Windows Performance and Battery Life

Since we are a Windows-focused website, I'm going to mostly skip over performance in Mac OS, and focus on the Boot Camp experience with this new MacBook Pro.

Using both Handbreak and Cinebench to evaluate the CPU in the 2016 MacBook Pro, we see some of the generation to generation IPC differences between the Skylake and Kaby Lake platforms. Considering the i5-6267U in the MacBook is a 28W TDP part, the comparison to the 15W i5-7300U  in the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is disappointing. For the power increase and subsquent loss in battery life, we would really hope to see more performance.

It will be interesting to see what comes of a potential Kaby Lake or Coffee Lake CPU bump to the MacBook Pro's when they are next upgraded.

PCMark 8 attempts to show system-wide performance across an array of workloads. Accordingly we see mostly the same story here. Even in the OpenCL-enabled "Accelerated" tests, we see that there is litle to no advantage with the Iris 550 Graphics found in the i5-6267U.

As you might expect, the MacBook Pro 2016 isn't exactly a gaming powerhouse. Expect to be able to play older titles, and newer indie games. Intel has a site where they attempt to catalog settings for specific Intel integrated GPUs. However, I've found that a lot of these settings that I've tried target frame rates and quality settings lower than I would be willing to put up with. However, if your end game is to get the game to just run, this couuld be a helpful starting point.

One thing I have discovered, along with others, about the MacBook Pro 2016 is it's less than stellar battery life. The relatively small 49 Wh certainly leaves something to be desired. While battery life under Windows has always been slightly worse than under Mac OS due to lack of completely optimized drivers in the Boot Camp package, overall the battery life is a disappointment for an expenisve, flagship notebook.

Somehow, I think by this pouint readers will not be surprised for me to go ahead and say it. The 2016 MacBook Pro is completely overpriced. The Touch Bar currently is a gimick with no real software adoption in Mac OS, and just seems to drive up the cost of the machine and reduce battery life by taking up space and power. 

After how long the previous MacBook Pro design had stagnated, I see why Apple went for something very different this time around, as they were certainly due for. However, I'm certainly not sold.

I don't think it's all hopeless though. The idea of having only USB-C ports on this machine hasn't been that much of a hinderance over my time with it, and provides some nice benefits. As we see more and more Type-C enabled computers in the office I begin to see the bright Type-C future of universal chargers and accessories.

Just as we saw when the original MacBook Pro Retina's launched, Apple likes to introduce these machines at high costs and then bring them down generation over generation. With some price decreases, leading to potential increased adoption of the Touch Bar and subsequently more software support, it could be a more compelling product. But for now, I'd stay away.

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