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I presume that these new MacBook Pro models won't be able to run Sierra. (I'm still leery about High Sierra and APFS.)
You are correct that Sierra isn't an option for the new MacBook Pro, but I'm surprised to hear you have any concern about High Sierra and/or APFS. I've found High Sierra to be a great improvement, stability-wise, over Sierra. I've been running High Sierra from an APFS encrypted drive for over a year now with no major issues, nor have I read of any widespread problems concerning either. Can you point us to documented references to support your "leeriness?"
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
You are correct that Sierra isn't an option for the new MacBook Pro, but I'm surprised to hear you have any concern about High Sierra and/or APFS. I've found High Sierra to be a great improvement, stability-wise, over Sierra. I've been running High Sierra from an APFS encrypted drive for over a year now with no major issues, nor have I read of any widespread problems concerning either. Can you point us to documented references to support your "leeriness?"
And I'm, in turn, very surprised that anyone has had stability problems with macOS 10.12 Sierra, as I haven't heard of any such problems (nor have I experienced any myself in constant, intensive use). What problems did you experience, exactly?

On the other hand, High Sierra's compatibility issues, quality problems and shocking security failures have been very well documented - on MacInTouch (e.g. here and here), in various Apple notes, and all around the web. Here's a quick summary, if you haven't seen it:
Howard Oakley said:
 
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Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Intel updated its Power Gadget to Version 3.5.3 to fix a nasty bug with High Sierra in the previous version:
Intel said:
Intel Power Gadget

Patrick Konsor (Intel) said on Apr 30,2018

The issue on macOS 10.13.4 should now be resolved with Intel Power Gadget for macOS 3.5.2.

For anyone who may have run into this issue in the past, you can resolve it with the following:
  1. Boot to Recovery mode by holding Cmd+R while booting
  2. Select Utilities > Terminal
  3. Execute the following command:
    rm -r /Volumes/Macintosh\ HD/Library/Extensions/EnergyDriver.kext
  4. Note that if the partition you want to delete from is not named "Macintosh HD" then you'll need to adjust the partition name above.
  5. Restart

Ganev, Ivan said on Apr 22,2018

I had the same thing as told B, James. You should remove this program from the site. I have MacOS 10.13.4 (High Sierra) and this program killed my system and a week of work with it.
 


You are correct that Sierra isn't an option for the new MacBook Pro, but I'm surprised to hear you have any concern about High Sierra and/or APFS. I've found High Sierra to be a great improvement, stability-wise, over Sierra. I've been running High Sierra from an APFS encrypted drive for over a year now with no major issues, nor have I read of any widespread problems concerning either. Can you point us to documented references to support your "leeriness?"
On the other hand, High Sierra's compatibility issues, quality problems and shocking security failures have been very well documented - on MacInTouch (e.g. here and here), in various Apple notes, and all around the web. Here's a quick summary, if you haven't seen it...
I think Ric has provided great documented references. I would hope that the big problems are all fixed by now, but the number and magnitude of issues in earlier versions of High Sierra leave me suspicious of Apple's current quality control. I'm also not yet ready to deal with the compatibility issues related to APFS (though I like some of its improvements) in my household of mixed OS X and tool versions.

Maybe next year I will give High Sierra a try after the final version is out with the last bug fixes made, but it won't be with APFS. Also, by then we'll see if things are going any better with Mojave, and maybe we'll skip High Sierra, as we did with Mavericks and almost did with El Cap.

I used to eagerly await new OS releases and liked being on the leading (though not bleeding) edge. Apple has cured me of that over the last several years.
 



Maybe next year I will give High Sierra a try after the final version is out with the last bug fixes made, but it won't be with APFS. Also, by then we'll see if things are going any better with Mojave, and maybe we'll skip High Sierra, as we did with Mavericks and almost did with El Cap.
The "final version with the last bug fixes" of High Sierra came out two weeks ago on the 9th July: macOS 10.13.6. Barring any showstopping major bugs (and even then, don't count on Apple to even fix those in High Sierra), the only thing we'll get from now on is "security" updates for ~2 years (and there's also no guarantee of those, because Apple has no officially documented end of life support policy).
 


Maybe next year I will give High Sierra a try after the final version is out with the last bug fixes made, but it won't be with APFS.
Then better download the High Sierra installer before Mojave is released later this year. As usual after the last couple of new macOS releases, previous versions will then not be available anymore in the App Store.

