Early benchmarks show M3 chip gives MacBook Air hefty performance boost


M3 chip gives 2024 MacBook Air hefty performance boost
Dropping the M3 into the 2024 MacBook Air significantly pumps up the performance.
Photo: Apple

The Apple M3 processor in the 2024 MacBook Air brings a 25% increase to the upgraded notebook’s performance, according to early benchmark results. And the increase over the M1-based version is even more spectacular.

The M3 is Apple’s latest processor family, and it’s made using a cutting-edge 3nm production process.

M3 chip makes 2024 MacBook Air up to 45% faster

Apple unveiled the 2024 MacBook Air on Monday, in both 13- and 15-inch versions. The overall design didn’t change, so the major enhancement is the processor upgrade.

“With M3, MacBook Air is up to 60 percent faster than the model with the M1 chip and up to 13x faster than the fastest Intel-based MacBook Air,” Apple promised when it introduced the notebook in a press release.

Early benchmark scores found by mysmartprice show that the new Air scored 12,020 on the Geekbench multicore test. That’s 25% better than the M2-based MacBook Air earned on the same test, and 45% better than the M1 version from 2020.

Apple’s latest pulled in a 3,157 on Geekbench’s single-core test. That’s 22% better than the M2 version and 45% better than the M1 version.

The 2024 MacBook Air won’t reach customers until Friday, March 8, and reviewers aren’t allowed to talk about the device yet. The source of these early Geekbench benchmark scores is unknown, so it’s possible they aren’t completely accurate.

More about the Apple M3

The M3 processor in Apple’s new consumer-oriented notebook includes an eight-core CPU, and is available with either an eight-core or a 10-core GPU. The base model offers 8GB of unified memory, but can be configured with up to 24GB.

The processor supports hardware-accelerated mesh shading and ray tracing for improved gaming. It also includes the latest media engine with support for AV1 decode.

Despite the performance boost, there’s no reduction in battery life. Apple says both the MacBook Air M2 and M3 versions last up to 18 hours on a single charge.  And the chip doesn’t require a cooling fan, enabling the notebook’s slim and light design.

The M3 first debuted in the MacBook Pro in fall 2023. It’s also expected to go into Apple’s next-generation iPad Pro and iPad Air, reportedly arriving sometime this month or in April at the latest.


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