Apple has updated its MacBook Pro laptop computers offering Intel’s latest 8th generation microprocessors with 6-core Intel Core i7 or Core i9 units with Turbo Boost up to 4.8GHz with 12MB of shared L3 cache.
Big Performance Gains for Pros
Intel’s latest 8th generation processors, known as Coffee Lake, power this 2018 generation of the MacBook Pro. They also feature a revised butterfly keyboard design, the third generation of this particular design.
The new pro-oriented Mac laptops feature True Tone Displays and the Apple T2 Chip and innovative Touch Bar that debuted with the MacBook Pro last year. This is not a major redesign but a performance and internal component improvement to last year’s model.
In particular, this year’s performance bump increases memory from 16 GB of DDR3 memory to now 32GB of DDR4 memory. The new faster memory type (DDR4) is a bit more energy-hungry so the battery in the 2018 MacBook Pro is now larger but still limited to 10 hours of use.
The new MacBook Pro now features the T2 custom Apple chip controller for the Touch Bar, an all-purpose system-management controller that offers new security features previously just available on the T2-based iMac Pro. These features include secure boot, file encryption on the fly, and other features related to Siri.
Power and Graphics for CAD
The MacBook Pros are suitable performers for CAD and 3D professionals but this particular version gets even better. The bump in memory to 32GB is of particular attractiveness to 3D professionals. The top-end GPU is the AMD Radeon Pro 560X and the SSD card supports up to 4TB with read speeds of 3.2GB/s.
“The latest generation MacBook Pro is the fastest and most powerful notebook we’ve ever made,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. Apple is touting 70 percent performance improvement on the top-end model over the previous version. The 13-inch model is apparently twice as fast, slicing operations times in half.
With Thunderbolt 3 the MacBook Pro (2018) can power up to two 5K displays or four external GPUs via GPU enclosures support.
Apple Touts eGPU from Blackmagic
Apple is actually showcasing a new eGPU from Blackmagic that the Cupertino company says is “ideal for MacBook Pro.” (see image 02) This is not just a chassis but includes the card itself—a Radeon Pro 580 with 8 GB of memory.
This enables desktop-class graphics performance for the portable without having to give up high-end desktop functionality. The new Blackmagic eGPU is quite beautiful and has built-in I/O connections to drive both a Thunderbolt 3 display and VR accessories simultaneously. It contains 3 Thunderbolt 3 ports, 4 USB 3 ports, and one HDMI 2 port.
Apple says the MacBook Pro with the eGPU can render Maxon Cinema display jobs 2.8x faster than with just the Radeon Pro 560X. It is important to note that the 13-inch model is also capable of working with the eGPU. The Blackmagic eGPU is sold only at Apple and retails for $699.USD. To learn more go here.
Architosh Analysis and Commentary
This is an impressive update to the MacBook Pro line up hopefully foretells of great things to come later this year or early next when Apple introduces a new Mac Pro workstation machine. The Verge says that Apple worked with the company on this product and perhaps this suggests a direction for design that Apple may take with a new Mac Pro? One thing we know for certain is that the new Mac Pro is supposed to be “modular” but we hope Apple’s vision of “modular” isn’t simply optional Thunderbolt 3 based products that themselves are not upgradeable. While this new Blackmagic eGPU will get you much more power and VR support, you cannot upgrade it. There are also display limitations. A good review thus far has been published here on AppleInsider.