MW: New MacBooks Rival MacBook Pro Performance

by , 3:50 PM EDT, October 17th, 2008

In standard benchmark tests, Apple's new MacBooks rivaled the performance of the more expensive MacBook Pros, even in Quake 4 frame rates, according to Macworld on Friday.

"In fact, in our Speedmark 5 performance tests, the latest 2.4GHz MacBook within a few points of the Speedmark score of the new entry-level MacBook Pro—a 2.4GHz laptop that costs $400 more than the $1,599 MacBook," James Galbraith wrote.

It's well known that the last generation (plastic) MacBooks were weak in graphics performance, thanks (or no thanks) to Intel's X3100 integrated graphics that shared memory with with the system RAM. These MacBooks were unsuitable for the most advanced games and Apple's own Final Cut Pro.

All that's changed, according to the suite of benchmarks published by Macworld. The 2.4 GHz aluminum MacBook achieved the best results in 4 of the 9 tests while the 2.4 GHz MacBook Pro achieved the best score in only three. However, in some cases the results were so close as to be irrelevant for most users.

Apple made a bold move with the NVIDIA graphics in the MacBook. Instead of differentiating the MacBook from the MacBook Pro line with plastic vs. aluminum industrial design and inferior integrated graphics, Apple has moved to make FireWire, screen size, really advanced graphics, and some subtleties in storage the key differentiators.

That's going to make a lot of MacBook buyers very happy.