Apple introduced the M3 M3 Pro and M3 Max processors
Hardware

Apple introduced the M3, M3 Pro and M3 Max processors with powerful graphics and hardware ray tracing

Apple today introduced the M3 processor series, which not only focused on improving CPU performance, but also significantly redesigned and improved the GPU. Apple M3, M3 Pro and M3 Max are the first computer processors manufactured using 3nm process technology. All three M3 chips will debut in the new MacBook Pro, while the smaller M3 will be included in the new 24-inch iMac.

The basic Apple M3 chip has 25 billion transistors – 5 billion more than the M2. The chip includes an eight-core central processor with four performance and four energy-efficient cores. According to Apple, it is 35% faster than the M1 in CPU performance. It’s not known exactly how the M3 compares to the M2, but when Apple announced the M2 last year, it said it had an 18% faster CPU than the M1. The new Apple M3 also features a 10-core GPU with next-generation architecture that is claimed to be 65% faster than the M1’s graphics. The new processor supports up to 24GB of combined memory and an external display (in addition to the one built into iMac and MacBook).

    Apple M3

Apple M3

The Apple M3 Pro has 37 billion transistors and offers a 12-core CPU with six performance and six energy-efficient cores. It also has an 18-core GPU that is 40% faster than the M1 Pro. Apple claims CPU performance is 30% faster than the M1 Pro when running single-threaded tasks. The M3 Pro supports up to 36GB of Unified RAM, which is slightly more than the M2 Pro’s 32GB.

    Apple M3 Pro

Apple M3 Pro

The older M3 Max even includes 92 billion transistors. This chip features a 16-core CPU with 12 high-performance and four energy-efficient cores, as well as a 40-core GPU that is 50% faster than the M1 Max. The new M3 Max supports up to 128GB of unified storage, which is a significant An improvement over the 96 GB of the M2 Max. Apple claims the M3 Max’s GPU performance is 80% faster than the M1 Max. That sounds like a significant improvement, especially considering Apple claimed the M2 Max was 30% faster than that earlier this year M1 Max when it comes to graphics.

    Apple M3 Max

Apple M3 Max

Although it was not apparent from the original specifications, Apple has placed great emphasis on improving the GPU in the new family of processors and has significantly improved its architecture to improve performance in games and professional applications. The M3 chips implement hardware acceleration of ray tracing and hardware acceleration of mesh shaders for the first time for Apple processors and thus also for Mac computers.

    Lying from P on MacBook Pro with M3

Lying from P on MacBook Pro with M3

Hardware acceleration of ray tracing has long been present in NVIDIA and AMD graphics accelerators. Adding this feature to Apple’s M3 chips will allow game developers to bring advanced shadows and reflections to the Mac that were previously available on last-generation consoles and Windows gaming PCs. Hardware acceleration Mesh shaders allow you to significantly speed up the processing of large numbers of polygons in a scene by splitting polygon meshes into fragments, each processed by a separate group of threads. This gives developers more flexibility when creating complex scenes in games and even GPU-intensive applications.

Apple is also introducing a new dynamic caching feature for the GPU in the M3 chips. This allows the GPU to dynamically allocate exactly the amount of consistent memory needed for each specific task. According to Apple, this feature is unique, but software and game developers do not need to create special systems for it as it is a transparent and automatic process. This is intended to improve the performance of professional applications and games.

How all of these improvements will impact the Mac gaming market is unclear, but the performance improvements, hardware-accelerated ray tracing, and new dynamic caching feature appear to be big benefits for game developers and Mac users. Earlier this year, Apple offered developers a tool similar to Proton and encouraged them to publish Windows games on the Mac. Mac computer owners using the Apple Game Porting Toolkit can already run various games with DirectX 12 support on computers with M1 and M2 chips, although, of course, high performance cannot always be achieved. However, Apple is making increasing efforts to turn the Mac into a fully-fledged gaming platform, and the new M3 chips are proof of that.

Apple’s new M3, M3 Pro and M3 Max chips also feature an improved neural engine to accelerate machine learning and AI algorithms. In addition, Apple has equipped the new chips with an AV1 hardware decoder, allowing owners of new Macs to play AV1 content more energy-efficiently.

Speaking of energy efficiency: Apple has switched to the latest 3nm process technology for the M3 family. From this alone we can expect some improvement in energy efficiency. Apple itself states that the M3 will offer the same multi-threaded performance as the M1 with half the power consumption. The company said the new MacBook Pro will have a battery life of up to 22 hours, the longest battery life ever on a Mac.

Apple compared the performance of the M3 chip to the $1,299 12-core MSI Prestige 13 Evo (A13M-050US) laptop with an Intel Core i7-1360P processor and Iris Xe graphics. The manufacturer claims that its Apple M3 offers the same CPU performance as an Intel chip, using only a quarter of the power, and the same GPU performance at 20% of the power.

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Dylan Harris

Dylan Harris is fascinated by tests and reviews of computer hardware.

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