Test of MacBook Pro 13″ and 15″ 2019

This will become a tradition. At the approach of its big event, Apple introduces new products, to raise the media pressure… and make space for future announcements. While the WWDC approach, and that it wasn’t expected before the summer or even the autumn, the vintage 2019 MacBook Pro is already there.


We were not expecting much of this annual review, and we were not disappointed. The MacBook Pro 2019 are the same as the MacBook Pro 2018, except that they carry the latest processors from Intel and the mechanisms that butterfly keyboard benefit from ” new materials “. Nothing changes, everything changes ? The response in our test of the MacBook Pro 2019.




The ” test bump “

Speed bump forces, we will not return in detail on the features of the MacBook Pro. If you do not know how to work the chip T2, if you want our opinion on the Touch Bar or on True Tone, if you want to know the flow rates of the SSD, please refer to our previous tests :


For the differences between the MacBook Pro 13″ and the 15″ MacBook Pro, see our guide to the Mac :



A good old speed bump families


“The time of the “speed bumps” is virtually gone “, assured John Gruber, argüant that they had ” simply no longer of interest. “ He was not completely wrong : Apple didn’t speak of speed bump, but of performance boost. Appeared with the iMac in the month of march, this term is income in the statement of the presentation of the new MacBook Pro. And it is clear that a performance boost, it is like a speed bump, but without the slightest novelty additional.


Don’t look for the change of reference which would increase graphics performance, the replacement of a minor component that would have major consequences, the addition of a new color, you will not find. Only the processor changes : the ” new ” MacBook Pro loaded with chips Coffee Lake eighth generation, and Coffee Lake Refresh of the ninth generation, whose every physical heart unfolds logically with Hyper-Threading, and the frequency of which can exceed 4 GHz with Turbo Boost.


The three machines that we are testing today : MacBook Pro 13″ Core i5 quad-Core 2.4 GHz (1 999 €), MacBook Pro 15″ Core i7 hexacœur to 2.6 GHz (2 799 €), MacBook Pro 15″ Core i9 octacœur to 2.3 GHz (3 299 €).

The intel Core i5-8279U MacBook Pro 13″ is not registered in the catalog of Intel, but seems to derive from the Core i5-8269U, and takes directly after the Core i5-8259U employee in 2018. Clocked at 2.4 GHz, this quad-core processor of the eighth generation can reach 4.1 GHz at a peak. ” And the second is MacBook Pro 13″ ? “ Well it uses the same processor, because it is the same machine, proposed to 1 999 € with 256 Gb of storage or 2 249 € with 512 Gb of storage.


In other words, it configures a MacBook Pro 13″ as one would configure a MacBook Air or even an iPad, allowing you to select a color and then a storage capacity. Oh, Apple offers quite a few options, such as an intel Core i7 at 2.8 GHz for 360 € and 8 Gb of RAM LPDDR3 additional for 240 €. The SSD NVMe can even reach up to 2 Tb for the modest sum of € 1,500. But the fact is : the MacBook Pro 13″ without Touch Bar becomes stale after two years without revision and the MacBook Pro 13″ with Touch Bar is reduced to its simplest expression.


Conversely, the 15″ MacBook Pro has gone back to colors. It is the flagship of the range, the machine professionals demanding that Apple wants to (re)conquer. The Core i7-8750H of the first leaves its place to the Core i7-9750H, a processor hexacœur clocked at 2.6 GHz, which reaches up to 4.5 GHz in a point. The top model of the range has traded his Core i7-8850H against a Core i9-9880H to 2.3 GHz, the first chip octacœur in a Mac laptop, of which the frequency can go up to 4.8 GHz on a single core.


The MacBook Pro 13″ gray sidereal, and the 15″ MacBook Pro money.

The nec plus ultra of the catalog of Intel, Core i9-9900HK able to reach 5 GHz with Turbo Boost technology, is available as an option for € 220. This configuration deserves a separate test, which we will publish later. Remember that the 15″ MacBook Pro can take up to 4 Tb of storage, and that the graphics chips for the “general public” may be replaced by the chips Vega specifically designed for computing, for a bill that reaches 7 779 €.


This performance boost gives a real boost to the MacBook Pro. Take a look distracted on our graph, and you’ll think it’s always the same story, modest gains from one year to the other. But look more closely : the MacBook Pro 13″ earns 10 %, the 15″ MacBook Pro, entry-level earns 14 %. You use applications that are able to exploit eight cores ? The 15″ MacBook Pro top of the range will be 45 % faster than its direct predecessor, and 26 % faster than the model with all the options of the past year.


