Apple’s new M3 Pro is not that much faster than its predecessor, if an early (leaked) benchmark is to be believed (so apply skepticism appropriately as we head into this story).
Breaking: The first Apple M3 Pro chip benchmarks have leaked! It’s actually slower than the M2 Max based on margin of error. M3 Pro: 15,173M2 Max: 15,242Feeling sorry for M3 Pro buyers…So embarrassing! pic.twitter.com/mdCrUnphDXNovember 5, 2023
The Geekbench 6 result shows the M3 Pro – seemingly inside a new MacBook Pro 14-inch – hitting scores of 3,035 for single-core and 15,173 for multi-core.
Compare that to the M2 Pro variant with 12-cores and we see that while the M3 Pro has a good lead of 14% for single-core, when it comes to multi-core, the new SoC is just 6% faster.
Of course, that’s not a huge difference, and as a generational uplift, it’s about as small as you could get away with.
While both chips are 12-core processors as noted, the M3 Pro obviously benefits from a new architecture and more advanced manufacturing process (3nm) – but the M2 Pro benefits from having a split of 8 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores, whereas the M3 Pro has 6 of each type.
With a pair of extra performance cores, it seems that the old M2 Pro narrows the gap quite considerably – at least in certain scenarios.
Analysis: Don’t leap to conclusions yet
There are key points to bear in mind here. Firstly, this is just a leak, so as mentioned we should be skeptical around it. Secondly, if true, it’s still just a single benchmark, and not necessarily representative of other results we’ll see, or indeed real-world performance for the M3 Pro.
Still, this is a disappointing early hint that the M3 Pro might underwhelm at least in some respects. Particularly as with the M3 Max, Apple seems to have pushed the chip to be seriously fast (scary fast, even), to be more or less equivalent to the M2 Ultra CPU in fact (add salt again, as these are also leaked benchmarks we’ve seen for the Max).
So, there’s seemingly a pretty big gap between the M3 Pro and M3 Max, more so than with the previous generation of Apple’s silicon. And as you might imagine, some folks have been quick to jump on this as a possible tactic to get buyers of Macs to fork out for M3 Max models, rather than M3 Pro, pushing up Apple’s profits as a result.
It is still early to be drawing any such conclusions, though, and we really need to get these new laptops in ourselves and do some thorough testing before we can discern the true relationship, performance-wise, among Apple’s clutch of M3 chips.
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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).