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Apple M1 Ultra Release Date, SKU, Specs, and More

Apple M1 Ultra Release Date, SKU, Specs, and More

Just a few months after unveiling the new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, Apple decided to unveil another member of the M1 family of Apple Silicon SoCs at its spring “Peek Performance” product event. Called M1 Ultra, this new chip is the fourth and final member of the M1 family. The M1 Ultra is specifically aimed at desktop computers and it’s going to make its debut in Apple’s new Mac Studio. In this article, we are going to take a detailed look at everything you need to know about the new Apple M1 Ultra SoC.

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Apple M1 Ultra: release date and availability

Apple announced the new M1 Ultra chip at its spring “Peek Performance” event alongside the new M1-powered iPad Air and new iPhone SE (2022). The company also confirmed that the new chip will debut in the Mac Studio machine, which was also announced at the same event.

Apple M1 Ultra punch

The M1 Ultra-powered Mac Studio desktop computer starts at $3,999 and it will be available for purchase starting March 18. It’s worth pointing out that the new Mac Studio is the only computer to feature the new M1 Ultra chip. While we expect Apple to bring this new SoC to some of its other machines in the future, there is no official information about it yet.

Apple M1 Ultra: What is UltraFusion Architecture?

So how do you create a new SoC that’s more powerful than the M1 Max chip that’s already pushing the boundaries of the chipset space with its incredible spec set? The answer, according to Apple, is to use UltraFusion. This new packaging architecture essentially connects two M1 Max dies using a very high-speed interface. Apple has kept this interface secret until now. It also uses a silicon interposer to route signals between the two chips. Apple says it can route a large number of signals between the chips, enabling an ultra-wide, ultra-high-bandwidth connection between the two M1 Max chips. Here’s an animated mockup shown by Apple as part of its M1 Ultra keynote:

The animation, as you can see, seems to show some sort of bridge to connect the two chips. While Apple says it uses a silicon interposer to make a connection, it remains to be seen exactly what component is at play here to make the high-bandwidth connection possible. Thanks to UltraFusion, the M1 Ultra can deliver an incredible 2.5 TB/second bandwidth between the two interconnected dies. This also allows the M1 Ultra to produce two separate GPUs in a single unit for applications. More information on this a little later in the article.

Apple M1 Ultra: hardware overview

Now that we know how Apple ships two separate M1 Max chips in one unit, it should come as no surprise to find that the new M1 Ultra has nearly doubled the hardware. This extends to the datasheet numbers as well, which means the M1 Ultra has twice as many CPU and GPU cores as the M1 Max SoC. The same goes for the number of neural cores, LPDDR5 memory channels, and even I/O for peripherals.

Apple M1 Ultra processor performance

As for the processor, the M1 Ultra offers a total of 20 cores, including 16 high-performance cores and 4 high-efficiency cores. The performance cores, in case you don’t know, are Apple’s Firestorm cores, while the efficiency cores are their Icestorm cores. This hybrid core architecture is very similar to how Intel distributes its cores in the new 12th generation chips.

Although Apple won’t reveal the clock speeds of the cores, we assume that Apple will push the speeds higher than what we’ve seen in the M1 Max chips. We say that because the M1 Ultra is specifically aimed at desktops, which means Apple doesn’t necessarily have to put a lot of effort into saving power. Not to mention that the high-efficiency Icestorm cores will continue to do their job to control power consumption as well. According to the company, the M1 Ultra performs better than the 16-core Intel Core i9-12900K desktop processor while consuming relatively less power.

Comparison Apple M1 Ultra with M1, M1 Pro and M1 Max

Since Apple uses two M1 Max dies on the chip, the M1 Ultra gets double the number of memory channels. This means that we are also considering doubling the memory bandwidth. The M1 Ultra has 32 LPDDR5 channels and 800 GB/second of memory bandwidth, while the M1 Max has 16 LPDDR5-6400 channels for a total of 408 GB/second of memory bandwidth. For those who care about raw numbers on a spec sheet, the M1 Ultra now has 128GB of unified memory compared to just 64GB on the M1 Max. It’s crazy how the new chip makes 64GB of unified memory seem like no big deal.

That being said, it’s worth pointing out that the 128GB unified memory is still a far cry from what many other high-end desktop workstations can have. That’s still a lot more than most high-end mainstream PCs will have, so that’s something to consider. But will double the memory bandwidth deliver a significant performance boost over what the M1 Max already offered? Well, that’s something we can’t say until we get our hands on the new chip for a detailed comparison.

M1 Ultra GPU Performance

On the GPU side, the M1 Ultra has up to 64 GPU cores with up to 8192 execution units. The M1 Max with 32 GPU cores was already overkill, so it’s safe to say that the M1 Ultra should be able to handle just about any type of 3D workload without flinching. We’ve seen multi-die CPUs in the past, but multi-die GPU isn’t really common in the silicon industry. In most multi-GPU systems, each GPU acts as an individual unit mainly due to very high internal bandwidth requirement.

Apple has basically managed to pull off something incredibly complex and make a chip that combines two separate GPUs. Apple makes bold claims comparing the M1 Ultra with an RTX 3090, one of the most powerful discrete GPUs. But only time will tell how the new M1 Ultra performs in GPU workloads. The GeForce RTX 3090, as you probably already know, is known for delivering impressive performance at the expense of power efficiency. A system powered by M1 Ultra, on the other hand, is supposed to perform better and consume less power compared to a high-end desktop computer running an Intel Core i9-12900K processor and an RTX 3090. We will have to take a close look at the M1 Ultra and compare it with discrete GPUs to present our verdict on GPU performance.

If you want to know more about the new M1 Ultra chip, here are some links that will help you keep up to date with what’s going on:

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve managed to collect some of the most frequently asked questions about the Apple M1 Ultra here. Feel free to ask more questions in the comments below, and we’ll try to answer them here with future updates to this page:

Is the M1 Ultra the fastest chip?

The M1 Ultra is said to be Apple’s most powerful chip to date. The company connected two M1 Max dies to double the hardware specs of this chip. We’ll have more to talk about the performance of this once we get a chance to test it.

How fast is the M1 Ultra?

In typical Apple fashion, the company hasn’t shared official clock speed numbers for the M1 Ultra. The new chip, however, has 16 performance cores and four efficiency cores to easily handle whatever workloads you throw at it.

Did Apple launch a MacBook with the new M1 Ultra chip?

No, there is no MacBook M1 Ultra, at least as of this writing. The new chip is exclusive to the new Mac Studio desktop for now.

Is Mac studio a processor?

No, the Mac Studio is Apple’s new desktop computer that runs on the new M1 Ultra chip. You can also purchase a Mac Studio variant that contains the slightly older M1 Max chip.

Apple M1 Ultra: Should you buy it?

There is no doubt that the M1 Ultra is more powerful than the M1 Max chip that debuted a few months ago. Apple used UltraFusion to link two M1 Max chips together to double the datasheet numbers. On paper, the M1 Ultra surely looks like the most powerful chip around. However, we’ll have to wait for the Mac Studio to hit shelves to find out just how much of an improvement the new chip offers over the old one. In the meantime, you can check out our collection of the best Macs to see if you want to buy other Mac computers that might better suit your needs and budget.

We’ve added the link to buy the new Mac Studio below, but you might want to check out our Mac Studio deals page to see if you can save some money on a fully-featured $8,000 desktop. .

    The Apple Mac Studio powered by the new M1 Ultra chip starts at $3,999. It comes with 64GB of unified memory and up to 1TB of SSD.