Wednesday, April 17, 2024
HomenewsApple's newly announced M3 processors come with huge GPU improvements

Apple's newly announced M3 processors come with huge GPU improvements

Apple's newly announced M3 processors come with huge GPU improvements

Image: Apple

Apple has unveiled its new M3 series of processors at this morning’s “Scary Fast” event. While the Cupertino-based tech giant has continuously improved its game since the debut of the M1 chip, the M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max chips set themselves apart with an acute focus on graphical prowess and professional-grade computing.

For a start, the chips are manufactured using a 3nm process, echoing the technology seen in the A17 Pro chip used in the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Not only does this allow for a denser arrangement of transistors, but it also promises improvements in speed and power efficiency. Apple claims the M3 will have the same multithreaded performance as the M1 but at half the power. This should also translate to longer battery life, with Apple estimating up to 22 hours for the new MacBook Pro models. It’s an insane claim, and we are pretty excited to test this out when we get our hands on the new device.

Image: Apple

The base M3 offers an eight-core CPU divided equally between performance and efficiency cores. Apple is claiming a 35% boost in CPU performance over its predecessor, the M1. On the graphics side, a 10-core GPU promises to be 65% faster than the M1.

But the true standout feature is the substantial focus on graphical capabilities. Apple isn’t just aiming to catch up with NVIDIA and AMD; it intends to carve a niche in the market for high-performing integrated graphics. Not only do the M3 chips support hardware-accelerated ray tracing and mesh shading – both firsts for Apple Silicon – they also introduce a new Dynamic Caching feature. This real-time memory allocation strategy is touted by Apple to be an industry first, aiming to improve the GPU's average utilisation significantly. It may give game developers, and by extension gamers, a reason to consider the Mac as a viable platform. Apple has previously made strides towards this with its Game Porting Toolkit and a Proton-like tool designed to encourage Windows games onto the Mac platform.

Image: Apple

The M3 Pro and M3 Max push the envelope further for professional users. With a 12-core CPU and 18-core GPU, the M3 Pro aims for a performance that's 30% and 40% faster than the M1 Pro for single-threaded tasks and graphics, respectively. The M3 Max takes it a step further with a 16-core CPU and a 40-core GPU. The chip is said to offer a 50% improvement in graphical capabilities over the M1 Max. Needless to say, Apple has made these chips for specific user needs, from multitasking on everyday applications to running professional or graphics-intensive software.

During the livestream, Apple presented a performance comparison against the US$1,299 MSI Prestige 13 Evo laptop, which comes equipped with Intel’s Core i7 1360P processor and Iris Xe graphics. The results show that the M3 can deliver comparable CPU and GPU performance to the MSI laptop, but at just a quarter and a fifth of the power draw, respectively. If these claims hold up under real-world scrutiny, it will underscore the efficiency of Apple’s silicon strategy.

The new M3, M3 Pro and M3 Max also have an improved Neural Engine designed to accelerate machine learning models. Also for the first time, Apple is shipping an AV1 decoder with its M3 family of processors. This allows for more efficient video playback of AV1 content.

Apple is rolling out its new chips in devices soon – the M3 will be available in a new 24-inch iMac and both the M3 and M3 Pro chips will power new 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro models starting November 7. As for the M3 Max-powered MacBook Pro laptops, it will begin shipping later in the same month.

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