M3 vs. M2 MacBook Pro: What are the differences?

The M3 vs. M2 MacBook Pro Pros are here and Apple has once again surpassed the competition with its new 3nm chips that look like another revolution in computing. However, it begs the question: Would you upgrade from last year’s model to the new M3 MacBook Pro? Let’s find out in this detailed comparison between M3 MacBook Pro and M2 MacBook Pro.

M3 versus M2 MacBook Pro – Essentials

Before we get into the details, here’s an overview of what all 4 powerful Macs offer.

Specifications 14-inch M3 MacBook Pro 14-inch M2 MacBook Pro 16-inch M3 MacBook Pro 16-inch M2 MacBook Pro
Starting price $1,599 $1,999 $2,499 $2,499
Display and resolution 14.2-inch
120Hz XDR
3456 x 2234
14.2-inch
120Hz XDR
3456 x 2234
16.2-inch
120HZ XDR
3456 x 2234
16.2-inch
120Hz XDR
3456 x 2234
CPU Cores M3 (8-core), M3 Pro (11/12-core), M3 Max (14/16-core) M2 Pro (10/12-core)
or M2 Max (12-core)
M3 Pro (12-core) or M3 Max (14/16-core) M2 Pro (12-core) or M2 Max (12-core)
GPU Cores M3 (10-core), M3 Pro (18-core) or M3 Max (30/40-core) Apple M2 Pro (16/19-core) or M2 Max (30-core) M3 Pro (18-core) or M3 Max (30/40-core) M2 Pro (19-core) or M2 Max (38-core)
Unified Memory M3 (8GB, 16GB, 24GB), M3 Pro (18GB, 36GB), M3 Max (36GB, 96GB) 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, or 96GB 18 GB, 36 GB (M3 Pro or M3 Max with 14-core CPU), 48 GB (M3 Max with 16-core CPU), 64 GB (M3 Max with 16-core CPU), 96 GB (M3 Max with 14-core CPU), 128 GB (M3 Max with 16-core CPU) 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, or 96GB
Storage M3 (up to 1TB) M3 Pro (up to 4TB), M3 Max (up to 8TB) Up to 8TB Up to 8TB Up to 8TB
Ports 2 x USB 4.0 with Thunderbolt 4 support, SDXC card slot, HDMI, MagSafe 3, 3.5mm jack 3 x USB 4.0 with Thunderbolt 4 support, SDXC card slot, HDMI, MagSafe 3, 3.5mm jack 3 x USB 4.0 with Thunderbolt 4 support, SDXC card slot, HDMI, MagSafe 3, 3.5mm jack 3 x USB 4.0 with Thunderbolt 4 support, SDXC card slot, HDMI, MagSafe 3, 3.5mm jack
Power adapter Type-C, 70W or 96W Type-C, 67W or 96W Type-C, 140W Type-C, 140W
Colors Silver, Space gray (M3), Space black (M3 Pro, M3 Max) Space gray, Silver Space gray, Silver Space black, Silver
Other features True Tone, Touch ID, 1080p Webcam, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3 True Tone, Touch ID, 1080p Webcam, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3 True Tone, Touch ID, 1080p Webcam, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3 True Tone, Touch ID, 1080p Webcam, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3

Look, design and build

The new M3 MacBook Star 14-inch and 16-inch models share a similar plan as the 2021 M2 MacBook Ace. All Pro models offer the familiar classy, sturdy aluminum chassis. Space black has replaced the previous space grey color on the M3 Pro, M3 Max MacBook Pro.

M3 vs. M2 MacBook Pro: What are the differences?

All MacBook Pro models have a Liquid Retina XDR 120Hz display. It has thin bezels, a notch on top and does not yet support Face ID. Apple should be credited for its M3 unit’s screen, which is 600 nits brighter than that of the M2 model.

If we disregard the Space Black color, the 600 Nits extra brightness and the connector located on the left, the new MacBook Pro M3 is almost identical to its predecessors.

Performance of CPU and GPU

MacBook Pro M3 is different than M2 because of its performance in CPU and graphics. Thanks to the new 3nm chip architecture, M3 processors are faster both for CPU and graphics.

Like its predecessor, the M3 processor has 8 cores. It also has a GPU with 10 cores of 4 cores. Compared to the M2 chip, the M3 chip contains 25 billion transistors.

Apple’s 12-core processor is the same as the M3 Pro, but it has 18 cores. Apple has also upgraded the M3 Pro’s cores to more efficient ones. The new M3 Pro has eight cores compared with the six in the M2Pro.

This does not affect the M3 Max. It has 40 core GPUs and 16 central processors instead of M2 Max’s 12 core processor. While the former offers 128GB storage with 98 billion transistors while the latter has only 96GB and 67 billion.

M3 vs. M2 MacBook Pro: What are the differences?

