Right before the new MacBook Pro 2016 release, FStoppers published an article about the laptop's performance when working with 5K ProRes video footage. It wasn't clear what exact model was used, nor was it said what kind of tests were performed. Now, in the post-release era, we've had a chance to see how the new laptop performs against the older 2015 model in a display-by-display battle to help better evaluate whether or not it's actually worth buying.
In this video, Max Yuryev does quite a thorough comparison between both machines. Being a professional video editor, he executes both standardized benchmark tests and also runs the laptops through a real-life video workflow. The comparison is very detailed, and I'll go through some of the points that are interesting to me.
To Yuryev, dongles are not an issue. Although he uses a few adaptors, most of the common devices in his workflow such as monitors and external storage have USB-C ports or come with cables with a USB-C jack at one end. Elsewhere, he doesn't need many adapters or a slew of different cables.
I've always thought benchmark tests are just for labs. To me, they may show some legitimate results, but I don't trust them. The first impressions from the comparison Max Yuryev does using benchmark apps are disappointing. According to the software test, the new MacBook Pro CPU speed is the same or slightly slower than the old one. I'm glad Yuryev doesn't stop here.
Thermal Changes and Fan Humming
The more that the new MacBook Pro is loaded with heavy computing tasks, both for the CPU and the GPU, the more it becomes obvious that its thermal control is far superior than that in the 2015 model. Better thermal control means less heating, less noise from the cooling fans, and faster performance. This is proven when Yuryev runs transcoding to ProRes on both laptops. That's a CPU-intensive operation which ends up being 15-percent faster on the 2016 model.
In the article I mentioned in the beginning of this text, the author who performed the tests stated that Final Cut Pro X had been optimized for the new 2016 model hardware. The tests Max Yuryev does confirm that. As the performance of Final Cut Pro X and Adobe Premiere Pro on both laptops is compared, the winner is always the 2016 model; but FCP X shows it knows how to take better advantage of the newer hardware. Adobe Premiere Pro had little gain whenever the operations were more CPU-intensive. For tests where GPU is used more, the new MacBook Pro demonstrates its superiority, especially on the FCP X tests. These tests included rendering of video footage with LUTs, applying effects, and exporting the final file.
An interesting fact is the battery of the new MacBook Pro lasts longer than its predecessor when it's under a heavy load. For basic operations, the 2016 model's ability to work unplugged is comparable to the old one, but even perhaps a bit on the less lasting side.
If you work on GPU-intensive projects (video, stills, 3D), the new MacBook Pro indeed offers more than the older model, especially if you get the one with the best graphics card. I am aware not many use Final Cut Pro X. As for Premier Pro's performance, I still have hopes Adobe will catch up with its software updates in order to make the upgrade far more satisfying.
I wonder how the new MacBook Pro performs with other video editors such as HitFilm, Sony Vegas, and Avid Media Composer. If you have something to say about them in relation to the 2016 MacBook Pro, it would be quite helpful for all of us (please share your experience below!).
To see more of Max Yuryev's videos, head over to his YouTube channel.