From A to Ultra: How the M3 stacks up to every other Apple processor

Macworld

At the heart of every Apple device is an Apple processor. Apple has been using its own chips in its iPhones and iPads for some time, while the Mac lineup has completed its transition away from Intel chips. Every product Apple makes is powered by a home-grown chip.

What’s remarkable about Apple silicon is its performance and power efficiency. But all chips aren’t created equally. Understanding the performance differences between each chip will help with your buying decisions, especially when you’re deciding between iPhone 14 or MacBook models. Knowing how each chip performs gives you a better idea of what products to buy and whether or not it’s worth your money to step up to a higher model.

Let’s take a look at how the new processors compare with the rest of the processors in the iPhone, iPad, and Mac lineup and see how each performs and what that means to you. For the sake of consistency, we’ve used Geekbench 6.1 benchmarks. Here’s every chip and how the benchmarks compare with each other.

Update 11/8/23: Added benchmarks for the M3 series chips in the new iMac and MacBook Pro.

Every current processor compared

Before we get into the individual processors, let’s let the chips fall where they may. In the above chart, we’ve only included chips that are in Apple’s current product lineups for the sake of keeping the chart manageable. The Mac section below includes all of the chips, from the M1 to the current chip. If you’re looking for scores of chips that are no longer being used in Apple’s active iPhone or iPad lineups (such as the A12 Bionic), check out the Geekbench Browser.

It’s a somewhat predictable chart, with the fastest Mac chips at the top, followed by a mix of iPads and iPhones. But there are still some fascinating results: owners of the iPad Pro can say their tablet is about as fast as a MacBook Air and that wouldn’t be much of a reach. And the difference between the $399 iPhone SE and the $899 iPhone 14 isn’t as huge as their price difference indicates.

If you’re not seeing all the bar chart labels, it may be because your browser font is set larger than the default, or your browser is zoomed in. You’ll need to set the font size and browser view to the default to see all the chart labels.

Read about how Apple’s M1 and M2 processors compare to Intel in our Mac processor guide.

iPhone processors

Let’s look at the specifications of the iPhones currently in Apple’s lineup so we can understand the differences between them.

ProcessorPerformance coresEfficiency coresGraphics coresNeural EngineMemoryTransistorsThermal Design PowerDevicesA17 Pro2 at 3.78GHz4 at 2.11GHz616-core8GB19 billion8WiPhone 15 Pro, iPhone 15 Pro MaxA16 Bionic2 at 3.46GHz4 at 2.02GHz516-core8GB16 billion6WiPhone 15A15 Bionic2 at 3.22GHz4 at 1.82GHz516-core8GB15 billion6WiPhone 14A15 Bionic2 at 3.22GHz4 at 1.82GHz416-core8GB15 billion6WiPhone 13, iPhone SE

Not surprisingly, the A17 Pro in the iPhone 15 Pro is the fastest. The iPhone 14 and iPhone 13 both have an A15 Bionic processor, but the iPhone 13 has one fewer GPU core than the iPhone 14, so it offers better graphics performance.

Apple still sells the iPhone SE, which has an A15 Bionic. It offers the same performance as the iPhone 13’s A15 Bionic, but the SE is a smaller phone. The SE has the same CPU performance as the iPhone 14, but the 14 is faster with graphics because it has one more GPU core.

Apple iPhone 15 Pro





Best Prices Today:


$999.99 at Best Buy

iPad processors

The staggered release of Apple’s iPad lineup creates an odd-looking performance order of CPU and its device.

ProcessorPerformance coresEfficiency coresGraphics coresNeural EngineMemoryTransistorsThermal Design PowerDevicesM24 at 3.49GHz4 at 2.06GHz1016-core8GB20 billion15W12.9″ & 11″ iPad ProM14 at 3.2GHz4 at 2.06GHz816-core8GB16 billion14WiPad AirA15 Bionic2 at 2.93GHz4 at 1.82GHz516-core8GB15 billion6WiPad miniA14 Bionic2 at 3.1GHz4 at 1.8GHz416-core6GB11.8 billion6WiPad (10th gen)A13 Bionic2 at 2.66GHz4 at 1.6GHz48-core4GB8.5 billion6WiPad (9th gen)

The M2-equipped iPad Pros are the fastest models, and the gap between them and the iPad and iPad mini is significant. Furthermore, the M2 is 15 percent faster than the M1 that it replaced in the previous iPad Pros and is in the current iPad Air.

The new 10th-gen iPad that was released in the fall of 2022 has an A14 Bionic, an upgrade from the A13 Bionic in the previous model. Apple says the new 10th-gen iPad offers a 20 percent CPU boost and a 10 percent graphics increase.

iPad mini (6th generation)





Best Prices Today:


$399.99 at Amazon |
$499.99 at Best Buy

Mac processors

With Apple’s M-series of chips for the Mac, the company’s release schedule involves the base version in the MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, Mac mini, and iMac. Apple then modifies it to create higher-end versions.

