Tuesday, October 31, 2023

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


Update (2024-01-23): Jason Snell:

I got my greasy monkey paws on a Space Black laptop and can report that Apple’s as good as its word in the sense that it seems generally more resistant to fingerprints and other smudges.

But I don’t want to exaggerate this feature: you can still see fingerprints. They just aren’t as prominent. This is a progressive improvement over something like the Midnight M2 MacBook Air, but it’s not a cure-all.

Similarly, I need to warn you not to get too excited about Apple finally making a black MacBook Pro. Space Black is not actually as black as space. It’s a dark gray.

Jason Snell:

In the M3 models, the maximum brightness of the display in standard dynamic range mode (which is everything except those photos, movies, and TV shows, essentially) is brighter, with a maximum brightness that matches the Apple Studio Display. It’s a difficult one for Apple to call out as a feature boost—”it’s brighter in the mode that isn’t bright” is a tough sell—but the net result is that this display can get a lot brighter in the mode you’ll use 99% of the time.


Fortunately, when testing the M3 Max, a lot of my concerns were alleviated by the fact that it just seems faster in every conceivable dimension than its predecessors, usually by quite a lot. Individual M3 CPU core performance is better, of course, and in Geekbench’s multicore performance tests it couldn’t even be beaten by M1 Ultra and M2 Ultra chips. It’s not just that the M3 Max has 16 CPU cores; it’s that 12 of them are of the “performance” variety, half again as many as in the M2 Max, and CPU performance on Apple silicon tends to scale with the number of performance cores available.


It makes me wonder how many of these base-model configurations Apple will really sell. For discerning buyers, they’re poorly configured in comparison to slightly more expensive models. They’re also still $300 more expensive than the previous base model, which will likely turn off some budget-minded users and corporate buyers.

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While I agree with everything above about how 16 GB RAM should be the base for a pro laptop I can also say, like Elin, that I've been working on an MBA M1 with 8/512 for three years and it has been surprisingly ok with so little RAM (my previous MBP from 2013 had 16 GB!).

The storage is usually where I run into trouble, and I did spend a lot extra just to get away from the base for 256 GB. I long for the time when I replaced my hard drive multiple times in every Mac I owned to get more storage as the need grew, without have to pay a fortune at the initial purchase and being stuck with it.

Old Unix Geek

The reduced RAM bandwidth suggests they might be pad limited.

Explanation: Chips run at low voltages internally. However high voltages are required to connect to other chips. So pads are areas on the edge of a chip which convert between these voltages, and which are connected to pins or another chip in the package. Since wires are thick, and since each connection and pad takes a certain amount of space, you are limited to 2*(height+width)/padwidth pads. With the 3nm process, you can fit in a lot more transistors into the chip's area height*width, but your pads don't get smaller. Therefore, if the resulting chip is smaller, or if they needed more pads to power the increased number of transistors in the center of the chip, they might have had to reduce the number of pads available to talk to RAM, and therefore the RAM bandwidth.

Old Unix Geek

Seems I got it right:


The M3 memory controller has a 192 pin channel to LPDDDR, whereas M1 and M2 had 256.

M3 Pro has fewer transistors than M2 Pro... and they're etched at 3nm instead of 5nm, so is even more pad limited.

Christ, these new trackpads. I thought I was the only one, but I hate the new size, and the way it practically guarantees accidental input while typing.

And sure, 8 GB RAM can work, no doubt about it. But you're knackering your drive with swap, and there are simply some workflows (like virtualisation) where it's impossible to work practically even with the smallest VMs, obviously. I, too, have lived experience of this--and while it's always a pleasant surprise, it's not something that should seriously be entertained IMO.

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