Apple confirms 2018 MacBook Pro CPU throttling, troubleshooting

(Credit: Apple)

A software problem is preventing the processors in different models of the new Apple MacBook pro’s to work at their full clock speed and under a heavy workload, Apple confirmed on Tuesday. The company is rolling out an update for the operating system, which it says will be the problem, which affects the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook pro was unveiled earlier this month.

These new models feature more powerful four – or six-core Intel core i5, Core i7, Core i9 processors that considerable heat when they are running at their maximum clock speed for long periods. The laptops’ thermal management system was incorrectly programmed to deal with this heat, Apple said, resulting in a number of cases, in the new system, lowering the clock speed under heavy thermal loads.

“After an extensive performance testing under a variety of workloads, we have determined that there is a lack of a digital key in firmware which may affect the thermal management system and were able to drive clock speeds down under heavy thermal load on the new MacBook Pro”, an Apple spokesperson told PCMag. “We apologize for a customer who has experienced a less than optimal performance on their new systems.”

Apple said that a software update, macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 Additional Update will be available for download from the Mac App Store to resolve the issue. The company recommends that all owners of the new Touch-Bar-equipped 13-inch MacBook Pro 15-inch MacBook Pro install the update.

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Tuesday’s firmware update comes after reports surfaced last week that the top-of-the-line 15-inch MacBook Pro with a Core i9 processor was carried out, on time, at 2.2 GHz under a heavy workload, such as rendering video in Adobe Premiere Pro. The Core i9 in that model is designed to operate at a base clock frequency of 2.9 GHz, 4.9 GHz up to the Intel Turbo Boost technology.

In a YouTube video posted last week, technology commenter Dave Lee claimed that not only was the Core i9-equipped MacBook Pro is running slower than the base clock speed, but that was also the fill of video-rendering tasks 11 percent slower than the previous-generation MacBook Pro with a Core i7 processor.


Apple replicated the problem by running its own tests using a similar, but not identical workflow to the one Lee demonstrated, according to sources familiar with the matter. The tests showed that restriction not only on the Core i9 laptop, but on all models that were announced this month. The base model of the 13-inch MacBook Pro without a Touch-Bar is not affected if the machine has not been updated in 2018 to renew.

PCMag has not independently verified the throttling problems that Lee reported on the 15-inch MacBook Pro. However, the 13-inch MacBook Pro monster did experience some graphics stuttering problems in the course of testing in the PC Labs that could be attributed to thermal throttling. We were consulting with Apple on the diagnosis of these problems when we were given an advance heads-up about the July 24, macOS-update.

PCMag’s MacBook Pro review unit has not yet received the firmware update, as of the publication of the time. As soon as receives the update, we will be the execution of our benchmark tests again to determine whether there is an improvement of the performance and the update of the review and our readers.

Looking For The Confidence And Trust Of Customers

It is unclear how such a significant thermal problem escaped Apple’s notice before the started with the sales of the new laptops. The company initially claimed that the new 15-inch MacBook Pro is up to 70 percent faster than its predecessor, and the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar is up to twice as fast. Those claims are still correct, according to sources familiar with the case, because these tests were performed using test hardware that was not affected by the thermal throttling issue in the initial shipping units.

In addition to faced with criticism about the CPU throttling, Apple is also dealing with several class-action lawsuits that claim that the keys of the keyboard in earlier models of the MacBook and the MacBook Pro is defective. The company has started a free replacement program to repair faulty keyboards on MacBooks and MacBook pros sold from 2015 to 2017. The 2018 MacBook pro’s use a redesigned switch.

Apple is not the only PC manufacturer that has dealt with recalls and thermal throttling problems, but the recent stumbles are particularly noteworthy, because this is the first time offered on the MacBook Pro with a Core i9 processor. That model is aimed at creative professionals such as video editors and photographers whose workloads often require that all of a computer’s available CPU performance.

A Core i9-equipped MacBook Pro starts at $2,799, and can cost as much as $6,699 when a customer orders all of the available options.

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