Those Apple-exclusive Ice Lake processors aren't faster than the 15W versions in other laptops

MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2020)
(Image credit: Future)

Though Intel is reportedly reserving its top-end 28W 10th-gen Ice Lake CPUs for Apple’s 13in MacBook, it appears these chips fail to offer a substantial performance advantage over their 15W counterparts.

Following the launch of the MacBook Pro 13, the Intel Core i5-1038NG7 and Core i7-1068NG7 have started appearing on multiple benchmarking websites. It's rumored that Intel has reserved these 28W Ice Lake chips exclusively for Apple’s latest laptop, and they don’t come cheap: Apple is charging $1,799 (£1,799 / AU$2,999) for a Core i5-1038NG7 model, $1,999 (£1,799, AU$3,1000) for the Core i7-1068NG7 variant. 

However, as shown by early benchmarks, these 28W Ice Lake CPUs may not offer much of a performance advantage over their 15W counterparts.

As reported by Notebookcheck, the Intel Core i5-1038NG7 version of the MacBook Pro 13 scored just 9,050 points in 3DMark Fire Strike Physics, well below the 11,261 points achieved by the Core i5-1035G7 in the 13-inch Microsoft Surface Laptop 3.

This performance, according to hardware tipster @_rogame, also pales in comparison to that of Intel’s upcoming 10nm Tiger Lake-U series processors, which he claims will offer a 40% hike in both CPU and GPU performance.

This lackluster performance is likely because of the MacBook Pro 13’s cooling system, as it’s a similar story with the Core i7-1068NG7; as noted by Notebookcheck, this processor - available in Apple’s priciest MacBook Pro models - racked up an equally-unimpressive score in Geekbench 5.1’s multi-core tests. 

We've reached out to Apple and Intel for comment, and we'll update this story if we hear anything from either company. Either way, we haven't had a chance to test the new MacBook Pro for ourselves yet, so we'd take these benchmark results with a grain of salt – we'll have our full review up very soon, so stay tuned. 

Carly Page

Carly Page is a Freelance journalist, copywriter and editor specialising in Consumer/B2B technology. She has written for a range of titles including Computer Shopper, Expert Reviews, IT Pro, the Metro, PC Pro, TechRadar and Tes.