At Apple’s online spring event, the company unveiled its new M1 Ultra chip. Apple claimed it is the world’s most powerful chip for a personal computer.
System on a chip
The M1 Ultra is Apple’s latest “System on a Chip” (SoC). The chip includes the CPU, GPU and unified memory architecture (RAM), which are normally separate components. The new chip also includes the SSD controller, encode/decode engines, a Thunderbolt controller with USB 4 support and more.
Apple has constructed the M1 Ultra by connecting two M1 Max chips using their innovative packaging architecture known as UltraFusion. As such, it has a 20-core CPU and a 64-core GPU. The chip consists of 114 billion transistors — the most ever in a personal computer chip. It can also be configured with up to 128 GB of unified memory.
Apple claims that the M1 Ultra delivers 90 percent higher multi-threaded performance than the fastest available 16-core PC desktop chip. Additionally, the chip reaches the PC chip’s peak performance using 100 fewer watts. The GPU will also deliver faster performance than the highest-end PC GPU available while using 200 fewer watts of power. Using less energy means that the chip requires less cooling, meaning the systems can run more quietly.
The M1 Ultra’s unified memory architecture bandwidth has increased to 800 GB/s, more than 10x the latest PC desktop chip. In addition, all the parts of the chip can access the unified memory architecture. This means that for graphic-intensive workloads, the GPU can utilize as much of the system memory as required. The M1 Ultra GPU can therefore access much higher levels of graphics memory than any PC graphics card currently available.
Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Technologies, said, “M1 Ultra is another game-changer for Apple silicon that once again will shock the PC industry. By connecting two M1 Max die with our UltraFusion packaging architecture, we’re able to scale Apple silicon to unprecedented new heights. With its powerful CPU, massive GPU, incredible Neural Engine, ProRes hardware acceleration, and huge amount of unified memory, M1 Ultra completes the M1 family as the world’s most powerful and capable chip for a personal computer.”
The M1 Ultra will make its first appearance in the new Mac Studio scheduled to be released on March 18th.