Apple announces new MacBook Pro line, with even more powerful M3 chips

Apple has unveiled M3 silicon chips for Macbook Pro and iMac computers, targeted at extremely high-performance needs.
Apple Macbook Pro M3 chip

Apple has announced its M3 silicon chips at an October 2023 event, with the combined CPU and GPU system powering a new line of Macbook Pro laptops, as well as refreshing the company’s iMac desktop line. Apple purports M3 to be “the most advanced chip ever built for a personal computer.”

Like the M1 and M2 lines before it (released in 2020 and 2022 respectively), it will come in three iterations to cater to users who require increasingly demanding computing requirements: M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max.

The standard M3 chip is allegedly 60% faster than the M1 chip, with the high-end M3 Max being 2.5 times faster than the M1 Max, per Apple‘s calculations.

Given the already impressive and efficient performance we saw while playing high-end games on an M1 Pro-equipped Macbook Pro recently, it’s a little unprecedented to think about how much better the experience could be on this new hardware.

The M3 chips boast a faster CPU and decreased power load, while also sporting new technologies in graphics processing. These include dynamic caching, for more efficient and targeted memory usage, which theoretically could result in better performance if used correctly by developers.

Hardware-accelerated ray-tracing is also now supported for the first time in Mac computers – a commonplace technology that realistically models light in 3D environments. Hardware-based ray-tracing for games was also recently touted as a feature of the iPhone 15 Pro.

Elsewhere, the new Macbook Pro line will support up to 128GB of RAM (a ridiculous amount, quite frankly) and Apple touts up to 22 hours of battery life, with comparable performance on the machine whether it’s plugged in or running on battery, with minimal fan noise in the majority of circumstances.

It’s a claim that seems too good to be true, especially if you’re accustomed to the behaviour of high-performance PC gaming laptops, but as we found in our previous Macbook Pro test, it’s very much the reality. The Macbook Pro is an excellent piece of hardware for playing video games, it just needs the developer support to pack it up.

While gaming wasn’t an explicit focus of the M3 presentation, with Apple instead drawing attention to professional applications like 3D modelling, music production, and biomedical imaging, titles like Baldur’s Gate 3 and Firmament still made a brief appearance to demonstrate the applications of Bluetooth 5.3 for low-latency controller connections, as well as hardware-accelerated ray tracing.

The Macbook Pro M3 begins at US $1,599 / AU $2,699 for the 14-inch model, and US $2,499 / AU $4,299 for the 16-inch.

The iMac M3 begins at US $1,299 / AU $2199.

Edmond was the founding managing editor of GamesHub. He was also previously at GameSpot for 13 years, where he was the Australian Editor and an award-winning video producer. You can follow him @EdmondTran