Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch Review

Windows-Only Tests

PCMark Vantage
Simulated Application Performance
This synthetic benchmark suite simulates a range of real-world scenarios and workloads, stressing various system subsets in the process. Everything you'd want to do with your PC--watching HD movies, music compression, image editing, gaming, and so forth--is represented here, and most of the tests are multi-threaded, making this a good indicator of all-around performance. For this test, we added a number of additional comparison Windows laptops. All of these comparisons are from previous reviews: the $899 Asus U30Jc (2.26GHz Intel Core i3-350M, Nvidia GeForce GT 310M), the $1,464 Lenovo ThinkPad T410 (2.53GHz Intel Core i5-540M, Nvidia NVS 3100m), the $829.99 Samsung R580 (2.27GHz Intel Core i5-430M, Nvidia GeForce GT 310M), and the $899 Toshiba Satellite E205-S1904 (2.2GHz Intel Core i5-430M, Intel GMA HD).

Intel's Core i5 processor currently marks the sweet spot for performance and price--at least for Windows laptops--and the Core i5-520M happens to sit in the midrange for standard-voltage mobile Core i5 processors (it is flanked by the 2.53GHz Core i5-540M and the 2.26GHz Core i5-430M). As the chart above shows, the MacBook Pro's performance sits in-between that of two other laptops that are each powered by these other standard-voltage mobile processors. With a PCMark Vantage score of nearly 6,000, the MacBook Pro can be a very capable Windows machine, which should be able to make short task of nearly any mainstream, consumer app you might think to run on it. Unfortunately, the MacBook Pro's use of the Core i5 processor doesn't necessarily translate into a noticeable savings--not unless you consider that the starting price for a Core i7-based MacBook Pro starts at $2,199 (which uses a dual-core, 2.66MHz Core i7-620M). With a starting price of $1,799, the Core i5-based MacBook Pro can be significantly more expensive than similarly equipped Windows laptops..

Futuremark 3DMark06
Synthetic DirectX Performance
3DMark06 is a 3D rending benchmark that includes Shader Model 2.0, Shader Model 3.0, and HDR tests. Scenes are rendered with very high geometric detail and shader complexity, and with extensive use of lighting and soft shadows. The maximum shader length 3DMark06 supports is 512 instructions. The 3DMark06 Overall Score is a weighted average based on the SM 2.0 and HDR / SM3.0, and CPU scores.

As we saw with the MacBook Pro's Half-Life 2 performance, its showing on the 3DMark 06 test indicates that this laptop is a capable machine for modest 3D games. You'll probably want to stay away from demanding, newer DX11 titles or perhaps even some of the higher end DX10 games out there, but plenty of DX9/10 games should run just fine with medium-level in-game graphics-quality settings.

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