The M3 MacBook Air "Problems"

Dave2D
7 Mar 202408:54

Summary

TLDRThe video script provides an in-depth analysis of Apple's new M3 MacBook Air, addressing various concerns and complaints surrounding its launch. It delves into the fingerprint-resistant coating, the ability to connect two external displays, and the controversial 8GB RAM and 256GB storage base configuration. The host evaluates the performance gains from M1 to M3, suggesting opting for refurbished M2 or M1 models as a cost-effective alternative. The video also touches on battery life, gaming capabilities, and Apple's marketing around AI capabilities. Overall, it offers a comprehensive and balanced perspective on the new MacBook Air while acknowledging its strengths and limitations.

Takeaways

  • 😮 The M3 MacBook Air's surface coating/anodization does not prevent fingerprint smudges as effectively as expected.
  • 🖥️ The M3 MacBook Air can run two external displays when the lid is closed, but only one external display when the lid is open.
  • 🐏 Apple likely enabled dual external display support on the M3 MacBook Air to attract enterprise customers previously hesitant to switch from Intel Macs.
  • 💰 The steep pricing for RAM upgrades on M3 MacBooks is frustrating, but consumers on a budget can opt for refurbished or previous-gen M1/M2 models instead.
  • ⚡ While CPU performance gains from M1 to M3 have been limited, graphics performance improvements are more noticeable, depending on the application.
  • 🔋 The M3 MacBook Air's battery life is similar to the M2 model but drains faster under heavy loads.
  • 🎮 The M3 MacBook Air can run demanding games at lower settings, but lighter titles are recommended due to its fanless design.
  • 🤖 Apple highlighted the M3 MacBook Air's capability to run large language models (LLMs) and diffusion models, despite not using NVIDIA's CUDA.
  • ⌨️ The M3 MacBook Air retains the same class-leading keyboard, impressive speakers, and up to 500 nits brightness as previous models.
  • 🔄 The M3 MacBook Air's display is still capped at 60Hz refresh rate, likely to differentiate it from the Pro lineup.

Q & A

  • What are the key complaints or concerns mentioned about the new M3 MacBook Air?

    -Some of the key complaints mentioned include concerns about the fingerprint resistance not being as effective as expected, disappointment with only being able to connect two external displays, criticism of the base 8GB RAM configuration, and the perceived lack of significant performance gains compared to previous M1 and M2 models.

  • Why is the ability to connect two external displays considered an improvement?

    -Previous M1 and M2 MacBook Air models could only connect one external display while using the built-in laptop screen. The M3 MacBook Air can connect two external displays when the lid is closed, which is seen as an improvement, even though some users expected more external display support.

  • How does the reviewer explain Apple's decision to offer two external display support?

    -The reviewer suggests that Apple felt pressured to offer this feature, especially for enterprise clients who held back from adopting Apple Silicon due to the limitation of one external display support. It's speculated that Apple did this to encourage more enterprise clients to switch to Apple Silicon.

  • What is the reviewer's stance on the base 8GB RAM configuration?

    -The reviewer acknowledges that while 8GB RAM may be sufficient for most users and their workflows for several years, the main issue is the high cost of upgrading to 16GB RAM, which is described as 'crazy pricing' and 'eating his soul' every time he looks at the configuration pricing.

  • What solution does the reviewer suggest for users on a tight budget?

    -The reviewer suggests that for users on a tight budget, it makes more sense to opt for the previous generation M2 or even M1 MacBook Air models, which can be found at a lower price, especially if purchased refurbished or used, instead of paying the premium for the M3 model.

  • How does the reviewer assess the performance gains from M1 to M3?

    -The reviewer acknowledges that the CPU performance gains from M1 to M3 have been limited, but the graphics performance improvements are more noticeable, depending on the application being used. Overall, the most significant gains are likely to be seen when compared to older Intel-based models.

  • What does the reviewer mention about gaming performance on the M3 MacBook Air?

    -The reviewer notes that while the M3 MacBook Air, being a fanless system, can run some demanding games at lower settings, it's generally better suited for playing lighter titles.

  • What does the reviewer highlight about Apple's marketing of the M3 MacBook Air?

