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MacBook Air M3 15-inch vs MacBook Air M2 15-inch: What’s new?

Apple has officially announced two new MacBook Air models, the MacBook Air M3 15-inch and the MacBook Air M3 13-inch

Both of the new Airs are powered by Apple’s powerful M3 chipset, offering a number of key performance and feature updates over their predecessors. 

Here’s how the larger 15-inch MacBook Air M3 compares to last year’s 15-inch MacBook Air M2

The MacBook Air M3 is faster 

By far the most important difference between the MacBook Air M2 and the MacBook Air M3 is the new Apple M3 chip found in the latter. 

The Apple M3 sits below the M3 Pro and M3 Max in Apple’s M3 series when it comes to sheer performance but nevertheless signals some big CPU and GPU upgrades for the 15-inch MacBook Air. 

While Apple doesn’t outright say how the MacBook Air M3 compares to the MacBook Air M2 in terms of performance, it does claim that the MacBook Air M3 is up to 13x faster than the fastest Intel-based MacBook Air. In a press release last year, Apple stated that the 15-inch MacBook Air M2 is up to 12x faster than the fastest Intel-based Air. In both of these instances, the MacBook Air M2 and M3 have been measured against a 1.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7-based MacBook Air with Intel Iris Plus Graphics, 16GB of RAM, and a 2TB SSD. 

You can expect to see this additional performance reflected in everything from everyday productivity to photo and video editing and software development, though you’ll have to wait for our full review to hear more about how this performance upgrade affects our experience with the Air. 

MacBook Air M3
MacBook Air M3

The MacBook Air M3 supports hardware-accelerated ray tracing 

Another benefit to the new M3 chip is the addition of hardware-accelerated mesh shading and ray tracing support on the MacBook Air. This means you can expect to see more accurate lighting, reflections and shadows when gaming on the MacBook Air. 

Additionally, the media engine in the Apple M3 now supports AV1 decode for more efficient and high-quality video streaming on the laptop. 

The MacBook Air M3 offers faster download speeds 

Another upgrade arriving with the MacBook Air M3 is Wi-Fi 6E support. 

The download speeds of Wi-Fi 6E are twice as fast as those of Wi-Fi 6, the standard supported on the MacBook Air M2. This is because there’s very little overlap and interference in the 6GHz channel occupied by Wi-Fi 6E, reducing congestion and thus enabling faster speeds for users. 

MacBook Air 15-inch angled
MacBook Air M2 15-inch

The MacBook Air M3 can connect to two external displays 

If you prefer to spread out across multiple screens, you should opt for the newer MacBook Air M3. 

The MacBook Air M3 supports up to two external displays, whereas the MacBook Air M2 is limited to just one external display.

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