Apple has announced the M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max, three chips with “dramatically increased performance”, and the first to use the 3-nanometer process technology, allowing more transistors to be packed into a smaller space and improving speed and efficiency.

Apple also unveiled its new 24-inch iMac featuring the M3 chip, which it claims is up to 2x faster than the prior generation with M1. The GPU is claimed to be faster and more efficient and introduces a new technology called Dynamic Caching while bringing new rendering features like hardware-accelerated ray tracing and mesh shading to a Mac for the first time. It also features a 4.5K Retina display with 11.3 million pixels and over a billion colours, wireless connectivity, and “a seamless experience with iPhone”.

Rendering speeds are now up to 2.5x faster than on the M1 family of chips. The CPU performance cores and efficiency cores are 30 per cent and 50 per cent faster than those in M1, respectively, and the Neural Engine is 60 per cent faster than the Neural Engine in the M1 family of chips. A new media engine now includes support for AV1 decode, providing more efficient and high-quality video experiences from streaming services.

“Apple silicon has completely redefined the Mac experience. Every aspect of its architecture is designed for performance and power efficiency,” said Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Technologies. “With 3-nanometer technology, a next-generation GPU architecture, a higher-performance CPU, faster Neural Engine, and support for even more unified memory, M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max are the most advanced chips ever built for a personal computer.”

The M3 chip brings a leap in performance to the new iMac, featuring an 8-core CPU, up to a 10-core GPU, and support for up to 24GB of unified memory. It’s up to 2x faster than the previous generation with M1. Apple claims “users will feel the speed and power of M3 in everything they do, from multitasking across everyday productivity apps to exploring creative passions like editing high-resolution photos or multiple streams of 4K video”.

Available in a spectrum of seven vibrant colours and featuring the next-generation GPU of M3, the new iMac supports hardware-accelerated mesh shading and ray tracing, providing more accurate lighting, reflections, and shadows for extremely realistic gaming experiences, and making three-dimensional design and creation even faster. With a 16-core Neural Engine and the latest media engine, the iMac also delivers “blazing machine learning and video performance” says Apple.

When compared to the previous-generation 24-inch iMac, Apple claims creatives can:
• Edit and playback up to 12 streams of 4K video, which is 3x more than before.
• Produce video projects in Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro up to 2x faster.
• Process photos in apps like Adobe Photoshop up to 2x faster

“We’re excited to give iMac a big boost in performance with the M3 chip,” said John Ternus, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Engineering. “Millions of users absolutely love iMac for its stunning design and expansive 24-inch, 4.5K Retina display that’s the perfect size to spread out with all their favourite apps and get things done. And now M3 brings even more speed to everything users do, whether multitasking, creating captivating images and videos, working on a business plan, or playing their favourite games. The new iMac with M3 is incredible for anyone, especially those who haven’t yet upgraded from Intel, providing a giant leap in performance and capabilities only possible with Apple silicon.”

Michael Burns

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