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Posts tagged with "M3"

Jason Snell’s Hands-On with the M3 MacBook Pros and iMac

Jason Snell of Six Colors got a sneak peek at the new Macs announced at yesterday’s Scary Fast Apple event. A lot of specs were thrown around by the company yesterday, but a software feature called Dynamic Caching really stood out because it’s clear that Apple is doing all it can to squeeze every bit of performance out of its GPUs. Jason’s explanation of how it works is excellent:

There’s also a big new feature Apple is calling Dynamic Caching. Put very simply, Apple’s chip engineers were extremely motivated to eke out even more performance from their graphics subsystem—and found that the way memory was traditionally allocated was inefficient. Memory is usually allocated to different threads at compile time, meaning that some threads allocate a larger amount of memory in order to handle peak need, while other threads might choose a smaller amount of memory but risk a bottleneck.

The M3’s graphics system dynamically allocates the memory per thread in a way that’s completely transparent to software developers. Apps don’t need to be rewritten to take advantage of the new system, which Apple says makes some huge gains by wringing a lot of memory efficiency out of the system. Memory that was previously reserved for a specific thread can be given to a different thread instead. A thread that’s in a bottleneck can be given more space. It’s all to the goal of increasing overall throughput.

The fact that these improvements come ‘for free,’ meaning developers don’t have to change their apps or games to take advantage of Dynamic Caching, is at least as important as the efficiency gains enabled by the technology. Especially when it comes to things like videogames, the more Apple can do to make it easy for developers to take advantage of Apple silicon Macs, the better.

Jason also got some hands-on time with the new MacBook Pros, including the new Space Black model:

I got my greasy monkey paws on a Space Black laptop and can report that Apple’s as good as its word in the sense that it seems generally more resistant to fingerprints and other smudges.

But I don’t want to exaggerate this feature: you can still see fingerprints. They just aren’t as prominent. This is a progressive improvement over something like the Midnight M2 MacBook Air, but it’s not a cure-all.

Despite its name, Jason reports that Space Black is more gray than black, but it’s still a noticeable shift from Space Gray.

With the details of the new Macs dissected, it’s going to be interesting to see how the M3 MacBook Pro’s latest CPU and GPU configurations perform relative to the M2 models that were released at the beginning of the year. As Jason also points out, the benchmarks we see from the new laptops and the M3 iMac should give us a good idea of how M3 MacBook Airs, Mac minis, and Mac Studios will perform when it’s their turn to be updated.


Apple’s October 2023 Scary Fast Event: By the Numbers

Today’s Scary Fast online Apple event was packed with facts, figures, and statistics throughout the presentation and elsewhere. We’ve pulled together the highlights.

M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max Chips

  • These are the first chips built on a 3-nanometer process.
  • This process can fit up to 2 million transistors in the cross-section of a human hair.
  • The M3 architecture grants up to 2.5x faster performance than the M1 generation.
  • The M3 CPU’s performance cores are 30% faster than M1 and 15% faster than M2; the efficiency cores are 50% faster than M1.
  • The Neural Engine is faster and more efficient in M3 as well. Specifically, it’s 60% faster than M1 and 15% faster than M2.
  • The M3 Max chip is up to 80% faster than the M1 Max.
  • The M3 has 25 billion transistors, while the M3 Pro has 37 billion, and the M3 Max has 92 billion.

MacBook Pro

  • The M3 Max MacBook Pro supports up to 128 GB of unified memory and 8 TB of storage, with a maximum 16-core CPU and 40-core GPU.
  • The M3 MacBook Pro can run for up to 22 hours on one charge, playing movies using the Apple TV app.
  • The new MacBook Pros are up to 11x faster than the last Intel-based models.


  • The M3 iMac is 2x faster than the M1 model, 2.5x faster than the 27-inch Intel model, and 4x faster than the 21.5-inch Intel-based iMac.
  • The M3 iMac has a 4.5K Retina display and features a 6-speaker sound system.
  • Apple offers up to 24 GB of unified memory and 2 TB of storage in the M3 iMac.

You can follow all of our October 2023 Apple event coverage through our October 2023 Apple event hub or subscribe to the dedicated October 2023 Apple event RSS feed.

Apple Introduces the New MacBook Pro in Three M3 Chip Configurations

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

One of the things I’ve enjoyed about the rollout of Apple silicon Macs is that the old rules don’t apply, and the new ones are still being written. The cadence of releases is still settling in, and today, in the face of speculation that Apple was struggling to release M3 Macs, Apple made it clear that not one, but three 3 nanometer process-based chips are ready to ship. Along with the M3 iMac, the company refreshed its entire lineup of MacBook Pros, computers that gained the M2 chip less than a year ago.

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