Apple iMac M3 vs iMac M1 – is it time to upgrade?

Which desktop comes out on top?


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Apple’s unveiling of the iMac M3 has stirred the tech landscape, bringing to the fore a compelling debate: when it comes to Apple iMac M3 vs iMac M1, which reigns supreme? The new iMac M3 is not merely an update; it’s a formidable contender in the arena of desktop computing, promising users a blend of potent speed and robust power. It takes the quintessential desktop experience that Apple is celebrated for and elevates it to new horizons of performance and reliability.

Apple iMac M3 vs iMac M1: Introduction

Choosing between the iMac M3 and iMac M1 involves a careful comparison of each machine’s intrinsic values and enhancements. While the iMac M1 continues to be a powerful machine in its own right, the iMac M3 comes forward with tantalizing enhancements, especially in speed and performance, all at a competitive price point. Our goal in this article is to present a detailed juxtaposition of these two models, allowing potential users to make an informed decision about whether an upgrade is a strategic and beneficial choice.

How do the specs compare?

Both models come equipped with 8 total cores distributed between 4 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores. In terms of GPU cores, the iMac M3 offers a choice between an 8 or 10-core GPU, showing a slight edge over the iMac M1’s 7 or 8 cores. The Neural Engine remains consistent at 16 cores across both models.

Diving deeper, the iMac M3 triumphs with 20 billion transistors, showcasing a more compact and efficient architecture compared to the M1’s 16 billion. A compelling upgrade in the M3 is its memory capacity, capable of supporting up to 24GB, while the M1 caps at 8 or 16GB.

SpecsiMac M3iMac M1
Total Cores88
Performance Cores44
Efficiency Cores44
GPU Cores8 or 107 or 8
Neural Engine Cores1616
Transistors20 billion16 billion
Memory CapacityUp to 24GB8 or 16GB
LithographyFirst-gen 3nm5nm
iMac M1 vs iMac M3

In practical terms, these improvements translate to tangible performance boosts, particularly in power-intensive tasks like 4K video streaming and Adobe Photoshop operations. For instance, the M3 chip can handle up to 12 streams of 4K video. While the iMac M1 still holds relevance with a robust 8-core CPU, the M3’s enhanced speed, performance, and additional features establish it as a compelling upgrade option.

In terms of aesthetics, the two PCs aren’t super far removed. Both have a wide color range, available in blue, green, pink, orange, purple, yellow and silver colorways.

Apple iMac M3 vs iMac M1: Performance

Upgrading from the iMac M1 to the iMac M3 is a decision that leans favorably towards a ‘yes’, especially if optimum performance and speed are priorities in your computing experience. The iMac M3, despite bearing a similar price tag to its predecessor, leaps ahead with enhanced features and noticeable improvements in speed and performance that make it a formidable choice for an upgrade.

For professionals and enthusiasts who rely heavily on powerful computing for tasks such as 4K video editing, gaming, and using graphic-intensive applications like Adobe Photoshop, the iMac M3 stands out as a compelling improvement. It is scary fast. The machine’s ability to handle up to 12 streams of 4K video and offer significantly quicker app rendering, coupled with a CPU that’s around 30% faster than the M1, manifests as real-world benefits that enhance productivity and workflow.

Of course, both devices have compatibility with the Magic Mouse, Magic Keyboard and boast the fun Touch ID feature. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connection remains pretty much as strong across both Macs.

While the iMac M1 still maintains its relevance as a capable machine, the iMac M3’s offerings, at a comparable price point, deliver substantial value and improvements. If the aim is to secure a machine that brings to the table enhanced performance, future-ready features, and a robust computing experience, upgrading to the iMac M3 is a worthwhile consideration. 

Apple iMac M3 vs iMac M1: Price

When considering an upgrade, the price always plays a pivotal role in the decision-making process. Remarkably, the iMac M3 is expected to debut at a price identical to that of the iMac M1, positioning itself as an extraordinary value proposition. For the same investment, the iMac M3 offers enhanced features, superior performance, and improved connectivity options.

It’s quite a delightful surprise that with no additional financial outlay, one can own a considerably more powerful iMac that’s tuned to deliver almost double the performance of its predecessor. This equitable pricing makes the iMac M3 not just a technologically superior option but also an economically sound choice for those seeking maximum value for their investment.


In conclusion, the iMac M3 emerges as a distinct frontrunner for those considering an upgrade. With its imminent release, the iMac M3 promises a gust of fresh, powerful capabilities and remarkable improvements, all at a price that mirrors its predecessor, the iMac M1.

The enhancements in performance are significant, almost doubling what the previous model offers. Coupled with modernized connectivity options and generous memory and storage capacities, the iMac M3 is meticulously crafted to meet the evolving demands of the modern user.

Gloria is a tech and AI writer for PC Guide. She is interested in what new technology means for the future of digital and broadcast journalism.