An early test of the i9 processor-equipped 15-inch MacBook Pro has revealed a reported design flaw of the new laptop. The CPU appears to throttle under load, meaning that instead of getting the 2.9GHz speeds advertised you could actually be getting closer to 2.2GHz.
The news comes from YouTuber Dave Lee, who purchased the £2700 version of the laptop, KitGuru reports.
The Intel Core i9 that he specced the laptop out with is the most powerful CPU available for the laptop, and offers six cores of computing power for intense workloads such as photo- and video-editing.
However, the apparent throttling suggests that Apple’s MacBook chassis design isn’t equipped to handle the amount of heat the processor is putting out.
Throttling is standard practise across all computers. The thinking is that it’s better to slow down a CPU that’s overheating, rather than allow it to run at its maximum speed and push out too much heat.
Lee confirmed his suspicions by having his MacBook run in a freezer while it rendered a video in Adobe Premiere. Doing so nearly cut the render time in half from 40 minutes to 27 minutes, suggesting that excessive heat is indeed to blame for the speed issues.
(Editors note: Please don’t actually put your laptop in your freezer. The sheer amount of condensation in there is very dangerous for any electrical hardware, and it’s not worth the stress.)
The finding also casts a lot of doubt on whether or not the i9 option of the MacBook Pro is worth paying extra for. If you opt for the 2.2GHz i7 model you get the same number of cores, and they’ll run at the same speed anyway.
We’ll have to try out the new MacBook Pro for ourselves to see if we can replicate the issue. 9to5Mac has been able to replicate it, but it remains to be seen how widespread the problem is with final hardware.
We have contacted Apple to request comment, and this piece will be updated when the company responds.
Have you bought the new i9 MacBook Pro? Have you experienced any throttling issues? Let us know @TrustedReviews.