Which 15-inch 2018 MacBook Pro Should You Choose for Video Editing?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock in the last month or so, you should already know that Apple has refreshed their MacBook Pro lineup with some impressive specs such as the 8th generation Intel Core processors, latest AMD graphics, and increased DDR4 RAM support of up to 32GB. These upgrades promise to deliver drastically improved performance for intensive computing tasks like video editing.

The hardware update, however, introduces a higher number of configurations available for the 15-inch MacBook Pro. That being said, many folks wonder which 2018 MacBook Pro should they choose when it comes to video editing? To sort things out and provide some answers, Max Yuryev compares three of the latest 15-inch MacBook Pros, thus helping you decipher more easily which configuration might suit your creative workflow best.

First and foremost, here are the specifications of the three laptops showcased in the video above:

All in all, while looking at the synthetic benchmarks in the comparison, it’s safe to say that the difference in performance between the systems seems to be minimal. This is especially true for the Cinebench R15 and BruceX Benchmarks, wherein the differences in scores are rather minute indeed.

While it isn’t wise to form an opinion solely based on this particular type of tests, the real-world performance yielded similar results. For example, in the 4K Clip Stabilization test, all systems performed at relatively the same level, with extremely minor discrepancies between the three models.

Another example would be in the 5 minute 4K clip export test, wherein all systems were able to complete their tasks at roughly the same time, except for Premiere Pro CC where the units differ from each other by 1-2 minutes.

As expected, the base model turned out to be slightly slower than the other counterparts in the lineup. Yuryev states that this may be due to the graphics card found on the unit, which is slower compared to other laptops in the comparison, both of which have more powerful GPUs.

The limitation of the base model’s GPU can also be seen in the 4K HEVC to HEVC clip export test. In this scenario, all systems once again came very close in terms of export times, with the base model lagging behind ever so slightly.

Furthermore, after conducting several intensive editing tasks using both ProRes RAW and C200 Cinema Raw Light footage, there was a very noticeable pattern between the systems’ performance. For most of the tests, it’s clear that the base model MacBook Pro performs the slowest.

It’s also worth noting that while the difference between the highest and lowest-end 15-inch MacBook Pro may clock in at around 1-3 minutes, the speed differences between mid-tier and high-end come down to just a few seconds.

While having an i9 six-core processor in your MacBook Pro may be an attractive option, using the powerful chip actually leaves you with less performance in some very intense workloads. When exporting 4.5K Red RAW footage, for example, the Core i9 processor thermal throttles to the point where it runs 500MHz under its base clock rating. As a reference, both the base-model and mid-tier MacBook Pros were able to achieve clock speeds above their base clock ratings without any throttling issues whatsoever.

Ultimately, if you’re looking for the fastest machine, it’s clear that the high-end configuration (Intel Core i9, Radeon Pro 560X Graphics, 32GB DDR4 RAM) is the way to go. However, spending an extra $400 on the CPU upgrade may not be worth the price tag due to issues with thermal management.

On the other hand, for the best bang for your buck, the mid-tier configuration (Intel Core i7, Radeon Pro 555X, 16GB DDR4 RAM) will deliver the ultimate balance between price and speed, providing you with an enjoyable and efficient video editing experience right off the bat.

[source: Max Yuryev]

B&H Order Links:

Apple 15.4″ MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (Mid 2018, Space Gray) – Base Model

Apple 15.4″ MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (Mid 2018, Space Gray) Mid-tier Model

Apple 15.4″ MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (Mid 2018, Space Gray) High-End Model

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