MacBook Pro (Mid 2018) Throttling: What’s Going On?

BY Rajesh Pandey

Published 20 Jul 2018

MacBook Pro (Mid 2018) Throttling: What's Going On?

When Apple first unveiled the 2018 MacBook Pro earlier this month, it ended up making a lot of prosumers happy. This is because, for the first time in years, Apple updated its MacBook Pro lineup with powerful internals that was good enough to meet the needs of advanced users. 

The top-end 15-inch MacBook Pro caught the attention of a lot of prosumers due to its 6-core Core i9 chip. But it was soon discovered, the 15-inch MacBook Pro suffers from serious thermal throttling issues. As the video from YouTube Dave Lee shows, the 15-inch MacBook Pro with a Core i9 chip throttles within a minute of heavy use. The throttling ends up making the device slower than even the 2017 variant of the MacBook Pro so someone upgrading from the previous generation MacBook Pro to a new one will actually see a performance regression.

So, is the thermal throttling issues on the 2018 MacBook Pro really that bad? And is the Core i7 variant also affected by it? The answer to both questions is a resounding yes!

Since the original video went live, multiple tests have been conducted by new MacBook Pro users and publications confirming that the Core i9 variant of the 15-inch MacBook Pro does indeed suffer from some major thermal throttling issues.

As tests conducted by AppleInsider show, the 15-inch MacBook Pro’s Core i9 chip starts throttling within seconds of being pushed hard which ends up affecting its performance. Under ideal conditions, the Core i9 chip will run at its Turbo Boost speed of up to 4.2GHz clock speed. However, in real life, this does not happen and instead, the processor throttles down to as low as 2GHz to prevent itself from overheating.

The base variant of the 15-inch MacBook Pro comes with a Core i7 processor which also suffers from thermal throttling issues. However, since it has slightly lower clock speeds, it ends up generating less heat which means the thermal throttling issue is not as bad.

The thermal throttling issue on the Core i9 variant is further worsened when both the CPU and GPU inside the device are pushed hard. Since there’s additional heat from the GPU also at play here, the device will thermal throttle even faster.

Due to this serious thermal throttling issue, the performance difference between the Core i7 and Core i9 variant of the 15-inch MacBook Pro is significantly lesser. In fact, in most of the cases and workloads, the Core i7 MacBook Pro will end up being a much better choice than the high-end variant.

What do you think about the thermal throttling issues of the 2018 MacBook Pro? Is it a deal breaker for you?