Apple's M3 Pro chip is not much faster than the M2 Pro chip, according to leaked benchmarks

Apple's new MacBooks use the new 3nm-powered M3 chips, but when stacked up against the M2 series the M3 Pro is the least impressive of the lot.

1 minute & 18 seconds read time

At the company's recent Scary Fast event, Apple announced new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models that would use the brand-new M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max chips - the first chips to hit the home PC market using the cutting-edge 3nm or N3 process node from TSMC. However, based on leaked benchmark results, the jump from M2 Pro to M3 Pro might not be worth it.

Apple's new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models use the brand-new M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max chips.

Apple's new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models use the brand-new M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max chips.

It's worth highlighting that we're only looking at a single Geekbench 6 result (spotted by the YouTube channel Max Tech), but it shows that the M3 Pro is only 6% faster than the M2 Pro regarding multi-core performance. In single-core performance, the M3 Pro is up to 14% faster than the M2 Pro - more impressive though still underwhelming results.

Is there a reason why moving to TSMC's cutting-edge 3nm process hasn't yielded more impressive results for the M3 Pro? Yes, it probably has more to do with the M3's architecture than the process itself.

Multi-core performance is super important in 2023, as more apps and intensive programs use multi-core processors. Both the Apple M2 Pro and the M3 Pro features feature a 12-core CPU, but the newer M3 Pro features six high-performance cores and six efficiency cores, while the older M2 Pro features eight high-performance cores and four efficiency cores. Fewer high-performance cores could be why going from 5nm to 3nm sees diminishing returns. The M3 Pro also has 25% less memory bandwidth.

That said, the M3 Max looks to be a far more impressive flagship; it doubles the high-performance core count to 12 and, according to earlier Geekbench 6 results, is up to 45% faster than the M2 Max. And when you throw in the vanilla M3 being up 20% faster than the standard MN2 chip, the M3 Pro is the least exciting chip in Apple's new M3 lineup.

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Kosta is a veteran gaming journalist that cut his teeth on well-respected Aussie publications like PC PowerPlay and HYPER back when articles were printed on paper. A lifelong gamer since the 8-bit Nintendo era, it was the CD-ROM-powered 90s that cemented his love for all things games and technology. From point-and-click adventure games to RTS games with full-motion video cut-scenes and FPS titles referred to as Doom clones. Genres he still loves to this day. Kosta is also a musician, releasing dreamy electronic jams under the name Kbit.

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