M3 MacBook Pro vs M2 MacBook Pro: A Comparative Analysis

M3 MacBook Pro vs M2 MacBook Pro

Explore the significant upgrades in the M3 MacBook Pro vs M2 MacBook Pro lineup, focusing on enhanced CPU, GPU, and memory capabilities. Delve into our comprehensive analysis to make informed decisions before your next MacBook purchase.

CPU, GPU, Memory, Neural Engine

The M3 Apple Silicon family boasts a range of options, including 8 to 16-core CPUs, 10 to 40-core GPUs, and an impressive memory capacity of up to 128GB. A notable advancement from the M2 Pro/Max, the M3 series demonstrates significant speed improvements in efficiency cores, performance cores, and rendering capabilities. Apple claims that the M3 chip’s efficiency cores are up to 30% faster than the M2 family and up to 50% faster than the M1 family.

M3 MacBook Pro vs M2 MacBook Pro: Display

The M3 MacBook Pro models feature a 20% brighter screen compared to the M2 MacBook Pro, reaching up to 600 nits for SDR content. The display sizes, resolutions, and features remain consistent, offering a top-notch visual experience. Notably, the new MacBook Pros retain the notch at the top center for the 1080p FaceTime camera, though Face ID remains absent.

MacBook Pro I/O

macbook pro m2

The M3 MacBook Pro maintains a similar I/O configuration to the M2 MacBook Pro, including HDMI, SDXC card reader, and MagSafe. However, there is a reduction in the number of Thunderbolt 4 ports, with the M3 models featuring one less Thunderbolt 4 port compared to their M2 counterparts.

Colors, Size, and Weight

Physically, the M3 MacBook Pro aligns with the dimensions of the M2 MacBook Pro. However, the M3 Pro and Max models introduce a new Space Black color, complementing the existing Silver option. The M3 MacBook Pro is available only in Space Gray and Silver. The weight, thickness, width, and depth remain consistent across both M3 and M2 models.

Battery Life

The M3 MacBook Pro excels in battery life, with the 16-inch M3 Pro and Max models offering 22 hours of video playback on a single charge, up from 21 hours in the M2 Pro/Max. The 14-inch M3 MacBook Pro achieves 22 hours (up from 17 hours), while the M3 Pro and Max variants offer 18 hours (up from 17 hours). Fast charging remains a prominent feature, allowing up to 50% charge in 30 minutes.


Base configurations for the M3 MacBook Pro are more affordable, with custom builds offering competitive pricing. However, the top-tier M3 MacBook Pro can reach up to $7,199, $700 above the top-end M2 MacBook Pro.

M3 MacBook Pro vs M2 MacBook Pro: Buyer’s Guide

Reasons to Buy:

  • Ideal for professionals seeking the latest technology.
  • Impressive upgrade for those transitioning from an Intel MacBook.

Reasons to Pass:

  • Existing M2 Pro/Max users may find their current setup sufficient.
  • Those without demanding workflows might consider MacBook Air as a viable alternative.

Deciding on Specs:

  • Consider GPU power and external display support when choosing between M3 Pro and M3 Max.
  • Opt for higher unified memory for medium to heavy workflows and long-term usage.

In conclusion, the M3 MacBook Pro presents a compelling upgrade for users looking to stay at the forefront of technology, while existing M2 Pro/Max users may find their current devices still meet their needs. Choosing between M3 Pro and M3 Max depends on specific requirements, with a focus on GPU capabilities and external display support. For optimal performance, opting for higher unified memory is advisable for users with demanding workflows and long-term usage plans.

Also: MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro: Your Ultimate Guide

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