Our Test Methodologies: As the MacBook Pro uses the Mac OS, we weren't able to use our normal arsenal of Windows-based comparative benchmarks, and instead used set of tests that we had previously devised when we looked at last year’s MacBook Pro. With these tests, we could compare the MacBook Pro against a number of Mac and Windows systems. These tests are broken up into three sections: The first set are cross-platform tests, where the same workload was run on both the Mac and Windows systems. The second set is Mac-only tests. The third set is Windows-only tests that were run on some Windows comparison systems, and the MacBook Pro using Boot Camp and a native installation of Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit). All tests were run several times on each system to ensure consistency. The Mac comparison systems are as follows:
- Last year’s MacBook Pro. Its config is a 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-520M, 4GB of 1,066MHz DDR3 SDRAM, Integrated Intel HD Graphics and discrete NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M GPU (256MB) with automatic graphics switching, a 350GB 5,400-rpm hard dive, and running Mac OS X 10.6.4.
- An older MacBook Pro that dates back to what is referred to as a "Late 2006" model. This older MacBook Pro's config is: a 2.0GHz Intel Core Duo T2500, 2GB of 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM, an ATI Radeon X1600 (128MB), a 120GB 5,400-rpm hard dive, and running Mac OS X 10.6.4. We readily concede that due to the age and low-end components (comparatively speaking) of this model, it is not the best comparison system; however, we chose to include it to exemplify how far the MacBook Pro's performance has come since the model was first introduced.
- A three-year old, 24-inch iMac. The iMac's config is: 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme X7900, 4GB of 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM, an ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro, a 750GB 7,200-rpm hard drive, and running Mac OS X 10.6.4. When this iMac was released, it represented close to the top-end of available configs, and it is still considered somewhat powerful, albeit, getting a bit long in the tooth.
- 2.13GHz Intel Core i3-330M, 4GB 1,066MHz DDR3 SDRAM, Integrated GMA HD, 320GB 5,400-rpm hard drive, and running Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit).
- 2.3GHz Intel Core i7-2820QM (Sandy Bridge), 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM, Intel HD Graphics 3000, 160GB SSD, and running Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit.
- Lenovo ThinkPad T410S: 2.53GHz Intel Core i5-540M, 4GB 1,066MHz DDR3 SDRAM, integrated Intel Graphics and Nvidia NVS 3100M, 128GB SSD, and running Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit.
- Samsung R580: 2.27GHz Intel Core i5-430M, 4GB 1,066MHz DDR3 SDRAM, Nvidia GeForce GT 330M, 500GB 5,400-rpm hard drive, and running Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit.
- Toshiba Satellite E205-S1904: 2.2GHz Intel Core i5-430M, 4GB 1,066MHz DDR3 SDRAM, Integrated Intel HD Graphics, 500GB 5,400-rpm hard drive, and running Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit.