Macworld has already had its say on both the 1.83GHz and 2GHz MacBook Pro laptops. But as impressive as those models are, neither the 1.83GHz configuration nor the 2.0GHz version can lay claim to being the fastest MacBook Pro. That honor goes to the built-to-order MacBook Core Duo/2.16GHz.
The news that Apple would offer faster-than-expected MacBook Pro models caught many by surprise—especially since it came before the previously announced configurations even shipped. Available as a build-to-order upgrade, the 2.16GHz Core Duo processor is the fastest Intel processor currently available in a Mac. We ordered one the day the 2.16GHz model was announced, upping the ante by adding another optional upgrade—the 7,200-rpm 100GB hard drive.
It took awhile, but our shiny new, MacBook Pro 2.16 Core Duo with speedy internal hard drive has arrived and the test results show that these more expensive upgrades definitely pay off in terms of performance. Whether the increased speed is worth your extra dollars depends on who you are and what you do.
Using our standard performance test suite, Speedmark 4.5, we found that the new system was faster across the board when compared to the 2GHz MacBook, with the extra megahertz of processing power squeezing between 4 to 10-percent improvements in performance. The processor also helped the 2.16GHz MacBook turn in the fastest Cinema 4D score of any Intel-based Mac.
MacBook Pro/2.16GHz Tested
|Speedmark 4.5||Adobe Photoshop CS2||Cinema 4D XL 9.5.21||iMovie 6.0.1||iTunes 6.0.3||Unreal Tournament 2004||Zip Archive|
|SUITE||SUITE||RENDER||AGED FILTER||MP3 ENCODE||AVERAGE FRAME RATE||1GB FOLDER|
|MacBook Pro 2.16GHz||184||2:32||1:07||1:05||1:24||53.3||2:39|
|Macbook Pro 2GHz Core Duo||161||2:41||1:11||1:08||1:33||51.6||3:08|
|Macbook Pro 1.83GHz Core Duo||152||2:49||1:19||1:16||1:31||48.4||3:54|
|PowerBook 1.67GHz G4,15-inch||134||1:34||3:57||1:50||2:00||23.0||3:29|
|iBook 1.42GHz G4, 14-inch||109||1:49||4:31||2:07||2:19||14.1||4:33|
|iMac 2GHz Core Duo, 20-inch||214||2:31||1:11||1:02||1:25||51.6||2:33|
|Power Macintosh 2GHz Dual Core G5||227||1:03||1:07||0:50||0:57||43.7||2:51|
Best results in bold. Reference system in italics .
The optional 7,200-rpm hard drive helped the 2.16GHz model finish our 1GB folder archive test 15 percent faster than the 2GHz MacBook Pro (which has a 5,400-rpm drive). Another test, the 1GB file duplicate, was more than 20 percent faster on the built-to-order MacBook.
Upgrading to a 2.16GHz Core Duo processor costs an additional $300; the 7,200-rpm drive adds another $100 to the price tag. Is the increased performance worth the extra cost over the standard $2,499 2GHz MacBook Pro? The performance gains are nothing to sneeze at and almost any user could realize some time-saving benefits right now with these upgrades. But, it seems to me that many of those willing to pay top dollar for every ounce of speed available are professionals still waiting for their bread-and-butter applications to run natively on Intel processors before taking the plunge.