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What's the difference between MacBook Air M2 and Air M3?

Small details but big differences

In breve:

  • The New MacBook Air It is equipped with the Apple Silicon M3 chip, representing a significant step forward compared to the previous generation with an M2 chip.
  • The M3 chip offers Substantial improvements in CPU, GPU performance, and energy efficiency compared to the previous M2 model, thanks to the adoption of an advanced 3nm production process.
  • The M3 features a completely renewed GPU architecture, including Dynamic Caching functionality, which optimizes the use of GPU memory in real time, improving graphics performance and the overall energy efficiency of the device.
  • Superior video quality from streaming services thanks to support for AV1 video decoding
  • Support for two external displays (great for those who work there), better vocal clarity in audio and video calls and finally WiFi 2 times faster thanks to Wi-Fi 6E.
  • My 2 cents, theupgrading from MacBook Air M2 to M3 doesn't make sense for most users. It could be useful if out of necessity such as changing the screen size or slightly higher performance.

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Approfondiamo.

The 4 March 2024 Apple introduced the new MacBook Air with M3 chip introducing a couple of interesting upgrades and completely revisiting the Air line:

  • New prices for new models with M3
  • Removed the Macbook Air M1 model from the line up
  • Production discontinued for the M2 15” MacBook Air

But is it worth upgrading from Macbook Air M2 to Air M3?

What changes between the two models and what are the main differences?

And the MacBook Air M1 ?

Let's analyze the situation a bit together and look for a logical and rational answer.

Apple Silicon M2 vs M3

The main difference between Macbook Air M2 and Air M3 is obviously the chip.

Let's see the differences.

The M3 chip outperforms M2 chip in benchmark tests:

  • 17% increase in single-core results and 21% in multi-core results.
  • 15% improvement in GPU performance measured by Metal benchmarks.

Comparative specifications between M2 and M3:

  • M2:5nm manufacturing process (N5P), 20 billion transistors, 3.49 GHz CPU clock speed, Neural Engine.
  • M3:3nm manufacturing process (N3B), 25 billion transistors, 4.05 GHz CPU clock speed, 15% faster Neural Engine, new GPU architecture, hardware acceleration for ray tracing and mesh shading

Distinctive features of the M3 chip:

  • Introducing a completely new GPU architecture with Dynamic Caching to optimize memory allocation and usage for the GPU.
  • AV1 video decoding support for more efficient and higher-quality streaming videos.
  • Higher energy efficiency thanks to 3nm manufacturing process, ergo higher performance without a proportional increase in energy consumption.

In short, The M3 chip represents a 'slight' upgrade compared to the M2, offering substantially a bit more performance and improved energy efficiency.

Hardware differences between Air M2 and Air M3

Macbook Air m3 performance

Let's take a look at the hardware differences between the two generations of MacBook Air, excluding the M3 chip:

  • External Display Support: The MacBook Air M3 supports up to two external displays with the lid closed, while the MacBook Air M2 supports only one external display. Important difference for those who need to work with multiple monitors at the same time.
  • Audio Quality: The MacBook Air M3 features improved voice clarity in audio and video calls, offering a clearer communication experience than the MacBook Air M2. Very useful, for example, for those who work in smart working and have hours of meetings like myself.
  • Wi-Fi technology: The MacBook Air M3 offers support for Wi-Fi 6E, an advanced version of Wi-Fi technology compared to the Wi-Fi 6 supported by the MacBook Air M2, and is even 2 times faster than the previous model.
  • Prix: The MacBook Air M3 starts at a slightly higher price than the MacBook Air M2. It should also be considered that currently the model with M2 is often very discounted on Amazon.

We've come this far... let's ask ourselves the question of the questions.

Is it worth upgrading from Macbook Air M2 to Air M3?

ABSOLUTELY NOT.
It is hardly advisable under any circumstances to switch from Macbook Air M2 to the most recent model with M3 because the advantages would be very few and, mainly, very little tangible in daily experience.

Obviously it must be said that, wallets permitting, if you have special needs so that almost 20% performance boost can make a difference in everyday tasks, then it's worth it.

Another example, if you need a larger screen, thinking about upgrading from a 13” Macbook Air M2 to a 15” M3 model is more than convenient.

But we also respond to those who do not know whether to take an M2 or M3.

Is it better to buy a Macbook Air M2 or is the new Air with M3 better?

Here the situation is getting thorny.

Of course, the choice is always subjective.

If the budget is limited, the MacBook Air M2 remains absolutely an excellent choice, able to satisfy a wide range of needs without disappointing in terms of performance and reliability

However.

If the doubt is only hamletic and the budget does not represent a significant problem, The most recommended option is definitely the model with an M3 chip for an extra 100-150€.

Thanks to the latest features and improved performance, the MacBook Air M3 represents a more future-proof investment capable of guaranteeing a greater longevity and satisfaction with long-term use of the device.

In short, the choice is yours.

I, when in doubt, I'm still thinking about how revolutionary the model with the M1 chip was now out of production.

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N.B. All product purchase links are affiliated with Amazon, the prices displayed come from the price list on the manufacturers' website and the real sales price can be viewed on Amazon after opening the link.