MacBook Pro 2017 Vs. MBP 2016: Better Chips, Graphics, But The Same Everywhere Else

The 2017 MacBook Pros look exactly like their direct predecessors, the polarizing 2016 MBP series. In a lot of ways, they are pretty much the same device, with users and avid Apple fans noting that the 2017 and 2016 machines not only look similar, they also feel similar. While this might be the case for the most part, the two iterations of the powerful laptops actually have some subtle differences from each other.

Noted repair website iFixit has stated that the 2017 MacBook Pros are, in a lot of ways, really the same device. According to the prolific repair website, the 2017 machines feature hardware that is virtually identical to the 2016 laptops. Interestingly, iFixit noted that the fans of the 2017 devices had a slightly different color scheme. Apart from that, however, the only notable change could really only be found in the processors of the 2017 machines. This little difference, however, goes a long way.

One of the catalysts of the 2017 update to the MacBook Pro series was the processors that were inside the laptops. When the devices were launched last year, Intel’s seventh-generation Kaby Lake chips were still unavailable to Apple. Hence, the Cupertino-based tech giant was forced to release its flagship laptops with sixth-generation Skylake processors, a family of chips that started distribution way back in 2015. Thus, while the 2016 MacBook Pros were formidable machines in their own right, they were hampered severely by their rather aging chips.

Another subtle difference between the 2017 and 2016 MacBook Pros lies in their graphics chips. In both the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro and the top-tier 15-inch MBP, the 2017 machines received slightly upgraded Intel and AMD graphics. Just like the processors, the slight improvements in this particular area also go a long way for the new devices.

For the 13-inch MacBook Pros, the 2017 iterations of the device received Intel Iris Graphics 640 and 650 chips, which are more capable than the Intel Iris Graphics 540 and 550 chips that were found in the 2016 laptops. The 15-inch MacBook Pro also received upgrades in the graphics department, with the revamped laptops being equipped with AMD Radeon Pro 555 and 560 chips, which are also significantly more robust than the AMD Radeon Pro 450 and 455 chips that were fitted in the 2016 machines.

While the 2017 MacBook Pro and the 2016 MBP are pretty much the same devices, the subtle upgrades that Apple has rolled out to its new line of enterprise-grade machines would most definitely be appreciated by avid fans of the Cupertino-based tech giant. After all, if there were anything that critics and Apple fans complained about in the 2016 MacBook Pro series, it was the laptops’ lack of raw horsepower. With Intel Kaby Lake processors and improved graphics chips, however, the MacBook Pro has once more become a truly professional-grade productivity device.

Overall, it appears that Apple’s slight improvements to the MacBook Pro could easily be seen in the device’s performance. According to Geekbench test results, the 2017 MacBook Pros are roughly 20 percent faster than their direct predecessors. The base model of the 2016 15-inch MacBook Pro, for example, has scored 3,982 on single core tests and 12,530 on multi-core tests. These numbers are notably lower than the 4,255 single core and 13,727 multi-core scores that the base 2017 15-inch MacBook Pro was able to attain.

The 2017 MacBook Pro might not feature a huge change over the 2016 MBP, but its improvements are exactly what the Cupertino-based tech giant needs in order to carve its own niche in the professional-grade laptop market once more. After all, MacBook Pros have always been machines that are fondly utilized by power users due to their ease of use and their excellent productivity capabilities. The 2017 iteration of the device definitely fits the template.

[Featured Image by GagliardiImages/Shutterstock]