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Apple M3 vs Apple M2: Is 3nm better?

The new Apple M3 chips have just been revealed. We’ll first see it on the refreshed iMac and, then, MacBook Air models in 2024. Here’s how it compares with the M2 chip.

Apple has announced the M3, M3 Pro and M3 Max chip, with the first coming to the 14-inch MacBook Pro for the first time.

Apple M3 vs Apple M2 – Specs and Performance

Throughout the Scary Fast presentation, Apple focused on comparing its M3 range to the M1 chip, rather than the M2 series, but we can draw conclusions from that and previous Apple claims.

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First off, the M3 chip brings an 8-core CPU, 10-core GPU and up to 24GB unified memory, which is the same setup as the M2. But, the new M3 chip uses a 3nm process and this should offer added performance and efficiency. Apple says that the M3 is up to 35% faster for CPU performance than the M1 and, when it launched the M2, it touted that chip offered 18% faster CPU performance. So, if Apple’s measurements are consistent, then you should expect around a noticeable boost.

Apple M3 vs M2
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The same conclusions can be drawn from its new GPU claims. Apple M3 is stated as being 65% faster than the M1 series, with Apple previously stating the M2 was 35% faster than the M1.

There’s new technology onboard the Apple M3 too, with Dynamic Caching showcased as a new graphics feature. Dynamic Caching allocates the use of local memory in real-time, which is a different approach to traditional GPUs. Apple says it “dramatically increases the average utilisation of the GPU, which significantly increases performance for the most demanding pro apps and games.”

As with the 3nm Apple A17 Pro chip for iPhone, hardware-accelerated ray-tracing is now present on the Mac with Apple M3. The technology brings improved lighting effects to the Mac, with boosted shadows and reflections. There is hardware-accelerated mesh-shading too, enhancing the capability and efficiency of geometry processing on the MacBooks.

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