A remarkable upgrade turns a great machine into a beast.

As a pro-level user, I get rather excited when Apple drops new machines. I typically try to upgrade my machines every 4-5 years to keep up with the latest technology, but when Apple drops a brand new machine with sophisticated updates, like a spec upgrade or complete redesign, that’s enough to make me jump and upgrade sooner. In 2016, Apple released a brand new MacBook Pro with the brand new feature — the Touch Bar — integrated into the design. That machine was a beast for me and I loved it. If it weren’t for Apple announcing the mid-2018 MacBook Pro update in July, I wouldn’t have gone out of my way to upgrade my machine earlier than I normally would. But, the up to 6-core processors, 32GB of memory, a True Tone display, and the Apple T2 Chip was hard to pass up.

So, in October, I finally made the leap to purchase the mid-2018 MacBook Pro. I was impressed with its performance and was just starting to get to know it when Apple snuck in the announcement of the late-2018 MacBook Pro release when they published their press releases from their October 30th event. Deep in the press release for the new iPad and MacBook Air, there was mention of another MacBook Pro release — this time, it would have an upgraded graphics card — something pro users have wanted for years.

Radeon Pro Vega Graphics Coming to MacBook Pro Next Month

Apple also today announced new MacBook Pro graphics options that will bring powerful Radeon Pro Vega graphics to MacBook Pro for the first time. These new graphics options deliver up to 60 percent faster graphics performance for the most demanding video editing, 3D design and rendering workloads.

MacBook Pro with Radeon Pro Vega Graphics

Unfortunately, for me, Apple has a 14-day return policy on their machines and my 14 days ended on October 23. So, I, like so many others, seemed to be out of luck. To say that I was furious was an understatement. I’ve invested a lot in Apple products over the years and I’ve never witnessed such a blatant disregard for customers from the technology company. Fortunately, the Apple Store I frequent (it’s 2 hours away) was willing to work with me (check out my Apple Store Experience here) and they were able to upgrade my mid-2018 machine to the late-2018 model.

I’ve had the computer for less than 12 hours at this point, but I’ve already fallen in love with its performance. While this article won’t be a full review of it, I wanted to at least release my initial thoughts and performance testing results of the machine. I ended up upgrading the laptop to a fully specced out machine (details below).

SPECS

  • 15.4-inch LED-backlit display
  • True Tone technology
  • Processor: 2.9 GHz, 6-core Intel Core i9, Turbo Boost up to 4.8GHz with 12MB shared L3 cache
  • Memory: 32GB RAM
  • Storage: 1TB SSD
  • GPU: Radeon Vega Pro 20 with 4GB of HBM2 memory

MacBook Pro with Radeon Pro Vega Graphics

MacBook Pro with Radeon Pro Vega Graphics

After getting the computer set-up, I downloaded GeekBench to run a performance test and got a score of 71609. The mid-2018 model only received a score of 54259. Even though I knew the spec bump would increase the performance of my machine, but I didn’t expect it to be that large of a jump.

The updated GPU seems to definitely turn the MacBook Pro into a video editing beast. As I mentioned, I haven’t been able to run a full barrage of tests on the MacBook Pro yet, but I’m ready to get to work with this powerhouse running the show.

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