Rumor: 2023 Macs Will Use 3nm Chips with up to 40 Cores

BY Chandraveer Mathur

Published 5 Nov 2021

M1 Pro and M1 Max chips

A new report from The Information shared speculative details about future Apple Silicon chips that would succeed the M1, M1 Pro, and M1 Max chips sometime in 2023. It detailed the immediate successors of the current-generation chips and a “much bigger leap” that Apple is planning with the third-generation chips.

The report claimed that together with Taiwanese chipmaking partner TSMC, Apple will incorporate a two-die design in the second-generation Apple Silicon chips, allowing for more processing cores. The chips will be based on TSMC’s 5nm process and will be used in the next iteration of MacBook Pros and Mac desktops.

Apple is also said to be planning a “much bigger leap” with the third-generation chips, some of which would be manufactured using TSMC’s 3nm process. These chips will have up to four dies, thereby creating room for up to 40 cores. For context, Apple’s M1 chip has an eight-core CPU while the M1 Pro and M1 Max have 10-core CPUs. The report cited anonymous sources who expect TSMC to develop a reliable manufacturing process for 3nm chips by 2023 so Apple could use them in both Macs and iPhones. These third-generation chips are reportedly ‘codenamed’ Ibiza, Lobos, and Palma and are expected to debut in higher-end Macs such as the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros. A watered-down variation of this third-generation chip is also said to be in the pipeline for the MacBook Air.

As for the Mac Pro desktop, it can currently be configured with up to a 28-core Intel Xeon W processor, but the report claims the next iteration will use a variation of the M1 Max chip with at least two dies.

Our Take

Apple has already bested Intel and AMD by a colossal margin, in terms of both raw muscle and power efficiency with the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. Now, it remains to be seen if Apple maintains this lead with its technology. It is also important to consider that Intel is yet to perfect its 5nm process node and AMD is now using 5nm, but the 3nm process is still the stuff of dreams. All things considered, it will be interesting to see how much further Apple can push the performance and efficiency envelope with future Apple Silicon chips.

[Via The Information]