back to article Next-gen MacBook Pro, iMac make benchmark site debut

Faster MacBook Pros have surfaced on the Geekbench benchmark collation site promising, if genuine, performance 17 per cent up on its predecessor. The reference, to a 'MacBook9,1', lists a machine with a four-core Intel Core i7-3820QM Ivy Bridge processor operating at 2.7GHz and running Mac OS X 10.8 (Build 12A211). It has 8GB …


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  1. JDX Gold badge


    What resolution is classed as retina for 11/13/15" screens then? Given a10" screen is 2048x1536 presumably quite a lot!

    1. qwarty

      Re: Retina

      'Retina display" is marketing speak, all displays reach retinal acuity bounds when viewed from far enough away. For a 15" 16:9 screen, 1200p or 2000p hit an adequate ppi, depending on usage scenarios, i.e. viewing distances.

      1. ThomH

        Re: Retina

        Sure, it's marketing speak, with Apple coming up with whatever figure suits the keynote but as a general rule it's double whatever it replaces in each dimension, so old art scales up to an integral size. That would also fit the art resources discovered in recent OS X applications.

        So it should be double one of the existing or reasonably recent screen resolutions. So most guesses have been 2560x1600 (which is a doubling in each dimension of the 13" MacBook resolution) or 2880x1800 (which relates to the 15" resolution).

        Just guesses though. Mind you, so is the claim that the next resolution increase is going to be dramatic rather than merely evolutionary or non-existent as previously.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Retina


          Clicking the link to the source article makes mention a OSX version being resolution-independent - thus it isn't necessarily an integer multiple of an existing display.

          However, having a drastically increased resolution does seem an obvious area in which to differentiate themselves from their competition- laptops with high-res 16:10 screens and the software to take advantage of them.

          Here's hoping that this rumour is true, so that competing manufacturers take notice.

      2. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Retina

        I thought Apple used it against a certain DPI?

    2. Jim Wilkinson

      Re: Retina

      Retina - assuming the screen occupies the maximum visual angle so that that the user perceives only the screen, then the screen impacts over the whole retina. Given that the visual acuity of the eye is approx 4K pixels, then this screen is not retina unless the user backs off until the screen impacts only a portion of the eye.

      So if the screen is (say ) 4096 pixels horizontally with pro-rota for the vertical axis, then it's arguably a retina display. The values given in the system info will tell all.

    3. jubtastic1

      Re: Retina

      Retina means 1 pixel/arc minute at normal viewing distance, which equates to "pixels can't be resolved by user with 20:20 vision at normal operating distance" as such the actual dpi of the screens on various devices will differ, higher for devices that are held closer, like a smartphone, lower for devices that sit further away, a TV for example.

      Pixel doubling on iOS devices happened because it was easier to implement, the iPhone Retina display is actually over 1 pixel per arc minute, But for most people that difference can't be perceived, so they're effectively redundant pixels, but going a bit over the spec turns out much easier for everyone than scaling existing stuff to ~94%.

      Mac OS X on the other hand, has always dealt with a variety of display resolutions, Applications are usually windowed and designed to stretch to accommodate various aspects, so Laptops and Desktops just need small bumps to hit Retina Resolutions bang on the nose, note the MBPS 17" is already a Retina Display.

      Maths here:

  2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    USB 3 instead of ethernet?

    I can see both USB and Ethernet ports being dropped in favour of Thunderbolt but if either is to be dropped then it should be USB and all hail the new breakout boxes also known as docking stations. USB 3 adds additional electronic and mechanical complexity to the build. Gigabit Ethernet is already an extremely commodified component which provides universal connectivity at a minimal price.

    1. Volker Hett

      Tell that to Intel

      They put USB 3 into the chipset and not ethernet. For those making the mainboards it's just soldering a USB instead of an ethernet plug.

    2. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Re: USB 3 instead of ethernet?

      USB3 would be nice, thanks. However no Ethernet is a killer.

      Yeah, the theory says that Thunderbolt can do it all, but the only things I've seen for thunderbolt that can do anything have no thunderbolt out, so that means I lose my nice calibrated monitor.

      The idea of trying to use USB for a gigabit Ethernet conenction just makes me shudder. How much CPU will it take to service the USB just to get data in and out?

  3. pcsupport

    Yes please to USB 3.

    No to dropping firewire. How else am I suppose to backup / repair non-booting Macs for my customers without battling to remove the HDD?