    -The reviewer mentions that Apple's marketing material highlighted the M3 MacBook Air's ability to run large language models (LLMs) and diffusion models effectively, despite not using NVIDIA's CUDA technology.

  • What aspects of the M3 MacBook Air have remained unchanged from previous models?

    -According to the reviewer, the internal components like the screen, keyboard, and speakers have not changed from previous models. The keyboard is still described as class-leading, and the speakers are praised for their sound quality, especially for such a thin device.

  • What does the reviewer mention about the screen refresh rate on the M3 MacBook Air?

    -The reviewer notes that the screen on the M3 MacBook Air is capped at a 60Hz refresh rate, which is likely a way for Apple to differentiate the 'pro' products from the 'amateur' products in their lineup.

Outlines

00:00

🖥️ MacBook Air M3: Fingerprint Resistance and Dual External Display Support

The video discusses the new M3 MacBook Air models, addressing concerns about the fingerprint-resistant coating's effectiveness and the ability to connect two external displays by disabling the built-in screen. It explains that the dual external display support is likely due to pressure from enterprise clients seeking this functionality. The limitation of one display controller restricts concurrent use of the built-in screen and two external displays.

05:02

💰 RAM and Storage Configurations: Cost vs. Value

The video tackles the concerns about the base configuration of 8GB RAM and 256GB storage, acknowledging that while 8GB RAM is sufficient for most users, the upgrade costs are exorbitant. It recommends considering refurbished or previous generation models (M1 or M2) for better value if on a tight budget. The video also discusses the modest performance gains from M1 to M3, highlighting that CPU improvements are limited, while graphics performance improvements are more noticeable but application-dependent. It mentions Apple's marketing of AI capabilities (LLMs and diffusion models) on the M3 MacBook Air.

Mindmap

Keywords

💡M3 MacBook Air

This refers to Apple's latest iteration of their thin and lightweight MacBook Air laptop, powered by their in-house M3 chip. The video focuses on the new features, performance, and improvements of this M3 MacBook Air model over previous generations. For example, it mentions the ability to connect two external displays with the lid closed, a first for the MacBook Air line.

💡Surface Anization

Surface anization refers to a coating or treatment applied to the surface of the MacBook Air's chassis to reduce fingerprints and smudges. The video discusses whether this surface treatment on the new M3 models is effective in practice, based on the presenter's hands-on testing.

💡Display Controller

A display controller is a hardware component responsible for handling the output to external displays. The video explains that previous M1 and M2 chips only had one display controller, limiting them to a single external display. The M3 chip can now leverage the internal display controller to drive two external displays simultaneously when the laptop lid is closed.

💡Enterprise Clients

Enterprise clients refer to large organizations or businesses that purchase hardware and software for their employees or operations. The video suggests that Apple may have enabled dual external display support on the M3 MacBook Air to appeal to enterprise clients who had held back from adopting Apple Silicon due to the previous limitation of one external display.

💡RAM Upgrades

RAM (Random Access Memory) upgrades refer to the ability to increase the amount of system memory in a device. The video critiques Apple's pricing for RAM upgrades on the M3 MacBook Air, which the presenter considers excessively expensive compared to industry standards. This influences the recommendation to consider previous M1 or M2 models as a more cost-effective alternative.

💡Performance Gains

Performance gains refer to improvements in processing power, graphics capabilities, and overall system performance between different generations of hardware. The video discusses the relatively modest performance gains from the M1 to M3 chips, suggesting that the improvements may not justify the higher cost for many users, making previous generations a better value proposition.

💡Battery Life

Battery life refers to the duration a laptop can operate on a single charge before needing to be recharged. The video compares the battery life of the M3 MacBook Air to the previous M2 model, noting that it drains slightly faster under heavy loads but remains generally similar in typical usage scenarios.

💡Gaming Performance

Gaming performance refers to the ability of a device to run and render graphics-intensive video games smoothly. The video acknowledges that while the M3 MacBook Air can handle some demanding games at lower settings, its fanless design and integrated graphics make it more suitable for lighter gaming titles.

💡AI Capabilities

AI (Artificial Intelligence) capabilities refer to the ability of a device to efficiently run and process AI-related workloads, such as large language models (LLMs) and diffusion models. The video mentions that Apple highlighted the M3 MacBook Air's proficiency in handling these types of AI tasks, despite not having dedicated AI hardware like NVIDIA's CUDA cores.

