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Apple Announces New MacBook Air Lineup with M3 Chip | Computer Hardware

Apple Announces New MacBook Air Lineup with M3 Chip | Computer Hardware

In November 2023, Apple unveiled the M3 chip in new versions of the 24-inch iMac and MacBook Pro, leading to speculation about when other Mac models would be updated. If you've been wanting a MacBook Air with an M3 chip, your wait is over. (And we expect Apple to update the Mac Mini soon.)

Apple has now announced 13-inch and 15-inch versions of the M3. MacBook Air. For most Mac laptop users who don't need the extra speed of the M3 Pro or M3 Max chips in the MacBook Pro lineup, these new MacBook Air models combine great performance with lower prices. The 13-inch MacBook Air starts at $1,099, and the 15-inch model starts at $1,299.

Nothing has changed in terms of size, weight, and industrial design. Almost all specs Stay the same as previous M2 MacBook Air models. There are three notable differences:

  • M3 chip: While the earlier M1 and M2 chips are no slouch, the M3 chip delivers even better performance. Benchmarks suggest a 25% to 35% improvement over the M1, and Apple cites real-world examples where the M3 is 35% to 60% faster than the M1. Compared to the M2, the M3 is probably 10% to 20% faster.
  • Support for two external displays: Previously, the MacBook Air could only drive an external display. However, these new models can drive one external display up to 6K resolution and the other up to 5K resolution, as long as the lid is closed. (Apple says A software update will enable the same capability. (for the 14-inch M3 MacBook Pro.)
  • Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 Wireless Connectivity: These upgrades aren't exciting, but they bring the MacBook Air up to par with other recent Apple devices and industry standards. Both provide faster, more robust wireless connectivity, but only when used with other compatible gear.

Should you buy one of these new MacBook Air models? It all depends on what you use now:

  • Intel-based Mac laptops: In terms of performance, the M3 MacBook Air will blow the doors off any Intel-based Mac laptop, and we strongly encourage you to upgrade. The main area where the MacBook Air may disappoint is in the number of ports. It charges via MagSafe 3 and has two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports, enough for an external display and a Time Machine backup drive, for example. If you need more ports, a Thunderbolt hub is probably in your future.
  • M1 or M2 MacBook Air or MacBook Pro: Although the M3 chip is faster than the base-level M1 and M2, our experience is that most people with these Macs don't run into performance issues. So no, don't upgrade. If you need more performance, a MacBook Pro with an M3 Pro or M3 Max chip makes more sense.
  • No laptop: For most students getting their first computer or someone adding a laptop to complement a desktop Mac, the M3 MacBook Air models are highly attractive. We recommend higher-end MacBook Pro models only for those who expect processor-intensive audio, video, photo, or development work.

Finally, if you're pinching money, you can still buy the 13-inch M2 MacBook Air starting at $999, and even if you customize it with more memory or storage, So you'll save $100.

Once you've decided to buy the new M3 MacBook Air, there are four decisions you have to make. We are happy to advise on your specific situation, but our general advice is:

  • Note: The base amount of memory on the M3 chip is 8 GB (it's on-chip and can't be upgraded later), but you can get versions that come with 16 GB or 24 GB. 8 GB is acceptable for casual use, but 16 GB is safer if you want to run a bunch of apps or may need more in the future. Get 24 GB only if you use memory intensive apps.
  • Storage: The base level of storage is 256 GB, which is not much. We know many people whose photo library is bigger than this. You can upgrade to 512 GB, 1 TB, or 2 TB. Note that if you have a lot of old, rarely needed files, it might be better to just order 512 GB of storage, for example, and a cheap external SSD for your archives. buy
  • Processor: The M3 comes in two versions. Both have 8 CPU cores, but one only has 8 GPU cores, while the other has 10 GPU cores. The 8/8 version is only available in the 13-inch MacBook Air and only if you don't expand the memory beyond 8 GB or the storage beyond 256 GB. Get the low-end version only if you're sure you don't need much memory or storage.
  • Screen Size: You have to choose between 13.6-inch or 15.3-inch Liquid Retina screen. The 15-inch screen is undoubtedly larger and shows more content, but overall the Mac is about an inch (2.25–3.5 cm) larger in both dimensions, and weighs 3.3 pounds versus 2.7 pounds (1.24 kg). (1.51 kg) is 13-inch model. This decision is purely personal preference, and we recommend checking each one out in person before purchasing.

For most Mac laptop users, the M3 MacBook Air models are great and worth looking at.

(Featured Image by Apple)

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