What just happened? Apple has confirmed that its new MacBook Pros are hampered by a throttling-related issue that affects performance under certain workloads. Fortunately, a fix has already been dispatched to rectify the issue. Case closed? We shall see...
YouTuber Dave Lee sparked controversy last week with the publishing of a video suggesting Apple’s new MacBook Pro is susceptible to severe thermal throttling. Citing behavior observed while running Adobe Premiere, Lee theorized that Apple’s laptop chassis was simply unable to properly cool the Intel Core i9 processor inside, resulting in performance-killing thermal throttling.
Apple has since weighed in on the issue and it’s clear that Lee was on to something.
On Tuesday, the Cupertino-based company released the following statement to the media:
Following extensive performance testing under numerous workloads, we've identified that there is a missing digital key in the firmware that impacts the thermal management system and could drive clock speeds down under heavy thermal loads on the new MacBook Pro. A bug fix is included in today's macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 Supplemental Update and is recommended.
We apologize to any customer who has experienced less than optimal performance on their new systems. Customers can expect the new 15-inch MacBook Pro to be up to 70% faster, and the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar to be up to 2X faster, as shown in the performance results on our website.
Interestingly enough, Apple says the issue affects all new MacBook Pros, not just specific sizes or those with Core i9 chips.
Even more interesting is the fact that Apple didn’t specifically outline what was causing the issue. According to a recent Reddit post from user randompersonx, the issue wasn’t thermal throttling but rather “power throttling of the VRM (voltage regulator module), being unable to satisfy the power desires of the i9 CPU.”
With Apple’s fix now out, it’ll be interesting to see just how much better the laptop performs under sustained workloads.