It’s hard to believe that the Apple M1 chip was only launched three years ago, with the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips following up a year later, but what’s even harder to believe is that the new M3 series of processors now simply blow away what those processors had to offer.
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This year, Apple simultaneously unveiled the standard M3 chip along with M3 Pro and M3 Max chips, and this allows us to see just how far Apple has come in a few short years.
M3 family overview
The new M3 lineup of chips is built using a 3-nanometer architecture and everything Apple has learned with the previous generations of M-series processors.
These chips feature a CPU which have performance and efficiency cores, a GPU, and a 16-core on-board neural engine. The CPU cores feature improved branch prediction for greater efficiency, and the performance cores have a wider decode and execution engine, while the efficiency cores have a deeper execution engine, all of which boost overall performance and efficiency.
The neural engine, which handles tasks such as on-device machine learning, is up to 60% faster than that found on earlier chips.
There’s also an improved media engine that offers H.264 and HEVC hardware acceleration, ProRes and ProRes RAW support, and a AV1 decode engine to more efficiently handle video from the likes of YouTube and Netflix.
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Like its predecessor, at the core of everything the M3 chip does is power efficiency, and the M3 CPU and GPU can deliver the same performance as the M1 with half the power.
Compared to a 12-core laptop PC chip, the M3 CPU can deliver the same performance for only a quarter of the power, while the GPU can do the same for only a fifth of the power.
This is the “base” version of the new Apple Silicon line, and is up to 65% faster than the original M1 chip, depending on which metric is used to measure the performance.
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M3 tech specs
- Up to 24GB unified memory