And arguably a “fail” on the part of developers and even Apple to a degree.
We have wondered as have several here about the inconsistencies in performance with the new chips, particularly in some of the most popular bench marks like Geekbench (though my very mixed feelings on most benchmarks are well know to those here).
And why what Apple is saying/claiming about the chips may not be showing in “real-world” tests.
So the TLDR is that we have just started our investigation, but It comes down to a couple of fundamental design changes to the M3 chips.
The first seems almost silly, and at first glance easy to fix, but in reality is much more of a challenge which is the “uneven” number of main cores such as the 11 performance cores in the newest M3 pro.
The practical reality is that in almost all cases with mainstream apps (and the OS to a degree), they leave one or more cores completely idle and in some cases end up utilizing less cores in a given workload than they did with the M2 Pros.
For example, a few Photoshop filters which will make use of up to 8 cores on the M2 Pro only use 4 with the M3 Pro. And it seems to come down to a simple division of labor issue where it can only deploy workloads in multiples of two.
And a similar issue seems to exist with memory management where the management schemes seem to rely on memory being allocated in multiples of four, so for example with the 18GB configuration of the base level of the new m3 pros, 2GB often sits unused.
Apple has a bit of the blame here too as they don’t really provide the best tools (yet anyway) to allow app developers to easily manage this. A situation that has been commonplace with Windows where task scheduler has seemed to be perpetually behind the chip makers such as with Intel with their 13th gen chips where Windows itself, to date, doesn’t properly distribute some workloads between the performance and efficiency cores.
eg. it often defaults to sending all tasks to the performance cores, even though many could be done more effectively on the efficiency cores.
More to come as we work on our own testing and also talk with some of the app developers.