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Guide to Apple M3 Chips

Apple’s M3 chips follow in the footsteps of their M1 and M2 chips. They come in three variations: the standard M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max.

iMac M3 Chip

Apple M3 Chip

Fast. M3 is much faster than its predecessor, the M2. However, for M3 Apple MacBook Pros, Apple MacBook Airs, and Apple iMac 24”, configurations are limited to a maximum 8-Core CPU and 10-Core GPU – making this the slowest option of the three new chips.

Most affordable. The M3 chip is the lowest-cost option when it comes to the new M3 processor range.

Good upgrades. The SSD on Apple MacBook Air’s, Apple MacBook Pro 14” and the Apple iMac 24” can be upgraded to a maximum capacity of 2TB, and RAM to a maximum capacity of 24GB.

Great for most industries. M3 Apple MacBooks and Apple iMacs have a maximum 8-Core CPU and 10-Core GPU, and can support one external display, meaning they are suited to the day-to-day needs of most people – but perhaps not those that need an above average amount of storage space for their work.

Limited model choice.  It’s worth noting that the M3 is exclusively available for Apple MacBook Airs, Apple iMac 24” and 14” Apple MacBook Pros – the 16” Apple MacBook Pro offers options for M3 Pro or M3 Max only.

Apple M3 Pro Chip

Faster. This version features an 11 or 12 core CPU, providing a significant upgrade in processing power, and an 18-core GPU. This makes M3 Pro MacBook Pros great for handling graphics-intensive tasks.

Mid-priced. Considering the price, this may not be the most budget-conscious option – but the extra cost is worth it for creative professionals, software developers, or anyone else that requires a high-powered machine than the standard M3 for their work.  

Better upgrades. RAM on M3 Pro models can be upgraded to a maximum of 36GB, enabling users to tackle larger projects on the go than the standard M3. The SSD can be expanded to a maximum capacity of 4TB. Additionally, when opting for M3 Pro, you can choose a Space Black machine.

Great for creatives. The M3 Pro is significantly faster than the M3, with a maximum 12-Core CPU and 18-Core GPU, and can support up to two external displays, making them a better option for creative professionals than the standard M3.

Only available for MacBook Pros. Currently, you can only purchase MacBook Pros with this option – iMac’s and MacBook Air’s are only available with the standard M3 chip.

MacBook Pro M3 Chip
MacBook Air M3 Chip

Apple M3 Max chip

Fastest option. This version offers a choice between a 30-Core CPU or a 40-Core CPU, a substantial increase in processing power compared to the M3 Pro. This processor option also incorporates a 40-core GPU.

Highest priced option. Considering the price, this won’t be the most cost-friendly choice for most people. However, the extra cost is worth it for creative professionals that require a very fast and high-spec laptop for their work.

Best upgrades. With support for up to 128GB of unified memory, and an SSD capacity of up to 8TB, the M3 Max has the biggest capacity for upgrades of the three M3 chips. Additionally, when opting for M3 Max, you can choose a Space Black machine.

Great for high-end creative professionals. Equipped with a maximum 16-Core CPU and 40-Core GPUand the capacity to support up to four external monitors, M3 Max is ideal for creative professionals who need a high-powered machine with great graphics for tasks such as video editing. However, for typical office tasks or less intensive creative work, the extra cost of M3 Max might not be worth it, and M3 Pro would more likely suffice.

Only available for MacBook Pros. Currently, you can only purchase MacBook Pros with this option – iMac’s and MacBook Airs are only available with the standard M3 chip.

M3 Chip Models

M3M3 ProM3 Max
MacBook Pro 14″YesYesYes
MacBook Pro 16″NoYesYes
iMac 24″YesNoNo
MacBook Air 13″YesNoNo
MacBook Air 15″YesNoNo

M3 chips in summary

Apple’s M3 chips follow in the footsteps of their M1 and M2 chips. They come in three variations: the standard M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max.

M3 is available for MacBook Air, MacBook Pro 14″, and iMac. This chip is a good choice for everyday use and less data-intensive workloads.

M3 Pro is the mid-level option, available for MacBook Pro 14″ and 16″. This chip is a good choice for people with slightly more data-intensive workloads, who require higher spec capacity.

M3 Max is the fastest and most efficient of the M3 lineup, and is available for MacBook Pro 14″ and 16″. Laptops with this chip are better suited for those with heavily data intensive workloads, and creative professionals who need a high-powered laptop with a lot of storage space.