Monday, Mar 14, 2022, 15:24 Mac: Hardware

M1 Vs. M1 Pro Vs. M1 Max Vs. M1 Ultra – Apple's Processors In Comparison

Apple is ahead of the game – the company's most recent step forward in the development of extremely powerful yet simultaneously energy efficient chips will remain unmatched for years to come. Almost all experts are in agreement on this after the release of Cupertino's most recent M1 Ultra chip with the Mac Studio. The new compact desktop computer from Cupertino even beats out the traditionally more powerful current (Intel) Mac Pro in terms of performance whilst also letting current processors from Intel and AMD look aged. Press reports have referred to the device as a "monster" and a challenge to Intel from Apple.

Apple Takes Scalability To A New Level
The M1 Ultra recently released on the occasion of Apple's "Peek Performance" event last week shows just how clever the minds at the company were in proceeding with the chip's development – something made apparent after a comparison of the technical specifications of all M-chips released up until this point. From the very beginning of designing the M-chips, the Californian company set the focus on scalability and has taken this philosophy to the next level with the release of the youngest member of its M-processor family. This has been further enabled by the fact that Apple has switched to the 5nm production process thanks to its manufacturing partner TSMC. This has allowed Cupertino to release extremely capable, energy efficient chips with a very small die size.

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M1 M1 Pro M1 Max M1 Ultra
CPU Cores 8 8 / 10 10 20
CPU Performance Cores 4 6 / 8 8 16
CPU Efficiency Cores 4 2 2 4
GPU Cores 7 / 8 14 / 16 24 / 32 48 / 64
Neural Engine 16 Cores 16 Cores 16 Cores 32 Cores
Transistors 16,0 Billion 33,7 Billion 57,0 Billion 114,0 Billion
Unified Memory 8 GB / 16 GB 16 GB / 32 GB 32 GB / 64 Gb 64 GB / 128 GB
Memory Bandwidth 68,25 GB/s 200 GB/s 400 GB/s 800 GB/s


The M1 Pro, M1 Max, and M1 Ultra all possess a hardware-video decoder with respectively one, two, or even four encoder units – along with the same number of ProRes encoders and decoders. The standard M1 is the only M-chip without these features.

M1 Ultra Doubles Performance Of The M1 Max
The fact that the M1 Ultra takes a special design existing from a combination of two M1 Max chips is already known. The two chips are fused together with what Apple calls an "Ultra Fusion" interposer with a bandwidth of 2.5 TB per second. For its system and all apps, this combination essentially presents as an M1 Max with double the number of CPU and GPU cores. In the earliest performance benchmarks, the results reveal nearly linear improvements and thus doubled computational performance. As far as single-core performance, there's no difference between the 4 M-chips. Apple uses identical cores for all chips – even clock speeds are at the same level for all of the chips.


Source: Apple


Apple: M1 Ultra "Completes" Chip Family
According to Apple, the M1 Ultra completes the current chip generation's family. However, which processor the company plans to use in the upcoming Apple Silicon Mac Pro remains to be seen. Several analysts have indicated or implied that the Californian company might simply combine three or even four M1 Max chips with Ultra Fusion for use in the Mac Pro. Other experts consider this case unlikely as such an approach could result in technical problems. Additionally, a "Frankenstein" chip setup would have 96 - 128 GB of RAM as a minimal requirement, with a maximum of 256.

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