M3 MacBook Pro review: Mac can play games, but that’s not its biggest highlight

As we all know, the reason why human eyes can see the colorful world is because light of different wavelengths is reflected into our eyes. Light with longer wavelengths becomes bright red, light with shorter wavelengths becomes deep blue, and Black occurs when most visible wavelengths of light are invisible.

In May 2019, Apple submitted a patent titled "Giving anodized parts a matte black appearance."

Anodizing is one of the most common processes used in the appearance of electronic equipment in recent years. By chemically treating aluminum alloys, the surface is covered with a layer of oxide, which enhances the wear resistance and corrosion resistance of the aluminum alloys and is also effective. Prevents fingerprints and other oil contamination.

In the patent, Apple stated that although electronic devices can be colored by adding coloring material particles during the anodizing process to give them a colorful aluminum alloy shell, it is not easy to achieve pure black. A shell that is polished too smooth can cause glare, resulting in a dark gray appearance.

To this end, Apple has improved the anodizing etching technology to make the oxidized particles on the surface of the aluminum alloy rougher at the microscopic level, thereby enhancing the diffuse reflection of the aluminum alloy parts – the light is reflected in all directions, and less light enters the eyes. It also appears that this part is darker.

▲The enlarged image of the MacBook Pro surface, with space gray on the left and space black on the right. Image source: ifixit

This is the origin of the "space black" color of the new MacBook Pro. It is an exclusive color for models equipped with M3 Pro/Max chips. The M3 model is available in silver and space gray, and is missing a Thunderbolt 4 interface.

According to the actual test, this may be the most resistant to fingerprints among black laptops – but it will still be stained by fingerprints. Compared with the silver model, the space black MacBook Pro is really good-looking and not resistant to stains. dirty.

▲The left is space black and the right is space gray. Picture source: ifixit

MacBook Pro has always been Apple's most important technology testing ground.

In 2006, Jobs announced at the Macworld conference that he would abandon PowerPC processors and switch to the Intel camp, and launched Apple's first-generation MacBook Pro notebook computer – equipped with Intel Core processors.

Two years later, the second-generation MacBook Pro was released using anodizing technology and Unibody integrated design. Later, this technology was widely used in Apple products such as MacBook Air and iPhone.

▲ 2008 MacBook Pro, image source: Apple

After three years of iteration since 2020, Apple's Mac product line has completely replaced the Intel platform with M-series chips, and the Touch Bar has been eliminated along with it. The most obvious Intel technology on the Mac now is the Thunderbolt port jointly developed with Apple – this means that the ARM architecture hardware platform has finally returned to the desktop with the help of the mobile Internet, and Apple is obviously the biggest promoter behind it.

Earlier, Aifaner conducted performance tests on several new Mac products equipped with M3 and M3 Max chips.

This is the industry's first PC chip using the 3nm process technology. The number of cores of the M3 remains the same as that of the previous two generations of chips, and it supports up to 24GB of unified memory and 2TB of storage capacity. The CPU is still designed with 4 large cores + 4 small cores. The maximum frequency of a single core exceeds 4GHz. It also adopts a new architecture of 10-core GPU, adds dynamic cache function, and supports hardware accelerated mesh shading, ray tracing technology and other features. ——In short, both M3 and M3 Pro are regular updates. The processor performance has been slightly upgraded, and the graphics performance has been greatly improved, which has made up for a shortcoming of the M series chips.

The graphics performance brought by GPU performance means that playing games with Mac is finally not an empty talk. Take "Baldur's Gate 3", the game of the year nominee, as an example. The M3 chip + 16GB memory configuration can stably run 2K resolution (3024×1964 pixels) at medium quality at 30 frames, while the M3 Pro version can run at the highest quality. The quality is 30 frames. If you patiently adjust the configuration, you can even reach 60 frames by turning on FSR. In other words, as long as manufacturers are willing to transplant, there is no problem playing games on the M3 version of Mac. The problem is that no manufacturers are willing to take this step.

Opening my Steam game library, only about 50 of the more than 200 games are adapted to macOS. Among them, the only games launched in 2023 are: "Baldur's Gate 3", "Dave the Diver" and "Finished!" I'm surrounded by beautiful women! 》.

