Apple’s decision to switch from Intel processors to its own, in-house ARM CPUs was a bold, but ultimately very successful move. Mac computers are more efficient than ever, while also being every bit as powerful as most x86 Windows CPUs, and even exceeding many of them in performance. Now, Apple is pushing the envelope even further.
Apple has now unveiled the M3 series of chips in its latest hardware event, which will power the next generation of Mac computers over the course of the next months. The company unveiled a total of three chips: the M3, the M3 Pro, and the M3 Max. Usually, Apple actually announces the base M-series chip first, before unveiling the Pro and Max variants that go into MacBook Pros and more powerful computers. Now, we have all three at the same time. We can’t help but wonder if this is somehow related to the recent launch of the Snapdragon X Elite, which Qualcomm claims that it’s faster than the M2 Max. By launching chips all the way up to the M3 Max, Apple is able to keep those juicy bragging rights.
As for the actual chips, they are fabricated in a 3nm process, allowing more transistors in a smaller space — with the M3 coming with 25 billion transistors, the M3 Pro coming with 37 billion, and the M3 Max pushing the envelope to a whopping 92 billion. The M3 series introduces a next-gen GPU with features like Dynamic Caching, hardware-accelerated ray tracing, and mesh shading, enabling 2.5x faster rendering than M1 chips. The CPU performance cores are 30% faster, while efficiency cores are 50% faster than M1.
The Neural Engine is 60% faster, aiding AI workflows, and a new media engine supports AV1 decode for high-quality video streaming. The unified memory architecture, meanwhile, supports up to a whopping 128GB, so if you’ve ever wanted to carry around a laptop with 128GB of RAM, it’s possible now.
Apple’s M3 chips are available in the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros, as well as on the new iMac. It should arrive in other Mac computers soon, but we don’t have specific details on the next models to get the upgrade. The MacBook Air, iPad Air, iPad Pro, Mac Mini, Mac Studio, and Mac Pro are all using M2 chips right now.