May 23, 2024
Apple's M3 CPUs keep up with top Intel CPUs: leaks show


The first benchmarks for Apple’s M3 Max processor, which recently leaked, suggest that the tech giant’s new chipset could redefine the performance standards for laptop processors. Found in the latest 16-inch MacBook Pro, the M3 Max hints at a new zenith for Apple silicon, exhibiting prowess to match even the mightiest of Intel’s desktop processors while managing to be impressively energy efficient.

According to a Nov. 2 DigitalTrends report, the Geekbench 6 test unveiled the M3 Max’s prowess. It scored 2,943 and 21,084 in single-core and multi-core tests, respectively. To give a perspective, these scores were once considered unattainable for thin and light laptops not too long ago. Moreover, they stand toe-to-toe with Apple’s own M2 Ultra, a processor that powers the latest Mac Pro (21,182 multi-core) and the Mac Studio (21,316 multi-core).

Comparatively, the M3 Max surpasses its immediate predecessor, the M2 Max, by an enormous 45%. The latter, integrated into the previous generation’s 16-inch MacBook Pro, scored 14,495 in the multi-core Geekbench test. Apple had previously hinted that the M3 Max would be about 50% faster than the M2 Max, and the leaked benchmarks suggest it’s well on its way to fulfilling that claim.

However, what makes this development particularly intriguing is its comparison with Intel’s offerings. The M2 Max is surprisingly neck and neck with one of Intel’s flagship CPUs, the Core i9-13900KS. On average, Intel’s powerhouse achieves 3,096 in single-core and 21,734 in multi-core tests.

The M3 Max lags just slightly behind Intel’s best offerings.

What’s remarkable here is the juxtaposition of Apple’s silicon, nestled in a sleek laptop, and Intel’s CPU, which, despite its raw power, demands a bulkier, more energy-intensive desktop setup — the thermal performances are likely not to be even remotely comparable.

Introduced during Apple’s “Scary Fast” event, the M3 chip’s launch was filled with surprises. Apple unveiled three configurations right out of the gate: the M3, M3 Pro, and the M3 Max. Instead of just a marginal improvement, the M3 series, backed by these benchmark numbers, seems to have taken a significant stride over its predecessor, the M2.

For those looking to own this powerhouse, it does come with a hefty price tag. The 16-inch MacBook Pro with the M3 Max starts at $3,500. Apple’s diverse range, however, includes the more affordable 14-inch MacBook with the base M3 chip priced at $1,600. For those with no limits on their budget, a fully loaded 16-inch MacBook Pro can set you back by a staggering $7,200.

It’s always wise to approach these figures with a grain of salt

As with initial benchmark leaks, it’s always wise to approach these figures with a grain of salt. The landscape may shift once the laptops with the M3 Max are publicly available and widely tested. Nevertheless, despite a slight dip in performance, the M3 Max’s initial results testify to Apple’s foresight in shifting to its proprietary silicon and the potential of the more efficient reduced instruction set ARM processor architecture.

Featured Image Credit: Apple’s M3 Max design. Thank you!

Radek Zielinski

Radek Zielinski is an experienced technology and financial journalist with a passion for cybersecurity and futurology.



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