Archive for October 31, 2023

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

iMac 2023

Apple (Hacker News):

iMac with M3 is up to 2x faster than the prior generation with M1. And for those upgrading from an Intel-based iMac, the new iMac is up to 2.5x faster than the most popular 27-inch models, and 4x faster than the most powerful 21.5-inch model.


iMac features a 24-inch, 4.5K Retina display with 11.3 million pixels, a P3 wide color gamut, over a billion colors, and 500 nits of brightness.


iMac now features Wi-Fi 6E, which delivers download speeds that are up to twice as fast as the previous generation, and Bluetooth 5.3, which allows users to connect to the latest Bluetooth accessories. It also features up to four USB‑C ports, including two Thunderbolt ports for superfast data transfer; support for Gigabit Ethernet standard on select models[…]

Hartley Charlton:

The iMac now supports up to 24GB of memory and the M3 chip’s all-new GPU brings hardware-accelerated mesh shading and ray tracing to the iMac for the first time.


The iMac starts at the same $1,299 price of the previous model.

This is all fine, but the bad news is that Apple seems to be saying that there are no plans for an iMac with a larger display. There is nothing in Apple’s current lineup that offers what the old 27-inch iMac did (either in display, RAM, ports, or CPU relative to the rest of the lineup). You can get a Mac mini or a Mac Studio with a Studio Display, but you’ll pay a lot more for a more awkward setup.

Hartley Charlton:

The newly announced M3 iMac is still accompanied by peripherals with a Lightning port for pairing and charging, rather than USB-C as rumored.

They still have the bad design with the full-height left/right arrow keys, and the Magic Mouse still can’t be used while it’s being charged.

Overall, it’s good to see the iMac finally get an update—there never was an M2 iMac—but it just doesn’t seem like Apple cares very much.

Dan Moren:

All they had to do was replace the Lightning port on the Magic Keyboard with USB-C and I would have bought one but nooooooo.


This was going to be my dream machine after a long time of not upgrading. However, the 8/256GB standard, no USB-C accessories, and still charging extra to have Touch ID and a Magic Trackpad really leave a bad taste in my mouth.

Martin Pilkington:

To be completely frank the memory and storage in the iMac configurations is insulting for those prices in 2023.

There is no reason Apple should be selling a computer over £1000 with anything less than 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage.

As always, the up-charges for extra storage seem exorbitant. And, holding the prices constant, I continue to think that most users would be better off with SSDs that are slower but higher capacity. The user experience of adding extra external storage later is bad and getting worse.


MacBook Pro Late 2023

Apple (Hacker News):

The 14‑inch MacBook Pro with M3 is up to 60 percent faster than the 13‑inch MacBook Pro with M1, and with its advanced thermal system, it unleashes the full potential of M3 for sustained performance. Starting at $1,599, it delivers more performance and capabilities than ever at a great value.


For users with more demanding workflows like coders, creatives, and researchers, MacBook Pro with M3 Pro provides even greater performance, supports more unified memory, and is now up to 40 percent faster than the 16‑inch model with M1 Pro.


MacBook Pro with M3 Max provides performance and capabilities for those with extreme workflows like machine learning programmers, 3D artists, and video editors. It is up to 2.5x faster than the 16-inch MacBook Pro with M1 Max, and up to 11x faster than the fastest Intel-based MacBook Pro model. It also supports up to 128GB of unified memory, enabling creators to easily work on large and complex projects spanning multiple pro apps and plugins, or compose huge film scores where entire orchestral libraries are instantly available from memory.

It’s great to see another solid update to the MacBook Pro line within the same year. I like this design overall, but I still want a smaller trackpad and a non-glossy display.

Joe Rossignol:

The new MacBook Pro models are available to order today, and they will launch on Tuesday, November 7. The 14-inch M3 MacBook Pro starts at $1,599 ($1,499 for education); the 14-inch M3 Pro MacBook Pro starts at $1,999 ($1,849 for education); and the 16-inch MacBook Pro starts at $2,499 ($2,299 for education).

Tim Hardwick:

Apple calls the new MacBook Pro in Space Black, “a gorgeous dark aluminum finish, with a breakthrough anodization method that resists fingerprints.” The enclosure is created from a custom alloy that uses 100% recycled aluminum and is described as “very durable.”

Joe Rossignol:

Just over seven years after it was introduced, the Touch Bar has now been fully discontinued on all new MacBooks sold by Apple, marking the end of an era for a hardware feature that was loved by some users and derided by others.

