2018 MacBook Pro Benchmarked After Bug Fix: It's This Much Faster

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It’s overdue, but Apple has finally released new MacBook Pros with updated specs, and we have reviewed the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. Our $2,499 configuration is packing a powerful 8th-gen Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655 and a 512GB SSD.

And the numbers look pretty great, especially with Apple's software update today.

Update July 24: We have updated this article to reflect the performance results after performing a software update that addresses throttling issues. We saw the biggest gain on the HandBrake video transcoding test, which is the same type of sustained workload that this bug fix was designed to address. 

On some tests, the new 13-inch MacBook Pro is the fastest system in its class. Just don’t expect the best graphics performance. Here’s the results.

Geekbench 4

This test measures overall performance on laptops, and the 13-inch MacBook Pro is tops. Apple’s laptop scored 18,055 on the multi-core test. After running Apple's software update, we saw a score of 17,348. That's a bit lower than the previous mark but still obliterates the 9,930 premium laptop average.

The next closest system was the Core i7-powered Dell XPS 13, and that hit 14,180. The HP Spectre 13 and Huawei MateBook X Pro were further behind with 13,090 and 12,913, respectively.

What about Microsoft’s mighty $1,999 Surface Book 2? It mustered only 12,221 on this test with its Core i7 CPU and 8GB of RAM. The previous 2017 MacBook Pro hit 9,213 on this test; that’s an 80 percent improvement.

MORE: Apple's New MacBook Pros - What We Like, What We Don't

SSD Testing

I had to do a double take when I saw how quickly the new 13-inch MacBook Pro duplicated 4.9GB worth of data. It took 2 seconds, which comes out to a rate of 2,519 megabytes per second. That’s insane.

So we also ran the BlackMagic Disk Speed test for macOS, and the system returned an average write speed of 2,682 MBps. Windows doesn't offer this benchmark, so we used CyrstalDiskMark on a couple of Windows laptops. Recognizing that it's not an apple-to-apples comparison, the XPS 13 notched 1,208.8 MBps, and the MateBook X Pro hit 627.7 MBps. 

So it would seem that the MacBook Pro's drive is at least twice as fast.

  SSD Speed (File Copy Test) Synthetic Benchmark 
Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch 2,519 MB/s 2,682 MB/s (BlackMagic Disk Speed)
Dell XPS 13 (Core i7) 399.4 MB/s 1,208.8 MB/s (CrystalDiskMark)
Huawei MateBook X Pro 282.7 MB/s  672.7 MB/s (CrystalDiskMark) 
HP Spectre 13 339.3 MB/s  
Asus ZenBook 13 203.6 MB/s  
Microsoft Surface Book 2 203.6 MB/s  
Category Average 279.3 MB/s  

 We saw similar results when we tested the SSD inside the powerful iMac Pro. Now, there are third-party SSDs that are crazy fast, such as the Samsung 970 EVO, but we haven’t seen anyone put it inside a laptop yet.

To be fair, Apple’s relatively new APFS file system is designed to speed up file file copies using a technology Apple calls Instant Cloning. But that translates to performance that feels faster.

MORE: The 5 Biggest Changes in the New MacBook Pro

Video Editing (Handbrake)

For this rigorous test, we transcode a 4K video clip to 1080p using the Handbrake app, which is available for both Macs and PCs. The 2018 MacBook Pro 13-inch took 16 minutes and 57 seconds before Apple's software update, but that time dropped to an even better 14:47 after the update.

  Video Editing (Handbrake)
Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch 14:47
Dell XPS 13 (Core i7) 16:00
Asus ZenBook 13 23:02
Huawei MateBook X Pro 27:18

We haven’t been running this test for very long, but I can tell you that the XPS 13 is slower at 16 minutes. The MateBook X Pro was way behind at 27:18 and the Asus ZenBook 13 took 23:02 on this test.

Productivity (Excel)

To measure productivity performance, we run an Excel VLOOKUP macro that matches 65,000 names to their corresponding addresses. The 13-inch MacBook Pro didn’t take the prize in this round, as it took the system 1 minute and 16 seconds to complete the task. 

We saw an identical time after applying Apple's software update.

  Productivity (Excel Macro Test)
Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch 1:16
Dell XPS 13 (Core i7) 1:08
Huawei MateBook X Pro 1:49
Asus ZenBook 13 1:10
Microsoft Surface Book 2 2:00

The Dell XPS 13 with Core i7 proved fastest at 1:08, and the ZenBook 13 finished second at 1:10. But the MacBook was still towards the top of the pack. The previous 13-inch MacBook Pro took 2:24, so the new MacBook Pro is nearly twice as fast in this case.

