Apple MacBook Pro Radeon Pro Vega GPU Upgrade Shows Huge Performance Benchmark Gains

Apple MacBook Pro
The MacBook Pro has seen some interesting upgrades this year. Apple refreshed both the 13-inch and 15-inch models in July with newer hardware, then last week it added an AMD Radeon Pro Vega GPU option for users who need more graphics firepower. How much more firepower are we talking about? Some new benchmark data help answer that question.

Customers have two discrete Vega GPU upgrade options for the MacBook Pro: Radeon Pro Vega 16 and Radeon Pro Vega 20. Before the mid-November refresh, the highest end graphics option was a Radeon Pro 560X GPU based on AMD's previous generation Polaris architecture.

A reader at MacRumors shared some benchmark results with the site that he had obtained on a 15-inch MacBook Pro with a Radeon Pro Vega 20 GPU. The machine's other specs include a 2.6GHz Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB solid state drive. In short, it's a high-end configuration that should perform well in virtually all scenarios.

He ran the system though Geekbench and obtained an OpenCL score of 72,799. Looking through GeekBench's database, similar systems with an upgraded Core i9 processor scored as high as 80,002.

To put those numbers into perspective, the highest score for a MacBook Pro with a Radeon Pro 560X GPU inside is around 65,000. In addition, an upgraded MacBook Pro with a Core i9 processor and Vega graphics posted a Metal score 73,953 in GeekBench, versus 57,000 for a MacBook Pro with a Radeon Pro 560X GPU.

These numbers indicate significantly better graphics performance, just as we would expect from upgrading to Vega. However, it's not a large sample size, so it's more of a snapshot of performance and not something anyone should read too much into at the moment.

It costs $250 to upgrade to a Radeon Pro Vega 16, and $350 to bump up to a Radeon Pro Vega 20, when configuring a high-end MacBook Pro starting at $2,799.