    No to removing the superdrive though admittedly I haven't used it in a long time as everything is now on my Zalman drive.

    Why oh why drop the ethernet port? That's just plain stupid. not everywhere or everyone has wifi, especially if you're in a server room or in a large commercial company.

    Ah, now I see.... "citing someone who claims to have fondled "prototype components and casings"". So this is probably yet another example of El Reg talking up nothing more than a rumour then?!

    1. Dana W


      @pcsupport Intel Macs boot from USB. Whats the problem? I don't mind a missing superdrive, as long as I can still plug in in external.

      1. Chet Mannly

        Re: USB

        "I don't mind a missing superdrive,"

        As a photographer I wouldn't miss the superdrive, but I would definitely miss the ability to add a second HD (which you do by ripping out the superdrive and adding a HDD caddy).

        Especially given the pathetic size of SSD's (but which are obviously a LOT faster).

        USB 3 is great for running backups, but useless as a working drive compared to internal SATA

    2. jubtastic1

      In the same boat

      Their argument is that you can do target mode over Thunderbolt, but as a tech that means I'm stuck with one of the current (Thunderbolt + FireWire), models as I'm bound to come across broken kit that's FireWire only for a long long time. Can't remember the last time I used my lappy as a target mode DVD drive, so I could get away without the optical but no FireWire is a show stopper.

      1. Lallabalalla

        Re: In the same boat

        That's a bit of a non-issue, surely you don't flog the old ones on ebay the minute the new one arrives? If you're in a support role you're always going to have this legacy support issue - you can ditch it when all the old ones are dead and gone - even then you're likely to "ditch" it in a cupboard rather than a dustbin, just in case.

        We have a ton of "worthless" PCs at work, which are actually still performing a useful role testing software on "slow & ancient" machinery.

    3. RAMChYLD

      Thunderbolt converter?

      Well, given that Thunderbolt is a external version of PCIe x4, some enterprising bloke could come up with a chipset that adds a Firewire port to the mix by converting from Thunderbolt. After all, Firewire 400 traffic flows smooth enough to be implemented on legacy PCI and PCIe x1 can even handle Firewire 800 traffic smoothly, so a PCIe x4-based interface could theoretically do just fine.

      Sucks to need to cough up money for the adapter tho...

      As for me, I'll be sticking to my existing Mac Mini, it's only mainly used for syncing my fondleslab anyway (aside from light gaming and casual Internet browsing) because iTunes for Windows is faff and backing up a fondleslab on Linux isn't something I have the time to explore right now.

  4. Sean Timarco Baggaley

    "No to dropping firewire. How else am I suppose to backup / repair non-booting Macs for my customers without battling to remove the HDD?"

    Using the Thunderbolt port, perhaps?

    GbE can be handled by a suitable GbE-USB 3 adaptor if you need one on the road. Furthermore, given that GbE connections are for a cabled—i.e. fixed—network connection, it seems logical to assume you could just use the GbE connector on a Thunderbolt-compatible docking station. Or Apple's own Cinema Display, which happens to include a GbE connector on it, among many other ports—including Firewire.

    1. Mark 65

      You mean "it's safe to assume owners would like to spend hundreds, if not thousands, more to get the connectivity"? I doubt any of the above come cheap and wi-fi is just shit for anything other than web browsing - try syncing any data with a NAS compared to over Ethernet. USB3 is good, at last. No FireWire isn't good considering how long they pushed it for and neither is no Ethernet. However, if they did the unthinkable and bundled some adapters it may just ease the pain of spending the best part of 2k to lose connectivity.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        "Hundreds, if not thousands of dollars?" Please send me your name, I'd love to become your vendor!

        USB2.0 gigabit adapters are $20. Fine, USB2.0 only rates half a gigabit and probably does only a quarter gigabit in actual use, but how much bandwidth do you REALLY need, versus just want because you think it may save you a few seconds now and then?

        The Thunderbolt connector will be fine for replacing firewire, as it is essentially external PCIe it will be able to connect anything you want. There isn't much out there now, but that's mainly because there are hardly any Thunderbolt capable PCs these days. Apple refreshing their Mac line will create a market and quickly change that.

        If Apple listened to every whiner complaining about getting rid of a port most people don't use, the MacBook Air would be an inch think thanks to having to include Appletalk, ADB, SCSI and a floppy drive!

