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MacBook Pro with Retina - Impressions from a Windows Guy

Discussion in 'Apple and Mac OS X' started by ZoinksS2k, Jun 16, 2012.

  1. ZoinksS2k

    ZoinksS2k Notebook Virtuoso

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    Greetings fellow tech-geeks,

    I picked up one of the new mid-2012 MacBook Pro's with Retina at a local Apple Store last week and thought I'd share some details and my opinions to date.

    Clearly, the full name of this laptop is plain silly, so I'll be referring to it as the MBP+R throughout.

    Please refer to the following thread for my specs and some crappy photos:
    http://forum.notebookreview.com/apple-mac-os-x/670186-macbook-pro-retina-pics.html

    Disclaimer:
    Let it be known that I am a Windows guy and I have a serious gadget habit. If something comes out with a battery and LCD screen, I will likely own it. I've been a fan of Apple hardware for some time, I just don't care for OSX or some of Apple's practices. If you feel that I'm biased, you are probably right.

    Part I - Boot Camp and Windows 7

    Being a Windows guy, I of course wanted to get Boot Camp running and check how Windows handles the 2880x1880 resolution on the new MBP+R. Much to my chagrin, Apple did not release the Windows Support files until mid-day yesterday. Minus the drivers being late, I'm happy to report they are indeed working.

    Now, with a fresh Windows 7 Ultimate x64 build running with supported drivers, I tested several resolutions and DPI settings. If you don't know what DPI settings are within windows, the short definition is that they set the size of text in and given resolution.

    DPI Settings Dialog
    [​IMG]

    Don't forget about the XP settings
    [​IMG]

    Also, every LCD has what is called a native resolution. For the MBP+R, this is 2880x1880. Switching to any other resolution requires the OS or GPU to perform scaling operations. If you are unfamiliar with this concept, please read this.


    Now own to the screen caps, rolling through the higher resolutions in ascending order...

    2880x1880 (Native) at 100% DPI
    [​IMG]

    2048x1536 at 100% DPI
    [​IMG]

    1920x1200 at 100% DPI
    [​IMG]

    1920x1440 at 100% DPI
    [​IMG]

    1680x1050 at 100% DPI
    [​IMG]

    1600x1200 at 100% DPI
    [​IMG]


    The following snapshots show how Windows handles DPI changes at the MBP+R's native resolution.

    DPI at 100%
    [​IMG]

    DPI at 125%
    [​IMG]

    DPI at 150%
    [​IMG]

    _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    UPDATE 6/18

    Boot Camp sets the DPI at 150% by default which is probably prudent. However, users may notice that some windows come up blurry.

    You may need to download this image and look at it at 1:1 size to get the details, but all browsers except IE are fuzzy. This is 150% with XP unchecked

    [​IMG]

    Check marking "Use Windows XP style DPI scaling" box under "Set custom text size" tells Windows to ignore app settings and makes the browsers crisp again. You will also note that Chrome and Chrome Canary still default to smaller text.

    [​IMG]


    I think everyone knows that the Sony Z2 isn't in the same segment as the MBP, but seeing how it was the previous PPI champ, I took some shots comparing the text sizes. Both machines are set at 100%. Sorry abut the thumbnails (dumb ImageShack)

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Don't really have a good place for these, but here are some keyboard backlight pics

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    And obscenely zoomed pics of the MagSafe 1-2 converter (mmm, bokeh). That is my MacBook Air charger, which seems to charge the MBP+R just fine. Makes you wonder why Apple didn't provide the smaller charger to start with. Maybe it will catch on fire or something.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]



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  2. ZoinksS2k

    ZoinksS2k Notebook Virtuoso

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    I've completed a few rounds of performance testing, so I'd like to start off with the SSD.

    Apparently previous versions of Boot Camp hendered disk operations by forcing users into an IDE interface. This is my first major forey into Boot Camp, so I can't say if what I'll show you is good/bad or even different.

    Boot Camp installs two storage controllers on the MBP+R. One ATA on channel 0 and an Intel 7-series AHCI controller. I'm not entirely sure what the ATA controller does, but it may have an impact on how Apple stores startup information through the Boot Camp Control Panel. More on that later

    Device Manager with Boot Camp 4.0 drivers installed
    [​IMG]

    Disk Manager
    [​IMG]

    Driver Specifics - Version 9.3??!
    [​IMG]

    If previous Boot Camp incarnations limited users with IDE interfaces, there's good news. AHCI controlls the SSD and allows TRIM commands.
    [​IMG]

    Not content to leave well enough alone, I loaded the latest Intel RST AHCI driver.
    [​IMG]

    The Intel Control Center installed and works as expected
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    Now, lets compare performance. First pass is with the Boot Camp drivers, second is with the latest from Intel.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The Apple-flavored drivers are marginally faster than the 11.x ones from Intel, which is good. Updating the AHCI driver had another concequence. I didn't think it was a big deal at the time.

