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The Apple M3 family was launched during the October “scary fast” event in Apple Park. Here Apple introduced their latest SOC (system-on-chip) which compromised the M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max.
Intel launched their 14th generation Core desktop processors in mid-October with much fanfare. Intel has been the bedrock of the personal computing revolution which started almost 40 years ago and with the latest Core processors, Intel continues to lead the way in innovation and technology.
While the M3 Max will grab the headlines when Apple drops its latest processors and laptops, the base M3 processor is Apple’s most important product. One would say, it’s the bread and butter for Apple’s Mac division. This is because the M3 processor is designed to put in Apple’s most popular products and the majority of the users will be using it for their daily tasks.
So Apple needs to make the M3 the best processor out there. Some say it’s even more important than the M3 Max. And in many ways, Apple delivers. The M3 has TSMC’s latest 3nm construction process which story from the grapevine says that Apple bought TSMC’s entire 3nm production line giving them the edge over competitors for at least a year.
A reduction in fabrication size alone brings a performance boost, but Apple doesn’t stop there. The efficiency cores have been reworked to be 50% more performant than the first-gen M1 processors, memory utilization is more efficient thanks to Apple’s dynamic caching algorithm and graphics is where it received the most attention.
Once a staple in graphic units has now come to Apple’s own chip. Hardware-accelerated mesh-shader and ray-tracing are now available in the M3 chip. Such features have already been introduced in Apple’s A17 Pro processor which allows the iPhone 15 Pro to play AAA console games right on a smartphone, a feat that no other smartphone maker has done at press time.
Indeed, the M3 is a processor to be reckoned with, despite being the “base” in the entire lineup.
While the Intel Core i9 processors are the ones grabbing the headlines and the dream of many enthuasists, the i3s and i5s are the bread and butter for Intel, for they form the bulk of Intel sales. The i3s and i5s are the base processors which are put in volume products, from cheap student laptops to the roadwarrior’s business laptops.
The latest Core i5-14600K is the epitome of Intel’s best base processor. It sits on the improved Raptor Lake arthitecture, which means that it uses Intel 7 manufacturing process. Yes, the Intel 7 is much inferior than the TSMC’s 3nm which Apple uses, but Intel has been in the game for a long time and have tricks in their sleeves. And the trick is the push as much power as possible in the chip.
Few features that stands out from Intel like the turbo clockspeed can go upto 5.3GHz, one of the highest in the industry and memory support up to 192 GB, which is far higher than even M3 Max’s 128GB. Internal graphics is supported by Intel’s UHD 770 chip. And this Intel i5-14900K is a desktop processor, the paradigm is performance at any means necessary.
The Intel 7 and Raptor lake is truly on it’s last legs. Despite using more power and have more cores, the Intel processor can barely be faster than the base M3 on many benchmarks. The only saving grace is in multi-core benchmarks but it’s due to the fact that the Intel i5 has almost twice the number of cores than the M3.
For graphics, Intel although made improvements in that department and getting more serious at every year, it still leagues behind from Apple in that department. This forces PC manufacturer to rely on 3rd part solutions like Nvidia for that bigger ohmp. For course, if you intend to use your desktop to watch Youtube, Netflix and maybe play some roblocks, the Intel is sufficient, but it could have been better.
Other than having a specifc needs on Windows, Apple’s solution is still better. The ecosyste, the macOS and the Apple Silicon M3 is a better package, albeit you have to pay the Apple tax to be in it.
Intel will have to step up their game and if Meteor Lake is any indicator, we hope for a brighter future.
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