Report: Apple Testing M3 Pro Chips With 12 CPU and 18 GPU Cores

Apple’s transition to its own-designed M-series silicon caused shockwaves throughout the industry that are still reverberating. As it prepares to debut its latest crop of Macs with M2 chips, a highly reputable insider has shared some of the key specs of the first Apple M3 chip, which is claimed to be already in testing. 

Based on his insider sources, Mark Gurman of Bloomberg outlines the upcoming Apple M3 Pro SoC as offering: 12 CPU cores, 18 graphics cores, and 36GB of onboard RAM. The M3 SoC is also claimed to be the first Apple Silicon M-series chip built at 3nm.

According to the report, the first tantalizing glimpses of the Apple M3 Pro have emerged because developers are testing systems based upon this new silicon for third-party app compatibility. This is one of the most common and reliable ways we get a bead on Apple’s pre-release processors.

MacBook Pro 14 and 16

(Image credit: Apple)

An Apple App Store developer shared their insider info with Gurman regarding what is thought to be the “the base-level version of what will be the M3 Pro coming next year.” Remember, that Apple will be likely creating several variants of the M3, just like it did with the prior series, so later we will cover speculation about what an M3 Max and Ultra SoCs could deliver.

Focusing first upon the Apple M3 Pro, Bloomberg’s sources indicate that of the 12 CPU cores there will be six high-performance cores (P-cores), accompanied by six power-efficient cores (E-cores). The CPU cores will be accompanied by 18 GPU cores, and 36GB of RAM. 

These numbers represent improvements across the board, but we don’t know about any architectural improvements which will undoubtedly be present in the M3 chips. Additionally, the new TSMC N3 process should provide some clock / efficiency benefits, in addition to allowing Apple to pump up the silicon density / core counts in the same chip sizes.

Swipe to scroll horizontally

M1 Pro (Oct 2021)

M2 Pro (Jan 2023)

M3 Pro (TBC)

CPU cores

6P / 2E

6P / 4E

6P / 6E*

GPU cores




Onboard RAM




* = pre-launch data from Bloomberg sources

Gurman reckons that the first Apple Macs with M3 chips will arrive around late 2023 / early 2024. His sources say that among the first machines getting this 3nm silicon upgrade will be “M3-based iMacs, high-end and low-end MacBook Pros, and MacBook Air.”

We’ve covered the leaks, and are now moving onto unashamed speculation, so please get your salt shaker ready. Extrapolating the M3 Pro to the ‘usual’ Max and Ultra SKUs might mean that an M3 Max will sport up to 14 CPU cores and 40 GPU cores, and the M3 Ultra coming with up to 28 CPU cores and over 80 GPU cores.

Of course, Apple hopes the arrival of M3 silicon and new Macs will reanimate lack luster sales. The Apple M2 hasn’t been inspirational, and Bloomberg highlights the recent 31% slide in Mac sales as testament to this. However, Apple had done comparatively well in the face of the general macroeconomic malaise until recently. Upgraders skipping a gen look like they will get a lot more cores for the money, more capacious base memory, as well as what could be some tasty architectural tweaks delivered with the M3 generation.

To get a measure of the newest current cream of the crop Apple Macs, please check out our review of the Apple MacBook Pro (2023) with M2 Pro and M2 Max processor options.