Posted on

MacBook Air M2 vs M3 Comparison

MacBook Air M2 vs M3 Comparison

In March 2024, Apple introduced the newest members of the MacBook Air lineup: the MacBook Air M3 in 13-inch and 15-inch variants. How does this model differ from its predecessor, the M2 MacBook Air, and is it worth the upgrade?

External Differences

When comparing the M2 and M3 MacBook Air, there are no discernible external differences. Both generations offer 13-inch and 15-inch versions and are available in Space Grey, Silver, Starlight, and Midnight. They both have the same dimensions and same weight, when comparing the same modes. The sole external difference lies in the finish of the Midnight M3 model, which features a new anodization seal that minimises fingerprints.



The significant difference lies beneath the chassis. Both generations feature the same CPU configuration: 8-core CPUs (4 high-performance and 4 high-efficiency) for both the 15-inch and 13-inch models. However, the M3 employs the new 3nm technology, which packs more transistors into a smaller footprint — 25% increase in transistors to be precise. This advancement enhances efficiency and overall performance.

When assessing processor performance, we used Geekbench 6, a tool that stresses processors to simulate real-world scenarios and provides a score. In our tests, we observed a 15% increase in single-core performance and a 17% increase in multi-core scores when comparing the M3 to the M2.


CPU benchmark Geekbench 6 M2 vs M3 CPU single-core

CPU benchmark Geekbench 6 M2 vs M3 CPU multi-core


The new M3 MacBook Airs feature an 8-core and 10-core GPU configuration, similar to the setup of the M2 MacBook Air. Our testing revealed a notable 16% increase in GPU performance compared to the M2 model when using Geekbench Metal. Despite supporting the same core configuration, the M3 boasts a new architecture, incorporating Dynamic Caching, Hardware-accelerated ray tracing, and Hardware-accelerated mesh shading. Dynamic Caching optimises GPU memory allocation, resulting in improved overall performance and energy efficiency.

GPU benchmark Geekbench Metal M2 vs M3


The M3 chip delivers a performance and efficiency boost over the M2 chip, thanks to it's 3nm process technology and increased transistor count. This translates to slight improvements in both CPU and GPU tasks.


Chip Processor Technology Transistor Count Single-core Performance Geekbench 6 Multi-core Performance Geekbench 6 GPU Cores GPU Performace Metal Benchmark Memory Bandwidth


20 billion





100 GB/s


25 billion





100 GB/s

Other notable differences

External Display Support

The MacBook Air M2 supports a single external 6K display at 60Hz, while the MacBook Air M3 takes it a step further, supporting two external displays simultaneously with the lid closed: one 6K display at 60Hz and one 5K display at 60Hz.


The MacBook Air M2 features Wi-Fi 6, while the M3 model upgrades to Wi-Fi 6E. This newer standard operates on the less crowded 6GHz band, leading to faster speeds, lower latency, and improved overall performance, especially in dense environments with many connected devices. If you're a power user who demands the best possible wireless experience for tasks like gaming, streaming high-quality video, or transferring large files, the MacBook Air M3's Wi-Fi 6E support could be a significant advantage.


The final notable improvement is the upgraded microphone. The M3 MacBook Air now features Voice Isolation and Wide Spectrum microphone support, enhancing voice clarity during both audio and video calls.



Overall, both models are quite similar. As noted earlier in the article, the M2 and M3 share the same form factor and weight. They also feature the same port configuration, including two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Additionally, both generations offer identical configuration options for storage and memory.

At Hoxton Macs, we offer a wide variety of refurbished M2 and M3 MacBook Air models, ready for next day delivery.