Apple’s introduction of the M3 chip marks a significant step forward in computing capabilities, but users considering the new M3 MacBook Pro models should carefully consider their external display needs. The M3 chip offers impressive performance improvements, but it still retains the same external display limitations as the original M1 chip, supporting only one external display at a maximum resolution of 6K running at 60Hz.
This limitation is especially pronounced in the base M3 chip, which is found in the entry-level 14-inch MacBook Pro. While the base M3 model features an enhanced onboard display, it is not a viable option for users who need to connect multiple external displays. This constraint could pose a significant limitation for professionals who require expanded screen real estate for tasks such as video editing, 3D illustration, music production, and coding.
To address these display limitations, users may need to consider the higher-tier M3 Pro or M3 Max models. The M3 Pro supports up to two external displays with Thunderbolt, while the M3 Max supports up to three external displays. This allows for more diverse display setups and enhanced productivity.
Apple M3 chip variants: External display support breakdown for MacBook Pro
For users who need multiple external displays and are on a budget, the $1,999 14-inch MacBook Pro with the M3 Pro chip is a solid alternative. It offers the requisite display support without requiring users to opt for the pricier M3 Max model.
However, it is important to note that the M3 Pro and M3 Max models significantly expand external display capabilities, making them more suitable for professional users who require extensive screen space for multitasking and resource-intensive tasks.
Overview of external display support across the M3 chip variants:
- M3: Supports one external display at 6K resolution at 60Hz
- M3 Pro: Supports up to two external displays with Thunderbolt, with a variety of resolution and refresh rate configurations
- M3 Max: Supports up to three external displays with Thunderbolt, with a variety of resolution and refresh rate configurations
While the M3 chip brings substantial enhancements in computing power, the display limitations of the base models mean that users should carefully consider their needs for external display setups before making a purchase.