The M3 Max Performance Through the Lens of Actual User Reviews

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Are you considering a laptop upgrade and wondering if the Apple’s recent release of the MacBook Pro with the M3 Max chip is worth the investment? The tech community has been buzzing about this powerhouse, with experts weighing in on its potential to change the game for professionals and creatives.

I don’t have the Macbook Pro with M3 Max yet but that doesn’t mean we can’t delve into early expert reviews and performance benchmarks to bring you a clear picture of what this Macbook can do in comparison with laptop giants like Dell XPS 17, Lenovo Slim Pro 9i, Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra. If peak performance is what you seek, then the M3 Max might just set a new standard. Dive in with me as we unravel whether this Apple innovation lives up to its grand expectations and suits your daily high-tech demands.

Pricing and Configurations

The MacBook Pro 14-inch equipped with the M3 Max chip starts at $3,199. This model features the latest generation of Apple’s own silicon, with a variety of configurations available. The MacBook Pro 16-inch with the M3 Max starts at $3,499, including an M3 Max chip with a 14-core CPU and a 30-core GPU, paired with 36GB of unified memory and 1TB of SSD storage. For those needing even more power and storage, upgrading to 128GB of unified memory with a 16-core CPU and a 40-core GPU, along with 8TB of SSD storage, increases the price up to $7,199. This represents the maximum specification currently available for the 16-inch model, designed for users requiring the pinnacle of performance and capacity in Apple’s laptop range.

Performance and Benchmarking

The heart of this new MacBook Pro is the M3 Max chip. According to multiple reviews, including those from Laptop Mag and Digital Trends, it boasts an 80% CPU speed increase over the M1 Max. This is not just an incremental update; it’s a leap that positions the MacBook Pro at the pinnacle of laptop performance, especially for creative professionals.

To put this into perspective, let’s look at the Geekbench 6 scores, which are a standard for measuring a computer’s performance capabilities:

Device Multi-core Score
MacBook Pro 16-inch M3 Max 20,863
Premium Laptop Average 8,241
Dell XPS 17 13,214
Lenovo Slim Pro 9i 8,351
Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra 12,405

These figures show that the M3 Max is not just outperforming its predecessor but also leading the pack when compared to its Windows counterparts equipped with the latest Intel processors.

Gaming and Graphics

For a brand not traditionally associated with gaming, the MacBook Pro 16-inch with the M3 Max chip surprises with its gaming capability. Its 40-core GPU is reported to be 50% faster than the M1 Max. Here’s a look at gaming performance in frames per second (fps):

Game MacBook Pro 16-inch M3 Max Premium Laptop Average Dell XPS 17 Lenovo Slim Pro 9i Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra
Sid Meier’s Civilization VI (1200p) 56 fps 53 fps 122 fps 124 fps 95 fps
Shadow of the Tomb Raider (1200p) 119 fps 81 fps 87 fps N/A 54 fps

Battery Life

Battery life is a key consideration for the portability of a laptop. The MacBook Pro with M3 Max chip offers up to 18 hours:

Device Battery Life (Hours:Minutes)
MacBook Pro 16-inch M3 Max 18:05
Premium Laptop Average 10:37
Dell XPS 17 9:06
Lenovo Slim Pro 9i 6:12
Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra 9:03

With over 18 hours of battery life, the MacBook Pro outlasts its competitors, offering a significant advantage for users who need to work on the go.

Storage Speed

The internal storage speed is paramount for tasks that require reading and writing large amounts of data quickly. The MacBook Pro 16-inch with M3 Max chip presents blistering speeds:

Task Read Speed (MB/s) Write Speed (MB/s)
SSD Transfer 5,039.7 6,272.5

These read and write speeds far surpass the average rates, indicating that data-intensive tasks will benefit from this performance.

macOS Sonoma

The new macOS brings functional and aesthetic upgrades, from widgets to new screensavers. It also focuses on improved remote work capabilities and security enhancements. You can find out more fantastic functions in my previous article about macOS Sonoma.

However, it has come to light that the new Macbook Pro with M3 are initially set up with macOS Ventura and, as of now, cannot be updated to the latest macOS Sonoma via the standard over-the-air method.

Initial reports from users, including tech influencer Daniel Rotar of ZONEofTECH, indicate that these MacBook Pro models are preloaded with a specialized build of macOS Ventura 13.5. When attempts are made to upgrade the operating system, the System Settings app does not offer macOS Sonoma 14.1 as an available update, instead suggesting Ventura 13.5 as the latest version.

