2x M1 Max = M1 Ultra: Apple’s new super processor

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New PC processors 2x M1 Max = M1 Ultra: Apple’s new super processor

114 billion transistors, 128GB RAM per SoC, 32 AI cores: Apple’s new M1 Ultra chip boasts superlatives. And at the same time low power consumption. Details about the new super-system-on-a-chip from California.

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The M1 Ultra is made up of 114 billion transistors and supports up to 128GB of fast shared memory.The M1 Ultra is made up of 114 billion transistors and supports up to 128GB of fast shared memory.

(Image: Apple)

Apple’s Macs have experienced a boom during the coronavirus pandemic, thanks in part to our fast, energy-efficient Arm-based M1 processors. Now the iPhone group wants to continue on its course with the M1 Ultra superchip.

The Apple electronics group only introduced its M1 Max chip at the beginning of the year. Up to ten processor cores and 32 graphics cores (GPU, GPU) deliver significantly faster processing speeds compared to the already very fast and power-efficient M1 original system-on-a-chip (SoC) from late 2020.

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Now the Californians are showing off yet another high-performance processor – and are putting more pressure on chip giant Intel and rival AMD, whose x86 processors power most PCs and laptops around the world. The Cupertino-based company describes its new SoC “M1 Ultra” as the most powerful processor ever built for a personal computer – modesty a la Apple. It will initially be used in the new Mac Studio computer, which was also revealed in a video presentation on Tuesday.

“UltraFusion”: silicon adapter with over 10,000 connections

For the M1 Ultra, Apple is pairing two of the previous best SoCs from the M1 family, the M1 Max, with “UltraFusion” inter-chip fusion technology, which was also developed in-house. The processor leader, Intel, also relies heavily on this “extended packaging” process, by which chips are assembled from several individual pieces – chiplets – into a functional unit using tiny silicon interconnects.

According to Apple, Ultrafusion is designed to overcome the shortcomings of previous multi-chip systems that are connected to each other via connections on the motherboard. These include, for example, longer signal propagation times, jitter, signal distortion and higher power consumption. Apple connects two M1 Ultra SoCs via a silicon adapter with over 10,000 signal lines. According to Apple, Ultrafusion creates four times the bandwidth of the “leading multi-chip interconnect technology”: a whopping 2.5 TB/s. Unfortunately, the company does not provide any information about what other technology is in question.

128 GB On-SoC-RAM, 800 GB/s memory bandwidth

That’s not all: with its fast memory interfaces, the M1 Ultra can address up to 128GB of RAM at 800GB/s. Memory chips are installed directly next to the SoC crystals. With a 20-core CPU, 64-core GPU, 32-core neural engine, and extensive interface logic, the M1 Ultra integrates a total of approximately 114 billion transistors—more than any other PC processor to date.

In view of all these superlatives, Johnny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware technology, rightly leans out of the window: “The M1 Ultra is another milestone in Apple’s chip design that will shake the PC industry again!”

“Absolute monster”: 80% faster than the previous top-end Mac Pro

The new super system on a chip will initially be used in Mac Studio, which is also new and at first glance looks like two Mac Minis stacked on top of each other.

The Mac compact studio computer was called an “absolute monster” at the event, in a somewhat uncharacteristic choice of words for Apple. It’s 80 percent faster than the previous top-end Mac Pro in top-end configuration. The Mac Pro is the only Apple computer still stuck in the Intel world. Equipment boss John Turnus said it would also be converted, “but on another day.”

High energy efficiency

It’s nice that Apple hasn’t overlooked an important aspect in all of its calculations: energy efficiency. Mac Studio with the M1 Ultra will easily handle the processing power of a modern desktop PC with a 16-core Intel Core i9-12900K processor and DDR5 memory, as well as a current 100W less GeForce RTX 3060 Ti graphics card, the manufacturer claims. power consumption. In graphics tests, Mac Studio even consumed about 200 watts less. According to Apple, selected industry standard tests were used for the measurements.

California marketing strategists have calculated that the Mac Studio consumes 1,000 kilowatt-hours less energy per year than a high-performance desktop PC, thus reducing energy costs and reducing environmental impact.

When it comes to pricing, Apple remains as confident as ever: configuring the M1 Ultra with 20 CPU cores, 64 GPU cores and 32 AI cores, 128 GB of RAM and 2 TB SSD, the computer costs 7,129 euros.


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