Apple M1 Ultra vs M1 Max: A New Benchmark for Desktop Chips

Apple M1 Ultra vs M1 Max: A New Benchmark for Desktop Chips

apple has unveiled an unparalleled desktop chip, the Apple M1 Ultra, at its Spring Event today. the Apple M1, M1 Pro, and M1 Max were already revolutionary chips, but the M1 Ultra has again defined the boundary. But how good is the new Apple M1 Ultra chip compared to the recently-released M1 Max? Well, in this article, we compare Apple M1 Ultra vs Apple M1 Max to find out the CPU and GPU gains, power efficiency numbers, and more. On that note, let’s go ahead and pit Apple M1 Ultra against its sibling, Apple M1 Max.

Apple M1 Ultra vs M1 Max: A Detailed Comparison (2022)

In this comparison between Apple M1 Ultra and M1 Max, we have mentioned the specs difference and discussed CPU, GPU, and power consumption behavior. You can expand the table below and move to any section you want.

Apple M1 Ultra vs Apple M1 Max: Specs Comparison

Here is a quick specs comparison between Apple M1 Ultra and Apple M1 Max. You can glance over the spec sheet to get a rough idea about how powerful the new M1 Ultra chip is against the M1 Max.

Apple M1 Ultra Apple M1 Max
Fabrication Process 5nm 5nm
Transistors 114 Billion 57 Billion
CPU Cores 20
(16 Performance + 4 Efficiency)
(8 Performance + 2 Efficiency)
GPU Cores 64 cores 32 cores
Neural Engine 32 cores; 22 TOPS 16 core; 11 TOPS
Unified Memory (RAM) Up to 128GB Up to 64GB
Memory Bandwidth 800GBps 400GBps
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Apple M1 Ultra vs Apple M1 Max: CPU

Beginning with the CPU, the Apple M1 Ultra comes from the same M1 family of processors, so the architecture, fabrication process, etc., are all the same. Both M1 Ultra and M1 Max are built on a 5nm process and based on ARM’s v8 architecture. The M1 Ultra packs a total of 20 CPU cores with 16 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores. Whereas the M1 Max features 10 total cores, including 8 performance and 2 efficiency cores. In terms of transistors count, the M1 Ultra has a whopping 114 billion transistors, twice the number of transistors on the M1 Max (57 billion).

As you can notice, Apple has merely doubled the specs of M1 Max to build the M1 Ultra. While in multi-threaded tasks, you will find a great difference on the M1 Ultra, but as far as single-core CPU performance is concerned, both M1 Max and M1 Ultra are on the same level. In fact, M1 Ultra’s single-core performance is similar to the base Apple M1 chipset.

Having said that, it does not take away Apple’s incredible feat at combining two M1 Max chips to get a single integrated M1 Ultra die. Apple says it is impossible to create a large die to pack 114 billion transistors, so it developed an interposer architecture called UltraFusion to connect two M1 Maxes together. The UltraFusion tech is incredibly fast and has an interposer bandwidth of 2.5TB/sec, making the whole die-to-die connector a single integrated circuit.

To sum up, the CPU performance of the M1 Ultra is indeed twice as fast as M1 Max as M1 Ultra is basically two M1 Max chips bonded together† However, Apple has done a marvelous job at strapping two M1 Maxes together.

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Apple M1 Ultra vs Apple M1 Max: GPU

Similar to the CPU, the M1 Ultra GPU has also seen double gains with no foundational changes to the GPU cores. The M1 Ultra comes with 64 GPU cores, whereas the M1 Max features 32 GPU cores. Naturally, the GPU performance is 2x better than the M1 Max. And due to the combined M1 Maxes, you get two Media engines on the M1 Ultra. So essentially, the M1 Ultra has 2 video decoders, 4 videos encoders, and 4 ProRes encoder/ decoder engines, making it one of the rare chipsets to have such an incredible GPU.

Further, the company says the GPU on the M1 Ultra can drive four Apple’s 6K Pro Display XDR and one 4K screen, which is bonkers. Effectively, the M1 Ultra can simultaneously drive around 90 million pixels, and that is unbelievable. Not to mention, due to the combined chipset, you get access to 128GB of Unified Memory, be it for GPU tasks or CPU. You can say that M1 Ultra has 128GB of graphics memory which is again unprecedented. Overall, the M1 Ultra’s 64-core GPU is twice as good as the M1 Max’s 32-core GPU.

Apple M1 Ultra vs Apple M1 Max: Power Consumption

Talking about power consumption, Apple demonstrated that its CPU is quite power efficient, as has been the case with other Apple M1 chips, including the M1 Max. The Cupertino giant didn’t compare the M1 Ultra’s power consumption to its in-house M1 Max chipset since both are fundamentally the same chips. However, Apple did compare M1 Ultra’s power behavior against dominant and high-end PC chips.

Apple says M1 Ultras CPU takes 100W less power, all the while performing similarly to the 12th-Gen Intel Core i9-12900K processor. And in the same power envelope, it can perform 90% better than the 12900K which is mind-blowing. In terms of GPU, the M1 Ultra offers the same level of performance as Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 but while utilizing 200W less power. Granted, the Nvidia RTX 3090 is not the best benchmark to judge a GPU in 2022, but still, 200W is a wide margin. It’s safe to say that M1 Ultra is very power-efficient and can offer high performance on par with PC chips at a much lower power profile.

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M1 Ultra vs M1 Max: Are You Excited to Try Apple’s New Chip?

So that was our in-depth comparison between Apple M1 Ultra and M1 Max. As it’s evident from the launch, the Apple M1 Ultra is twice as powerful as the Apple M1 MAx in all aspects, be it CPU or GPU. Apple has again set the benchmark for desktop chips, and it’s going to be a tough battle for AMD and Intel to compete against Apple moving forward. Anyway, that’s all from us. If you have any questions, do let us know in the comments section below.

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