A test Geekbench CPU, which gives a good idea of general performance, both in tasks that require a single heart and in tasks exploiting all of the cores.

There was a lot of spit on Intel in recent years, but it must be recognized that the multiplication of cores in thermal envelope constant has transfigured the 15″ MacBook Pro. And again, Apple would have been able to go further. The processors, the ninth generation can support up to 128 Gb of RAM (but Apple offers a 64 Gb at best) and the Wi-Fi 6 by the intermediary of the module Cyclone Peak (but its incorporation would have required new antennas, and leaves to review the internal architecture, Apple would probably like to wait for the tenth generation of Intel chips… or even their own ARM chips).


Everything changes, nothing changes


You will have understood it : Apple has taken the latest Intel chips, and adjusted the mechanisms butterfly on the keyboard, and left everything else in place. So you will find the same “supercontrôleur” T2, the same four Thunderbolt ports 3 capable of reaching each 40 Gbit/s, the same Touch Bar to the usefulness questionable, the same Touch sensor ID to the obvious utility, the same stunning Retina display, the same webcam atrocious, the same speakers are surprisingly powerful, the same trackpad almost too big. And the same graphics chips.


The MacBook Pro 13″ keeps its chip Intel Iris More Graphics 655, which takes up to 1 536 Mb of central memory. The 15″ MacBook Pro, on the other hand, keep their cards AMD Radeon Pro 555X and 560X. Not surprisingly, therefore, the performance graphs are similar if not identical. Those of the MacBook Pro 13″ is progressing very slightly, Intel has raised the maximum frequency of the integrated graphics 1.05 GHz (hold on tight) 1.1 GHz. Those of the MacBook Pro 15″ drop very slightly for reasons essentially thermal.


A test Geekbench Metal, which gives a good idea of the graphics performance, particularly in the uses of GPGPU more general interest.

We now have the habit of submitting the machines that we receive on a test of ” resistance “, that is to saturate the processor and the graphics card, and finally the two at the same time, during the cycles of a half-hour. This test is not representative of a specific use, and it is his interest. That you do scientific computing or photo editing, video editing or 3D creation, these results are relevant to you.


Test of the “resistance” of the MacBook Pro 13″, in which the processor displays a TDP of 28 W. The last part of the chart shows the return to the rated temperature, when the test is completed. Since all the applications are quit, the frequency of the processor falls very low, in order to foster autonomy.

Let’s start by torturing the MacBook Pro 13″. The temperature rises rapidly to 95 °C : the cooling fans come into action, and the Turbo Boost is attenuated to 2.5 GHz. The temperature lowers down to 90 °C, the Turbo Boost back to 2.9 GHz, the temperature rises, the Turbo Boost falls, and so on. For the duration of the test, the control temperature is a delicate balance between the modulation of Turbo Boost and the acceleration of the speed of rotation of the fans. But the Turbo Boost is never switched off : it uses the processor beyond its base frequency of 2.4 GHz.


Add a “real” graphics card and a few hearts on the way on the 15″ MacBook Pro. After a few tens of seconds, the temperature touches the bar of 100 degrees. The fans are screaming, Turbo Boost is deactivated immediately. Worse : the cpu is spending in its base frequency, a measure of throttling designed to drop the temperature quickly. The cooling fans should run at full throttle to cool the machine and to allow the gradual increase of the frequency, but it is not.


Test of the “resistance” of the MacBook Pro 15″ Core i7. Its processor, as the Core i9, moreover, displays a TDP of 45 W.

It is not that the cooling system is poorly designed, is that it is simply not exploited. The system is happy with the throttling, and the fans continue to plan reduced, since the temperature is back within an acceptable range. Apple prefers the silence to performance, a complete nonsense on machines explicitly professional, which are worth 2 800 €. Buy a Core i9 to see it run at 1.8 GHz has something of a downer.


Test of the “resistance” of the MacBook Pro 15″ Core i9. It takes several minutes to return permanently below 100 °C. During this time, the machine is hot, you will not use it on your lap.