💡Refresh Rate

Refresh rate refers to the number of times per second that a display updates its image. The video notes that the M3 MacBook Air's display is capped at 60Hz, a common refresh rate for consumer-grade displays. Higher refresh rates, such as 120Hz or higher, are typically found on more premium or professional-grade displays and laptops.

Highlights

Apple launched their new M3 MacBook airs, with a 13-inch model and a 15-inch model, touted as the best laptop in this segment.

The new M3 MacBook Airs feature a surface anization coating in darker colors like midnight and space black to reduce fingerprints, but the effectiveness seems questionable.

The M3 MacBook Air can now connect to two external displays with the lid closed, but only one display with the built-in laptop screen.

The ability to connect to two external displays is likely due to pressure from enterprise clients who held back from Apple Silicon due to limitations on external displays.

The base configuration of 8GB RAM and 256GB storage is a point of contention, with expensive upgrade pricing that is around five times the industry standard.

For most users, 8GB RAM is sufficient for several years, but the high upgrade cost is a pain point.

The solution for those on a tight budget is to consider the M2 or even M1 MacBook Air models, which offer better value while providing similar performance to the M3.

CPU performance gains from M1 to M3 have been limited, but graphics performance improvements are more noticeable, depending on the application.

Battery life on the M3 MacBook Air 15-inch is similar to the M2, but it drains faster under heavier loads.

Apple's marketing material mentions running large language models (LLMs) and diffusion models on the M3 MacBook Air, indicating its effectiveness for AI workflows.

The internals, such as the screen, keyboard, and speakers, remain unchanged from the previous generation, offering a class-leading experience.

The screen has a maximum brightness of 500 nits and is capped at a 60Hz refresh rate, which Apple uses to differentiate between pro and amateur products.

Overall, the M3 MacBook Air offers incremental improvements over the M2, with the ability to connect to two external displays being the most significant change.

For users on a budget, considering the M2 or M1 models may provide better value while still offering similar performance.

The high cost of RAM upgrades remains a pain point, but the base 8GB configuration should be sufficient for most users.

