Apple October event — here’s how ‘scary fast' MacBook Pro M3 could be

MacBook Pro 16-inch 2021 sitting on a patio table
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

It’s official. Apple is holding its ‘Scary Fast’ event the evening of October 30, and all signs point to a new 3-nanometer M3 chip along with a wave of new Macs powered by the latest Apple silicon. 

It’s possible we could see a new iMac M3 along with new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro M3 models — all with the new chip. But how fast is this thing supposed to be?

As reported by Bloomberg, the highest-end version of the M3 Pro chip has 12 CPU cores, 18 graphics cores and 36GB of memory. The current M2 Pro in the MacBook Pro 14-inch maxes out with 10 CPU cores, 16 graphics cores and 32GB of memory. So this would be a pretty significant jump in performance, depending on the configuration.

It’s also worth noting that the M3 chip will likely come in Max and Ultra versions, similar to the M2 chip. When you get to this level we could see a M3 Max chip with 16 CPU cores and 32 or 40 GPU cores, compared to 12 CPU cores and 30 or 38 GPU cores.

The M3 Ultra chip would take performance to the next level with a whopping 32 CPU cores and as many as 64 or 80 GPU cores. The M2 Ultra already packed an impressive 24 CPU cores along with 60 or 76 GPU cores. 

The M3 chip won’t just be about speed. Apple’s 3nm chips could offer up to 35% better power efficiency because they can cram more transistors into the same amount of space compared to 5nm chips. 

Apple made the jump to 3nm this year when moving from the iPhone 14 Pro to the iPhone 15 Pro, and manufacturing partner TSMC claimed it could deliver up to 35% better power efficiency. If a similar jump in efficiency happens when moving to M3, we could see incredible battery life from M3-equipped MacBooks. 

The MacBook Pro 14-inch with M2 Pro lasted a very good 12 hours and 2 minutes, while the 16-inch MacBook Pro model with M2 Max chip endured for nearly 19 hours. We haven’t seen any leaked benchmarks yet for the M3 chip series, but we hope to be among the first to test out the new Macs to show you how fast they really are. 

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Mark Spoonauer

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.