Apple is one of the tech giants who are keen to make surprises. This was proven again by Apple in an event titled “Peek Performance” which was held on March 8, 2022 by announcing the M1 Ultra. This is the most powerful custom ARM-based processor designed for its newest Mac Studio desktop computer.
The M1 Ultra is basically two M1 Max connected together with a new interconnect architecture and Apple calls it UltraFusion. This technology was developed using a silicon interposer providing 2.5 TB/s bandwidth.
In addition, UltraFusion also reduces latency and bandwidth issues compared to having two separate chips connected via the motherboard. For doubling the resources of the M1 Max, the M1 Ultra has a 20-core CPU, 64-core GPU, and a 32-core Neural Engine, all of which are twice that of the M1 Max.
As usual, Apple has some performance figures to feed us. Apple claims that the M1 Ultra offers 90% higher performance for power consumption, this is the same as that of the Intel Core i9-12900K and can match Intel’s peak performance by using 100W less.
The M1 Ultra is also moderately more powerful than the 12900K in multi-core tasks, though Apple didn’t specify the tasks in question. In terms of GPU performance, the 64-core model consumes 200W less than the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090.
Apple also boasts that the memory bandwidth on the M1 Ultra is also higher than the previous model, reaching 800MB/s. In addition, the M1 Ultra can be configured with up to 128 GB of integrated memory. Like other M1 models, this entire memory pool is accessible to both the CPU and GPU.
The M1 Ultra can also do some “pretty crazy” things in media decoding, including being able to play back up to 18 streams of 8K ProRes 422 video simultaneously. It also has support for up to five displays, four of which are 6K Pro Display XDR along with a fifth 4K display.
Lastly, in terms of software, the M1 Ultra will appear to applications as a single processor. This means that all programs will run and scale automatically without having to change. Additionally, macOS has been designed to be hardware-friendly, so macOS can also automatically take advantage of the chip’s performance improvements.