The latest M-Series chip is the M3, which was released with the new iMac and the MacBook Pro in the fall of 2023. The M3 Pro and Max were also released in the MacBook Pro, replacing the M2 Pro and Max in those laptops. The M3 Ultra has not been released, so the Mac Studio and Mac Pro still use the M2 Ultra.

ProcessorPerformance coresEfficiency coresGraphics coresNeural EngineBase memoryTransistorsThermal Design PowerDeviceM2 Ultra16 at 3.49GHz8 at 2.4GHz7632-core64GB134 billion60WMac Studio, Mac ProM2 Ultra16 at 3.49GHz8 at 2.4GHz6032-core64GB134 billion60WMac Studio, Mac ProM3 Max12 at 3.7GHz4 at 2.4GHz4016-core36GB92 billion30W14″ & 16″ MacBook ProM3 Max10 at 3.7GHz4 at 2.4GHz3016-core36GB92 billion30W14″ & 16″ MacBook ProM2 Max8 at 3.7GHz4 at 2.4GHz3816-core32GB67 billion30WMac StudioM2 Max8 at 3.7GHz4 at 2.4GHz3016-core32GB67 billion30WMac StudioM3 Pro6 at 3.7GHz6 at 2.4GHz1816-core18GB37 billion30W14″ & 16″ MacBook ProM3 Pro5 at 3.7GHz6 at 2.4GHz1416-core18GB37 billion30W14″ MacBook ProM34 at 3.7GHz4 at 2.4GHz1016-core8GB25 billion15WiMac, 14″ MacBook ProM34 at 3.7GHz4 at 2.4GHz816-core8GB25 billion15WiMacM24 at 3.49GHz4 at 2.4GHz1016-core8GB20 billion15W13″ MacBook Pro, 13″ & 15″ MacBook AirM24 at 3.49GHz4 at 2.4GHz816-core8GB20 billion15W13″ MacBook AirM14 at 3.2GHz4 at 2.06GHz716-core8GB16 billion14WMacBook Air

The M2 Ultra is a beast of a chip, blazing in both CPU and GPU performance. The M2 Ultra is in the Mac Pro, which has PCIe expansion slots. If you don’t need such slots, you can opt for an M2 Ultra Mac Studio. The M2 Max Mac Studio offers a nice combination of price and performance.

Apple 13-inch MacBook Air (M2, 2022)

The chip that started it all, the good ol’ M1, may seem slow compared to Apple’s more current chips—but that’s not to undermine Apple’s original Mac processor. Remember, the M1 blows past the Intel processors it replaced, resulting in a significant price/performance value.

CPUs and Processors, iPad, iPhone, Mac

​Macworld Macworld

At the heart of every Apple device is an Apple processor. Apple has been using its own chips in its iPhones and iPads for some time, while the Mac lineup has completed its transition away from Intel chips. Every product Apple makes is powered by a home-grown chip.

What’s remarkable about Apple silicon is its performance and power efficiency. But all chips aren’t created equally. Understanding the performance differences between each chip will help with your buying decisions, especially when you’re deciding between iPhone 14 or MacBook models. Knowing how each chip performs gives you a better idea of what products to buy and whether or not it’s worth your money to step up to a higher model.

Let’s take a look at how the new processors compare with the rest of the processors in the iPhone, iPad, and Mac lineup and see how each performs and what that means to you. For the sake of consistency, we’ve used Geekbench 6.1 benchmarks. Here’s every chip and how the benchmarks compare with each other.

Update 11/8/23: Added benchmarks for the M3 series chips in the new iMac and MacBook Pro.

Every current processor compared

Before we get into the individual processors, let’s let the chips fall where they may. In the above chart, we’ve only included chips that are in Apple’s current product lineups for the sake of keeping the chart manageable. The Mac section below includes all of the chips, from the M1 to the current chip. If you’re looking for scores of chips that are no longer being used in Apple’s active iPhone or iPad lineups (such as the A12 Bionic), check out the Geekbench Browser.

It’s a somewhat predictable chart, with the fastest Mac chips at the top, followed by a mix of iPads and iPhones. But there are still some fascinating results: owners of the iPad Pro can say their tablet is about as fast as a MacBook Air and that wouldn’t be much of a reach. And the difference between the $399 iPhone SE and the $899 iPhone 14 isn’t as huge as their price difference indicates.

If you’re not seeing all the bar chart labels, it may be because your browser font is set larger than the default, or your browser is zoomed in. You’ll need to set the font size and browser view to the default to see all the chart labels.

Read about how Apple’s M1 and M2 processors compare to Intel in our Mac processor guide.

iPhone processors

Let’s look at the specifications of the iPhones currently in Apple’s lineup so we can understand the differences between them.

ProcessorPerformance coresEfficiency coresGraphics coresNeural EngineMemoryTransistorsThermal Design PowerDevicesA17 Pro2 at 3.78GHz4 at 2.11GHz616-core8GB19 billion8WiPhone 15 Pro, iPhone 15 Pro MaxA16 Bionic2 at 3.46GHz4 at 2.02GHz516-core8GB16 billion6WiPhone 15A15 Bionic2 at 3.22GHz4 at 1.82GHz516-core8GB15 billion6WiPhone 14A15 Bionic2 at 3.22GHz4 at 1.82GHz416-core8GB15 billion6WiPhone 13, iPhone SE

Not surprisingly, the A17 Pro in the iPhone 15 Pro is the fastest. The iPhone 14 and iPhone 13 both have an A15 Bionic processor, but the iPhone 13 has one fewer GPU core than the iPhone 14, so it offers better graphics performance.