    No ATA controller in Device Manager with the Intel RST
    [​IMG]

    Now, I cannot guarantee the correlation, but the ATA driver seems to have a direct impact on how Boot Camp registers settings and controls boot volumes. The Boot Camp control panel died.
    [​IMG]

    Reinstalling the Boot Camp drivers restored the ATA driver and the control panel functions. Once again, Boot Camp is new to me, so I could be completelty off. No other system changes were made, so it is suspect at a minimum.

    The Boot Camp drivers broke the Intel Control Center, so this effort seems to have been a wash.
    [​IMG]


    I'll be doing more evaluations and performance testing soon. In the interim, here are some Futuremark scores

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    ________________________________________________________________

    EDIT 6/17/2012 - Adding more benchmarks and comparison data

    SSD Benchmarks


    A few new benches and some comparison data.


    CrystalDiskMark

    MBP+R -> [​IMG] Sony Z2 -> [​IMG] Workstation -> [​IMG]



    HD Tune 5.0

    MBP+R -> [​IMG] [​IMG] Sony Z2 -> [​IMG] [​IMG] Workstation -> [​IMG] [​IMG]



    ATTO 2.46

    MBP+R ->[​IMG] Sony Z2 ->[​IMG] Workstation ->[​IMG]



    HD Tach

    MBP+R -> [​IMG] Sony Z2 -> [​IMG] Workstation -> [​IMG]



    Disk Speed Test (OSX)

    [​IMG]


    ____________________________________________________________________________________________

    EDIT 6/18/2012


    Here are some boot-time vids. Clearly Apple can do better on boot camp startup, but will they? Probably not.

    MacBook Pro 15 with Retina vs. Sony Z21 - Windows Boot Time - YouTube
    MacBook Pro 15 with Retina vs. Sony Z21 - OSX vs. Windows Boot Time - YouTube


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  3. ZoinksS2k

    ZoinksS2k Notebook Virtuoso

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    This section is a work in progress, but I did some simple surface temperature testing. Battery life will take time.

    No tool kit is complete without an infrared thermometer.

    The ThermoHAWK 420
    [​IMG]

    I took 35 readings from the MBP+R in two tests.

    • OSX Idle: Just like it sounds, booted cold into OSX, opened MacOffice Outlook, waited 15 minutes. The charger was attached and battery was at 100%
    • OSX Portal 2: Played Portal 2 for 10 minutes in OSX. I was careful not to touch the wrist guard whilst playing.

    Ambient temp was 73, surface readings were at 74 prior to powering up.

    Sample Point Maps:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Temp Readings:
    [​IMG]

    ...and yes, I sampled spots 2-6 more than once.


    ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    EDIT 6/18/2012 - Videos

    There have been questions about the fan noise on the new MacBook, so here you go

    MacBook Pro 15 with Retina - Windows Fan Noise - YouTube - Skip to @ 1:09
    MacBook Pro 15 with Retina - Portal 2 - YouTube Skip to @ 5:00



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  4. namaiki

    namaiki Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    How is battery life in Windows? Any support for switchable graphics?

    How are you finding the Retina display compared with the 1080p screens in your Vaio Z laptops? Any squinting or eye strain at native resolution, 100% DPI?
     
  5. ZoinksS2k

    ZoinksS2k Notebook Virtuoso

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    Time will tell on battery life, but seems reasonable.

    There have been MANY threads in the Sony forums about the Sony Z's FHD screens (previous PPI champ). You either love it or hate it, can read it or can't. I'm one of the ones who loves it. The MBP+R's text at 100% is too small for me. I think 125% is a sweet spot. Funky things happen at 150%

    EDIT: No switchable graphics that I can find. Nvidia only in device manager. I tried loading the Intel gpu drivers, but no joy. Uninstalling the nvidia bits didn't allow the Intel drivers to load either. We were able to do some interesting stuff with hybrid drivers on the Sony's, but I don't know if it will help on the MacBook. Apple does dumb stuff simulating the bios
     
  6. gamerish

    gamerish Notebook Evangelist

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    Have you tried gaming on it yet? Specifically Skyrim?
     
  7. ZoinksS2k

    ZoinksS2k Notebook Virtuoso

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    Don't own it, not interested in buying.

    I'll be doing:
    PCMark7
    3DMark06
    3DMark Vantage
    3DMark 11
    Batman Arkham City (maybe)
    Metric crap-ton of HD benches
     
  8. Karamazovmm

    Karamazovmm Overthinking? Always!

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    Do please tell us the ballpark of battery life in windows, I still use that daily.
     
  9. fasteddie

    fasteddie Newbie

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    Can you do some SSD speed tests as well in Windows, with CrystalDiskMark? And also, did you do the SSD Optimization yet (Guide at: The SSD Review

    Thanks for the thread!
     
  10. sgogeta4

    sgogeta4 Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    The SSD should be the same as all other Samsung (controller and flash memory). Just a different (proprietary) connector.
     

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