Unlike its predecessors, which were built on 5-nanometer process technology, all three new chips are now built on a 3-nanometer process. This puts more transistors in a smaller space and improves both the speed and energy efficiency of the chip.
The M3 chips have a few features that are new to Apple Silicon. The first, a feature Apple calls dynamic caching, allows the processor to dynamically allocate memory for each task, rotating the allocation up or down as needed, rather than locking down a fixed amount of memory so the task can use it whether it needs it or not. The result is more efficient use of resources. The other new features (ray tracing and mesh shading) are used in graphically intensive games and apps. Game developers can use ray tracing to more accurately illustrate lighting elements such as reflections and shadows. Meanwhile, hardware-accelerated mesh shading makes visually elaborate scenes in games look smoother and skip-free.
Apple claims that the M3 series offers significant speed improvements over its previous chips in graphics, core CPU functions and machine intelligence tasks. Of course, we’ll have to test each chip to determine how noticeable these improvements are.
What’s the difference between each version of the next generation chipsets? The entry-level M3 has an 8-core CPU and up to 10-core GPU with up to 24 gigabytes of unified memory. The next step up is the M3 Pro with a 12-core CPU, 18-core GPU and up to 36GB of unified memory. The most powerful of them all is the M3 Max with a 16-core CPU, a whopping 40-core GPU and support for up to 128 gigabytes of unified memory.
MacBook Pro (14-inch and 16-inch)
Considering how Apple completely revamped the exterior of the MacBook Pro just two years ago, it’s not shocking that the company focused on the interior with these new models. In addition to the new chipsets, there are a few minor changes such as a brighter screen and improved battery life. Both MacBook Pro sizes feature displays that are 20 percent brighter. Apple also claims up to 22 hours of battery life, depending on configuration.