Transcripts

00:00

Apple launched their new M3 MacBook airs

00:02

there's a 13-in model and this here is

00:03

their 15-in model but despite being what

00:06

many would argue to be the best laptop

00:09

in this segment there were a lot of

00:10

concerns and complaints that kind of

00:12

bubbled up right at the announcement

00:13

like when I tweeted about it there were

00:15

just people that were I think that had

00:16

legitimate concerns about it but there's

00:18

also stuff that seems a little bit

00:19

misguided I kind of want to go through

00:20

it so uh right off the rip this is the

00:24

M2 MacBook Air in a 13-inch model and

00:26

this is the M3 and the surface anization

00:30

on the new M3 versions at least in the

00:32

darker colors so the midnight color and

00:34

the space black are supposed to have

00:36

this like seal to them like kind of

00:38

coating over it to prevent fingerprints

00:41

or to kind of reduce the presence of

00:43

fingerprints and when I tested it on the

00:45

space black model last year it seemed

00:47

pretty noticeable but for whatever

00:48

reason I'll just demonstrate real quick

00:50

so this is the M21 when I smudge it

00:52

around my nose and my face which is

00:54

disgusting but just to get the point

00:56

across the grease appears right there

00:59

kind of smudges appear if I do the same

01:01

thing on the new one I would have

01:03

imagined that it would be much more

01:05

reduced but I feel like there's not much

01:07

of a difference and I was surprised I

01:10

mean look at me I'm like rubbing laptops

01:13

on my face here but I was surprised at

01:15

how present these smudges were uh and I

01:19

don't know if I got a lemon or something

01:20

but like when I try to clean it off it

01:22

seems just as smudgy so my impression is

01:25

that it is slightly better than the

01:28

nonsealed version but it's not like a

01:31

fingerprint prooof material if that's

01:33

what you're hoping for okay on to the

01:35

actual meat of this video uh all right

01:38

first I want to talk about what I think

01:40

is the biggest change or update to the

01:43

M3 product it's the ability for the M3

01:46

MacBook Air to be to connect to two

01:48

external displays now to be able to pull

01:49

this off the lid has to be closed you

01:51

cannot use the built-in laptop screen

01:53

it's just if you're connecting two

01:55

screens it'll now work if you do want to

01:57

use the built-in laptop screen you're

01:59

back down to just One external display

02:01

just like the M1 and M2 MacBook airs now

02:03

when this feature was announced I think

02:05

a lot of people were disappointed

02:06

because they were like how is this

02:08

announcement like there's so many

02:09

Windows laptops out there that can run

02:11

three or four screens concurrently and

02:13

even the previous generation of MacBook

02:15

airs like the Intel based ones those

02:17

could run two external screens with its

02:20

internal laptop screen running like what

02:22

GES what what's going on here well I

02:24

think it's just the nature of these

02:25

chips these M1 M2 M3 like the base model

02:29

of those chips they've always only had

02:30

one display controller that would handle

02:32

the external displays it was just like

02:35

one single controller that could handle

02:37

a 6K output for externals now what I

02:39

think they're doing now on the M3

02:41

MacBook Air I think they're just

02:43

rerouting the internal 5K uh display

02:46

controller and just pumping it out

02:48

there's no like malice or like bizarre

02:51

trickery going on that's just the nature

02:53

of the hardware you cannot have more

02:55

than those two displays running at any

02:57

given time and I see the complaints like

02:59

there's that's that's just the way the

03:01

hardware is now that being said I think

03:05

that there's some kind of trickery that

03:06

was going on back in the day as in when

03:10

I think about what's happening here it

03:12

doesn't make sense for Apple to just

03:13

give out free features like this that's

03:15

just Apple's not in the business of

03:17

doing that right I think what happened

03:19

is that Apple felt pressured to do this

03:22

from the Enterprise clients like for a

03:24

lot of people I know several kind of

03:27

high-end clients that purchase Apple

03:29

hardware and they held back from Apple

03:32

silicon they continued to use their

03:34

intel-based MacBooks because those

03:36

things could run two external screens no

03:38

problem and I think Intel banked on

03:40

Enterprise clients to be able to just

03:42

pay a premium and buy into that Pro

03:44

lineup to get that extra screen external

03:47

stuff and I don't think people wanted to

03:49

spend that money and I think Apple felt

03:51

pressured they're like you know what I

03:53

think we have to do this if we're going

03:54

to get a lot of Enterprise clients to

03:55

switch over to Apple silicon I think

03:57

that's the only thing that makes sense

03:58

to me why else would they do this right

04:00

this seems too good for Apple's nature

04:03

to be true but I think it's a win I

04:05

don't think it's perfect but having two

04:07

external displays on an entry-level

04:09

MacBook Air is not bad but you do need

04:11

to have peripherals now connected to

04:13

that device uh the second point of

04:15

contention is the starting configuration

04:17

of 8 GB of RAM and 256 gigs of storage I

04:21

hate it every time I see it like it

04:24

bothers me now there's two issues at

04:26

hand here first is the whole idea that

04:28

the starting configuration is only 8

04:30

gigs of RAM but the second issue is the

04:32

price of the upgrades now I'm going to

