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What is Apple M3 Max? The most powerful MacBook chip explained

What is the Apple M3 Pro? Apple has announced the brand new M3 Max, its most powerful desktop chip ever. Here’s everything you need to know.

The Apple M3 Max sits atop the new Apple M3 and M3 Pro series chips as the most advanced Apple has made since its split from Intel. The 3 nanometer M3 Max will debut within brand new 16-inch and 14-inch MacBook Pro models with more machines likely to follow in 2024.

There are serious power, speed and efficiency improvements compared to previous M-Series chips with gamers, creatives and those working in AI set to reap the benefits.

Let’s see what the M3 Max is made of.

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What is the Apple M3 Max?

The Apple M3 Max is the company’s new and most powerful chip for MacBooks, using a 3nm process to offer higher performance and efficiency. The M3 Max has 16 CPU cores (compared to 12 on the M3 Pro) with 12 high-performance cores backed by 4 efficiency cores and it’s 80% faster than the M1 Max series.

In terms of the GPU, there are 40 graphics cores enabling features like hardware-based ray-tracing and mesh shading on Mac for the first time, and a new tool Apple calls Dynamic Caching. Those three features are present on all of the M3 Series chips, it should be said, so the key benefits are the exponential performance boosts from those extra cores, transistors and memory, which we’ll come to in a second.

The company describes the Dynamic Caching feature as such:  

“It features Dynamic Caching that, unlike traditional GPUs, allocates the use of local memory in hardware in real-time. With Dynamic Caching, only the exact amount of memory needed is used for each task. This is an industry-first, transparent to developers, and the cornerstone of the new GPU architecture. It dramatically increases the average utilisation of the GPU, which significantly increases performance for the most demanding pro apps and games.”

Apple M3 Max
Image Credit (Apple)

Apple is also packing up to 128GB of unified memory into the mix here. Previously, we’ve only seen this on the M1 Ultra on the Mac Studio model. Now it’ll be available in a MacBook Pro running M3 Max. Apple says that makes this perfect for AI developers who’ll be able to  “work with even larger transformer models with billions of parameters.” The M3 Max also pushes the transistor count to an astonishing 92 billion.

M3 Max also supports up to four high-res external displays, compared to two with the M3 Pro.

Who is the M3 Max for?

Apple says M3 Max is designed for professionals who are seeking to take things to previously untold levels. It’s for people who are working on “remarkably complex content”. Whether you’re working on film scores, motion graphics in DaVinci Resolve or video editing in Final Cut Pro, it’ll enable multiple pro-level apps to run simultaneously without complaint.

M3 Max
Image Credit (Apple)

When are M3 Max devices available?

The new MacBook Pro M3 Max models will be available in 14-inch and 16-inch and can be pre-ordered today and are available from Tuesday 7 November in the US, the UK and 27 countries in total. The 14‑inch MacBook Pro with M3 Pro starts at $1,999 (US) with prices scaling up from there. The new iMac won’t have an M3 Pro version. 

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