Apple Announces The New M3 Chip Family: The M3, M3 Pro, And M3 Max

These are Apple’s first 3nm chips to appear on the new iMac and MacBook Pro.
(credit: Apple)

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Apple officially introduced its new PC chips, the M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max, at the “Scary Fast” Halloween event today.

Apple is positioning the M3 chips primarily as substantial upgrades over its M1 hardware. The most significant advancement in the M3 is its GPU, which brings new features like hardware-accelerated ray tracing and mesh shading, enhancing realism in lighting and geometry handling.

Apple claims the M3’s GPU is 1.8 times faster than the M2 and 2.5 times faster than the M1 in “Pro apps,” though the company is being vague about this.

Additionally, the M3’s GPU offers better power efficiency, achieving M1-level performance while using only half the power.

The standard M3 boasts an 8-core CPU (comprising four performance cores and four efficiency cores) and a 10-core GPU. Apple claims it’s up to 35% faster than the M1 and supports up to 24GB of unified RAM.

(credit: Apple)

The M3 Pro raises the bar with a 12-core CPU (six performance, six efficiency) and an 18-core GPU. It accommodates up to 36GB of memory, and Apple states that its single-threaded performance is up to 30% faster than the M1 Pro.

Then there’s the M3 Max, which features a 16-core CPU (12 performance, four efficiency), a 40-core GPU, and support for up to 128GB of RAM. Apple claims it’s up to 80% faster than the M1 Max and includes two ProRes engines to meet the demands of video professionals.

(credit: Apple)

The M3 chips are noteworthy for being the first computer chips manufactured using a 3nm (nanometre) process, a step forward from the M1 and M2’s 5nm process. The increased transistor density contributes to better power efficiency and overall performance.

(credit: Apple)

According to Apple, the M3’s performance cores are 15% faster than the M2’s, while the efficiency cores are 30% faster.

Regarding other improvements, Apple reports that the M3’s Neural Engine, responsible for AI tasks, is up to 60% faster than M1 chips. The M3 also incorporates a media engine with hardware acceleration for H.264, HEVC, ProRes (both standard and RAW).

(credit: Apple)

This engine also adds support for AV1 video decoding, making streaming AV1 content more power-efficient.

The M3 series will feature in the revamped MacBook Pro 14-inch and 16-inch, as well as the 24-inch iMac.

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