MORE: What Power Users Say About the MacBook Pros

Graphics (Dirt 3)

The 13-inch MacBook Pro comes with Intel’s latest Iris Pro graphics, and you can play some mainstream games on it at lower settings. However, other systems in this price range offer much high frame rates.

  Graphics Performance (Dirt 3)
Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch 46.9 fps
Dell XPS 13 (Core i7) 66.9 fps
HP Spectre 13 57 fps
Huawei MateBook X Pro 117 fps
Asus ZenBook 13 114 fps
Category Average 65 fps

With the resolution set to 1650 x 1050 pixels and the settings on low, the MacBook Pro got only 38.8 frames per second. After the software update, that rate jumped to 46.9 fps.  But that’s still a lot lower than what Windows systems turned in at the 1920 x 1080 pixels (the MacBook doesn’t offer this resolution).

With its Nvidia MX150 graphics, the MateBook X Pro reached 117 fps and the Asus ZenBook 13 with the same GPU scored 114 fps. Other systems with integrated graphics also scored better, such as the XPS 13 (66.9 fps) and HP Spectre (57 fps).

Bottom Line

The MacBook’s overall CPU performance is impressive, and it’s SSD in particular is over-the-top fast. You’ll notice a big leap in performance if you’re upgrading from a 2016 MacBook Pro and even an impressive jump from last year’s model. And you should expect amazing performance at our $2,499 price, especially on demanding tasks like video editing.

However, the graphics performance isn’t stellar based on our testing, and you can get a Windows ultraportable with a more powerful Nvidia GPU for less than this MacBook Pro.

Overall, though, the 13-inch MacBook Pro lives up to its name.

Credit: Laptop Mag

Author Bio
Mark Spoonauer
Mark Spoonauer, LAPTOP Editor in Chief
Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.
Mark Spoonauer, LAPTOP Editor in Chief on
Add a comment
  • Roman Says:

    I don't know what you test exactly, but the ssd is not that good. I have a MacBook Pro 2018 with 512GB SSD and a X1 Carbon 6th Gen with 512GB (Samsung PM981). This SSD is even faster than the one in the macbook. The second is, the SSD in the MacBook is good in sequential Speed (important for Video) but in small files (important for Apps and DB) the SSD in the MacBook is very bad. (in read and in write). For example the PM981 is sometime over 10x faster than the SSD in the MacBook. ;)

  • Jateen Patel Says:

    Don't base you purchase on this article as it is inaccurate.

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  • Abdurrahman AlQuran Says:

    You guys didn't test any Lenovo ultrabook which all use Samsung's OEM NVMe m.2 drives with 3000 mb/s read/writes, and also don't forget to mention that Apple's custom made 59U-series Intel chips use twice as much wattage.

  • pcasa Says:

    I think comparing Apple's PCIe (NVMe) based storage to Dell's SATA based option is slightly misleading. Can we get the results for the NVMe based systems, which all of these seem to have from the factory?

  • jackfe Says:

    Is the result of your benchmark wrong?
    My XPS 13 writing speed is about 2700 / MBs

  • Dan Zen Says:

    How can a website called 'Laptop Mag' let these types of articles come out? How much more hilariously biased could you make yourself sound? Im not even an Apple hater, but you didnt even label any of the charts the Macbook lost and put exactly how to know who won in the charts the Mac won.... LOL, this is how you obliterate your website's reputation. Especially considering Apple consumers seem to NOT CARE about reviews or performance

  • Petrus Laine Says:

    Could you test the copy-process from different volume to another? Apparently you're indeed not actually copying anything (thanks to APFS) and thus the claimed "transfer speed" has really nothing to do with reality

  • Mark Spoonauer Says:

    Hi, Thank you for all of the comments. We are going to retest the SSD using other benchmarks and compare with Windows systems and will post our updated findings here.

    The GeekBench result is real and we saw two scores over 18,000.

  • Gilles Iweins Says:

    instant cloning on apfs isn't copy the file, all it does is creating a pointer to the same file, then if you do some changes, these changes will reference your new file pointer and only this one, so the 1st pointer is still only referencing the original file
    since this copy nothing this is not a valid test
    to do a valid test, you can create in memory a huge file then write it down
    but even their apple could tell you it is on the drive while it is still in copy and give you access to the file via the file in memory, so not 100% trustworthy
    doing copy from drive a to drive b would be the best test possible, specially if you use the same drive a for every test you do

  • Lukaa Says:

    Dear Mark

    As it was mentioned before... Please check hardware details and facts about SSD drives before comparing them.
    Good thing about MAC is usage of "proper" hardware, SSD included.
    MAC uses NVME PCI-e SSD drive which is a lot faster than ordinary SSD drive.

