VR and AR professionals about business growth in the consumer and enterprise markets. Only 24 percent report strong sales in the enterprise while 18 percent show strong sales in the consumer market.