Felix Schwarz:

About a year ago, I got the cheapest MacBook Pro 16" with 64GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage that I could get:

A MBP 16" with M1 Max 10C CPU, 24C GPU, 64GB, 1TB for around ~3.750€

Now, the cheapest model I can find matching my criteria is a MBP 16" with M3 Max 16C CPU, 40C GPU, 64GB, 1TB for ~5.080€ 😳

Sure, the new models are faster and have a lot more CPU and GPU cores, but still, I’d appreciate if a cheaper 16"/64GB/1TB configuration was available.

Dan Seifert:

the hilarious part about the new base model 14” with the M3 is that it:

A) comes with 8GB of RAM for $1600 frigging bucks


B) only supports one external display, despite having four ports capable of outputting to a screen (three USB-C and an HDMI)


C) doesn’t even come in the new Space Black color, just silver and the old space gray

The 14-inch MacBook Pro with the plain M3 replaces the odd 13-inch MacBook Pro. So you now get a larger screen for a higher base price. 8 GB of RAM seems low in a Mac that’s called “Pro.” The base price of the model with the Pro chip is unchanged, and it now has 18 GB of RAM (up from 16 GB).

Ezekiel Elin:

I’ve a developer and I used an 8GB M1 Air for over a year - Xcode and video games were the only time I noticed it.

I’m on a 16GB M2 Air now, but for most people 8GB is truly fine, citing myself having lived it.

250GB is much more of a problem for the average user than 8GB of ram.

Edit: 8GB on the Pro is ridiculous, no argument there


Apple M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max

Apple (Hacker News):

These are the first personal computer chips built using the industry-leading 3-nanometer process technology, allowing more transistors to be packed into a smaller space and improving speed and efficiency.


The M3 family of chips features a next-generation GPU that represents the biggest leap forward in graphics architecture ever for Apple silicon. The GPU is faster and more efficient, and introduces a new technology called Dynamic Caching, while bringing new rendering features like hardware-accelerated ray tracing and mesh shading to Mac for the first time. Rendering speeds are now up to 2.5x faster than on the M1 family of chips. The CPU performance cores and efficiency cores are 30 percent and 50 percent faster than those in M1, respectively, and the Neural Engine is 60 percent faster than the Neural Engine in the M1 family of chips. And, a new media engine now includes support for AV1 decode, providing more efficient and high-quality video experiences from streaming services.


Additionally, support for up to 128GB of memory unlocks workflows previously not possible on a laptop, such as AI developers working with even larger transformer models with billions of parameters.

Tim Hardwick:

However, looking at Apple’s own hardware specifications, the M3 Pro system on a chip (SoC) features 150GB/s memory bandwidth, compared to 200GB/s on the earlier M1 Pro and M2 Pro. As for the M3 Max, Apple says it is capable of “up to 400GB/s.”


Notably, Apple has also changed the core ratios of the higher-tier M3 Pro chip compared to its direct predecessor. The M3 Pro with 12-core CPU has 6 performance cores (versus 8 performance cores on the 12-core M2 Pro) and 6 efficiency cores (versus 4 efficiency cores on the 12-core M2 Pro), while the GPU has 18 cores (versus 19 on the equivalent M2 Pro chip).


According to Apple, the M3 Neural Engine is capable of 18 TOPS, whereas the A17 Pro Neural Engine is capable of 35 TOPS.


Taken together, it’s presently unclear what real-world difference these changes make to M3 performance when pitted against Apple’s equivalent precursor chips in various usage scenarios[…]

Phil Dennis-Jordan:

So the M3 Pro is basically a 50% scaled-up M3: unlike the M2 Pro it doesn’t have double the memory channels, “only” half again.

Jeff C.:

It seems that they’re doing a bit more this generation to differentiate between Pro and Max.

Previously, the Pro and Max had the same number of CPU cores, so I never had any interest in the Max once I realized that my work fit into the Pro’s RAM ceiling. Now, the Pro’s CPU core advantage over the base chip has been cut in half. To get double the cores of the M3 you need the M3 Max.

Om Malik:

The new M3 chips are coming at an opportune time — Apple’s rivals, Qualcomm, Nvidia, AMD, and Intel, have been making noises about catching up with Apple. […] Qualcomm recently announced the Snapdragon X, a PC chip that it says is better than the M2 processor. Nvidia, too, is working on its own chip, as is AMD. All three companies are using Arm’s technology. Intel, on the other hand, is moving forward with its own technologies.


How caching is implemented varies based on the intended use — whether it be for gaming, professional graphics, or data center applications. NVIDIA, for example, employs various forms of cache, including L1/L2 caches and shared memory, which are dynamically managed to optimize performance and efficiency. AMD uses large L3 caches (“Infinity Cache”) to boost bandwidth and reduce latency — an approach beneficial for gaming. Intel’s Xe graphics architecture focuses on smart caching, balancing power efficiency and performance.


Apple has a substantial opportunity to integrate generative AI into its core platform, mainly because of its chip and hardware-level integration.