04:34

address the 8 gigs of Base Ram first I

04:37

don't think that that number is terrible

04:39

in the sense that there are a ton of

04:42

people I would say the vast majority of

04:43

people that even consider this machine

04:44

that would be perfectly good with 8 gigs

04:46

of RAM for like five six years and would

04:48

never notice any difference in the

04:49

workflow if they had 16 gigs of RAM I I

04:52

firmly believe that I've done a lot of

04:53

testing I've shown it to you guys I

04:55

think there's a lot of like clickbait

04:57

YouTube out there that tries to to build

04:59

the idea that you absolutely need 16

05:01

gigs of RAM but rage bait doesn't take

05:04

away from the reality of data if you're

05:05

using it for regular use 8 gigs of RAM

05:08

is plenty for the vast majority of

05:10

people but the other issue at hand is

05:13

the cost of the upgrades and it wouldn't

05:15

be having this super sweaty conversation

05:17

about RAM on a MacBook if it wasn't for

05:19

the fact that they have crazy pricing

05:21

for those upgrades like to go from 8

05:22

gigs of RAM to 16 is $200 I actually

05:25

think it's like five times the industry

05:27

price for like Ram upgrades at this

05:29

point but because it's all baked on you

05:31

have to make that decision upfront now

05:33

if you think about the math it's like

05:34

literally 20% more money to go for an

05:37

extra eight gigs of RAM it's so stupid

05:40

it it like eats my soul every time I

05:42

look at that configuration pricing but I

05:45

think there's a bit of a solution here I

05:47

think for most people that are looking

05:48

at that like the the price configurator

05:51

and they're like wow that is a stupid

05:53

amount of money and it is but usually

05:55

you're like on a hard budget you're like

05:57

I have 1,00 bucks or like whatever 12200

05:59

00 bucks and that's my limit like I

06:02

don't want to go more than that so like

06:05

what do I do and the The Simple Solution

06:08

this time is you don't get the M3

06:10

because they have great product the M2

06:13

that's 100 bucks cheaper and if you get

06:14

it on refb or used it's even more you

06:17

can get like 15 20% off just by going to

06:19

the previous generation and if you want

06:20

to save even more money the M1 MacBook

06:22

airs are even cheaper which leads me to

06:24

the conversation of that mild

06:26

performance gain over the years from M1

06:28

to M3 cuz that has been another

06:30

complaint that we keep see popping up

06:31

it's like wow these new Chips aren't

06:33

that much better absolutely they aren't

06:36

but that's kind of a good thing right in

06:37

terms of pricing when they when they

06:39

release this M3 product they have to

06:42

reduce the price of the older one and if

06:43

the gains aren't massive which they

06:45

aren't just buy the old one I think in

06:47

all my years of doing YouTube I don't

06:49

think I've ever made a video where I was

06:50

like don't buy the new one buy the old

06:52

one because that's normally like common

06:54

sense right if you want the best value

06:55

the previous generation is always going

06:56

to be that case so I don't bother with

06:58

that but in think in this particular

07:00

timing of this time period because the

07:02

M2 and m1s were so close in performance

07:05

to the M3 and they're that much cheaper

07:08

and apple has a refurb store which has

07:10

like steeper discounts it just doesn't

07:12

make sense to buy the M3 product if

07:14

you're on a tight budget unless you need

07:17

the double external screen now the CPU

07:19

gains since M1 have been limited the

07:21

gains when it comes to graphics

07:22

performance though is more noticeable

07:24

it's just that it's quite dependent on

07:25

the application that you're using now

07:27

the battery life on the M3 MacBook air15

07:30

was really similar to the M2 product

07:31

from last year it's just that it seems

07:33

to drain a little faster on heavier

07:35

loads but I think in general when you

07:37

look at Apple's website there's a reason

07:39

why they're comparing a lot of this

07:41

performance on the M3 MacBook Air

07:42

product to Intel products just because

07:45

that's where you're going to notice the

07:46

biggest gains now in terms of gaming

07:48

this is a fanless system right keep that

07:50

in mind but uh this can run some pretty

07:53

demanding games at lower settings but in

07:56

general you're going to want to be

07:57

playing some really light titles now the

07:59

last last thing I want to talk about

08:00

real briefly is the mentioning of AI in

08:03

Apple's marketing material so they

08:05

talked about running llms and defusion

08:07

models on the M3 MacBook Air and it's

08:09

legit even though they don't use

08:11

nvidia's Cuda Apple silicon is fairly

08:13

effective at handling that type of

08:14

workflow uh now just to wrap this off

08:17

the internals of this device haven't

08:18

changed right like nothing or when I say

08:20

internals I mean like the screen and the

08:22

keyboard this is still a class leading

08:24

keyboard uh the speakers are't change

08:26

these sound really good especially for a

08:27

device that's super thin like this uh on

08:29

the screen it goes up to 500 nits this

08:31

is a solid screen I mean obviously the

08:34

exposure of the camera is kind of

08:35

portraying A Brighter Image than it

08:37

actually gets up to it is capped at 60

08:39

HZ if that matters to you it is like the

08:41

thing that I believe Apple uses just

08:43

kind of separate the pro products from

08:46

the amateur products uh that refresh

08:49

rate okay there you have it the M3

08:51

MacBook

08:53

Air