I, myself, am now in the habit of upgrading in spring or summer, after most issues should have been resolved and before the next macOS version is again released. I have been running High Sierra now for a couple of months with no issues whatsoever. This is on an iMac with fusion drive, so still with HFS+.
 



Then better download the High Sierra installer before Mojave is released later this year. As usual after the last couple of new macOS releases, previous versions will then not be available anymore in the App Store.
Although sort of removed from the App Store you can actually, still officially download Sierra and El Capitan from Apple - you just need to go to a special Apple page to do so:

OS X 10.11
macOS 10.12

Of course, relying on Apple to also provide a dedicated macOS 10.13 download page after 10.14 comes out would be stupid. So your advice to download the 10.13 installer now is good and valid. I recommend the macOS High Sierra Patcher Tool that enables you to download the full installer and not the stupid little stub (see lengthy discussions about that particular problem, previously on MacInTouch)
 



If the discrete GPU is turned off, will the i9 perform better? I don't use any graphics-intensive software (other than the occasional Pixelmator edit), nor do I play games. With this type of setup, will the i9 perform better? I do run multiple VM's at the same time for the development work I do.
 


Given the information out there now, that sounds like a possibility.

One thing I've been using on my 2012 15" is TG Pro (from Tunabelly), since it allows you to control when and how quickly the fans come on. It helps to keep the Mac cooler than it would be on its own. I do hear the fans more often, but since the 2011 17" died, I've been using it to (hopefully) avoid thermal damage.

I've been considering replacing the 2012 15" with the 2018 myself, but the thermal issues gave me pause. The new information further up in this thread is encouraging.

(No affiliation with TG Pro, by the way, just someone who has used it for 4 years now.)
You may be able to get your 2011 17" going again using the approach described in Real Mac Mods <https://realmacmods.com>. I tried it early on and recovered my 2011 17" Mac.
 


I have for a number of years used an old-fashioned wire in-basket as a stand for my MacBook Pro. My old 2011 17" models fit great; the current 15" models are just barely large enough to rest on the top of the basket. There are two benefits I get from doing this: air circulation under the laptop, and the bottom of the laptop screen is almost perfectly aligned with the bottom of my Apple Cinema 30" displays (I have one at work and one at home).
For many years, my solution for cooling my sequence of hot MacBook Pro notebooks has been a simple cooling rack (sorry, to my wife) as in:

If the job takes a very long time, I add a 6-inch desk fan.

One example task is creating a new clone on a freshly initialized drive in a dock. I then include the dock in the airstream.

The cooling rack fits in my large case, along with the notebook and, these days, a comprehensive set of dongles. It also fits in my suitcase as needed.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch


Macs (and other computers) get hot.

Thanks to Ric for suggesting the best way to share an image here is to share it from a Cloud Service. This one's a pic of three of my Mac laptops, elevated off my kitchen table and fan-cooled as I ripped a series of audio books. Elevation and fan cooling increased throughput and, more important, reduced failed rips. I did bring a bigger fan out . . .

Cooler! Three Mac laptops ripping Audiobooks

Watching Leo Laporte and Patrick Norton debate the i9 MacBook Pro's performance on "The New Screen Savers" is both amusing and painful. Leo wanted to validate the $4,000 purchase (he also purchased the Blackmagic eGPU). As he's talking, the i9 reports it is 99° C, one degree less than the boiling point of water, and both its keyboard and aluminum case are unpleasantly hot. (Norton measures specific temps, if you want to watch.)

So how about that eGPU that's supposed to offload processing? It gets hot, too, but Leo's disappointed it isn't apparently doing anything. Mike Wuerthele from AppleInsider "drops by" and notes it's necessary to run scripts to get the eGPU to work with High Sierra but expects it to work better with Mojave.

Imagine a 100-watt incandescent light bulb burning inside a MacBook Pro case. 100 watts is the i9's max draw, and that's just the CPU without considering separate Radeon graphics. Not a direct compare to laptop parts, but AMD recommends 60 to 80 watts for its desktop 560 card.

The MSI GT75 "gaming laptop" (review) is a laptop built to handle i9 and GPU thermal loads. Not thin. Not light. Aggressive fans. Turbojet-style vents. Short battery life.
 


Odd thought: Does the protective keyboard membrane in the new MacBook Pros reduce the air inlets/outlets such that it makes heat dissipation worse?
 


Odd thought: Does the protective keyboard membrane in the new MacBook Pros reduce the air inlets/outlets such that it makes heat dissipation worse?
Doesn't seem an odd thought at all. It's hard to imagine they didn't consider it, but it seems quite logical and reasonable.
 


