updated 09:10 pm EST, Thu February 24, 2011
MacBook Pro 2011 faster than some Mac Pro towers
Some of the very earliest benchmark tests of Apple's new MacBook Pros have shown them fast enough to outperform some Mac Pro workstations. Geekbench scores for the new 2.2GHz and 2.3GHz quad Core i7 processors are regularly reaching over 10,000 and producing better integer and floating point scores than Apple's pro towers from a year or two ago. Some results, such as one test for a 2.2GHz MacBook Pro, are outperforming the 3.2GHz and 3.33GHz quad-core Xeons from Mac Pros in 2010 and 2009 respectively.
The benchmarks are chiefly testaments to the optimizations behind the Sandy Bridge architecture in the Core i7. Intel's new design works on a smaller, more efficient 32 nanometer process where earlier chips were working on 45 nanometer technology. Sandy Bridge also has important design changes that can better handle out-of-order execution and otherwise calculate more per clock. Although the clock speed is much lower, Turbo Boost will often ramp the clock speed significantly higher and can close the gap significantly in a high-demand situation such as a benchmark.
The base 15-inch MacBook Pro, with a 2GHz Core i7, hovers at about 8,800 points in Geekbench and can outrun either the very earliest eight-core Mac Pros from 2008 or a late 2009 27-inch iMac with a 2.8GHz quad Core i7.
Quad-core notebooks aren't new and have been present in the Windows PC market for more than a year, but most of these are desktop replacements and mobile workstations that are often considerably thicker and heavier. The new MacBook Pros are some of the first quad-core portables to keep a thin profile and long battery life, and their performance relative to much larger and more expensive workstations may be part of a rare closing of the gap between desktop and mobile. [via 9to5]