Apple still sells the iPhone SE, which has an A15 Bionic. It offers the same performance as the iPhone 13’s A15 Bionic, but the SE is a smaller phone. The SE has the same CPU performance as the iPhone 14, but the 14 is faster with graphics because it has one more GPU core.

Apple iPhone 15 Pro

Best Prices Today:

$999.99 at Best Buy

iPad processors

The staggered release of Apple’s iPad lineup creates an odd-looking performance order of CPU and its device.

ProcessorPerformance coresEfficiency coresGraphics coresNeural EngineMemoryTransistorsThermal Design PowerDevicesM24 at 3.49GHz4 at 2.06GHz1016-core8GB20 billion15W12.9″ & 11″ iPad ProM14 at 3.2GHz4 at 2.06GHz816-core8GB16 billion14WiPad AirA15 Bionic2 at 2.93GHz4 at 1.82GHz516-core8GB15 billion6WiPad miniA14 Bionic2 at 3.1GHz4 at 1.8GHz416-core6GB11.8 billion6WiPad (10th gen)A13 Bionic2 at 2.66GHz4 at 1.6GHz48-core4GB8.5 billion6WiPad (9th gen)

The M2-equipped iPad Pros are the fastest models, and the gap between them and the iPad and iPad mini is significant. Furthermore, the M2 is 15 percent faster than the M1 that it replaced in the previous iPad Pros and is in the current iPad Air.

The new 10th-gen iPad that was released in the fall of 2022 has an A14 Bionic, an upgrade from the A13 Bionic in the previous model. Apple says the new 10th-gen iPad offers a 20 percent CPU boost and a 10 percent graphics increase.

iPad mini (6th generation)

Best Prices Today:

$399.99 at Amazon |
$499.99 at Best Buy

Mac processors

With Apple’s M-series of chips for the Mac, the company’s release schedule involves the base version in the MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, Mac mini, and iMac. Apple then modifies it to create higher-end versions.

The latest M-Series chip is the M3, which was released with the new iMac and the MacBook Pro in the fall of 2023. The M3 Pro and Max were also released in the MacBook Pro, replacing the M2 Pro and Max in those laptops. The M3 Ultra has not been released, so the Mac Studio and Mac Pro still use the M2 Ultra.

ProcessorPerformance coresEfficiency coresGraphics coresNeural EngineBase memoryTransistorsThermal Design PowerDeviceM2 Ultra16 at 3.49GHz8 at 2.4GHz7632-core64GB134 billion60WMac Studio, Mac ProM2 Ultra16 at 3.49GHz8 at 2.4GHz6032-core64GB134 billion60WMac Studio, Mac ProM3 Max12 at 3.7GHz4 at 2.4GHz4016-core36GB92 billion30W14″ & 16″ MacBook ProM3 Max10 at 3.7GHz4 at 2.4GHz3016-core36GB92 billion30W14″ & 16″ MacBook ProM2 Max8 at 3.7GHz4 at 2.4GHz3816-core32GB67 billion30WMac StudioM2 Max8 at 3.7GHz4 at 2.4GHz3016-core32GB67 billion30WMac StudioM3 Pro6 at 3.7GHz6 at 2.4GHz1816-core18GB37 billion30W14″ & 16″ MacBook ProM3 Pro5 at 3.7GHz6 at 2.4GHz1416-core18GB37 billion30W14″ MacBook ProM34 at 3.7GHz4 at 2.4GHz1016-core8GB25 billion15WiMac, 14″ MacBook ProM34 at 3.7GHz4 at 2.4GHz816-core8GB25 billion15WiMacM24 at 3.49GHz4 at 2.4GHz1016-core8GB20 billion15W13″ MacBook Pro, 13″ & 15″ MacBook AirM24 at 3.49GHz4 at 2.4GHz816-core8GB20 billion15W13″ MacBook AirM14 at 3.2GHz4 at 2.06GHz716-core8GB16 billion14WMacBook Air

The M2 Ultra is a beast of a chip, blazing in both CPU and GPU performance. The M2 Ultra is in the Mac Pro, which has PCIe expansion slots. If you don’t need such slots, you can opt for an M2 Ultra Mac Studio. The M2 Max Mac Studio offers a nice combination of price and performance.

Apple 13-inch MacBook Air (M2, 2022)

Best Prices Today:

$949.00 at Best Buy |
$1049.00 at Adorama |
$1,079.94 at Amazon

The chip that started it all, the good ol’ M1, may seem slow compared to Apple’s more current chips—but that’s not to undermine Apple’s original Mac processor. Remember, the M1 blows past the Intel processors it replaced, resulting in a significant price/performance value.

CPUs and Processors, iPad, iPhone, Mac 

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