M3 MacBook Air benchmarks show big gains over M2 — what we know

2023 MacBook Air 15-inch M2 shown open on a surface
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The M3 MacBook Air is launching on Friday, and with Apple keeping the M2 Air on-sale, people have been asking one key question — is the performance gains of this new chipset worth the additional $100? Apple’s been reluctant to answer that question, but now Geekbench results have given us that answer.

According to new Geekbench 6 listings(search for Mac15,13), the M3 Air is significantly more powerful than its M2 counterpart. Looking at the below, I think you’d be ridiculous not just cough up the extra hundred bucks for the turbo boost.

Smoking the M2 MacBook Air

The 3nm chipset that is M3 has shown some mightily impressive capabilities in the various MacBook Pro models we reviewed back in November. Now it’s in the Air, we can see some impressive gains over the M2 model. 

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LaptopGeekbench 6 single-coreGeekbench 6 multicore
M3 MacBook Air309911781
M2 MacBook Air (tested by us)25749886

That’s a 19% improvement in multicore performance and (as we expected given the impressive single-core performance of M3) a near-21% improvement.

How does it compare to the M3 MacBook Pro?

Now, let’s take a look at how these early numbers stack up against the M3 MacBook Pro — the base model version of the 14-inch laptop sporting the same chip. It should come as no surprise that the numbers come very close to matching.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
LaptopGeekbench 6 single-coreGeekbench 6 multicore
M3 MacBook Air309911781
M3 MacBook Pro (tested by us)313812018

Of course, these numbers don’t take into account sustained performance, which has been one of the weaker points of any MacBook Air. Without a fan, you should start to see that performance drop off after some time of sustained use. 

As for how significant this drop is (if there is one at all), we’ll find out in our full hands-on testing of the M3 Air.

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Jason England
Managing Editor — Computing

Jason brings a decade of tech and gaming journalism experience to his role as a Managing Editor of Computing at Tom's Guide. He has previously written for Laptop Mag, Tom's Hardware, Kotaku, Stuff and BBC Science Focus. In his spare time, you'll find Jason looking for good dogs to pet or thinking about eating pizza if he isn't already.