Even before Apple has had the chance to launch its M2 Macs, the company is already making strides towards its next big thing: the M3 chips. Bloomberg reports the tech giant is now testing M3 chips in a bid to resuscitate its Mac business, which experienced a 31% sales decline in the previous quarter.
With its M2 chips just weeks away from making their debut, Apple is not resting on its laurels. The company has already initiated testing the M3 chips on next-generation Macs, using third-party apps to confirm compatibility with its robust software ecosystem.
A base-level M3 Pro chip under testing has reported specifications that include 12 CPU cores, 18 graphics cores, and 36GB of memory. The CPU is designed with six high-performance cores for handling intensive tasks and six efficiency cores for less power-demanding operations.
This M3 Pro chip, expected to be launched next year, is expected to offer a substantial upgrade over the M1 Pro and M2 Pro chips. The M3 Pro chip boasts an increase of two power-efficient CPU cores and two additional graphics cores compared to the M2 Pro. The memory also sees a bump by 4GB in the top-end configuration.
Anticipating similar gains as in the previous generation, the M3 Max could potentially come equipped with up to 14 CPU cores and over 40 graphics cores. In an even bolder prediction, the M3 Ultra chip could feature up to 28 CPU cores and more than 80 graphics cores.
The secret behind fitting such a staggering number of cores in a chip lies in the advanced 3-nanometer manufacturing process Apple is set to adopt with its M3 line. This technology allows for higher-density chips, enabling more cores to be fitted into a compact processor.
The first Macs armed with M3 chips are predicted to hit the market towards the end of this year or early next year. Despite the first 15-inch MacBook Air with an M2 chip set to debut this summer, Apple is reportedly working on M3-based iMacs, and high-end and low-end MacBook Pros, as well as MacBook Airs.
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx Gen 4 Looms as Potential Competitor
While Apple’s M3 chip is making waves, Qualcomm is not far behind. The chipmaker’s upcoming processor for PCs, the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 4, recently showcased impressive benchmark results suggesting that it may surpass Apple’s 2022 M2 chipset.
The leaked specifications reveal the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 4’s CPU will feature clock speeds of 3.0 GHz and 2.3 GHz, with a GPU clocked at 1 GHz. Geekbench 5 results show a single-thread score of 1,300 and a multi-thread score of 10,000, indicating that Qualcomm is upping its game in the high-performance PC market.
Apple’s M2 chipset, based on the Apple A15 chip, features eight CPU cores and a 10-core GPU. Despite the M2 being more powerful than the M1 chip, it’s not Apple’s most potent chipset. In January 2023, Apple unveiled its next-gen M2 Pro and M2 Max chips, which demonstrated improved CPU, GPU, and NPU performance compared to their M1 counterparts and the latest Intel chips.
The leaked Snapdragon 8cx Gen 4 benchmarks suggest that Qualcomm is finally ready to challenge Apple’s dominance in the high-performance PC market. As the competition between these two tech giants intensifies, consumers can expect more innovation and powerful, efficient devices in the future.