The wait is over. M3 is here. Cue the confetti! 

Leaning into the Halloween theme, Apple surprised the world with their virtual ‘Scary Fast’ event on 10/30 and announced the release of the long-awaited M3 chip. It’s been nearly 18 months since Apple released the M2 chip. And just like clockwork, Apple brought us the latest and greatest Apple silicon innovations in October 2023. 

Hinting at a Mac-themed evening, Apple’s dynamic event page seemingly transforms into the Mac Finder icon leading up to the start of the event. 

Apple-event-preview-image

Miss the live stream or just want a quick recap? Our team rounded up highlights from the event:

M3 has arrived 

The M3 chip was announced in three different variations – M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max. 

M3-chip-series-summary

From Apple: 

The M3 family of chips features a next-generation GPU that represents the biggest leap forward in graphics architecture ever for Apple silicon. The GPU is faster and more efficient, and introduces a new technology called Dynamic Caching, while bringing new rendering features like hardware-accelerated ray tracing and mesh shading to Mac for the first time. Rendering speeds are now up to 2.5x faster than on the M1 family of chips.1 The CPU performance cores and efficiency cores are 30 percent and 50 percent faster than those in M1, respectively, and the Neural Engine is 60 percent faster than the Neural Engine in the M1 family of chips. 

Introducing MacBook Pro with M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max 

After receiving an update earlier this year, the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models are officially being promoted with the M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max chips. Apple also announced that the MacBook Pro with M3 Pro and Max will have an exclusive color choice of Space Black. 

Here’s the breakdown on each machine:

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The base MacBook Pro with M3 has 8-core CPU, 10-core GPU, and 8GB unified memory. 

From Apple: 

Code compilation in Xcode is up to 3.7x faster than the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Core i7,3 and up to 40 percent faster than the 13‑inch MacBook Pro with M1.2.

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The base MacBook Pro with M3 Pro has 11-core CPU, 14-core GPU, 18GB unified memory. 

From Apple: 

For users with more demanding workflows like coders, creatives, and researchers, MacBook Pro with M3 Pro provides even greater performance, supports more unified memory, and is now up to 40 percent faster than the 16‑inch model with M1 Pro.4.

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The base MacBook Pro with M3 Max has 14-core CPU, 30-core GPU, 36GB unified memory. 

From Apple: 

MacBook Pro with M3 Max provides performance and capabilities for those with extreme workflows like machine learning programmers, 3D artists, and video editors. It is up to 2.5x faster than the 16-inch MacBook Pro with M1 Max,6 and up to 11x faster than the fastest Intel-based MacBook Pro model.5. 

Updated iMac with M3 

We got our first look at the powerful M3 chip on iMac, and it’s pretty impressive. Jumping from M1 to M3, the newest iMac model is ready to handle the most intricate games and workflows thanks to its drastically improved GPU. 

M3-iMac-summary

Here’s the breakdown of the new iMac:

  • 8-Core CPU 
  • 8-Core GPU 
  • 256GB storage 
  • 8GB unified memory 

From Apple: 

iMac with M3 is up to 2x faster than the prior generation with M1.1 And for those upgrading from an Intel-based iMac, the new iMac is up to 2.5x faster than the most popular 27-inch models, 2 and 4x faster than the most powerful 21.5-inch model.3 It also features an expansive 4.5K Retina display with 11.3 million pixels and over a billion colors, faster wireless connectivity, and a seamless experience with iPhone. 

Gaming on Mac 

Just like with the iPhone 15 Pro that was released last month, Apple continues to improve graphical capabilities and lean into gaming with M3. The new MacBook Pro and iMac with M3 also feature faster performance and improved power efficiency for better gaming on Mac. 

Gaming-on-M3-Mac

Game Mode on macOS Sonoma provides an enhanced gaming experience that is compatible with all Mac games, including the wildly popular Baldur's Gate 3 and Firmament.

TL;DR 

Our team gathered a few main takeaways from Apple’s ‘Scary Fast’ Event: 

  1. Goodbye Intel. Apple sent a very clear message that it’s time to upgrade to Apple silicon. And you really can’t argue with the performance improvements. 
  2. Gaming is on the rise. Apple continues to produce machines designed with prioritized graphics to satisfy both mobile and desktop gamers. 
  3. M3 on Mac mini is coming soon. With the release of new MacBooks and iMacs, we can expect new Mac minis with M3 in 2024.  

Stay tuned for our updated Mac benchmarks to see how the M3 chip holds against its predecessors. 

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