Shootout: Best 13-inch MacBook Pro vs. best 15-inch MacBook Pro

“Both with the best processor, 16G of RAM, 1TB flash storage, but different GPU,” rob-ART morgan reports for Bare Feats. “Is the 15-inch with Quad-Core processor and discrete GPU really that much faster? Is it worth the extra $$$, size, and weight?”

The shootout participants:

• Late 2016 Retina MacBook Pro 15-inch, 2.9GHz Quad-Core i7-6920HQ (Turbo Boost to 3.8GHz), 16G of 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory, AMD Radeon Pro 460 (4G), 1TB flash storage (APPLE SSD SM1024L)

• Late 2016 Retina MacBook Pro 13-inch, 3.3GHz Dual-Core i7-6567U? (Turbo Boost to 3.6GHz), 16G of 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory, Intel Iris Graphics 550 1TB flash storage (APPLE SSD AP1024J)

“We were startled by the difference in small random transfer speed of the flash storage. Both had 1TB flash storage option but the 13-inch MacBook Pro was more than twice as fast doing small random READs as the 15-inch,” morgan reports. “On the other hand, the 15-inch was faster doing random WRITEs. According to System Profiler, the flash blades have different model numbers. Even if both have Apple controllers, it appears Apple is using two different sources for the NAND.”

morgan reports, “The 7 tests using 5 Pro Applications reveal the dominance of the 15-inch model with Quad-Core i7 processor and discrete AMD Radeon Pro 460 GPU over the 13-inch with Dual-Core i7 processor and integrated Intel Iris Graphics 550.”

Full benchmarks here.

MacDailyNews Take: $2,899 for the 13-inch as configured vs. $3,499 for the 15-inch MBP. For spending 21% more, You get “40% faster performance running CPU intensive pro apps, and an average of 110% faster running GPU intensive pro apps,” but you also have larger, heavier device to lug around. As always, it all depends on what you plan to do with your Mac.


  1. Those who care a bit about performance should consider the 15 inch model. Once you add the fastest CPU and upgrade the memory the 13 inch model does not makes much sense. Also the 15 inch model is less than .9 pounds heavier but they are both ultralight.

  2. The 15″ came today, haven’t set it up yet, but after reading this am excited. It will be a big improvement over the 2012, and may be able to be the jack of all trades to replace the iMac also. I figure having this and the Mac Pro to work with, there’s no need for the iMac since the 5k display can be attached to the mbp. We shall see.

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