Apple recently released the 16-inch MacBook Pro, complete with a handful of welcome design features like an improved Magic Keyboard and slimmer display bezels. With Intel’s 9th-generation “Coffee Lake” processors featuring up to 8 cores and 16 threads, it’s plenty fast.
But we can probably expect it to get a little faster this year. At CES, Intel teased its new ”Comet Lake H” series 10th-generation processors. These are higher-wattage (45W), higher-performance versions of the 10th-generation Comet Lake mobile processors announced last year. That 45-watt power envelope is perfectly suitable for the 16-inch MacBook Pro. It uses Intel’s current 9th-generation 45-watt mobile processors, after all.
Later this year, we will probably see a modest update to the 16-inch MacBook Pro, and it’s likely to feature these new processors. What can sort of performance uplift can we expect?
Well, Comet Lake is still using a 14nm process, just like Coffee Lake. This is still fundamentally the same microarchitecture on the same manufacturing process, just fine-tuned. Intel promises that 10th generation Core i7 chips will hit boost speeds up to 5.0GHz. The Core i7-9750H found in today’s 16-inch MacBook Pro tops out at 4.5GHz, so that’s about 11 percent faster. Of course, you can get a Core i9 in your MacBook Pro that boost up to 5.0GHz, but Intel promises the newer 10th-generation Core i9 chips will exceed 5.0GHz.
Comet Lake also allows for slightly faster LPDDR4 memory, which should improve performance in some scenarios. It definitely improves integrated graphics performance, but 16-inch MacBook Pros all come with AMD’s Radeon Pro graphics, anyway.
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I have written professionally about technology for my entire adult professional life - over 20 years. I like to figure out how complicated technology works and explain it in a way anyone can understand.