The entry-level MacBook Pro still only supports one external display

Macworld

While Apple ushers in the third generation of its M-series Mac chips, it’s easy to spot clear patterns on how the chips evolve–or, perhaps more accurately, how some features never change.

One standout feature of the base M3 chip in the $1,599 14-inch MacBook Pro is its much-improved display compared to the 13-inch M2 model. However, if you’re looking to connect an external display—or displays—it’s still lacking. Despite having USB-C and HDMI, the M3 MacBook Pro only supports s single external display at up to 6K resolution at 60Hz. It’s notable if you’re tracking how the M-series chips change from generation to generation–the external display support in the base M chip hasn’t changed since the M1 on the 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.

For a pro laptop that can cost upwards of $2,600, it’s a severe limitation. MacBook Pro users use apps that fill the entire screen–video editing, 3D illustration, music production, coding, etc. So connecting external displays provides more desktop space to work with, and often, that involves two or more external displays.

If you know you need to connect at least two external displays and you’re on a budget, the laptop to consider is the $1,999 14-inch MacBook Pro. It’s $400 more, but it’s the cheapest model that provides the display support you need. In general, if you need to connect at least two external displays, you’re looking at a MacBook Pro with either an M3 Pro or Max chip. Here’s a breakdown of each chip’s external display support:

M3: One external display with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz

M3 Pro:Up to two external displays with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz over Thunderbolt, orOne external display with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz over Thunderbolt and one external display with up to 4K resolution at 144Hz over HDMI, or

One external display supported at 8K resolution at 60Hz or one external display at 4K resolution at 240Hz over HDMI

M3 Max:Up to three external displays with 6K resolution at 60Hz over Thunderbolt and one external display with up to 4K resolution at 144Hz over HDMI, or

Up to three external displays: Up to two external displays with 6K resolution at 60Hz over Thunderbolt and one external display with up to 8K resolution at 60Hz or one external display with 4K resolution at 240Hz over HDMI

If you don’t want to spring for an M3 Pro model but still want to connect two or more displays, you can learn more in our guide to using external displays with Apple silicon Macs.

14-inch MacBook Pro (M3, 2023)



14-inch MacBook Pro (M3 Pro, 2023)



14-inch MacBook Pro (M3 Max, 2023)



16-inch MacBook Pro (M3 Pro, 2023)



16-inch MacBook Pro (M3 Max, 2023)



MacBook

​Macworld Macworld

While Apple ushers in the third generation of its M-series Mac chips, it’s easy to spot clear patterns on how the chips evolve–or, perhaps more accurately, how some features never change.

One standout feature of the base M3 chip in the $1,599 14-inch MacBook Pro is its much-improved display compared to the 13-inch M2 model. However, if you’re looking to connect an external display—or displays—it’s still lacking. Despite having USB-C and HDMI, the M3 MacBook Pro only supports s single external display at up to 6K resolution at 60Hz. It’s notable if you’re tracking how the M-series chips change from generation to generation–the external display support in the base M chip hasn’t changed since the M1 on the 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.

For a pro laptop that can cost upwards of $2,600, it’s a severe limitation. MacBook Pro users use apps that fill the entire screen–video editing, 3D illustration, music production, coding, etc. So connecting external displays provides more desktop space to work with, and often, that involves two or more external displays.

If you know you need to connect at least two external displays and you’re on a budget, the laptop to consider is the $1,999 14-inch MacBook Pro. It’s $400 more, but it’s the cheapest model that provides the display support you need. In general, if you need to connect at least two external displays, you’re looking at a MacBook Pro with either an M3 Pro or Max chip. Here’s a breakdown of each chip’s external display support:

M3: One external display with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz

M3 Pro:Up to two external displays with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz over Thunderbolt, orOne external display with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz over Thunderbolt and one external display with up to 4K resolution at 144Hz over HDMI, or

One external display supported at 8K resolution at 60Hz or one external display at 4K resolution at 240Hz over HDMI

M3 Max:Up to three external displays with 6K resolution at 60Hz over Thunderbolt and one external display with up to 4K resolution at 144Hz over HDMI, or

Up to three external displays: Up to two external displays with 6K resolution at 60Hz over Thunderbolt and one external display with up to 8K resolution at 60Hz or one external display with 4K resolution at 240Hz over HDMI

If you don’t want to spring for an M3 Pro model but still want to connect two or more displays, you can learn more in our guide to using external displays with Apple silicon Macs.

14-inch MacBook Pro (M3, 2023)

14-inch MacBook Pro (M3 Pro, 2023)

14-inch MacBook Pro (M3 Max, 2023)

16-inch MacBook Pro (M3 Pro, 2023)

16-inch MacBook Pro (M3 Max, 2023)

MacBook 

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