Odd thought: Does the protective keyboard membrane in the new MacBook Pros reduce the air inlets/outlets such that it makes heat dissipation worse?
No, if the new keyboards have any resemblance to the 2013 and older MacBooks I've taken apart. The keyboard internally contains plastic sheets with the circuitry matrix printed on them. The keyboard backlight sheet is glued to the case. There is zero air flow in these MacBooks through the keyboard to the internals. Older MacBooks had air intakes in the speaker grills. Newer MacBooks have slots on the underside of the case. In both, the hot air exits from the gap between the case and display.
 


Odd thought: Does the protective keyboard membrane in the new MacBook Pros reduce the air inlets/outlets such that it makes heat dissipation worse?
Good thought, but not the case. Looking at iFixit teardowns, all of Apple's "butterfly" keyboards (and maybe even some earlier ones) have a plastic sheet of some kind glued to the underside, presumably to seal it off from whatever dust might be inside the case. So there hasn't been any airflow through the keyboard for several years.
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Ars Technica covers Apple's response to the thermal throttling bug in its 2018 MacBook Pro models:
Samuel Axon said:
MacBook Pro’s throttling tested and explained—it’s a firmware problem, says Apple
Today, Apple will release macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 Supplemental Update—an update the company says will fix the widely reported performance throttling problem with the new, 2018 MacBook Pro.

Since the device's launch about a week ago, some users reported that sustained, heavy utilization of both the CPU and the GPU caused the 15-inch MacBook Pro's Intel Core i9 processor to drop below its base clock frequency, negatively impacting performance for some demanding workloads.

Apple says this was a firmware issue introduced after it did its own internal benchmarks but before the device went into consumers' hands. Here is the statement from an Apple spokesperson on the issue and the firmware update meant to resolve it:
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.
Once we've installed the new firmware, we will run a series of benchmarks and update our main review with a revised recommendation (look for that by the end of this week).
 


On macrumors, someone tracked down the i9 issue to the voltage regulator module. In short, Apple left a parameter as the Intel default, and the VRM isn't able to supply enough power to the CPU and it overheats, leading to throttling.
Later in that thread, at post 51 and 84, it isn't particularly an Intel "default". It appears Apple was more than a bit sloppy here. There was an assumption that the CPU couldn't draw 120W of power. This probably worked with a previous CPU, because they couldn't. However, this CPU can get up to 100W.

Why someone would do that, though, is a mystery, along with the fact that someone didn't catch this along the way with reasonable stress-testing (or just plain application of common sense). The spec on the MacBook Pro 15" is that it has a 85W power supply adapter standard. Thunderbolt/USB-C caps out at 100W. So why a setting of 120W on the CPU would be 'reasonable' is beyond me. (Transient power spikes aside, that isn't close to reasonable.)

This i9 is an "unlocked" CPU. It is OK for Apple to use it in this laptop, but some deliberate thought should have been applied to "tame' the unlocked aspects to context/requirements of the enclosure. It is like someone was going to get a bonus check for best "spec war" bench tests done in some contrived fashion, rather than someone who did a professional job. Or like the post in the thread suggests, just plain sloppy (assumptions).
 


You may be able to get your 2011 17" going again using the approach described in Real Mac Mods <https://realmacmods.com>. I tried it early on and recovered my 2011 17" Mac.
I did try the KEXT change for the 2011 17" MacBook Pro that they mentioned, and it did get it working for a while, but now that it is obsoleted, and now that High Sierra needs a hardware mod for it, I ended up just giving up on it for now. Thanks though! ;)

It was a nice machine, and I wish they'd make a new 17" MacBook Pro, but I am not holding my breath.
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Ars Technica posted their review of the 2018 MacBook Pro. The SSD performance is better than I realized, a significant improvement over the previous model (and I wonder if it's a RAID-0 internally, like the iMac Pro's). They did throttling tests but didn't have the Apple firmware fix released today.
Samuel Axon said:
2018 15-inch MacBook Pro review: Better, faster, stronger, throttle-ier?

The good
  • Notably superior CPU and SSD performance over last year's MacBook Pro
  • Still one of the best laptop screens, especially for creative work
  • Apple-made software like Logic Pro and Final Cut Pro runs very well on this machine
  • More portable than most competing workstations
  • If you like butterfly keyboards with ultra-low travel, you’ll appreciate that this one keeps getting better
The bad
  • If you hate butterfly keyboards with ultra-low travel, this one won’t win you over
  • Zero serviceability or upgradeability for power users or IT professionals
  • This is a very expensive machine
The ugly
  • Delivers inconsistent performance in heavy, steady-state workloads due to heat management issues, though a firmware update might soon fix that
 




Has anyone successfully booted one of the new machines off of an external drive? I have gotten tired of trying. I've tried many drives - all that previously worked with pre-2018 machines.