Let us be clear : these restrictions appear only when it operates the processor and the graphics card at the time. Use only the processor, and the temperature will never exceed 90 °C, despite the erratic behavior of the fans. As the maximum frequency of Turbo Boost decreases according to the number of active cores, you will get the best performance in the applications that allow you to accurately manage the number of threads of computation. In our tests, we have obtained the best results (3 GHz maintained with a temperature below 85 °C) by limiting itself to the eight physical cores of the Core i9.


Of course, all the workflows are not as demanding as our test, deliberately full-bodied. But some are, particularly in the areas of the creation of VR content specifically targeted by Apple. Above all, we have stumbled against the thermal limits with operations less exotic, such as exporting a video 5K or treatments on a database containing a few million entries. To choose from, and I believe that a large part of the clientele of the 15″ MacBook Pro would agree, I troquerai a little silence for a lot of additional performance.


A machine that takes a long time


Apple does not make the autonomy of the MacBook Pro before, and for good reason, these machines are less portable than transportable. These are desktop machines, in a world where the bureau can take the form of a coffee or a wagon TRAIN, with outlets every two feet. But all the same, the MacBook Pro 13″ has a battery 58 Wh (charging with a power supply 61 (W), and the 15″ MacBook Pro has a battery to 83.6 Wh (charging with a power supply 87 W).


By turning the machine thoroughly until it makes the soul, our “test 100 %” is absolutely not realistic. But it gives you a good idea of the time that you will have to finish a project at the last minute, in the worst case scenario where you forgot your charger and can not save the processor. The MacBook Pro 13″ is 1: 23, five minutes less than its predecessor, a gap that is too small to be significant.



The MacBook Pro 15″ Core i7 takes 1: 35 p.m., ten to twenty minutes longer than its predecessors, this is not nothing when every minute counts. The MacBook Pro 15″ Core i9 is paying the luxury to do better than the old model with the intel Core i9 optional, brushing the hour and a half. Of course, our empirical test is more representative of everyday use. With its 7: 30 autonomy, the MacBook Air remains the undisputed champion, but the MacBook Pro 13″ does not have to be ashamed of his 7 h.


The 15″ MacBook Pro are a your below. The model Core i7-fails-to-ten minutes of the six hours, so that the Core i9 turns off after 5: 20 pm. The 10 hours mentioned in the technical data sheet are away, but our test is more demanding than Apple, that just load web pages in Safari. One thing is for sure : the time where the MacBook Pro could take a whole day on a battery is a thing of the past.



Just like the time where you could buy a MacBook Pro without fear of a keyboard failure. This is the other difference between the models 2018 and the models 2019 : ” new materials “ are supposed to reduce the appearance of problems related to the mechanisms of butterfly. So far, Apple does not speak of the ” fourth generation “, and the removal documented by iFixit shows that the overall design of the keys has not changed.


Can you feel a difference between the two incarnations of the mechanisms of the third generation ? It is difficult to affirm. If difference there is, it is really subtle, and may perhaps be attributed to the fact that we are comparing a machine that was used daily for a year to a machine that comes out of the carton. The mechanisms by which we still seem to be more stable, and the hit all the more accurate.


But neither the sound recordings that we’ve made, or a few of the thousands of words that we typed, do we allow to judge the reliability of these ” new ” keyboards. The MacBook Pro 2019 are already covered by the replacement program, a measure also reassuring than terrifying (and a little ridiculous). On this plan, Apple has completely lost the confidence of its customers, and it is difficult to imagine that it will regain otherwise than by reviewing thoroughly the design of its keyboards.


On this topic, see also :


To conclude


This vintage 2019 is the very definition of speed bump. But you know what ? It is so much better. Apple could have waited for the new graphics cards from AMD, or even playing shows in the meantime to be able to get out the all-new model 16″ promised by the rumor. And we would have missed the new Intel chips, which give a nice boost to the machines that need them the most.



You were on the verge of buying a MacBook Pro 2018 ? For the same price, you can now buy the same machine, with a processor 10 to 40% more powerful depending on the model and tasks. This is a minor update, which is not insignificant. But a minor revision does not solve the major problems.


Fingers crossed and hope that this time, the problems of the keyboard are fixed for good, even if the existence of a net relief in the form of a replacement program does not encourage optimism. Still this unpleasant feeling that this machine of an excessively fine, and a refinement supreme misses his target. A processor octacœur, that is, a processor octacœur that can run at full speed, it is better. The components of the MacBook Pro are of the first order, but are also cramped.




Note MacBook Pro 2019

Comments