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Apple 2023 MacBook Pro M3 Max: Raw Computing Grunt vs Mac Pro M2 Ultra, 2021 MacBook Pro M1 Max

re: Apple 2023 MacBook Pro M3 Max: my Perspective on Apple’s Powerful New Laptops

Apple 2023 MacBook Pro M3 Max

MPG tested the Apple 14" 2023 MacBook Pro M3 Max 128GB /4TB, model Z1AU002AK.

UPDATE: the 14-inch 2023 MacBook Pro M3 Max is grossly and unacceptably noisy under GPU load.

Test results

Orange line (top): M3 Max
Green line (next) M2 Ultra
Dark orange line: M1 Mx

The M3 Max CPU is a winner, offering a consistent 10% higher performance than M2 Ultra out to 15 CPU cores (dropping to 7% at 16 CPU cores).

CPU core parity: strikingly, the M1 Max matches the 24-core M23 Ultra right out to 16 cores! That’s incredible!

An M3 Ultra will be dual M3 Max chips (32 CPU cores). That will leave the M2 Ultra far behind (32 vs 24 cores).

PLEASE buy using links from this website to OWC/MacSales + B&H Photo—thank you!

CLICK TO VIEW: Recommended Storage,etc

CLICK TO VIEW: Recommended MacBook Pro M3 Max Configurations, Accessories

What does this mean for everyday workloads? Nothing beats real tests, but this single test strongly suggests:

  • The 16-core M3 Max laptop match or slightly outperform the 24-core M2 Ultra Mac Pro with most workloads.
  • For the relatively-rare CPU-core-intensive workloads that are fully scalable, the M2 Ultra wins.
  • M3 Ultra will leave the M2 Ultra far behind.

Put simply, for most users, a 14" or 16" M3 Max laptop will now outperform the 2023 Mac Pro M2 Ultra on most workloads. Not until we see a Mac Pro M3 Ultra will that equation change. The one advantage the Mac Pro has is up to 384GB memory (mine has 192GB). But 128GB in the laptops serves virtually all users exceedingly well.

It irritates me that I put $9K into a Mac Pro only 6 months ago... but it was the right decision given the situation, and a neat-and-clean transition over my laggard 2019 Mac Pro 28-core Intel. Still, a 32-core Mac Pro M3 Ultra would be a boon for my focus stacking and other intensive work (panorama assembly is mostly single-threaded so there the fastest per-CPU helps).

CLICK TO VIEW: Apple MacBook Pro and Goodies

M2 Ultra vs M3 Max: aggregate throughout for CPU count for SHA512

Below, out to 16 CPU cores, the M3 Max chip easily outperforms the M2 Ultra with SHA512 hashing

M2 Ultra vs M3 Max: per-core throughout for SHA512
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