The New Updated 8-Core MacBook Pro Is Apple's Fastest Laptop Yet

Image: Apple

When Intel announced a new line of 9th-gen CPUs a few weeks ago, it was sort of expected that those processors would find their way into a wide range of new and refreshed laptops like those from Asus and Razer. However, since Apple sometimes skips over entire generations of silicon, being able to get those chips in a new MacBook wasn’t exactly a sure thing.

But with Apple announcing the availability of new 8th and 9th-gen CPUs on the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pros today, users should now have hope for even better performance—especially when it comes to its new 8-core MacBook Pro 15, which Apple claims is the fastest Mac notebook ever.

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Unfortunately, since Apple seems to have an aversion to specifically calling out which chips are used in its laptops, it can be hard to make sure you’re getting the latest components, so here’s what you need to know. For the MacBook Pro 13, newly updated systems start at $1,800 for a quad-core 8th-gen Intel CPU with a base clock speed of 2.4-GHz. Meanwhile, both versions of the MacBook Pro 15 have been refreshed, with the new 6-core model starting at $2,300, and the top-tier 8-core model going for $2,800.

Based on 2.3-GHz base clock speed and 4.8Ghz Turbo Boost available on the 8-core MBP 15, Apple appears to be using Intel’s new i9-9880H CPU as its processor of choice in the MacBook Pro. Sadly, since Apple didn’t opt for the slightly faster and overclockable i9-9980HK chip, users won’t enjoy quite the same level of flexibility when it comes to tuning their system’s performance.

If your only reason for upgrading is to play Fortnite like the picture in Apple’s announcement, you don’t really need an 8-core CPU to do that.
Photo: Apple

Even so, Apple claims its updated 8-core MacBook Pro should deliver double the performance when compared to older quad-core laptops, or 40 percent better performance than previous 6-core models. That said, like all laptop makers who try to cram big, power-hungry processors inside thin-and-light laptops, any potential buyers should know that there’s bound to be some CPU throttling due to heat.

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This is precisely what happened to the last batch of Core-i9 MacBook Pros that Apple released, and while Apple was able to alleviate some of those issues through a software update, there’s only so much you can do before the MacBook Pro’s cramped internals run out of thermal headroom.

As for the MacBook Air and 12-inch MacBook, it seems those systems are staying pat for now, which is a real shame for the latter since it’s been nearly two years since the 12-inch MacBook got a meaningful update.

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About the author

Sam Rutherford

Senior reporter at Gizmodo, formerly Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag. Was an archery instructor and a penguin trainer before that.