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Apple iMac M3 (2023) review: Sleek computing

Apple iMac M3 (2023) review: Sleek computing

Apple iMac M3 2023

Apple's iMac now comes with a faster M3 chip, but performs slower than the one on the Apple MacBook Pro 14 M3. It's likely because my review model only has 8-GPU cores, versus the 10 of the MBP 14. But that's not to say the Apple iMac M3 is slow, it's pretty fast as is. It's good enough for most of your productivity needs. Gaming is also possible, but we do recommend getting a model with more storage and RAM if possible. 256GB for the base model just isn't enough, honestly.

Quick specs

  • M3 8-core GPU and 8-core GPU, or M3 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU
  • Memory: 8GB/16GB/24GB
  • Storage: 256GB up to 1TB (8-core GPU), up to 2TB (10-core GPU)
  • 2x Thunderbolt 4, 3.5mm headphone jack, 2x USB-C 3 (10-core GPU only)

As an all-in-one, the iMac comes with everything you need right out of the box. You have the iMac and it's 24-inch 4K display with speakers, a power adapter, the Magic Keyboard, and the Magic Mouse. I recommend paying a bit more for the keyboard with Touch ID. It beats having to type out your password each time. The iMac also comes with a USB-C to Lightning cable. You'll need it as these accessories aren't updated to USB-C yet. I also recommend picking up a mouse with adjustable DPI. The Magic Mouse is really slow, and adjusting the tracking speed to move it faster doesn't quite feel as fluid to me.

Apple iMac M3 2023
The base model only comes with two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports.
Credit: Aloysius Low/Can Buy or Not

Despite the iMac's thin frame, the speaker system is pretty darn good. The bass is a bit lacking, though it's good enough if you're not too fussy. It's not as loud as the Apple Studio Display, for one. I do like that there's spatial audio support, which is great for watching Netflix shows on the 4K display. Speaking of which, the display only tilts back and forth, so you may need to put it on something to raise the display up to eye level. I do like how bright and sharp it is, though. Performance-wise, the Apple iMac M3 is faster than the M1 iMac, but loses out to the Apple Mac mini M2 (2023) oddly enough. While it scores better in Geekbench 6, achieving 2,990 (single-core) and 11,896 (multi-core) versus 2,481 and 8,924, the Mac mini M2 is still faster in the other benchmarks.

Apple iMac M3 2023
The 3.5mm headphone is located on the left.
Credit: Aloysius Low/Can Buy or Not

Video encoding using Handrake saw the iMac (8-core CPU, 8-core GPU) taking 8min 45s versus the Mac mini's 7min 6s (8-core CPU, 10-core GPU). The MacBook Pro 14 M3 (with a 10-core GPU) is also much faster at video encoding, taking just 5min 22s. In our full-HD gaming tests, the iMac did 40-50fps in Dota 2 while Diablo IV using GPTK was unplayable. The game became a slideshow once it started struggling with memory swap lag. The Mac mini M2 with 10 GPU cores ran Dota 2 at more than 50fps, but likewise, also struggled in Diablo IV due to its 8GB base RAM. I had to run on Ultra Performance mode using AMD FSR 2 on Low, and it's still not ideal. Comparatively, the MacBook Pro 14 M3 with 16GB and a 10-core GPU got 40fps on High graphics. However, games optimised for the macOS, such as Resident Village, ran smoothly.

The base model comes with just 8GB RAM, but it handled video editing, photo editing, and having multiple open browser tabs without any issues. I also tested 4K Pro RES files in Final Cut Pro, and the iMac handled those smoothly. At a starting price of S$1,899, the Apple iMac M3 (2023) offers users an easy way to get into the Apple ecosystem. You won't need to worry about setting up or cable management. Just plug in the power, and you're good to go. It's good enough for most productivity tasks and some light video editing. The cheaper M2 mini may also be something to consider instead. Get the iMac from Apple, Lazada, or Shopee.

See Also
Creative Zen Hybrid Pro Classic

Note: Review unit provided by Apple.

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