Popular AAA masterpieces like "Resident Evil 8" and "Death Stranding" have macOS versions, but they are only released on the App Store. If you want to play these games, you have to buy another copy on the App Store, and the game progress has to be restarted. Then again – the cost players have to pay is too high. Obviously, at this stage, there are only sufficient conditions for playing games on Mac, but it's really not necessary.

The M3 Max is another story. It is equipped with a 16-core CPU, four more large cores than the M2 Max. Its single-core performance and multi-core performance far exceed the M2 Max. In the GeekBench benchmark test, the single-core performance of the M3 Max The core performance is about 20% better than the M2 Max, but the multi-core performance is 50% better. It can compete with the M2 Ultra. It also supports up to 128GB of unified memory and 8TB of storage space. It is a true mobile workstation.

According to actual measurements, in scenes such as video editing, the M3 Max is not significantly different from the previous two generations of Max chips. However, when it comes to graphics rendering tasks, the M3 Max can fully utilize the graphics performance, which is a leap forward compared to the previous two generations. improvement.

We used DaVinci to render a 30-minute video in 4K 50FPS H.265 encoded MP4 format – this is already a stressful scene in media work.

The MacBook Pro equipped with M3 took 18 minutes and 22 seconds, which is already on par with the M2 Pro model of the same configuration, and nearly 4 minutes faster than the low-end M2 model. The M1 model continued to report errors and was unable to render. Exit the battle directly.

However, this task does not put much pressure on high-end players. The M3 Max MacBook Pro only needs 8 and a half minutes to complete it, but the M1 Max and M2 Max models can also achieve similar results.

Interestingly, we used Pr to run a more complex post-rendering project file for stress testing. This file contains many special effects designs and tests the graphics performance of the device. After actual testing, we found that the rendering time of the M3 Max model with 48GB unified memory is about 15 minutes, while the rendering time of the M2 Max model with 96GB unified memory is less than 10 minutes. Due to the limited equipment on hand, we cannot control the variables for accurate testing, but we can It can be seen that although chip performance has been greatly improved, factors such as software adaptation and memory size will also become bottlenecks.

This time, the starting storage capacity of the M3 version of MacBook Pro has been increased to 512GB, which solves the slowdown problem of the previous M2 version – however, the starting capacity of unified memory is still 8GB, although macOS has more memory usage than other PC operating systems. High efficiency, but for a Pro-branded computer, 8GB of memory is still a bit limited.

Of course, if your main work is more business or graphic processing, and you don’t have heavy video editing or application development needs, and you want a computer with a better screen and better scalability than the MacBook Air, then the entry-level MacBook Pro is indeed the same An optional option. However, considering the durability and usage scenarios of MacBook Pro, we recommend purchasing the 16GB memory version.

Energy consumption is the traditional strength of Apple's M series chips. Several M3 series devices are steadily improving. According to the data on the official website, the battery life has been increased from 18 hours to 22 hours. In actual experience, it is basically enough to go out for a day without a charger. Of course, you can use M1 and M2 devices. There won't be much difference, they are all unique and excellent in the industry.

Next year, the mobile PC market will surely be divided among different players, and Apple’s M3 series devices will be the vanguard in this war. It will steadily improve its advantages such as energy consumption and computing power, and strengthen traditional disadvantages such as graphics processing to move towards the sixth generation. The edge warriors move closer.

For any computing device, the iteration of the core computing platform is a major event, and the emergence and rapid rise of Apple's M-series chips have completely broken the computing bottleneck of mobile devices. The successful methodology demonstrated in the iPhone , quickly copied by Mac. Led by Apple, Qualcomm also released the Snapdragon Elite X chip for PC platforms this year, and Intel also showed off its Intel Core Ultra card.

Obviously, everyone's goal is not for faster editing speed, better rendering efficiency or richer gaming experience – these commonplace topics cannot stimulate the long-term potential demand for massive machine replacement, but the AI ​​led by ChatGPT The wave is affecting everyone's psyche.

OpenAI, which invented ChatGPT, and NVIDIA, the chip manufacturer that provides computing power, are respectively one of the world's most valuable startups and listed companies, projecting countless people's expectations and anxieties about the tide of the AI ​​​​era. In the era of AI, everyone should work hard to prevent themselves from being subverted.

Before that, if a worker wants to do his job well, he must first sharpen his tools.

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