Apple announces refreshed 14-inch, 16-inch MacBook Pros and iMac with next-generation M3 chips: Digital Photography Review

Apple unveiled its latest M3 family of system-on-a-chip (SoC) and system-in-a-package (SiP) processors.

Today, Apple announced several updates to its Mac lineup, including refreshed 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro laptops and updated the 24-inch iMac all-in-one desktop. The product updates centered around the all-new M3 family of chips, the company’s latest generation of Apple Silicon.

The refreshed Apple MacBook Pros maintain the same physical appearance and design as the previous generation 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook. However, the models featuring the more powerful M3 Pro and M3 Max chips will be available in a new ‘Space Black’ anodized aluminum finish. The updated MacBook Pros also have a lower starting price than the prior version, with the 14-inch M3-powered MacBook Pro starting at $1,599.

Preorder the MacBook Pro M3:

Although Apple describes the screens as “the World’s best laptop display,” they don’t appear to have changed compared with the M2 generation MacBook Pros. The ‘Liquid Retina XDR’ displays maintain the same peak brightness of 1600 nits and sustained brightness of up to 1000 nits. The only difference is a boost in the maximum brightness at which SDR content is shown: rising from 500 to 600 nits, bringing it into line with the behavior of the company’s Studio Display external monitor.

Although the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros share essentially the same physical design as the previous generation, the new models with M3 Pro and M3 Max chips can also be purchased in a new “Space Black” color.

The new M3-powered MacBook Pros are said to offer improvements in both CPU and GPU performance while at the same time maintaining the impressive power efficiency that Apple Silicon-powered computers have been known for. According to Apple, the base 14-inch MacBook Pro with M3 is up to 60% faster than the original M1-powered MacBook Pro, while maintaining up to 22 hours of battery life. Apple also claims that these new MacBook Pros are up to 11x faster than the fastest Intel-based MacBook Pros.

As with previous generations, the M3 family of chips comes in three flavors: the M3, M3 Pro and M3 Max. The M3 chip features 8 CPU cores and a 10-core GPU while the M3 Pro comes in 11-core CPU/14-core GPU and 12 CPU/18 GPU core versions. The M3 Max comes in 14/30 core and 16/40 core versions. The M3 chip has a maximum memory bandwidth of 100GB/s, while the M3 Pros can reach 150GB/s. The lesser of the two M3 Max chips promises up to 300GB/s bandwidth, while the top-end 16/40 core version tops out at 400BG/s.

CPU/GPU cores Memory bandwidth Unified memory options
M3 8/10 100GB/s 8GB, 16GB, 24GB
M3 Pro 11/14 150GB/s 18GB, 36GB
12/18 150GB/s 18GB, 36GB
M3 Max 14/30 300GB/s 36GB, 96GB
16/40 400GB/s 36GB, 48GB, 64GB, 128GB

The base model 14-inch MacBook with M3 chip comes with up to 24GB of unified memory and up to 2TB of internal storage.

Bumping up to the M3 Pro, the 14-inch models start with 11/14 core chips and 18GB of unified memory, while the lowliest 16-inch MacBook Pro features a 12-core CPU/18-core GPU and 18GB of unified memory. Both the M3 Pro and M3 Max varieties can be upgraded all the way up to the 16-core CPU, 40-core GPU Max chips and up to 128GB of unified memory: the first time a MacBook Pro has been offered with this amount of memory. SSD Storage can be up-specced to a maximum of 4TB for the M3 Pro and 8TB for the M3 Max models.

The new MacBook Pros with M3 Max chips can support up to four external displays. M3 Pro-based MacBook Pros can support up to two external displays, while the base M3 chip features support for a single screen.

In addition to updates to the MacBook Pros Apple has, finally, also announced updates to the 24-inch iMac desktop computer to the M3 chip. Skipping the M2 generation of chips entirely, the Apple Silicon-based 24-inch iMac hadn’t been updated since it debuted in 2021 with the original M1 chip.

The new iMac’s physical design is unchanged from the previous version model, including coming in just a single screen size. Still, the boost in performance from the new M3 chips should be significant, with Apple claiming up to 2x faster performance than the M1 version and up to 2.5x than ‘the most popular 27-inch Intel-based iMac models’ (3.3GHz 6-core Intel Core i5-based 27-inch iMac.)

Preorder the iMac M3:

The new M3-based MacBook Pros are available for ordering today, with availability starting on Tuesday, November 7. The 14-inch MacBook Pro with M3 starts at $1,599, the 14-inch MacBook Pro with M3 Pro starts at $1,999, and the 16-inch MacBook Pro starts at $2,499.

The updated 24-inch iMac with M3 is available for ordering today, with availability starting on Tuesday, November 7. The iMac with an 8-core GPU starts at $1,299, while the 10-core GPU model starts at $1,499.

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