What is Apple M3
Pretty sure you've heard about this a couple million times, at least if you're into the tech world. Apple M3 is the Third generation of Apple's silicone chipset lineups for Macbooks and iPads. But why is there so much hype around them?
Apple announced on 30th Oct 2023 that they'll release its M3 SOC lineup on Nov 7. Apple's M3 lineup is said to be the most revolutionary chipset design in the current industry. It's the first chip ever made on a 3nm process, upgraded from previously used 5nm SOCs.
The new Apple M3 has an updated GPU, which makes a massive difference in Video editing and gaming compared to Apple's previous lineup. According to reports, the M3 is already competing with the unreleased Snapdragon Elite X regarding specs.
Apple products are only released with a feature that drops your jaw. It's the same this year as well. Apple's new SOC lineup has some fantastic things many people eagerly await!
The M3 lineup includes features such as Dynamic caching, Hardware-accelerated Mesh Shading, Hardware-Accelerated Ray Tracing, and an advanced media engine.
✅Increased capacity of Unified Memory
Last year's Apple M2 series lineup supported a maximum of 96GB of unified memory. It could reach a bandwidth of 400GB/s. This year, the maximum Unified Memory has been increased to 128GB, with the bandwidth being consistent.
Dynamic Caching is a one-of-a-kind feature that is supposed to replace the traditional memory allocation techniques GPUs use. For example, the traditional GPU architectures use the available GPU memory for a single task with high priority. This is not the most efficient as much GPU power goes unutilized.
In Apple's dynamic caching, each task is allocated only the memory it needs, and the memory is split between the functions. All this happens on a Hardware level, which makes it much more efficient. This feature has revolutionized the caching architecture.
✅Hardware-accelerated mesh shading
The new GPU in this lineup comes with hardware-accelerated mesh shading. Increasing the visual processing power, such as geometry processing, complex visual scenes in games, and graphics-intensive applications of the GPU to a vast extent.
This will be huge good news for game developers and people who are into GPU-intensive tasks containing visual real-time rendering.
✅Hardware-Accelerated Ray Tracing
Ray tracing is a crucial component when it comes to games. The way scenes are rendered with the light interactions is based on ray tracing. With Apple's new Hardware-accelerated Ray Tracing.
Not only is it efficient, but it's also 2.5x faster than the Apple M1 family of chips. Game developers can now use its Ray tracing to develop accurate shadows, reflections, and immersion in game environments.
✅Advanced media engine
The new M3 lineup provides a new hardware-accelerated advanced media engine supporting widely used video codecs like HEVC, H.264, ProRes, and ProRes RAW. It also comes with another industry-first media engine to support AV1 decoding, making streaming services playback much more efficient and battery-friendly.
✅Custom AI engines
The M3 lineup now has a new and enhanced Neural Engine to make Machine Learning model execution faster than ever. The new Neural Engine is 60 percent faster than the M1 family.
Besides, it has the AI and ML environments more quickly while keeping your data on the device, so your privacy isn't compromised.
As we've seen, Apple's M3 lineup comes in three different variants: M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max. What are the differences between these three? Let's find out!
|Specs||M3||M3 Pro||M3 Max|
|CPU Cores (Total)||8||11/12||14/16|
|CPU Cores (Efficiency)||8||6||4|
|CPU Cores (Performance)||4||5/6||10/12|
|Neural Engine Cores||16||16||16|
|Transistors (in Billions)||25||37||92|
|Unified Memory Bandwidth||100GB/s||150GB/s||300GB/s (14-core) and 400GB/s (16-core)|
|RAM configurations||8GB, 16GB, 24GB||18GB, 36GB||36GB (14-core) 48GB (16-core) 64GB (16-core) 96GB (14-core) 128GB (16-core)|
|Supported Media Engine||Video encode/decode engine ProRes encode/decode engine AV1 decode engine||Video encode/decode engineProRes encode/decode engineAV1 decode engine||Video encode/decode engineProRes encode/decode engineAV1 decode engine|
If you think all the chart is useful, you can share this new information with your friends!
Every time there's a new SOC lineup from Apple, you'll see a variety of combinations with their chipsets available in various Macs. Today, we'll see the same for the M3 lineup.
|14-inch Macbook Pro||M3, M3 Pro, M3 Max|
|16-inch Macbook Pro||M3, M3 Pro. M3 Max|
While that's an overview of the chipsets available with different types of Macs, you can configure your Mac as per your needs with the number of cores.
When it comes to M3 Pro, you will get the following combinations:
- 11-core CPU with 14-core GPU
- 12-core CPU with 18-core GPU
And when it comes to M3 Mac, you will get the following combinations:
- 14-core CPU with 30-core GPU
- 16-core CPU with 40-core GPU
Currently, the M3 lineup is only available for Macbook Pro and iMacs. Rumors state that the Mac Pro and Mac Studio will be released with the new M3 chips, but there is no official confirmation yet.
