16-inch MacBook Pro beats predecessors by overcoming thermal throttling

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16-inch MacBook Pro thermal management
16-inch MacBook Pro sports better fans and a bigger heatsink, allowing it to run faster.
Photo: Apple

The just-released 16-inch MacBook Pro handles heat better, giving it faster performance than the 15-inch models introduced earlier this year, even though both laptops use exactly the same processor.

Earlier benchmarks found that these two devices scored the same on Geekbench 5. But Max Tech did comparison tests after first forcing each processor to heat up, which slows down performance. But Apple’s latest is designed to deal with the heat.

16-inch MacBook Pro performance vs. thermal throttling

The Intel processors used by Macs get hot when asked to do demanding tasks for any length of time. When that happens, these chips slow to prevent overheating, which is called thermal throttling.

To combat this, the 16-inch MacBook Pro sports a redesigned fan that promises a 28% increase in airflow, and there’s a 35% larger heat sink.

To test how effective this is in real-world use, Max Tech employed Intel Power Gadget to see real-time processor frequencies and temperatures, as well as Cinebench.

The test subject has a 2.6GHz 6‑core Intel Core i7 processor that offers Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz, the same chip used in the base 15-inch macOS laptop that debuted earlier this year. That slightly older model doesn’t have the new thermal management enhancements.

Once the processors in each of these two MacBooks had heated up to almost 100 degrees, the just-released 16-inch model was going at about 3.35GHz, while the 15-inch one tops out at 3.06GHz — about 10% slower.

That holds true in a Geekbench 5 test also done with both devices forced to heat up first. The 16-inch MacBook Pro scored a 5667 on the multi-core test, while the older model got a 5164.

Watch the full Max Tech video now: