Apple finds the key to Core i9 MacBook Pro performance problems

Much attention paid to Apple's latest MacBook Pros has been focused on the newly-silicone-ensconced keyboards in those notebooks, but another controversy has erupted regarding the new machines' performance under sustained heavy workloads.

As The Verge points out, YouTuber Dave Lee found that a Core i9-equipped MacBook Pro couldn't sustain even its base CPU clock while performing  Adobe Premiere Pro rendering, leading to widespread stress-testing by the community at large. The mobile experts at Notebookcheck noted similarly disappointing behavior with repeated Cinebench runs, for just one example.

Turns out, something was wrong—it just wasn't related to the notebook's cooling capabilities. Apple didn't issue a general press release on the subject, but it did contact outlets with review samples to inform them that a software issue had led to improper thermal management of the processor under certain workloads.

According to the statement given to The Verge, Apple claims "a missing digital key in the firmware" was to blame for the problem, and it affects all Coffee Lake MacBook Pros, not just the Core i9 option. While "digital key" is not a term I've ever heard in my years of PC hardware coverage, the company issued a patch in macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 to correct the issue.

Dave Lee tested post-patch Premiere performance with his Core i9-equipped MacBook Pro and found that it was leaps and bounds better than a similar machine equipped with a quad-core Core i7 CPU—as we would expect. All's well that ends well, I suppose.

Tip: You can use the A/Z keys to walk threads.
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