Here is a video to help them learn more about MacBook Pro with M3 chips.
- 00:00 Introduction
- 00:16 The M3 chips
- 00:39 The new features
We have seen new features coming with the M3 lineup chipsets, but how good are they compared to the previous year's M2 lineup? Let's find out.
The M2 chipset comes in four variants: M2, M2 Pro, M2 Max, and M2 Ultra.
We'll keep M2, M2 Pro, and M2 Max for this comparison against M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max. While M2 Ultra is left out, we'll keep it aside as it is only available for Mac Studio and Pro, so it'll be a fair comparison.
🍎M2 vs M3 lineup
|Fabrication Process Technology||5nm||3nm|
|Transistors (in Billions)||20||25|
|CPU Cores||8-core (4 Performance + 4 Efficiency cores)||8-core (4 Performance + 4 Efficiency cores)|
|GPU Cores||8-core, 10-core||10-core|
|RAM Configurations||8GB, 16GB, 24GB||8GB, 16GB, 24GB|
|Unified Memory Bandwidth||100GB/s||100GB/s|
Comparing M2 and M3, we see few significant differences. Yet, we see the primary difference in the number of Transistors and Fabrication processes used.
🍎M2 Pro vs M3 Pro
|Specifications||M2 Pro||M3 Pro|
|Fabrication Process Technology||5nm||3nm|
|Transistors (in Billions)||40||37|
|CPU Cores||10-core (6 Performance + 4 efficiency cores) 12-core (8 Performance + 4 efficiency cores)||11-core (5 Performance + 6 Efficiency cores) 12-core (6 Performance + 6 Efficiency cores)|
|GPU Cores||16-core, 19-core||14-core, 18-core|
|RAM Configurations||16GB, 32GB||18GB, 36GB|
|Unified Memory Bandwidth||200GB/s||150GB/s|
While the whole M3 Pro lineup might seem to be a downgrade on paper, benchmark scores still favor the M3 Pro. The one actual downgrade in M3 Pro is that the Unified Memory Bandwidth speeds are reduced from 200GB/s to 150GB/s. Reports say that Apple uses the same 192-bit memory bus they used in M2 in M3 Pro instead of the newer 256-bit memory bus.
🍎M2 Max vs M3 Max
|Specifications||M2 Max||M3 Max|
|Fabrication Process Technology||5nm||3nm|
|Transistors (in Billions)||134||92|
|CPU Cores||12-core (8 Performance + 4 Efficiency cores)||14-core (10 performance + 4 efficiency cores) 16-core (10 Performance + 4 efficiency cores)|
|GPU Cores||30-core, 38-core||30-core, 40-core|
|RAM Configurations||32GB, 64GB, 96GB||36GB (14-core) 48GB (16-core) 64GB (16-core) 96GB (14-core) 128GB (16-core)|
|Unified Memory Bandwidth||400GB/s||300GB/s (14-core) 400GB/s (16-core)|
Lastly, there might be no difference between the M2 and M3 lineup. But one thing Apple teaches us every time is to never believe in on-paper scores, which is true for now.
The M3 lineup has one-of-a-kind features that greatly increase real-life performance, even if it seems weaker on paper.
To Wrap Up
M3 chip has various features, including Dynamic caching, Hardware-accelerated Ray tracing, Mesh shading, and the new Neural Engines. We also saw the comparison between the previous year's lineup, which might need to be clarified for many people, considering how similar the specs are and how even lower they are than the M2 lineup in some cases.
Nevertheless, the M3 line has some revolutionary features that we can't neglect, making it a chip worth buying. Feel free to share this page on social media and discuss the M3 chips with more friends!
M3 Chip FAQs
Now that you know all about the Mac 3 lineup, here are some of the most important FAQs you should know about the M3 Chip
1. Is the M3 chip better than M2?
Yes, for example, the M3 chips lack the new features we see with the new M3 lineup, such as dynamic computing, the new Ray tracing architecture, and many more.
2. Which M3 MacBook Pro to buy?
It depends on your needs; if you want regular work with no-so-intensive tasks, the baseline Macbook with M3 will work perfectly for you. But if you do highly Intensive tasks, you should go with the higher models.
3. How much faster is Apple M3?
On paper, M3 is similar to its previous lineup. But when tested in real life, M3 performs better than M2. According to reports, the M3 performs over 15 percent faster than the M2 overall.
4. What's new about the Apple M3?
Apple M3 series is based on TSMC's latest 3nm tech. It has many first-in-the-industry features, such as the new Dynamic Caching, Ray Tracing, and Mesh shading.
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Dany is an editor of EaseUS who lives and works in Chengdu, China. She focuses on writing articles about data recovery on Mac devices and PCs. She is devoted to improving her writing skills and enriching her professional knowledge. Dany also enjoys reading detective novels in her spare time.