I have tried every permutation of settings in the Startup Security panel that you access via the Recovery partition. No luck so far. I have occasionally hit a screen saying that I need to reinstall High Sierra on those drives - and they are running the latest version pre the supplemental update the other day, but nothing. Just curious if anybody else has had any issues.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Has anyone successfully booted one of the new machines off of an external drive? I have gotten tired of trying. I've tried many drives - all that previously worked with pre-2018 machines.
As I noted above, the 2018 MacBook Pros need a special version of macOS 10.13.6, not the other 10.13.6 version. Could that be the issue here?
 


It could be the issue. I normally keep a version of the OS installed on another drive for emergency purposes. It's more useful with my old Mac Pros than the laptops. Maybe I'll try cloning the current system to another drive and trying to boot from that. "T2" keeps going through my head, but I'll try one thing at a time and report back.

Okay, I just tried booting from a straight up clone I made earlier today. No dice. It said "this version of High Sierra needs to be reinstalled," which lends credence to your idea about the special version. Unfortunately, every time I hit "continue" it would give me an error message saying "Recovery Server Cannot be Contacted." I'd love to know if others have hit this particular wall.
 


It could be the issue. I normally keep a version of the OS installed on another drive for emergency purposes. It's more useful with my old Mac Pros than the laptops. Maybe I'll try cloning the current system to another drive and trying to boot from that. "T2" keeps going through my head, but I'll try one thing at a time and report back.

Okay, I just tried booting from a straight up clone I made earlier today. No dice. It said "this version of High Sierra needs to be reinstalled," which lends credence to your idea about the special version. Unfortunately, every time I hit "continue" it would give me an error message saying "Recovery Server Cannot be Contacted." I'd love to know if others have hit this particular wall.
Okay, I took my nap and listened to the thunder across the Hudson River. Now, I'm on to the next phase. I could not find the recovery server because - from the recovery partition - I had to rejoin my network. Don't know why I don't recall having to do that before. Perhaps more coffee is the key?

Anyway, I got to that screen again, but it would not let me install "on non APFS drives." Bing! I have been trying to start up from externals that are all HFS+.

I am now in the process of doing a quick install on an APFS-formatted Samsung T5. When it's done, I'll attempt to boot from that drive. It could be that simple. I'll report back.
 


I don't know. I have spent a lot of time today watching status bars, but with no real success. I tried four times to install from the recovery partition. It failed each time with about a minute left. I just tried installing from what looks like the complete "installESDDmg.pkg" that it placed on the drive, but I got a strange message that it "didn't contain all the components and cannot be installed independently. Contact the software manufacturer for assistance." That's a strange message to come from the manufacturer, which is Apple.

I tried downloading a version of the installer from the App Store, but it said the one I was using was newer than the one they could offer, so I had to do it from the recovery partition, which brings me full circle.

I'll try again in a day or two. This is not mission critical for me - not today, at least - and it's turning into a bad procrastinatory session. I was hoping I could get my machine booted from an external drive, but no dice so far. Your mileage may vary.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I have spent a lot of time today watching status bars, but with no real success....
How about this...

• Format an external SSD as APFS.
• Clone your internal drive to the external drive (with SuperDuper, Carbon Copy Cloner or Disk Utility Restore).
• Try to boot from the external (Option-boot or Set Startup).
 


How about this...
• Format an external SSD as APFS.
• Clone your internal drive to the external drive (with SuperDuper, Carbon Copy Cloner or Disk Utility Restore).
• Try to boot from the external (Option-boot or Set Startup).
I did that, but I'm going to do it again. I keep thinking there must be something I'm missing. Anyway, I'm making a fresh clone and will do it again, either tonight or this evening. I'll get it eventually. I refuse to accept defeat here.
 


Finally, success. I'm not sure what I did differently this time, and I hate it when that happens.
Here is what I know, or what I believe, at least:
1. You can only boot from an external if it's formatted APFS. I used an SSD. A spinning drive might work, and I'll try that tomorrow.
2. It needs to be a clone of the current, 2018 MacBook, but it doesn't have to be the exact machine, as I was just able to boot a new 15" off of the 13" clone, as well as the 13".
3. It takes a long time, but that has been the case for years - not always, but that's not new.