The M3 model offers significant GPU improvements over the previous M2 version. The M3 MacBook Pro GPU now has a slightly increased number of cores and supports hardware-accelerated lighting for a more realistic look. It also includes a feature called Dynamic Caching, which allows Mac to assign more memory on the GPU, allowing work at a later time.

Ports and connections

All 16- and 14-inch MacBook Pro models come with three Thunderbolt 4 connectors, which offer DisplayPort over USB-C. However, the 14-inch MacBook Pro with M3 only has two Thunderbolt 3/USB4 ports.

As usual, you can connect the M3 MacBook Pro to an external monitor. However, the number of instructions and resolution depends on the chip you choose or whether you use an HDMI or Thunderbolt port.

The M3 Max and M2 Max can support four external outputs, including three Thunderbolt 6K 60Hz outputs and an HDMI 4K 144Hz output. Meanwhile, both can also support up to three displays, including Thunderbolt and 8K Display including two 6K 60Hz displays with HDMI 60Hz or 4K 240Hz.

Similarly, M3 Pro and M2 Pro support both sides. This includes two 6K 60Hz displays over Thunderbolt or one 6K 60Hz display over Thunderbolt connected via HDMI to another 4K 144Hz display. Nevertheless, you have the option to utilize the identical external 8K 60Hz or 4K 240Hz monitor over HDMI.

M3 vs. M2 MacBook Pro: What are the differences?

Finally, the 14-inch MacBook Pro with M3 only supports external devices running 6K 60Hz or 4K 120Hz over HDMI, an unfortunate but common limitation found on older M2 Macs where the M1 is also distributed on the chip.

Charging and battery life

The MacBook Pro M3 and the M2 can charge faster and more efficiently with 96W or 140W power supply for 14″ and 16″ versions. They are able to reach up 50% of their capacity in just 30 minutes. The M3 MacBook Pro offers improved graphics thanks to its new 3nm architectural design.

This entry-level MacBook Pro M3 offers 22 hours of playback. The 13-inch MacBook Pro M2 Touch Bar will replace the new model, and it offers 17 hours of video playback on a single battery charge.

M3 vs. M2 MacBook Pro: What are the differences?

The 14-inch MacBook Professionals M3 Max and Genius can be charged for 18 hours, while M2 Star MacBook Master or M2 Max MacBook Master are capable of playing video up to 17 hour.

Comparatively, M2 Pro, Max and M3 Pro, M3 Max and 16-inch MacBook Pro offer 22 hours of video on a single battery charge.

Model Remote web battery Video playback Included power connector Battery limit
14″ M3 MBP 15 hours 22 hours 70W or 96W 70Wh
14″ M3 Pro or Max MBP 12 hours 18 hours 70W or 96W 70Wh
14″ M2 Pro or Max MBP 11 hours 17 hours 67W or 96W 70Wh
16″ M3 Pro or Max MBP 15 hours 22 hours 140W 100Wh
16″ M2 Pro or Max MBP 14 hours 21 hours 140W 100Wh

MacBook Pro M3 vs. M2: Cost and Availability

On November 7, the 14-inch and 16-inch M3 MacBook Pros are scheduled to go on sale.

Model Price (starts at)
14-inch M2 Pro MacBook Pro $1,999
16-inch M2 Max MacBook Pro $2,499
14-inch M3 MacBook Pro $1,599
16-inch M2 MacBook Pro $2,499
  • The beginning cost for the 14-inch M3 Expert model is $1,999, while the M3 Max variation is $3,199.
  • Meanwhile, the M3 Max model starts at $3,499, and the 16-inch M3 Master model starts at $2,499 as well.
  • Finally, beginning at $1,599 is the 14-inch M3 model, which replaces the 13-inch MacBook Genius M2.

Apple’s website does not list the M2 model, despite it being the same price for the MacBook Pro M3 in 14 and 16 inch sizes. So if you want to buy the original model, you’ll have to rely on third-party sellers.

M3 vs M3 M2 MacBook Pro – What to choose?

When deciding between the M3 MacBook Pro and the M2 MacBook Pro, keep your intended usage and budget in mind. The M3 looks like a MacBook Pro powerhouse if you’re switching from the M1 or the Intel-based MacBook Pro.

M3 vs. M2 MacBook Pro: What are the differences?

The M3 MacBook Pro boasts a speedier CPU and GPU, allowing you to execute intense activities without depleting the battery.

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If you prefer to use MacBook Master M2 then select MacBook Genius, that would not be affected by Expert M3. This is especially true if you have daily tasks or, in contrast, if your budget is limited.

Despite being a little sluggish, I think the M2 MacBook Pro can still manage the majority of demanding jobs. Additionally, M3 vs. M2 MacBook Pro prices are likely to drop when the new model becomes more widely available.

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