I'm still working on a regular MacBook Pro so I decided it's time to upgrade to a Retina MacBook Pro. I'm a reporter/director so won't be editing full-time on this Mac. I have always been using macbook pros with a dedicated GPU, but because of the increased prices of the touchbar Macs I'm looking at the mid 2015 MacBook Pros apple still has on sale right now.
I noticed a few comments on Alex4d's post that ran the BruceX benchmark on some Macs in the Apple Store:
MacBook Pro 13 inch, 2.7Ghz i5, 8Gb Ram, Intel Iris 6100 with 1.5Gb = 120s
MacBook Pro 15 inch 2.2Ghz i7, 16Gb Ram, Iris Pro with 1.5Gb = 60s
Imac retina 27 inch, 3,5 GHz i5, 8Gb Ram, AMD Radeon R9 M290X with 2Gb = 43s
These results look really impressive and I feel it won't be worth the 600euro increase to get a new model with dedicated GPU. I don't mind if the render times will be a bit longer, I just need the timeline to be workable while using Color Finale/Grading.
I havent been able to find a lot of users commenting on real life performance. I hope some of you could give me some advice if the Iris Pro is a safe choice.
I'm using a 2015 rMPB, 2.6GHx i7, Intel Iris Pro and I'm happy with it. It isn't anywhere near the power of a desktop, but when I'm traveling and need it, very happy with performance. I also have a 1TB SSD USB 3.0 drive for my Libraries and media. I'm not convinced the newest model with the touch bar would be worth the money. I'll wait another year or two until Apple comes out with a REAL MBP upgrade.
Laptops are made to be mobile, compact, and heat/size factors demand they be designed with compromise. They'll never be as powerful as desktops. I mean overall, which includes export times, render times, ability to playback composites had higher resolution sources.
But if you need to go mobile, a desktop is out of the question. My rMBP is a nice laptop, I'm very happy with it.
My BruceX numbers are below, using FCPX 10.3.2 and macOS 10.12.3. Note -- BruceX produces different results on a rendered vs non-rendered timeline. Almost nobody posting BruceX results specifies which they are using, or whether background rendering is on or off. Without this information the results have limited value. There can also be significant run-to-run variation, so ideally taking an average of 3 or 5 runs is best. The results also vary if done without restarting FCPX each time. The BruceX export should be to ProRes 422, not H264. Most people likewise don't specify any of those. BruceX is a mostly GPU-oriented test.
BruceX results, 2015 15" top-spec rMBP, 3-run average, restart FCPX and create new library each time:
Comments: Superficially the GeekBench4 numbers might indicate a top-spec 2015 MBP is nearly equal the performance of a top-spec 2015 iMac 27. However in actual usage the iMac feels faster and more responsive. The BruceX numbers are much faster. The iMac is also more pleasant to use because of the larger screen and it's quieter. The MBP fans spin up at the slightest usage. Testing by Max Yuryev found the 2015 MBP is thermally limited in many cases:
That said if you need portability for FCPX editing there's no real choice -- you can't easily lug around an iMac 27. The 2015 MBP is a good machine and it has built-in USB-A and SD card slots.
Re rendering performance vs export performance vs Color Finale performance: technically rendering is resolving the timeline edit and effects directives. Whether this is CPU or GPU-bound will depend on what's in the timeline and the codec used. Exporting (at least to H264) requires encoding, which cannot be GPU accelerated using OpenCL or any other GPU API. It can be accelerated using Quick Sync if the software supports that and fortunately FCPX does.
Color Finale is an effect. It uses the GPU but some effects do not. Some effects like Neat Video are configurable to use either CPU, GPU or a mix. I have not done Color Finale performance testing on my laptop, but it would probably be adequate using either M370X or Iris Pro graphics.
Much of this involves whether you're using 1080p or 4k, and whether you're willing to use proxy. With 4k everything is just much harder for both CPU and GPU. Likewise whether you edit ProRes or H264 has a big impact on CPU usage.
I was in the same situation as you.
I couldn't afford the rMBP 2015-16 model with dedicated GPU, so I ended with rMBP 2015 model , 15" 2.2 Ghz, IRIS PRO only.
Its the first time for me too with only one GPU.
IF you are using mostly 1080p footage, you will not have any problems in the timeline (I am speaking always in native footage, not proxy-transcoded).
BUT if you are planning to use it with 4K native footage, then its not ideal.
For only simple editing (cut to cut) and the quality to Better performance is just acceptable.
For anything else 4k... not so!
Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences! I haven't fully decided yet but I think I'm going to take the 2016 model. I'm confident after hearing your experiences the integrated chip will work for 1080p but in the future working with high res files I think it will be worth the investment having the dedicated gpu (and the new usb-c ports)