I'll do some more experimenting tomorrow.

As an aside, and as a "thanks" for the support and suggestions, I am going to get another SSD now via the MacInTouch Amazon link. Thanks, Ric, as always!
 


DFG

Ars Technica has a nice report on the overheating issue. Their findings on the i9 version are:
  • Post-patch, the clock speed is well-behaved and consistent at 3.5 GHz with the CPU maxed out.
  • However, whenthe GPU is also maxed out, CPU speed decreases to 2 GHz.
This shows that the thermal design is grossly inadequate to handle those components. That Apple hasn't changed it from the previous model while charging such high $$$ is inexcusable, in my opinion.

Things are likely very similar for the i7 model, as it has, on paper, a similar TDP. The 15" is not offered with an i5, which may leave more headroom when running both CPU and GPU.

I am curious to see a comparison with the $900 cheaper Dell XPS 15. I could not find one yet.
 


Ars Technica has a nice report on the overheating issue....
As they said, the design is a compromise. To quote from the article you kindly linked to (boldface by me):
Keep in mind that this was an artificially produced worst-case scenario that is more severe than almost all actual use cases, but the MacBook Pro still can't fully tap the potential of both the CPU and GPU simultaneously. This is not surprising, given the laptop's form factor. It's a compromise for portability.

We performed many more tests, and they all told exactly the same story—behavior is now normal and as advertised in the vast majority of cases, but some extreme scenarios involving both the CPU and GPU still lead to throttling, but with more consistent clocks. The above test just illustrated that most clearly.
For heavy, constant rendering, I will always go to one of my Mac Pros. Even at 7 and 8 years old, they can chug along for days. For most day-to-day usage, though, including heavy photoshop actions, the new machines offer a dramatic performance bump over the ones from just a year ago.
 


DFG

As they said, the design is a compromise....
My point was that the compromise is tilted way too much towards throttling.

I set out to replicate Ars's experiment on my late 2013 i7 MacBook Pro 15" with NVIDIA GeForce GT750M.

Unfortunately, Intel Power Gadget requires High Sierra, and I am still on Sierra. For a variety of reasons, I do not want to move to High Sierra.

Somebody with updated 2012-2013 (first Retina models) and 2010 models (pre-Retina, everything user-replaceable), please try this experiment. I bet there is much less throttling when both CPU and GPU run at full speed on those machines.
 



This shows that the thermal design is grossly inadequate to handle those components. That Apple hasn't changed it from the previous model while charging such high $$$ is inexcusable, in my opinion.
I'm typing this on a 2.9Ghz i9/560X model, and I simply don't understand where the complaint about the compromise is.

It has been demonstrated that my computer can run the CPU full-bore if it needs to. It has been demonstrated that my computer can run the GPU full-bore if it needs to. It can't do both at the same time for an extended period, and needs to throttle the CPU. Presumably (I base this on similarly-specced Dell portable workstations we have at work), in order to allow that, the computer would have to be significantly thicker and heavier (also probably noisier).

Apple decided that the fraction of users/time people are using the computer benefitting from both full GPU and full CPU speed at the same time is not worth the tradeoff of carrying around a significantly larger computer the rest of the time. It's not a flawed design, it's a design compromise they though made sense.

For me, that's definitely true. I will benefit from full GPU sometimes. I will benefit from full CPU sometimes. The <1% of the time I will be using the computer during which I will benefit from both simultaneously is not worth a heavier computer the other >99% of the time for me. I'd rather have a lighter computer that throttles on very rare occasions which there's a decent chance I won't even notice.

If you are one of the people who would prefer a thicker, heavier MacBook Pro in exchange for the ability to max out the GPU and CPU at the same time, Apple does not make a laptop for you, for better or worse. You would be better off getting a portable workstation or gaming machine from another manufacturer. Apple also haven't made a 17" laptop in many years, so if you're someone who needs one of those niche computers, you've been in the same boat for a long time.

Apple also could have put in a lower-spec GPU and CPU that were within the TDP of the case when running both simultaneously, but then you can't run either at the speed you get now when the other isn't heavily loaded, so you've just hamstrung some larger fraction of use cases in order not to cap CPU speed when the GPU is running full-bore. To me, that would be a much worse design tradeoff.

Of course, if the computer were thicker and heavier, why not put an even faster CPU and even faster GPU in it, and still throttle the CPU when the GPU was maxed out?
 


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