New MacBook Pro Processor and Memory Get Tested

By Wesley Fenlon

New MacBook Pros mean new benchmarks, and those new Sandy Bridge processors are working overtime to distinguish themselves from the previous generation of Core processors.

It was only late last week that Apple’s refreshed Sandy Bridge-totin’ MacBook Pros hit stores and the web, but benchmarks are already pouring in courtesy of Geekbench, which allows users to easily post the results of their benchmarks online. Browsing the Geekbench results list will show scores for everything from iPhones to the Linux netbooks, which makes it a great comparison tool for those new i7 and i5 MacBooks. The quad core i7 processors reveal a serious performance bump over last year’s MacBook Pros--almost double, in fact, with the average score of 10,000 easily dwarfing the 6,000 of 2010’s Apple notebooks.

Intel Core i7-2820QM broke the 10,000 point mark in Geekbench, with especially impressive performance in multi-threaded tasks. Compare the 2011 17” model’s results to last year’s 17” running a Core i7 M 620, and you’ll see a huge increase from a score of 5785.

scores across the board look great: the high-end 13” refresh running a 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-2620M outperformed 2010’s 15” equipped with a 2.8GHz Intel Core i7 M 640. None of this should come as a huge surprise--if there’s anything slowing these new Macs down, it will be those 5400 RPM hard drives and integrated GPUs, not the performance of the Sandy Bridge processors. Those chips have already proven themselves to be serious speed demons.
Later this week, we'll have a closer look at those GPUs to let you know how much the shift from Nividia's 320M solution to Intel's HD Graphics 3000 will hurt the 13" MacBook Pro, and what the change to AMD Radeon cards means for the 15" and 17" notebooks.