Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Test of MacBook Pro 13 "mid-2012 2.5 GHz Core i5

It takes the same and it improves a bit. This is the summary that can make the MacBook Pro 13 "2012 season. Changing the motor with the switch to Ivy Bridge (the third generation of processors from Intel Core iX) graphics chip and Intel next generation too. Then small changes in existing connectors with the adoption of USB 3 (backward compatible with USB 2).

The design of this machine is now well known and nothing has changed, the MacBook Pro 13 "is not less light (just over 2 kg), it retains its brilliant, its optical drive and hard drive (although it is possible to prefer options SSD). Taking MagSafe power has not changed either, unlike the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Retina, but we do not will complain.

Our test model is the first in this range. Sold € 1249, it increased by € 100 on its predecessor. It has the following characteristics:

- LCD 13 "1280 x 800
- Dual-core processor at 2.5 GHz Core i5 (four logical cores with hyperthreading). Peak at 3.1 GHz on a single core with Turbo Boost
- SuperDrive
- 4 GB RAM (optional 8 GB to 100 €).
- 500 GB hard drive in 5400 t / min (750 GB options and 5,400 t / min to 100 € or 128 GB SSD, 256 GB or 512 GB or 200 €, 500 € and 1000 €)
- HD 4000 graphics chip Intel
- 1xEthernet, 1xFireWire 800, 2xUSB 3, 1xThunderbolt, an SDXC reader, an audio input / output digital / analog
- Wi-Fi 802.11n and Bluetooth 4
- Webcam FaceTime HD 720p
- Backlit Keyboard

Raw performance

Test first with Geekbench that sets raw measurements to the processor and memory. Overall, this notebook with 2.5 GHz Core i5 (Ivy Bridge) is 12.5%
​​faster than the 2.3 GHz Core i5 (Sandy Bridge) of 13 "sold in the first half of 2011. Gap is 9.7% against the all-new MacBook Air 13 "with a 1.8 GHz Core i5.

In Cinebench, which tests the graphics chip. The Intel HD Graphics 4000 shows 77% faster than 3000 on the calculations OpenGL software, and the increase is 12% on 3D calculations made by the application processor.

The series of tests carried out on the best shows running applications compared to the machine's Core i5 early 2011, but the differences are sometimes small.

The encoding GarageBand was 6.2% faster for Photoshop was 14.5% in less computational time; Handbrake encoding was him only 0.7% faster, Aperture export has showed 25% faster. Conversely there has been a very bad time to copy in the Finder, easily twice as slow. As a reminder, the difference in export QuickTime X, the benefit of old machines, can be explained by a change in export profile, slower achieve. The contribution of the new Intel graphics chip is also evident on the have seen with the results in Cinebench, if confirmed in Starcraft II with an average of 30 fps at 1280 px resolution of 12 fps only cons with the Intel Graphics HD 3000 to 2011.

In these tests, it happened that the machine becomes very hot under the shell along the hinge, otherwise burning in some cases. This occurred when encoding iMovie or QuickTime. Between a state where no application was launched and when these encodings were underway, the CPU temperature was from 53 ° to 98 ° (usually it hovered near 89 degrees in these situations). The fans showed in one case a little less than 2000 t / min to spin up to 2600 rev / min, or even cross the 3000 r / min.

Important clarification, as this machine may become hot during sustained tasks, to the point of not being placed on the knees, as his fan always remained discreet. We had to run simultaneously encoding in iMovie, export a podcast in GarageBand and a movie playing in Flash on YouTube for this breakdown is much more noticeable. But again, it remained well within the very tolerable to the ear.

Among the few new features of this model, there are three USB connectors, represented by 2 sockets, housed on the same side. As already noted when testing the MacBook Air, 2012, file transfers are only faster. This is especially valuable when you can not afford the purchase of an external volume Thunderbolt (too expensive for an individual) or that there is reluctance to invest further into the FireWire 800.

So we connected an external USB dock 3 containing a 500 GB hard drive to copy from our laptop (with a hard drive of 5400 t / min) of a file of 2.9 GB (9000 elements) took 67 seconds and 78 seconds during the transfer in the opposite direction.

The same operation, performed this time with a high-end 2011 iMac with USB 2 and equipped with a hard drive of 7200 t / min, respectively took 122 seconds and 121 seconds.

Damage, however, Apple continues to deliver the 13 "MacBook Pro with drives winded. Both MacBook Pro 13" to the catalog are equipped with volumes running at 5400 r / min. The results are in QuickBench of the same ilk that there is more than a year, with an average of 75 MB / s read and 73 MB / s write. Thoughtful enough to leave when we see that the latest MacBook Air with SSD's, averaged 482 MB / s read and 404 MB / s write. Our MacBook Pro, after a start, arrives on the desktop in 31 seconds, and then it takes only 10 on the MacBook Air. The figures speak for themselves ...

Of the 15 "Apple can choose a hard drive by 7200 t / min. Of the 13", whatever the capacity, it remains 5400 r / min or when choosing an SSD. The first € 200 added to the bill for 128 GB It will cost up to $ 1,000 for 512 GB and return and the initial storage capacity of hard disk ... The basic figures are again talking, while the SSD sinks, but also budgets.


We conducted our three tests of independence, the first two were performed at least twice to generate an average. It is found that the performance improvement was not achieved at the expense of autonomy.

The first test is to play a movie HD (1080p H.264 MKV with VLC, brightness at 80% and 50%) maintaining open mail under the mail and Wi-Fi every minute. The MacBook Pro took 5 h 29 m, this is a 1hr 28 min to better than 13 "Core i5 early 2011.Le second test relies on iTunes and Safari, the browser reloads every 30 seconds this page Home (with Flash installed), while iTunes plays AAC 320 Kbps loop. Brightness and remain on the settings of the first test.

The machine is off after 6 hours 50 minutes, it is almost 7am promised by Apple in its test loading of web pages. But the 13 "of early 2011 was held 24 min better. However, we conducted this test four times. In the best case, the machine took 7:30, against" only "6:20 in the worst case.

Finally, we used the machine during a typical working day; it took 5 hours 26 min. We were always connected via Wi-Fi, e-mail fell every minute, Twitter and Reeder (RSS reader) also activated the network regularly, while we wrote the texts. The screen brightness was about 80%. With an activity less dependent on the Internet, we can certainly expect a good half day of work, minimum.


We did not expect special surprises of this machine, and the results are fairly consistent in that its evolution. It goes a little faster, the battery life does not suffer, the connection is more balanced with the 3 USB that provides a path of movement more affordable than the Thunderbolt and more durable than FireWire 800. Minus side, its hard drive is still wheezy and the machine costs a bit more expensive.

This notebook is not especially light, but it is compact and fairly complete. However, after tasting the lightness and comfort provided by the SSD Air, MacBook Pro 13 "seems very heavy and sometimes wheezing.

The question is whether one is willing to sacrifice his optical drive and divide by four internal storage capacities. If the answer is yes, the same price as the MacBook Pro 13 "entry level, we have an excellent MacBook Air 13". Finally, if you own a MacBook Pro 13 "2011 or earlier, the performance gains made today by Ivy Bridge are real, but not sufficient to justify a replacement machine. Better to swap your hard drive for an SSD, the makeover will be immediate and real.

The MacBook Pro 13 "is a machine attractive. It combines compactness and versatility, but between the arrival of the Retina in 15" and progress in performance of the MacBook Air 13 ", this update of the MacBook Pro 13" is less exciting it lacks a spark.

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