Performance Comparison: M3 Max MacBook Pro vs. M1 Max MacBook Pro

Apple last week launched its new MacBook Pro models with M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max chips. We already took a look at the M3 Pro MacBook Pro, but we also wanted to test out the top-of-the-line M3 Max chip to see how it measures up.

While the M3 Pro's performance was disappointing overall compared to the M2 Pro and even the M1 Pro, the same can't be said of the M3 Max. Using Geekbench, the M3 Max is about as fast as the ‌M2‌ Ultra, earning a single-core score of 3217 and a multi-core score of 21597. The ‌M2‌ Max has a single-core score of 2737 and a multi-core score of 14503, and the difference is even more pronounced compared to the 2021 M1 Max, the first 16-inch MacBook Pro to get an Apple silicon chip. The ‌M1 Max‌ has a single-core score of 2379 and a multi-core score of 12206.

Other benchmarking tests show similar major improvements between the 2023 M3 Max and the 2021 ‌M1 Max‌. In Cinebench, the M3 Max earned a multi-core CPU score of 1601, compared to a 788 score from the ‌M1 Max‌. A classroom render in Blender took three and a half minutes with the M3 Max machine, and eight and a half minutes with the ‌M1 Max‌ machine.

Exporting a 16 minute 4K video with multiple effects took five and a half minutes on the M3 Max, and seven and a half minutes on the ‌M1 Max‌.

As for SSD speeds, those were about the same. The ‌M1 Max‌ saw read/write scores of 5727/5980, respectively, while the M3 Max had read/write scores of 5032/6197, respectively.

You'll want to watch our full video for a more detailed comparison between the two machines, which gives a useful look into just how far Apple silicon has come in two years. The ‌M1 Max‌ is still a super fast chip and you're probably not going to want to upgrade to the M3 Max if you've already got an ‌M1 Max‌ machine, but in some tests, the new chip is up to twice as fast.

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro 14 & 16"
Related Forum: MacBook Pro

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Top Rated Comments

Born Again Avatar
7 months ago
Small gains… Apple just did such a great job with the m1max you don’t need to upgrade.

Even MKBHD cancelled his m3max macbook order. To me that speaks volumes.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Red Oak Avatar
7 months ago
Is this now when I complain on MR that M3 is not fast enough vs. M1, as I sit on my couch eating Cheetos and watch Netflix?
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dcingie Avatar
7 months ago
Let’s compare it against the original iPhone next guys
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Saturnine Avatar
7 months ago
I have an M1 Max MacBook Pro from launch in 2021, so it’s just about two years old.

I went for 64GB RAM and a 2TB SSD, which still seems to be a decent spec.

I see that the M3 Max appears to outperform my machine by about 30%. Even so, I’m still more than happy with its performance and I expect I’ll get another two or three years out of it before it’s handed down to a family member.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ChrisA Avatar
7 months ago

Is this now when I complain on MR that M3 is not fast enough vs. M1, as I sit on my couch eating Cheetos and watch Netflix?
Yes, it took me an hour to watch that video on my M1. I'd expect to see the same video in 30 minutes on an M3. But no, it is still taking an hour. Same with emails, I'm not reading them any faster with the M3. What's wrong Apple?

Seriously, why don't these reviewers focus on real-world tasks that real people do? Who cares how fast a benchmark runs.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mecloud Avatar
7 months ago

Is there any reason to believe the ssd speeds on the m3pro are slower?

And is there a detailed m3pro test article yet?
I tested the base 512gb M3 Pro, and yes the internal SSD speeds were somewhat slower, around 4,000mb/sec. But that was still an improvement over the 512gb M2 Pro, which measured around 2,800mb/sec. On my M3 Max (base config of the high end CPU/GPU), I’m seeing about 6,400mb/sec write, 5,100mb/sec read.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)