    Btw on my "noname" laptop with Samsung PCI-E NVME drive I can get similar SSD speed... and its not even 2018 model.

    @captain ... sure you can buy them. But your motherboard should support them. Look at Samsung 960 EVO M.2 or similar.

  • captain Says:

    Hey guys! What sort of SSD do the Macs have that they reach 2500 write speed :O? can I buy them somewhere for my desktop ?

  • Marco Says:

    It would be much useful to run the SSD speed test under Sierra: this would remove High Sierra's ability to copy files quasi instantly under the new filesystem (APFS, using data cloning), thus ensuring the test measures what it is supposed to measure (how fast data can be written).

  • SkepticalJ Says:

    Sorry, but this review is completely flawed. Frame rates running on OpenGL and macOS vs DirectX on Windows. File copy tests that aren't even copying any data. Go back and try again please!

  • chrigueAT Says:

    This GeekBench results are not correct…. have a 15 SurfaceBook 2 here … 4998 singlecore and 14877 multicore... MacBook score is impressive… but this review is a joke.. like the copy test on APFS... poor work for a site like this..

  • Alfastampa.rs Says:

    Great tests! This SSD is super fast!

  • Nozuka Says:

    "The previous 2017 MacBook Pro hit 9,213 on this test; that’s an 80 percent improvement."

    I think your math is wrong, since it's almost twice the number. More like 96% faster.

  • Dirt3 Says:

    Dirt3 is running on OpenGL not Metal. It is pretty slow, you should compare Rise of the Tomb Raider for example to make. Direct X and Metal performance are similiar

  • tanjiajun92 Says:

    Rubbish article. All your storage speed tests done on the Windows laptops are recorded using your inaccurate file copy test. In Windows it duplicated the file by really copying the files, but on macOS High Sierra or newer with APFS, it is just copying the metadata. You can duplicate a 100GB file in less than a second if you want, of course the MacBook is faster but it is an unrealistic test. You might as well do a cut and paste test on Windows and everyone is crazy fast.

    Then you said you did a BlackMagic Disk Speed test and got 2682 MBps. It is an accurate test but then you still compared to Windows file copy test result for the Windows laptops instead of results from similar method like the CrystalDiskMark tool.

  • edhe1402 Says:

    I dont get the same results as you. i got the i5 matebook x pro and get 15000 on geekbench 4

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  • tipoo Says:

    Wish the 2017 model on the same OS was in the benchmarks, as you mentioned I'm wondering how much of that SSD score is the 'free' instant cloning on APFS.

  • Hayk Avetisyan Says:

    Otherwise this is a perfect review and I love the laptop mag site. By the way My Mid 2017 MacBook Air scored 6349 Multi core on Geekbench 4 and 3542 single core

  • Hayk Avetisyan Says:

    If you chose the 15 inch model it would score way more than 38.8 fps because the 15 inch has an AMD Radeon graphics card and an Intel one and the 13 inch has only the Intel Iris graphics

  • Ian T Says:

    You're clearly testing SATA SSDs against the NVMe SSD in the MBP. Unsurprisingly NVMe is obviously far faster.

  • Biff Heely Says:

    Apple has done it again. Another outstanding machine that DESTROYS Windows crap with the same specs!

  • John W Says:

    Useless article, cherry-picked and totally inaccurate. Waste of time.

  • imn12 Says:

    You need a better disk test. OSX is not copying the file in this case, it is copying only metadata. Perhaps test random read or random write best, copy followed by random write.

  • M. W. Diers Says:

    This is an idiotic article. The file copy operation is obviously due to APFS Copy-on-Write. So this is a completely bogus benchmark. Notice they didn't even bother to compare it to the previous 13" model, which would have had similar performance, given that it is also doing Copy-on-Write. This explains why the application benchmarks are nothing to write home about.

  • David Rogoff Says:

    Hi. Thanks for the quick review. Could you please post the Geekbench 4 single-core number?

  • Michael H. Cox Says:

    ... and why would they put Intel GPUs with those top-of-the-line i7/i9 CPUs?!?

  • Michael H. Cox Says:

    Those numbers aren't consistent. The MacBook Pro thoroughly trounces all comers on the Geekbench 4 and File Copy tests and then gets beat by other laptops on the Video Editing (Handbrake), Productivity (Excel), and Graphics (Dirt 3). I'm not familiar with the Geekbench 4 test, but the later tests sound more like real world tests with a mix of interleaved CPU and I/O. I'll be interested to see what other laptop vendors add 6-core i7/i9s to their products.

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