During its Scary Fast October Mac event, Apple unveiled its stunning new M3 chip lineup, and there is a lot to be impressed by. With an ungodly amount of transistors, efficiency, and performance core improvements, and that insane new GPU, the M3 is certainly the best Apple silicon chip generation.
That doesn’t mean you should discount devices using Apple’s previous generation of silicon, the M2 line, however, especially if you can find yourself a good deal in the ongoing Black Friday sales. The M2 Pro and Max MacBook Pro laptops are not even a year old and are still immensely powerful. Thanks to the fact they’ve just been superseded, it’s going to be much easier to find a deal on the older models, so here are some things to consider before you splash all your cash on M3.
Do you need a Mac for gaming?
M3 is all about gaming performance. With hardware-accelerated ray tracing, dynamic caching, mesh shading, and more speed, the M3 GPU delivers 65% more performance at its peak compared to the M1 chip. Indeed, in our M3 Max MacBook Pro 16-inch review, we found that tests of the M3 Max chip delivered double the frame rates of the M2 Pro model at the same graphic settings running Pharaoh: Total War. It’s not an apples-to-apples comparison, but it demonstrates how far these chips have come in the gaming sphere.
If you want a Mac for gaming, the M3 is your best bet. However, if you need a Mac for music production, photo, and video editing, or any other type of power usage where FPS and rendering aren’t as important as raw processing power, the M2 range might suit you just as well.
M3 is not a universal upgrade
While pound-for-pound the M3 chip is better than M2 in terms of core performance and efficiency, there are a couple of key ways in which it’s actually not as good as the M2 range. Specifically, the M3 Pro chip has fewer GPU cores (18, not 19), and less memory bandwidth (150GB/s, not 200GB/s). As such, if you want more raw power than the base model M2 or M3 MacBooks, but don’t want to stretch for a Max chip, the M2 Pro is a viable option for all but the most graphic-intensive workloads.
It’s all about the price
With Black Friday still a few days away, some of the heftier discounts are yet to take hold. That’s why right now you can get an M3 Pro MacBook Pro for the same price as last year’s M2 model, thanks to epic discounts like this one at B&H Photo:
However, I’d bet good money that some retailers are holding onto some tasty discounts on the M2 MacBook Pro line that we’ll see unleashed closer to the main event. When the time comes, a solid saving on an M2 Pro device might well make more financial sense than pushing the boat out for the M3 alternative. Right now the M3 is the better buy, but that may change if and when hefty discounts arrive on M2.
MacBook Pro 14-inch (M2 Pro)|
$1999 $1749 at B&H Photo
There's currently a decent $250 Saving on the MacBook Pro 14-inch at B&H Photo, bringing the MacBook down to just under $1800. That's not the lowest price we've ever seen, but it is the lowest price that you'll find out there at the moment. If you see the price drop lower than this, that's the time to strike!
Grab bargains on Apple devices this Black Friday
If you're looking for the best Black Friday Apple deals as the annual sales season kicks off, we've got you covered. From now right through to Cyber Monday on November 27, we'll be serving up the best offers on iPhone, MacBook, Apple Watch, iPad, HomeKit smart home devices and more. Save a small fortune by checking back on our daily deals coverage.
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Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.
Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9