5600M 16" MacBook Pro Review - DON'T Wait for ARM!

5600M 16" MacBook Pro Review - DON'T Wait for ARM!
4 min read
29 July 2020

I’ve been using Apple’s 16” MacBook Pro with the brand new 5600M graphics option for over two weeks now, and the performance has been so good that I can confidently say that it actually makes more sense to buy this MacBook Pro right now instead of waiting for a high-end ARM version later.

The main reason is that the people who are in the market for this high-end MacBook Pro need reliable and fast performance, and there’s a very good chance that the third-party apps they use right now will take a couple of years to get completely re-optimized for ARM, or at least to the same level as current Intel-based Macs.

So getting back to the 5600M 16” MacBook Pro, the performance has been nothing short of incredible. It’s so good that this is the first time we’re seeing a MacBook Pro matching up to the performance of desktop Macs that are even more expensive while not being portable like the MacBook Pro is.

Not only did we see a MASSIVE improvement in graphics performance, so much so that it outperforms the most popular eGPU setup in every single test that we ran, which I’ll show you in a minute, but we even saw processor performance improvements as well. I even compared it to my $15,000 Mac Pro, and we concluded that it actually makes more sense for most people to buy the 5600M equipped MacBook Pro where they would have needed to buy a Mac Pro just 6 months ago.

5600M 16I want to show you some of the impressive results comparing this new 2020 5600M MacBook Pro and the previous best which has the 5500M 8 GB GPU, the same exact 2.4GHz i9 CPU and 32 GB of RAM.

In terms of RAW processing power using Geekbench 5, the 5600M model improved by around 250 points.5600M 16And in the more realistic Cinebench R20 stress test, our score improved by around 6%, and that’s impressive since it’s literally the exact same CPU.5600M 16We even tested exporting 500 42MP RAW images in Lightroom and the new model finished 3 minutes faster.5600M 16This basically shows us that the 5600M graphics model somehow has better cooling for the processor itself, allowing it to clock higher and perform better.

But that’s not the main focus of this new machine, the major difference is the graphics. In terms of RAW graphics performance, the 5600M was 50% faster than the 5500M, which was the previous best graphics option5600M 16and that’s with it having the same 50W TDP. And to our surprise, we saw an even bigger difference running the Unigine Heaven Gaming benchmark in Windows 10 using bootcamp.5600M 16How can this be possible with the same TDP? Optimization. The 5600 the more optimized navi 12 and while the clock speeds have been dropped we have 40 cores instead of 24 which is how we’re getting this amount of performance per watt.5600M 16Naturally, we had to test gaming performance in Fortnite and Call of Duty Warzone and found that we could get a consistent 60FPS or above with fairly high settings, and that was with the default bootcamp driver which have since been updated.

This puts the 5600M in line with the RTX 2060 in terms of performance all while having much faster memory and using quite a bit less power as well, which is what really makes the 5600M impressive. We’ve tested multiple laptops with 2060 graphics cards, and while most of them cost quite a bit less money while offering similar graphics performance, there is a massive drop off in performance when you unplug the laptop.5600M 16On top of that they require big power bricks and can’t be run off of usb-c power. That is where the 5600M really shines. You get that same performance when on the go all while getting way better battery life and you can run off cheap USB-C power banks due to the whole laptop using less than 100W of power.

Because of this if you need the best graphics power while on the go the 5600M equipped MacBook will even beat of the most powerful windows laptops like the Quadro equipped Blade Studio while costing less and having a faster CPU.5600M 16It doesn't stop there. We compared the performance of this 5600M MacBook Pro to our 5700 XT eGPU and this thing by itself got much better FPS, which I wasn't expecting.5600M 16And all of that power is built-in. You don’t have to deal with an eGPU, you’ll know that eGPUs can actually slow down performance for things like video editing.5600M 16

Here is the crazy part in terms of gaming, we tested the best Vega 48 graphics card in the 5K iMac, and it only scored 75.4FPS in Unigine heaven under bootcamp, compared to 83.8. So we can now confirm that the 5600M 16” MacBook Pro is by far the best value option for anyone who wants to play games in Windows 10 using Bootcamp, being a much better choice compared to buying an eGPU or an expensive high-end Mac desktop.5600M 16One of the concerns that I’ve read is that the 5600M will overheat and lose performance during long workloads like gaming, but while filming our Gaming Review, we played for many hours under bootcamp and the performance was consistent. This shows us that the cooling system was keeping up just fine. A lot of people also asked us about fan noise while connected to an external display, and I can confirm that the issue is now fixed, at least with the 5600M.

I connected it to Apple’s 6K Pro Display XDR and the MacBook Pro was staying cool and completely silent. Now lets touch on productivity, this new 5600M model continues to impress us. We ran a version of the Blender benchmark which uses graphics, and it was 36% faster than the 5500M model.5600M 16 In our Blackmagic RAW 6K export test using Resolve, the 5600M was an even bigger 60% faster.5600M 16 And we see a really good improvement in Premiere Pro as well, finishing much quicker. 5600M 16And then moving on to Final Cut Pro X video editing tests, let’s also introduce the 5700XT eGPU and compare the scores. In the 5K BruceX benchmark, the 5600M wiped the floor with the 5500M, and the eGPU was surprisingly slow5600M 16 I think that’s because of eGPU optimization issues in the latest version of macOS, and that’s one of the things you have to worry about with eGPUs.

Moving on to our 1 minute HEVC stabilization test, the 5600M was twice as fast as the eGPU, and 50% faster than the 5500M.5600M 16 And we saw an even bigger difference in our 30 second C200 RAW stabilization test, with this MacBook Pro finishing in only 39 seconds. 5600M 16So this basically shows how it not only beats the eGPU in gaming, but in video editing as well. Now there are some video editing tasks that we ran where there was no difference at all between the 5500M and the 5600M5600M 16 and that’s because the test wasn’t being limited by graphics, but actually by the maximum speed of the hardware encoding technology, so if you’re not pushing the graphics card hard having a faster one won’t help.

The only downside of the 5600M graphics option is that it’s $600 more expensive than the 8 GB 5500M model. Thats a big difference in price, mostly due to ultra-fast but very expensive HMB2 memory. With that said, if you’re already spending over $3000 and you need graphics performance paying the extra price is a better value than buying an eGPU and the power is always there and unlike windows laptops you can use that power when unplugged. 5600M 16And I’m even going to take it one step further, because of the portability, I’ll say that if you’re going to buy just one more Intel-based Mac for app compatibility and for using boot camp before you switch to one of the future ARM Macs, the 5600M 16” MacBook Pro is the Mac you should buy. Hopefully you enjoyed this review.

Alex 10566
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