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M3 iMac vs. M1 iMac: Which Apple All-in-One Desktop Is Right for You?

November 6, 2023

As Apple lovers carefully consider their alternatives in quest of the ideal all-in-one desktop, the M3 vs. M1 iMac argument has taken the tech world by storm. While both models have a ton of cutting-edge features and stylish looks, it’s important to know how they vary to determine which one best meets your needs. Come with me as we explore the intriguing world of these state-of-the-art devices. 

The M3 iMac’s powerful Intel CPU makes it easy to tackle taxing tasks like graphic design and video editing. Its stunning 24-inch Retina display provides customers with an unrivaled visual experience with its fine details and bright colors. Conversely, the powerful M1 iMac is redefining computing thanks to its innovative Apple Silicon CPU. 

This beast not only offers exceptional speed and efficiency, but it also excels in energy conservation, which is a big plus for environmentally conscious people who want sustainability without sacrificing performance.

M3 iMac vs. M1 iMac: Specs

M3 iMac vs. M1 iMac: Specs

The primary focus of this article is the iMac’s transition to the M3 processor, which is currently the greatest change. (The newly updated 14-inch MacBook Pro also has the new processor.)

Eight cores are present in both the CPU and GPU of the least expensive M3 iMac. The most cheap M1 iMac, in comparison, has an 8-core CPU and a 7-core GPU.

Entry-level M1 iMac: 8 cores for the CPU, 7 cores for the GPU, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD

Entry-level M3 iMac: 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD

The higher-end M3 iMac models—the four-port models—come with an 8-core CPU and a 10-core GPU. In contrast, the more expensive M1 iMacs come with an 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU.

Users using M3 iMacs should see improved graphics performance, and not simply as a result of the additional GPU cores. With the M3, Apple included a new “Dynamic Caching” technique that automatically controls the GPU’s RAM for various uses, including gaming.

Additionally, the M3’s GPU offers ray-tracing benefits and hardware-accelerated mesh shading, so games should run much more smoothly and visually stunningly. Additionally, according to Apple, frame rates will increase by 50%.

The M3 microprocessor is speedier and uses less power, so the processor upgrade is worth the hype. Here are some apps and programs that the M3 iMac is said to run faster:

  • Excel: Approximately 30% quicker
  • Safari: up to 30% quicker
  • Apps for editing photos and videos, like Photoshop: are twice as quick

In general, the M3 iMac is twice as quick as the M1 iMac, according to Apple. The M3 Mac’s neural engine is sixty percent quicker than the M1 Mac’s, according to the Cupertino-based tech behemoth.

The M3 CPU is a big improvement here, but since it costs the same as its predecessor, upgrading for higher speeds and lower power usage could be worthwhile.

M3 iMac vs. M1 iMac: Design

M3 iMac vs. M1 iMac: Design

Not much has changed in terms of design between 2021 and now.

The M3 maintains its 24-inch screen in addition to a six-speaker setup, a 1080p camera, and a 4.5K Retina screen. A 3.5mm headphone jack and two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports are included in the base M3 iMac. The most expensive models come with two USB 3 connections. The Magic Mouse, Magic Keyboard, USB-C to Lightning Cable, power cable, and power adapter are all included in the box.

Apple has been emphasizing its environmental initiatives more and more over the last several events, and the M3 iMac is no exception. The desktop stand is made entirely of recyclable aluminum, according to the manufacturer. Additionally, numerous printed circuit boards include 100% recycled gold plating.

In addition, the M3 iMac and the M1 iMac have the same color scheme.

  • Blue, green, pink, orange, purple, yellow, and silver are the colors of the M1 and M3.

M3 iMac vs. M1 iMac: Price

It appears that Apple is sticking with its current pricing approach for the time being, despite rumors that it may try to raise the price of its flagship iPhone in the future owing to production expenses. Apple said that the beginning pricing of the new M3 iMac is $1,299, the same as that of its 2021 equivalent.

This setup has 256GB of storage, 8GB of RAM, an 8-core CPU, and an 8-core GPU.

But 8GB of RAM is not enough if you want a lot of multitasking power. We advise going up to 16GB of RAM, which will bring your overall expenses up to $1,699.

Priced at an astounding $2,699, an M3 iMac loaded with 24GB of RAM and 2TB of SSD storage is the most expensive model.

Preorders for the new M3 iMac are open now, and deliveries will begin on November 7.


Apple’s 2021 iMac, the first to feature an Apple silicon chip, replaced previous Intel-based models with 21.5- and 27-inch displays. The M3 iMac, the cheapest model, offers an 8-core CPU and an 8-core GPU, while the M1 iMac features an 8-core CPU and a 7-core GPU. The M3 iMac offers an uptick in graphics performance, with the M3 chip being two times faster than the M1 iMac. The M3 iMac also boasts a 60 percent faster neural engine.

Design-wise, the M3 iMac maintains its 24-inch display, 4.5K Retina screen, 1080p webcam, and six-speaker system. The entry-level M3 iMac comes with two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack, while higher-end variants add two USB 3 ports. Apple has also emphasized its environmental efforts, using 100% recycled aluminum and gold plating on multiple printed circuit boards.

The M3 iMac starts at $1,299. This configuration comes with an 8-core CPU, an 8-core GPU, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage. Upgrading to 16GB of RAM will increase the total cost to $1,699. A maxed-out M3 iMac, packed with 24GB of RAM and 2TB of SSD storage, is available for $2,699. The new M3 iMac can be pre-ordered and will start shipping on November 7.


Is the iMac an all-in-one computer?

Desktop Computer with M1 Chip, Apple 2021 iMac: 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, 24-inch Retina Display, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD Storage, Complementary Accessory

Is the M1 iMac still worth it in 2023?

In 2023, the 24-inch iMac using Apple’s M1 CPU is still a worthwhile purchase, particularly for households. You won’t miss out on any major developments because the iMac’s switch from the M1 to the M2 processor isn’t a huge improvement.

What is the best iMac to buy in 2023?

The Best Mac in a Snap
The Apple iMac 24-inch (2021) is the best all-in-one; see pricing.
The Apple MacBook Pro 14-inch (2023) is the best for creating content; check pricing.
Apple MacBook Air M2 (2022) is the best intermediate model; view pricing.
The most cost-effective desktop is the Apple Mac Mini 2023; see pricing.
The Apple MacBook Air M1 is the best bargain; see pricing.