The A17 Pro processor was the first chip that Apple used TSMC’s 3nm technology to build. A17 Pro entered iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max models.
Last week, the Cupertinos unveiled M3 series chips with the same lithography for their new All-in-Ones and laptops. An analyst known as Jay Goldberg He wrote in his article Apple has spent about one billion dollars until the design and production of M3.
“We have to assume that all three M3 models cost Apple close to $1 billion to produce,” Goldberg wrote. “Few companies are able to pay such a huge cost.”
Apple’s M3 family currently consists of three CPUs with different transistor densities: the M3 with 25 billion transistors used for all-in-one and mid-range general-purpose laptops and Apple’s flagship tablet, the M3 Pro with 37 billion transistors for higher-performance devices with More graphics and gaming processing power and M3 Max, which is used with 92 billion transistors for MacBook and Apple’s flagship AIO.
Each chip is designed to meet different computing needs, from casual tasks to professional programming, heavy engineering simulations, graphic design and gaming.
The M3 chip, which has an eight-core CPU and an eight- or 10-core internal GPU, is at a similar level of complexity to AMD’s Phoenix-series processors (25 billion vs. 25.4 billion transistors), but the M3 Pro and M3 Max are much more complex.
With 92 billion transistors, the M3 Max chip is the most complex processor in Apple’s history. However, based on what we know about some of the upcoming AI processors, that position won’t last long.
In 2022, Apple spent more than 26 billion dollars in research and development, and a significant share of this cost was allocated to chip design. A look at the investment statistics in the chip industry shows that Apple is one of the few companies that has the financial ability to do such things.
The development of processors requires large and long-term investments. When it comes to an entirely new platform like Apple’s M3 family, the cost of development increases dramatically; Especially in the case of Apple, which mainly tries to go as far as possible on its own proprietary designs.
Despite this huge investment, the price of Apple’s all-in-one in the basic configuration starts at $1,299, and the price of the 14-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,599. These two products are not cheap, but their prices are somewhat reasonable as the first computers equipped with a 3nm processor (of course, the basic configuration of the new MacBook Pros is very low value).
The M3 series chips use their own custom cores based on the Arm architecture. The processors in question in the GPU unit are equipped with hardware support for ray tracing, a hardware accelerator for the Mesh Shading technique, a new artificial intelligence processing unit, and an advanced media engine.