Apple M1 Ultra vs. M1 Max: Which chip is for you?

Apple’s release of the M1 SoC transformed the bespoke silicon business Apple M1 Ultra. It then released the M1 Pro and M1 Max SoCs, aimed at power users, particularly makers. However, Apple didn’t stop there. It has now unveiled the godfather of all these SoCs, M1 Ultra, the last chip in the M1 family.

M1 Ultra is the latest and best addition to the M1 family, and with two M1 Max chips, it lives up to its name! But should you really invest money on an M1 Ultra-powered smartphone, or would the M1 Max (which is still strong enough to get you by) suffice? Let’s look more closely at the differences between the M1 Max and the Apple M1 Ultra.

M1 Max vs. M1 Ultra: Spec Sheet

These SoCs (System on Chip) have the CPU, GPU and Memory (RAM). You can compare the specs of each device by using this list.

M1 UltraM1 Max
CPU20 Cores
(16 Efficiency plus 4 Performance)
ten cores
(8 Outcome + 2 Effectiveness) 
GPU48 Cores24 Cores
Neural Engine 32 Cores16 Cores
Memory bandwidth 800GB/s 400GB/s
(Unified Memory ), or RAM64GB, 128GB 32GB, 64GB
Storage1TB, 2TB, 4TB, or 8TB512GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, or 8TB
Adjustable up to20-core CPU
64-core GPU
32-core Neural Engine 
10-core CPU
32-core GPU
16-core Neural Engine

We already know that Apple M1 Ultra consists of two interconnected M1 Maxes. Although chip makers often dislike this because it adds delay, Apple made it possible, and with 2.5TB/s of interprocessor bandwidth, I doubt any lag is visible.

Every M1 SoC is built using a 5nm architecture. Thanks to Apple’s UltraFusion Technology, the Apple M1 Ultra contains 16 billion transistors, while the Apple M1 Ultra has 57 billion and the M1 Ultra has 114 billion transistors.

There is very little variation in the single-core CPU performance of any of the M1 CPUs. The multi-core performance of these processors is where the difference first becomes apparent. Examine the benchmark score in the section below.

Apple M1 Ultra vs. M1 Max: Which chip is for you?

Does the M1 Ultra need extreme power usage?

Power consumption of CPU and GPU performance

The power-to-performance ratio of M1 chips is their USP. These SoCs use less power than their PC counterparts. The M1 Max CPU uses 65% less energy than the Intel i5-12600K, while delivering comparable performance.

The M1 Ultra’s CPU competes directly against the Intel i9-12900K and offers 90% more performance for the same power consumption.

Both SoCs have GPUs that are extremely power-efficient. The M1 Max delivers similar performance as the RTX 3060Ti, while consuming only 1/3rd of its power. The M1 Ultra uses 200 watts less energy than the RTX 3090, while delivering similar performance. This is a remarkable feat of engineering and design, especially when you consider the size of Mac Studio.

Price and availability

The M1 Max comes with the MacBook Pro 16-inch and the newly launched Mac Studio. However, the M1 Ultra only comes with Mac Studio. It makes sense, as it is not possible to fit the M1 Ultra SoC into a MacBook.

The price of the M1 Ultra Mac Studio is reasonable, given that it’s literally two M1 Maxes combined. Mac Studio M1 Max starts at $1,999 while M1 Ultra Mac Studio starts at $3,999.

Apple M1 Ultra vs. M1 Max: Which chip is for you?

Apple M1 Ultra vs. M1 Max: Which chip is for you?

Mac Studio also comes with an array of ports. The M1 Max Mac Studio and M1 Ultra Mac Studio both have 4 Thunderbolt4 ports on the back. They support:

  • Thunderbolt 4 (upto 40Gb/s).
  • DisplayPort
  • USB 4 (upto 40Gb/s).
  • USB 3.1 Gen2 (up to 10Gb)
  • Two USB-A ports up to 5Gb/s
  • HDMI port
  • 10Gb Ethernet
  • 3.5 mm headphone jack

The front of the Mac Studio M1 Ultra is a.

  • Two Thunderbolt4 ports (up to 40Gb/s).
  • SDXC Card Slot (UHS-II).

The Mac Studio includes M1 Max.

  • Two USB-C port (up to a 10Gb)
  • SDXC Card Slot (UHS-II).

Pre-orders are available now at the Apple Store. They will be available on 18 March. Shipping will take between 6-8 weeks.

Should you buy M1 Max or M1 Ultra?

Which Mac Studio do you choose? Does the $1,999 Mac Studio w/ M1 Max SoC meet your needs? Do you want to spend an extra $2,000 on the $3,999 Mac Studio M1 Ultra? Only you can answer this question.

If you deal with highly demanding jobs and several 4K screens, the M1 Ultra appears to be the best option. However, M1 Max Mac Studio is not to be overlooked. Consider your specific use case and make an informed selection.

The M1 chip has disrupted custom silicon, and the M1 Ultra is following suit. The M1 Ultra is capable of a great deal of power, but it may be too much for most consumers.

If you’ve been thinking about upgrading, be sure to list your requirements and update accordingly. I can personally attest that the M1 chip is powerful and efficient for everyday work. What are your feelings regarding M1 Ultra? Please share in the comments section below.

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