Twas the night before Halloween, and Apple held a “spooky” event to announce some “scary fast” new products. The company unveiled its next generation chips, the M3 family, as well as the first iMacs and MacBooks that will feature them.
The M3 family has three members – the base M3, the M3 Pro and the powerful M3 Max. Apple claims they’re the most advanced chips ever made for personal computers, thanks to being the first to market built with “3-nanometer process” technology, although that doesn’t refer to any particular measurement – it’s a marketing term given to this generation that’s emerging in 2023.
The M3 chips pack the same amount of CPU and GPU cores as their respective predecessors, but they’re faster and more efficient, according to Apple. Across the family, the M3 chips’ performance cores are 15% faster than the M2 family and 30% faster than M1, while the efficiency cores are 30% faster than M2 and 50% faster than M1.
The base M3 chip packs 25 billion transistors, up from 20 billion in the M2, and supports up to 24 GB of unified memory. It boasts a 10-core GPU that’s 65% faster than M1, and an eight-core CPU that’s 35% faster than M1. The M3 Pro packs 37 billion transistors, with support for up to 36 GB of unified memory. The18-core GPU is up to 40% faster than M1 Pro, while the 12-core CPU is up to 30% faster.
The M3 Max, however, is an absolute beast, with up to 128 GB of unified memory. It’s crammed with an astonishing 92 billion transistors, a 40-core GPU that’s up to 50% faster than M1 Max, and a 16-core CPU up to 80% faster. All of these chips are designed to power intensive apps like photo and video editing, and games running advanced rendering techniques like ray tracing and mesh shading.
The first iMac and MacBooks to feature the M3 family were also announced by Apple at the presentation. The new iMac runs on the M3 chip and should be twice as fast as the previous devices, and sports a 24-inch Retina monitor with 4.5K resolution and Wi-Fi 6E support for double the download speeds.
The new MacBook Pro generation, meanwhile, can be equipped with any of the three M3 chips. The 14-inch model can be loaded with the M3 or M3 Pro, with a 3024 x 1964-resolution display, and up to 2 TB of SSD storage. The 16-inch model comes with either the M3 Pro or M3 Max and a 3456 x 2234 display, and up to 8 TB.
All new MacBook Pro models, meanwhile, have been upgraded with up to 120 Hz refresh rate, up to 22 hours battery life, Wi-Fi 6E connectivity, a HDMI port and an SDXC card slot.
The new iMac generation starts at US$1,299, the 14-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,599 with M3 or $1,999 for M3 Pro, and the 16-inch MacBook Pro starts at $2,499. All should become available in stores from November 7.