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$1,000 iPad Pro vs $3,000 2017 MacBook Pro: Speed tests say it's a close call


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The 2017 iPad Pro bumps up against the MacBook Pro in CPU and GPU performance


Image: Bare Feats

You might not believe Apple’s claim that the iPad Pro can replace a PC, but the newest models are bumping up against Apple’s own top-specced MacBook Pro in performance benchmark tests.

The CPU and GPU tests were run by Mac-focused benchmarking blog Bare Feats, which pitted the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro against the highest configuration 2017 MacBook Pro 13-inch, with Intel’s Kaby Lake 3.5GHz i7 processor, Iris Plus Graphics 650 GPU, 16GB RAM, and 1TB flash storage.

See also: Mac Pro panic: Why Apple is running scared in the workstation market | Want a fully-loaded iMac Pro? Better sit down | iOS 11 has a big problem, and we’re to blame for it

To give a fuller picture of the iPad Pro’s generational improvements relative to the MacBook Pro, it also tested the 2015 and 2016 iPad Pro models, and the 2016 MacBook Pro retina 13-inch.

Specs for each device in the tests included:

  • 2017 MacBook Retina 13-inch, 3.5GHz dual-core i7 processor, Intel Iris Plus Graphics 650 GPU, 16GB of 2,133MHz LPDDR3 memory, 1TB PCIe-based flash storage.
  • 2016 MacBook Retina 13-inch, 3.1GHz dual-core i7 processor, Intel Iris Graphics 550 GPU, 16GB of 2,133MHz LPDDR3 memory, 1TB PCIe-based flash storage.
  • 2017 iPad Pro 12.9-inch (iPad7,2), 2.39GHz A10X processor, 512GB flash storage, 4GB memory.
  • 2017 iPad Pro 9.7-inch (iPad7,4), 2.39GHz A10X processor, 512GB flash storage, 4GB memory.
  • 2015 iPad Pro 12.9-inch (iPad6,8), 2.26GHz A9X processor, 128GB flash storage, 4GB memory.
  • 2016 iPad Pro 9.7-inch (iPad6,4), 2.24GHz A9X, 256GB flash storage, 2GB memory.

On the single-core CPU GeekBench 4 test, the 2017 MacBook Pro scores 4,650, just ahead of the 2016 MacBook Pro. Both outperform the 2017 iPad Pro models, but not drastically. The 12.9-inch and 10.5-inch model score just under 4,000, well ahead of 2015 and 2016 models scores around the 3,000 mark.

The difference between the older iPad Pro models and the newer ones is more pronounced in the multi-core CPU test. The 2017 MacBook Pro leads with a score of 10,261, not far ahead of 2017 iPad Pros, which both score above 9,200, and edge out the 2016 MacBook Pro’s score of 8,500.

In the GPU tests the new iPad Pro leads the pack. Both 2017 iPad Pro models come out just ahead of the 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pros in the metal GPU compute test, with scores nearly double 2015 and 2016 iPad Pro models.

None of these results will convince anyone that a locked-down iPad without mouse support can replace a PC. But it is interesting, as Bare Feats notes, that you can get an iPad Pro with some laptop capabilities and comparable performance at a third of the cost of the best MacBook Pro.

More on Apple’s MacBook Pro and iPad Pro



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