Apple’s Brand New M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max Chips: Should you upgrade?

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The recent announcement of Apple’s fresh line of SoCs – the M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max chips, has certainly sent ripples across the tech community. As I sat down on my sofa, immersing myself in the captivating cinematic of the Apple Event video on YouTube, a couple of questions began swirling in my mind: How do these innovations stack up against their previous versions? Is it a worthy investment? And who can benefit the most from the M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max chips?

In this article, we will deep dive further into what these shiny new chips bring to the table and my thoughts on these Apple’s latest marvels.

Credit: Apple

What are the highlights?

3-Nanometer Process Technology
  • One of the advancements is the 3-nanometer process technology that these new chips employ. It’s a significant move that allows more transistors to be packed into a smaller space, ensuring that your Mac performs at lightning speed while staying cool under pressure.
Enhanced Core Configuration
Credit: Apple
  • Starting with the M3: it’s a powerhouse with an 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU with up to 24GB of unified memory.
  • The M3 Pro takes things up a notch with a 12-core CPU, an 18-core GPU, and a hefty 36GB of unified memory.
  • The M3 Max is the behemoth among the trio with a 16-core CPU, a 40-core GPU, and an astonishing 128GB of unified memory. This chip is not just an upgrade; it’s a statement by Apple on what the future of computing looks like​.
Improved Rendering Performance
  • The rendering performance of the M3 series is a big shoutout to all the creative professionals out there with up to 2.5x faster rendering performance than the M1 chips.
Hardware Accelerated Ray Tracing and Improved Mesh Shading
  • The M3 chips introduce hardware-accelerated ray tracing and mesh shading, enabling better performance in applications that utilize these graphics technologies for rendering. This could be beneficial for professionals working in graphics-intensive fields like 3D modeling and animation​.
New color “Space Black”

It looks like a matte anodized aluminum black that have a special anodized coating to prevent getting lots of fingerprints.

Overlooked Details:

  • Memory Bandwidth Reduction: Not all is rosy, a detail that might have slipped under the radar is the reduction in memory bandwidth in the M3 Pro chip compared to its predecessors. The M3 Pro chip has 25% less memory bandwidth than the M1 Pro and M2 Pro chips from the previous generations. While this might sound like a small hiccup, the overall impressive performance upgrade might just make up for it​.
  • The continued use of lightning ports for accessories instead of transitioning to USB Type-C while the iPhone 15 and future Apple products are equipped with USB Type-C.

Is it worth an investment?

The substantial performance hike and the enhanced memory support that the M3 series offer make it a tempting upgrade, particularly for the advancements out there involved in graphic design, video editing, and other compute-intensive tasks.

Credit: Apple

I agree with MKBHD about Apple’s clever marketing tactic by Apple where the M3 family was majorly compared to the M1 family to emphasize the performance leap, which appears larger than when compared to the M2 while the actual performance improvement from M2 to M3 ranges around 10 to 25%.

In my view, I don’t feel a pressing need to upgrade from M2 to M3. As someone who works with a lot of video and content creation, the improved mesh shading and hardware-accelerated ray tracing seem more beneficial for specific work like 3D modeling, but not for my workflow. Instead, if you are upgrading from M1 and looking for a better performance for your graphic work, it would be an amazing update.

If you’re keen on diving deeper into the world of Mac products, feel free to hop over to my Tech YouTube Channel:

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