Apple M Series Processors Explained: Which Chip to Choose?

In contrast to the iPhone, which has always used CPUs developed and produced by Apple, Macs have relied on inefficient Intel chips. But in 2020, Apple revealed the M-series, their first big move to ARM designs, as a response to this problem; this was the first time Apple had ever designed its own laptop CPUs. All the information you want on Apple silicon and its significance is provided here.

Apple made a change, but why?

Comparing Intel and M1: Get a feel for Apple’s thinking behind the transition before we get into the explanation. By swapping out IBM chips for Intel processors in all of its laptops in 2006, Apple demonstrated a strong commitment to Intel. Nevertheless, Intel’s innovation stalled for more than six years as the company stuck with the 14nm technology. Although this lack of innovation wouldn’t have been an issue for other laptop makers, Apple’s quest of ultrathin computers led to overheating and a poor user experience.

When Apple decided to break ways with Intel, it wasn’t only for strategic economic reasons; the company could have partnered with AMD instead, which was experiencing a revival at the time. The corporation went beyond just switching vendors when it decided to use its ARM family of mobile CPUs.

Is ARM fundamentally superior than X86, though?

There is some complexity to the solution. You see, Apple was able to increase its control over CPUs and other crucial features like RAM and GPU by adopting ARM architecture, which was licensed from Arm Holdings.

Because of this, Apple was able to increase efficiency while keeping or even exceeding the performance levels of Intel processors, in contrast to other firms that employ separate chips for distinct components. The initial M1 chip, which caused a stir with its remarkable efficiency, performance, and battery life, was born out of this shift.

Its M3 iteration

Illustration of Apple’s M3 processors: Apple has just unveiled the M3, the third generation of its CPUs. But because Apple offers a variety of products—for example, the MacBook Pro and the MacBook AIR—each get a unique version of the chip. We also have other versions:

The M3 model has 8 CPU cores and 10 GPU cores.

  • Core Count: 11 or 12 for the CPU and 14 or 18 for the GPU in the M3 Pro.
  • Maximum features for the M3 are 14 or 16 CPU cores and 30 or 40 GPU cores.
  • When it comes to the figures, Apple claims that
  • M3 processor uses half the power of the previous
  • M1 chips while enjoying 2.5 times faster GPU performance.
  • Plus, with the help of the new 3-nanometer technology, it can achieve up to a 30% performance boost compared to its predecessors.

Are you looking for the best CPU?

Picture showing several Apple M 3 CPUs side by side: Choosing the appropriate CPU is vital since Apple’s performance charts may be a little picky. The regular M3 is more than enough for those whose primary activities are light video editing, casual programming, or web surfing.

However, the M3 Pro could be more suited for those like designers and app developers who need more CPU and GPU cores. Still, the M3 Max is a great choice for professionals whose workflows are particularly taxing, such as those working with 4K video editing or visual effects.

Lastly, desktop form factors like the Mac Studio and the Mac Pro are compatible with the Ultra edition of the M-series CPUs, which is the crème de la crème. Be advised that Apple has refrained from making any announcements on the M3 Ultra chip just yet.

How do I decide on a form factor

After settling on a CPU, the form factor is the next consideration. There are two versions of Apple’s M-series CPUs found in the company’s laptops and desktops:

The 14-and 24-inch MacBook Pros, as well as the iMac with the M3 chip
The 14-and 16-inch MacBook Pros are Macs powered by the M3 Pro processor.
Workstations powered by the M3 Max engine: The 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models
Macs expected to include the M3 Ultra chip: The Mac Pro and Mac Studio

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