  5. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Side note: Autodesk have just released Inventor Fusion, and for OSX too. Traditionally, parametric CAD hasn't been released for OSX so this is new development. I'm not an Autodesk Inventor user, but since it is on free trial til the end of the year... Oh, and it mixes up parametric modelling with direct freeform editing (this is like mixing Mechano and clay, and normally requires a shuttling of data back and forth between packages); they aren't the first to do so, but so far its not mainstream.

    So Apple are making hi-res 16:10 machines with ECC RAM which are, due to the limited combinations of hardware used, fairly easy for software vendors to certify... They really seem to be preaching beyond their choir.

  6. Jon Double Nice

    Woo hoo!

    Upgrade tiem!

  7. Chris D Rogers


    Here we go again with Apple - having only recently - try Christmas - upgraded all my External HDD Storage it Firewire 800, it seems Apple wish to push us to Thunderbolt - obviously, I adore paying a 50% premium for a Thunderbolt equipped external, compared to USB 3 - FW800 still carries about a 20-25% premium in prices.

    Oh well, nearly picked up a October revision base 15in i7 Macbook Pro for an excellent price a few weeks ago - less than a 1000 with AppleCare - thought best to hold off until the upgrade - what do they do, try and move us to iOS nonsense and their bloody cloud.

    Having used Apple products since my early 90's LCII its coming to the stage where I may be better building a Hackintosh for my desktop stuff and seeing what PC laptop competition can run OSX.

    Dropping FW800 is a huge mistake - I hope they don't F---K around with the iMac on this revision as swapping my 2011 i7 for latest 27in if it retains FW800 - will be happy with a USB 3 port though!!!

    1. Ted Treen

      Re: FFS

      "...nearly picked up a October revision base 15in i7 Macbook Pro for an excellent price a few weeks ago..."

      So why didn't you, if it answers your needs?

      Is it a matter of life-and-death to have the latest spec? If Firewire is omitted from new systems, does it mean the Firewire on older systems suddenly stops working?

      Yes, I'm a Mac user, but I use what I need, rather than chase every new development...

      1. Chris D Rogers

        Re: FFS

        It was the base October 15in with i7 and AppleCare - did not purchase as was aware of the upgrade and move to slimmer design - here in HK it means a load of low-end MacBook Pro's will be on the 'used market' shortly, some with APP.

        Given we now know a little more, and don't want a laptop without FW800 means I'll be looking at the October 2011 model used as a laptop replacement for my old 2008 iBook - this still works well but is really now totally underpowered.

        Most professional mac users have loads of FW800 enabled devices - Thunderbolt may be good, but cost point is prohibitive compared to USB 3 - all my WD storage (9T) is FW800/USB 2 enabled, so I'm on to a loser it seems - can stick with FW800 for three years though - just hope latest iMac does not lose its single FW port and that machine will be expected to last a minimum of three years.

        Hope that's a clear response to you?

  8. qwarty

    catching up, then moving forward

    Bought my most recent laptop 18 months ago. Among requirements USB 3.0 and 15" 1080p or better display, unfortunately ruled out MacBook models at the time.

    Hope the reports are correct and MacBook is finally catching up to USB 3.0, surprising to me people have put up with the lack of an essential feature so long on premium priced laptops.

    Also hoping Apple can shock the OEM community out of the habit of shipping low display resolutions as highlighted in the latest crop of uninspiring Ultrabooks. I've a 6 year old middle of the road Dell laptop with a much better display resolution than most 2012 laptops released so far this year. The technology has been developed by Samsung, Sharp etc.

    Why all the other OEMs seem hell bent on giving Apple the kudos of first to market is one of those mysteries of life but fingers crossed rumours are correct about Cupertino moving the game forward with a no-brainer once more.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's unlikely Apple would drop Firewire on the iMacs - but there are likely to be USB 3 or Thunderbolt to Firewire 800 adapters coming out. As Thunderbolt is an intelligent cable (i.e. it has components in each connector) it may even be possible just to make a Thunderbolt to Firewire cable.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Firewire gone

    Hope there are some adaptors available that work at full speed or many of us won't be able to make the jump. I'm waiting for the new model but Firewire 800 is something I use every single day and while I welcome USB3 and Thunderbolt it would cost a fortune to replace all my firewire 800 drives.

  11. Matthew 17

    Would miss ethernet.

    Copying big files between computers, the initial setup etc is much faster and simpler.

    For some reason I've never been able to get a fast file transfer between Mac's via wifi.

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