The jury might still be out on this, but it’s not looking promising.
Dave Lee, a popular YouTuber boasting 1.4 million subscribers, has denounced Apple’s latest 15-inch MacBook Pros. He claims that the Intel Core i9 is running slower than the previous i7 models, due to the laptop underclocking the CPU when it gets hot. Unfortunately that throttling is taking it from a 2.9 GHz base speed to 2.2 GHz — a far cry from the 4.8 GHz “Turbo Boost” capabilities Apple are claiming it can reach. Users on Reddit have been been talking this over since last night, without Lee being proved wrong.
It’s worth noting that Apple doesn't claim the chip will run at it’s best speeds all the time, claiming that it will run best when “workloads and system thermals allow.” Also it’s hardly unusual for a laptop to slow things down when temperatures rise. For all we know, Lee’s office space could be a balmy 100 degrees. However he did also take issue with Dell’s XPS 15 laptop throttling th i9 processor as well.
One concern I have with his test is that he’s running Premiere Pro, which is generally considered to be poorly optimized for a MacBook, and macOS in general. Perhaps Adobe isn’t playing well with the i9, and not using every available core as it should. Nonetheless, by testing it in the freezer I think we can see that heat is definitely a major factor.
Zollotech did a brief test with FCPX and the results weren’t promising, with the 2017 model beating the 2018. However Austin Evans did his own test a couple days ago, and found the CPU to outperform the 2016 model quite easily.
Has anybody else tested this? I haven’t been able to find a lot of reliable first hand accounts yet, and I don’t want to rely on Lee’s notoriety in the tech community as the be all and end all. I’d like to see more tests with Final Cut Pro X to see how much software plays a role in this issue.