Re-testing the MacBook Pro: Apple’s firmware update led to a big improvement

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Enlarge / The 2018 MacBook Pro from the front.

Prospective buyers of the 2018 MacBook Pro were faced with a dilemma shortly after the device launched. Reports emerged that the machine experienced heavy throttling and wildly inconsistent performance under heavy, sustained load—especially when both the CPU and GPU were being taxed simultaneously.
Early speculation suggested that this was because of the inability of the MacBook Pro's thermal management system to support the demanding Intel Core i9 CPU. But Apple quickly announced that it had discovered a bug in the MacBook Pro's firmware that affected the heat management system. A firmware update was released earlier this week. Here is Apple's public statement on the issue:
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.
We dedicated some time this week to re-running all the benchmarks we did for our review in order to see how performance was impacted by the firmware update. We also wanted to see side-by-side comparisons of clock speeds before and after the update.

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