M3 MacBook Air benchmarks leak — Earliest figures reveal 20% performance boost over M2 model

M3 MacBook Air
(Image credit: Apple)

Less than 24 hours after Apple unveiled its brand-new M3 MacBook Air, leaked benchmarks have revealed its substantial increase in power and performance over the M2 model. 

On Monday, Apple unveiled the new M3 Macbook Air, which the company says is “up to 60 percent faster” than one of the best MacBooks of all time, the M1 MacBook Air, and up to 13 times faster than the fastest Intel-powered MacBook Air. Aside from the chip, there are almost no differences to the M2 MacBook Air, which Apple has retained as a cheaper alternative in its lineup. Given M3 and M2 are much closer together in terms of performance, Apple didn’t provide any comparison figures with the M2 model. Thankfully, we have some early benchmarks to do the job for us instead. 

As spotted by MySmartPrice, the new M3 MacBook Air “scored about 20% more in single-core round and 18% in multi-core” tests. The 2023 model tested was the 15-inch MacBook Air with M2 sporting 16GB of Unified Memory. Likewise, the newer M3 Model also had the same Unified Memory, but sports a higher processor clock speed of 4.05Ghz. 

M3 MacBook Air vs M2 performance benchmarks 

At the launch of the M3 chip last year, Apple told us its efficiency cores perform 30% faster than the M2, while its performance cores are 15% faster. As such, an overall performance boost of 20% in the M3 Macbook Air seems about spot on. It’s certainly not enough to make M2 MacBook Air customers upgrade, but if your M1 MacBook Air is starting to show signs of age this might be a decent time to pick up either model as an upgrade. 

The new M3 13-inch MacBook Air starts at $1,099, while the 15-inch model costs $1,299, upgrades to memory and storage notwithstanding. Like the previous model, it’s available in midnight, starlight, silver, and space gray. Apple says this year’s midnight finish “features a breakthrough anodization seal to reduce fingerprints,” much like the space black M3 MacBook Pro. As we noted in our review, the finish performs well on the outer shell, but it’s a little less effective inside the clamshell. 

M3 MacBook Air pre-orders are available now and the device will launch on March 8. 

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Stephen Warwick
News Editor

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