updated 2: Apple has acknowledged the problem, and attributes it to a software issue:

Following extensive performance testing under numerous workloads, we’ve identified that there is a missing digital key in the firmware that impacts the thermal management system and could drive clock speeds down under heavy thermal loads on the new MacBook Pro. A bug fix is included in today’s macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 Supplemental Update and is recommended. We apologize to any customer who has experienced less than optimal performance on their new systems. Customers can expect the new 15-inch MacBook Pro to be up to 70% faster, and the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar to be up to 2X faster, as shown in the performance results on our website.

The update can be obtained here.

Will it work? If you own a MacBook Pro 2018 15-inch core i9, let us know in the comments below!

updated 1: Appleinsider was able to replicate the throttling with further testing. Check out their video here.

The latest Apple controversy has landed, and it seems that the new MacBook Pro 15-inch can’t handle the i9 heat. Famous tech Youtuber Dave Lee put the 15-inch model with core i9 processor to the test and finds that it’s… slower than the 2017 i7 model.

It’s funny how the internet works. Here you are, launching your latest top-of-the-line professional laptop, building your advertising campaign on how it’s meant for the real professionals, packing the latest CPU, only to be destroyed by a random youtuber.

Ok, Dave Lee is not exactly a random youtuber, but hey, if a guy with a Youtube channel can put into question your latest product enough for tech publications all over the internet to pick up the story, you might have a problem.

This is the situation Apple finds itself in after Dave Lee published his latest video. In the video, Dave states the MacBook Pro 15-inch with the i9 processor throttles so hard that it can’t even maintain it’s base clock speed of 2.9 Ghz.


Knowing you can drive the price of this model up to a whopping USD 6699 when ticking all the options, such as 4 TB of SSD storage, this isn’t good news for Apple.

Dave’s theory is that the chassis of the MacBook Pro simply can’t handle the power of the i9, and thus posing a problem that cannot be solved in software, unless, the power of the processor is limited, and thus rendering the precious i9 less powerful as last years model:

“This CPU is an unlocked, overclockable chip but all of that CPU potential is wasted inside this chassis — or more so the thermal solution that’s inside here”  Dave Lee

In order to test this theory, Dave placed his MacBook Pro in the freezer, and the results of a render in Premiere Pro are quite telling. Under these conditions, the MacBook Pro i9 performs as it should: better than the 2017 model. But under room temperature conditions, the 2018 i9 model drops far behind the 2017 i7 model, and that is shocking:

Macbook Pro Core i9 problem
MacBook Pro Core i9 needs to be in the freezer to perform well…

Ok before we crucify Apple over this, it’s perfectly possible that Dave Lee has a faulty laptop, and that replicating the same test on another machine simply won’t give the same problems. So far, this hasn’t been done.

But one can argue the damage is done. Dave Lee’s video has gone viral and tons of tech outlets have picked up the story. Which means that potential buyers are probably getting second thoughts of spending over 3K on a machine that might perform less well than last years model.

Add to that the controversy about the MacBook Pro’s butterfly keyboard and the lack of clarity by Apple if this is fixed in this latest model, and Apple might want to start their damage control operation quickly before it’s too late.