Breaking News

Apple's midrange 'Pro' M3 chip doesn't seem like a huge upgrade

Apple's midrange 'Pro' M3 chip doesn't seem like a huge upgrade

Apple's new M3 Pro chip looks like an odd duck in a solidly superior MacBook Pro laptop. For most people who need a computer to handle monotonous office tasks and need multiple external monitors, the M3 Pro will meet their needs and has a great battery to boot. But with computer upgrades year after year, those who already have a Mac with an M2 Pro chip or even an M1 Pro may not see many (if any) performance improvements until they upgrade to an M3. Don't upgrade to. Don't spend more money for Max.

When you put the 12-core M2 Pro and the M3 Pro head to head, you would expect the latter to perform much better. In fact, the M3 Pro isn't avoiding older chips. This is due to an interesting design choice: Apple gave it an equal split of six performance and six efficiency cores, compared to the performance-friendly eight/four split in the M2 Pro. And if you're coming from the binned 10-core M2 Pro, which has a six/four split, there's an efficiency increase in core performance compared to the cheapest M3 Pro option, which has 11 cores and a five/six split.

However, the M3 Pro still tops the M2 Pro in most published benchmarks – thanks to a new three-nanometer die process that Apple began implementing with the iPhone 15 Pro's A17 Pro chip. There isn't much difference in performance; For example, Ars Technica's tests show that single-core performance is about 15 percent better than the M2 Pro, but other scores put them mostly neck and neck.

As YouTuber Luke Miani points out in a new benchmarking video, the M3 Pro seems purposefully limited, with less performance and GPU cores than the previous generation. Their testing revealed similar results from other sources: The M3 Pro and M2 Pro perform almost identically overall. However, one clear advantage of the M3 Pro is battery life, which brings better insight into the efficiency-forward architecture of the silicon.

Meanwhile, YouTuber Jimmy Tries World benchmarked the M3 Pro and found no appreciable performance gains. This includes a comparison with their own two-generation-old M1 Pro MacBook Pro.

Overall, this points to a change in strategy for Apple's chip lineup: the M3 Pro is better than the standard M3, but lags behind the M3 Max compared to its M2-generation counterparts. The new lineup puts more daylight between the new "mid" (M3 Pro) and high end (which may lean buyers toward spending at least $2,999 for the Max — even if they don't really need it).

The M3 Pro shows overall maturity in design, but for those hoping to see big enough year-to-year gains to justify a new purchase, it may be worth waiting for the second generation. However, for anyone with an Intel Mac, now is probably the best time to make the jump. And while the M3 Pro isn't a huge leap over the regular M3 for most people, some performance gains are still appreciable, as well as the ability to connect two external monitors instead of one.

No comments