M3 Pro/Max vs M2 Pro/Max: In-Depth Comparison

Apple has released new custom M3, M3 Pro and M3 Max chips for the new MacBook Pro and iMac laptops. With more powerful processors, GPUs and multimedia modules, the chips also support up to 128GB of unified memory. Join us for our in-depth comparison of the M3 Pro/Max and M2 Pro/Max (and the base M3 and M2) to see how everything compares.

Just before the end of 2023, Apple updated the MacBook Pro and iMac with the new M3 family. If you're interested in buying a new Mac laptop or desktop, or you're just interested in comparing the new Apple Silicon, let's get started!

We'll also include a post: M3 vs. M2 level in the charts below. For a detailed MacBook Pro vs iMac comparison, check out the following guides:

  • M3 MacBook Pro vs M2: What's the difference?
  • M3 iMac vs M1 iMac: Should you upgrade?

M3 Pro/Max vs M2 Pro/Max

Characteristics of processor, graphics processor, memory, neural engine

M3 M2 M3 Pro M2 Pro Max. M3 Max. M2
CPU 8-core 8-core Up to 12 cores Up to 12 cores Up to 16 cores 12 cores
GPU Up to 10 cores Up to 10 cores Up to 18 cores Up to 19 cores Up to 40 cores Up to 38 cores
Neural mechanism 16-core 16-core 16-core 16-core 16 -core 16-core
Single memory Up to 24 GB Up to 24 GB Up to 36 GB Up to 32 GB Up to 128 GB Up to 96 GB
Memory Up to 8 TB Up to 8 TB Up to 8 TB Up to 8 TB Up to 8 TB Up to 8 TB
Memory bandwidth 100 GB/s 100 GB/s 150 GB/s 200 GB/s Up to 400 GB/s 400 GB/s
Process 3 nm 5 nm 3 nm 5 nm 3 nm 5 nm

Interestingly, for the M3 Pro, the higher end has 1 less GPU core and 1 less memory bandwidth 50 GB/s less.

Apple says the M3 family of efficiency cores are up to 30% faster than the M2 family and up to 50% faster than the M2 family of processors. M1 family.

In terms of performance cores, the M3 family is 15% and 30% faster than the M2 and M1, respectively.

And Apple claims rendering on the M3 is up to 1.8 times faster than the M3. M2 (and up to 2.5 times faster than M1).

Number of transistors

Total number of transistors increased to 25 billion for M3, 37 billion for M3 Pro and 92 billion for M3 Max.

CPU benchmark results

First look at M3 iMac benchmark results single-core and multi-core tests were close to the 35% improvement Apple claims.

  • M3 Mac benchmark results show whether performance lives up to Apple's claims.

And for the M3 Max, it&#8217 Clock speed is about 44% higher than the M2 Max for multi-core computing, and about 10% faster for single-core computing.

  • MacBook Pro with the M3 Max chip is on par with the M2 Ultra in terms of performance, according to Geekbench tests

We haven't seen benchmark results for the M2 Pro yet.

GPU benchmark results and new features

In one of the first GPU benchmarks featured on Geekbench, M3 The Max received a Metal score of 158466, which is a 15% increase over the M2 Max's Metal score of 137525.

Along with these two, M3 Max's additional GPU cores (up to 40) and higher performance, M3 GPUs feature :

  • hardware accelerated ray tracing
    • Provides “incredibly realistic lighting, shadows and reflections”; in games
  • Hardware accelerated mesh shading
    • Improved geometry processing capabilities and efficiency, enabling “more visually complex scenes .”
  • Dynamic Caching
    • Fixed under-utilization of the GPU by dynamically allocating local memory to hardware in real-time time. time

Here's a visualization of how GPU utilization improves with dynamic caching.

Apple says the M3 GPU is “the biggest advance in graphics architecture”; because of its silicon. We'll be keeping an eye on GPU benchmarks for the M2 Pro and M3.

Media engines

Like its predecessors, the M3 family has dedicated media engines that provide hardware-accelerated support for H.264 , HEVC, ProRes and ProRes RAW. And they feature the same number of processors as the M2, M2 Pro, and M2 Max.

The M3 Max chip includes two video encoding engines and two ProRes encoding and decoding engines, like the M2 and M1 Max.

But there is one new aspect: all new media engines on the M3 chip are equipped with AV1 decoding.

M3 M2 M3 Pro M2 Pro M3 Max M2 Max
H.264 hardware accelerated, HEVC, ProRes and ProRes RAW
Video decoding mechanism
Video encoding mechanism
2 video encoding mechanisms
ProRes engine encoding and decoding
2x ProRes encoding and decoding engine
AV1 Decoding

External display support

The number of supported external monitors remains up to 2 for M2 Pro and up to 4 for M3 Max.

Like the M2 Pro and Max, the M3 Pro and Max can support a single display at up to 8K/60Hz or 4K/240Hz resolution via HDMI.

M3 Pro/Max and M2 Pro/Max review

For professionals who want the latest and greatest from Apple (tax write-off required) or just don't do it. Don't waste the money) buying a new MacBook Pro with the M3 chip is worth it.

But for those who already have an M2 Pro/Max and/or who don't have workflows that require maximum performance speeds, upgrading to new hardware probably makes the most sense.

For those who don't know which MacBook Pro specs to choose, you can get the same 11-, 12-, 14-, or 16-speed -nuclear processor. with M3 Pro and M3 Max in 14- and 16-inch models. The main cost difference is the increased GPU power, including a more powerful media engine and expanded external display support with the M3 Max chip.

As for memory, if you have medium to heavy workloads and/or Plan to use your new MacBook Pro for several years, so upgrading from 36GB or more will likely cost more than $400.

New MacBook Pro M3 laptops can be found at Apple, Amazon and coming soon and other retailers.

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