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Apple MacBook Pro M3 vs. M2: A Comprehensive Comparison

m2 vs m3

Apple has raised the bar once again with its latest MacBook Pro lineup, introducing the M3-powered versions of the 14- and 16-inch models during its "Scary Fast" event. These new laptops are making waves with their impressive features, and they come in three configurations: M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max. In this in-depth comparison, we'll break down how these new MacBook Pro models stack up against their M2-powered predecessors.

A New Entry-Level MacBook Pro M3

One of the most notable changes in the MacBook Pro lineup is the pricing structure. Apple has phased out the $1,299 Touch Bar-equipped 13-inch M2-powered MacBook Pro, which has redefined the 14-inch MacBook Pro's entry point. The base 14-inch model now comes with the M3 chip, featuring half the RAM and 4TB less storage, yet it starts at an attractive $1,599. This places it as the new entry-level MacBook Pro, offering an extended battery life, improved display quality, MagSafe charging, and the absence of the controversial Touch Bar.

Same Look, Different Color

Apple has given the MacBook Pro a facelift in terms of design. The previously gray model in the Pro and Max series has been replaced by a sleek black shade, designed to minimize fingerprint smudges. However, you can still opt for the classic silver finish. It's worth noting that the base 14-inch model doesn't come in black, offering only gray and silver options. In terms of design elements, the MacBook Pros retain their iconic Liquid Retina XDR displays, with the 14-inch model offering a maximum resolution of 3024 x 1964 and the 16-inch model boasting a resolution of 3456 x 2234. The port selection remains consistent, featuring two or three USB-C ports (depending on the model), along with an SD card reader, an HDMI port, and a 3.5mm audio jack.

More Memory and Power-Efficient Performance

The real transformation happens beneath the surface. The M3 chips bring increased unified memory to the Pro and Max series. The M3 Pro now supports up to 36GB of RAM, a small bump from the M2 Pro's 32GB maximum. Meanwhile, the M3 Max takes the lead with a staggering 128GB of RAM, a first for Apple laptops. This expanded memory capacity is a game-changer for professionals and power users.

The most notable leap in performance is attributed to the M3 chips being manufactured using a cutting-edge 3-nanometer process, the same technology employed in the iPhone 15 Pro's A17 Pro chips. This advancement results in significantly faster performance than the previous models. Remarkably, the M3 lineup maintains exceptional power efficiency, delivering multithreaded performance equivalent to the M1 while consuming only half the power. As a result, each laptop in the M3 family can achieve up to an astounding 22 hours of battery life, surpassing their predecessors.

GPUs and CPUs

When it comes to GPU and CPU cores, the M3 Max chips shine.

They feature a 16-core CPU and up to a 40-core GPU, boasting an 80% increase in GPU performance compared to the M1 Max. Although Apple doesn't offer a direct M2 vs. M3 comparison, this represents a significant leap forward, especially considering that the M2 Max, with its 12 CPU cores and 38 GPU cores, was already up to 30% faster in graphics performance than the M1 Max.

The situation differs slightly in the Pro-series chips. Both the 16-inch M3 Pro and M2 Pro chips feature 12 CPU cores, but the M2 Pro outperforms with one extra GPU core. Nevertheless, Apple claims that the M3 Pro's GPU is 10% faster than the M2 Pro's and a whopping 40% faster than the M1 Pro's GPU.

The new M3 chips introduce additional GPU improvements not found in the M2 series. They incorporate Dynamic Caching technology, enhancing the performance of demanding games and apps by optimizing memory usage during tasks. This technology also brings new rendering features like hardware-accelerated ray tracing and mesh shading, offering developers the tools to enhance shadows, reflections, and complex scenes in games and graphics-intensive applications.

By the Numbers

For those who crave more technical details, here's a detailed breakdown of the specifications, highlighting the key differences between the M2 and the new M3 MacBook Pro models:


In conclusion, Apple's M3-powered MacBook Pro models are a leap forward in terms of performance, memory capacity, and power efficiency. These laptops redefine the boundaries of what's possible in a portable workstation. Whether you're a creative professional, a power user, or a casual user, the M3 MacBook Pro lineup offers a compelling upgrade path with numerous improvements that promise to take your computing experience to new heights. Stay tuned for our upcoming reviews, where we'll provide a hands-on look at how well these laptops perform in real-world scenarios and whether they live up to Apple's claims.

*Please note that the provided information is based on data found on various sources on the internet, and real-world performance may vary.

Purchase Options

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