This suggests that Apple had begun the assembly and storage of these devices several months prior, considering macOS Ventura 13.5’s release date was in July. While it’s currently unknown when Apple will rectify this situation, software researcher Nicolás Álvarez has offered a workaround. Affected users can manually install macOS Sonoma 14.1 by downloading the Install Assistant tailored for the M3 MacBook Pro, or alternatively, by opting into the macOS public beta program to prompt the update.

Key Insights from Expert Reviews

The M3 Max chip heralds a significant leap in performance. With an 80% CPU speed increase over the M1 Max and approximately 44% over the M2 Max, multitasking and heavy-duty tasks are handled with ease. The 40-core GPU is reported to be 50% faster than the M1 Max, which translates into a substantial uptick in gaming and graphical workloads.

The MacBook Pro 16-inch M3 Max’s display remains one of the brightest in its class, though not the most vivid in terms of color reproduction. The audio quality, with its six-speaker system, continues to impress with clear, room-filling sound. The Magic Keyboard provides a comfortable and responsive typing experience, and the massive Force Touch trackpad makes for effortless navigation.

Security-wise, while Face ID remains absent, Touch ID offers a reliable alternative for quick access and security. The array of ports, including Thunderbolt 4, SDXC card reader, and HDMI, provide a level of connectivity that should satisfy most users, though some may still need dongles for additional peripherals.

Below is a table summarizing the key specifications and data points for the MacBook Pro 16-inch with the M3 Max chip, along with comparisons to some of its competitors:

Specification MacBook Pro 16-inch M3 Max Dell XPS 17 Lenovo Slim Pro 9i Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra
CPU M3 Max (up to 16-core CPU) Intel Core i7-13700H Intel Core i9-13905H Intel Core i7-13700H
GPU Up to 40-core GPU Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050
RAM 36GB to 128GB Up to 64GB Up to 32GB Up to 32GB
Storage 1TB to 8TB SSD Up to 4TB SSD Up to 2TB SSD Up to 1TB SSD
Display 16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR (3456 x 2234) 17-inch UHD+ (3840 x 2400) 14-inch 4K OLED (3840 x 2160) 16-inch AMOLED (2880 x 1800)
Battery Life 18:05 (Hours:Minutes) 9:06 (Hours:Minutes) 6:12 (Hours:Minutes) 9:03 (Hours:Minutes)
Geekbench 6 Multi-core Score 20,863 13,214 8,351 12,405
Gaming (Civilization VI, 1200p) 56 fps 122 fps 124 fps 95 fps
Gaming (Shadow of the Tomb Raider, 1200p) 119 fps 87 fps N/A 54 fps
SSD Read Speed (MB/s) 5,039.7 Varies Varies Varies
SSD Write Speed (MB/s) 6,272.5 Varies Varies Varies
Weight 4.8 pounds 5.4 pounds 4.9 pounds 4 pounds
Dimensions 14 x 9.7 x 0.7 inches 14.7 x 9.8 x 0.8 inches 14.3 x 9.6 x 0.7 inches 14 x 9.9 x 0.7 inches

Apple’s Claims Vs. Real-world Result

Here’s a comparison of Apple’s claims for the MacBook Pro 16-inch with M3 Max to real-world results from recent reviews:

Apple Claim Real-world Result Reviewer
Up to 80% faster CPU performance than the M1 Max Up to 65% faster Digital Trends
Up to 44% faster CPU performance than the M2 Max Up to 37% faster Engadget
Up to 50% faster GPU performance than the M1 Max Up to 48% faster TechRadar
Up to 18 hours of battery life Up to 17 hours and 30 minutes Tom’s Guide
Up to 6GB/s SSD read speeds 5,328 MB/s Laptop Mag
Up to 5GB/s SSD write speeds 6,418 MB/s CNET

Overall, the real-world results are quite close to Apple’s claims. The CPU and GPU performance gains are impressive, and the battery life is excellent. The SSD read and write speeds are also very good, although they fall slightly short of Apple’s claims.

Final Thoughts

In my opinion, The MacBook M3 Max chip is an impressive machine. It demonstrates Apple’s ability to push the boundaries of performance, design, and user experience. For its premium price, the device offers significant value for professionals and power users who demand the best. However, for those who prioritize gaming or need specific Windows-based applications, there may be more suitable alternatives that won’t put such a big dent in your budget.

As Apple continues to refine its offerings, the MacBook Pro 16-inch with M3 Max stands as a testament to the company’s innovation and dedication to performance. It’s not just a step forward; it’s a leap toward the future of professional computing.

- Advertisement -


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Latest articles


Related articles