What are the Pros & Cons of the New Apple M1 Chip? Pro vs Max vs Ultra

Last Updated on Apr 2, 2022

Apple has helped the tech industry transform with its cutting-edge products and revolutionary innovations. Their latest launch, M1 Ultra, is creating all sorts of buzz among Apple lovers globally. Released on March 18, 2022, the Apple chip comes with some unique specifications to ensure exemplary performance.

To create this new Chip, Apple has combined two of its previous M1 Max chips in an Arm-based Architecture. That’s the similar technology they have used to design the A-series chips for iPhones and iPads. Apple has already claimed the new M1 Ultra chips to be the fastest chip-based integrated processor. 

However, like every other computer system, Mac Studios, powered by the latest Apple M1 Ultra, has its shortcomings. Thus, before you invest a hefty 8000 USD on a fully specced-out Mac Studio, you need to have all the boxes ticked from your checklist.

Well, this guide is all about that! Here, we will dive deep and examine the power and performance of the new M1 Ultra. Also, we will check the credibility of all the appreciation that the new Apple M1 Ultra chips have received. Now, check out a detailed comparison between the M1 Pro, M1 Max, and the latest M1 Ultra to understand what works for you! 

Apple M1 Pro Vs. M1 Max Vs. M1 Ultra

Apple launched the M1 Chip on November 10, 2020, with its first unique System on a Chip (SoC) technology-based desktop CPU. It marked the transition of Apple M1 from Intel chips. The processor is created on 5-nanometer technology loaded with several components, including 8 core CPU, 8 core GPU, and RAM. Also, it has the Neural engine, SSD controller, and image signal processor built-in with the Chip. 

The 8 core GPU can handle 25,000 threads simultaneously. On the other hand, the Chip is powered by a 16 core Neural engine that has 11 trillion operation capacity per second. Based on the 5-nanometer architecture, M1 is quite power efficient with a long-lasting battery life of devices.

The Apple M1 pro, M1 Max and M1 Ultra are the upgraded silicon chip versions of the Apple M1 chip. The M1 Pro and M1 Max share a few similarities despite having some basic differences.

M1 Pro comes with a 16 core GPU, combined with up to 32 GB memory, and supports video encode engineering. Whereas the M1 Max is loaded with a 32 core GPU and supports 64 GB of memory, the two ProRes encode and decode engines, and two video encode engines. BASED ON SPECIFICATIONS, the M1 Max outperforms the M1 pro chip in real-world usage. On the contrary, in the case of M1 Ultra, M1 Ultra is simply double the performance of M1 Max with 20 core CPU with 16 performance cores and four efficiency cores.

Here is a detailed comparison table of Apple M1 Pro vs. M1 Max vs. M1 Ultra;

Apple M1 Pro (2020)Apple M1 Max (2020)Apple M1 Ultra (2022)
CPU Cores8 and 101020
CPU performance cores6 and 8816
CPU efficiency cores224
GPU cores14 and 1624 and 3248 and 64
Memory16GB, 32GB32GB, 64GB64GB, 128GB
Neural engine cores161632
Transistors33.7 billion57 billion114 billion
Memory Bandwidth200Gb/s400Gb/s800Gb/s
Media EngineVideo decode engines, ProRes encode and decode enginesVideo decode engines, 2 ProRes encode and decode engines, 2 video encode enginesVideo decode engines, 4 video encode engines, 4 ProRes encode and decode engines
Geekbench scoresMulti-core score 12,505, Single-core score – 1,736, Multi-core score 12,616 Single-core score – 1,779, Multi-core score 21703, Single-core score 1647,

What are the Pros and Cons of the Apple M1 chip?

Apple’s UltraFusion interconnects technology has done an excellent job in terms of performance. However, there could be a slight gap between what the company claims on paper and the real-world user experience. Here we will discuss the pros and cons of the M1 Chip in terms of performance, battery life, energy efficiency, and GPU. And we will check its single-core performance and everything else that can impact the user experience.

Advantages

Performance – M1 Ultra loaded with 20 core CPU and 64 core GPU is enough to provide a breathtaking experience for content creators, developers compiling code, and artists working with excellent 3D conditions on the system. Transcoding video is even 5.6x faster with ProRes than other chips.

Battery Life – The unique Ultra Fusion technology of 20 cores consumes less power using even less than 100 watts. It is relatively less than other PC chips, especially when dealing with heavy tasks like Logic Pro. If you are a gamer or play with 3D rendering tasks, a 64-core GPU that delivers blazing-fast performance while using less than 200 watts of power may sound impressive. 

Speed – M1 Ultra packs with 114 billion transistors and 800Gb/s of memory bandwidth offer a blazing fast speed. The 32 Neural engine and 2.5Tb/s interprocessor bandwidth can reach upto a clock speed of 3.20Ghz. That’s enough to handle all your heavy computing needs while offering a smooth multitasking experience.

Memory – The LPDDR5-6400 SDRAM is available from 64 to 128 Gb of shared pool Unified memory; Apple M1 Ultra will give you a memory speed of 800 Gb/s. Also, it’s configurable with one of the most powerful graphics cards, upto 48GB, which lets you complete high GPU-intensive tasks consisting of high-end 3D geometry. 

Disadvantages

Not for Gamers – With the abilities described above, Apple built this Chip and the Mac Studio for creative experts whose work consists of hardware and resource-based workflow. It incorporates three-layered animations and HD video editing capabilities. But considering its excellent performance, it will be misleading to say that the new Mac studio with M1 Ultra is an ideal gaming machine. 

This Chip didn’t aim toward gaming performance. Thus, there are minimal gaming lists available for the macOS, and the Apple M1 Ultra acquires this restriction. Windows has always been the dominant platform for gamers and running and playing HD graphics-intensive game titles.

Not a Cost-effective Option – Another disadvantage could lie in the Cost factor. A basic version of Mac Studio with Apple M1 Ultra retails at USD 3999.00. Besides, the same Mac machine built with the M1 Mac chip is available at USD 1999.00. The price factor is practical as a PC system with excellent quality Intel Core CPUs and top-of-the-line NVIDIA GeForce RTX GPUs retail around this price tag.

Upgrade option Unavailable – Another disadvantage of the M1 Ultra is that it is built on SoCs. All parts, including CPU, GPU, input/output port memory, and storage, are connected to a single chip. Therefore, you wouldn’t get an option to upgrade any component, including memory or RAM.

Is the Apple M1 chip better than Intel?

Apart from Apple, if you look around, Intel, the world’s leading chip manufacturer globally, has also shaken the market with its latest 12th generation chip which has become the biggest competitor of Apple. Even before the Apple M1 chip, Apple was using Intel’s chips. At present, Intel, with its latest i9 12th generation processor, is ruling the tech market worldwide. Intel claims that its i9 12th gen is faster than Apple’s M1 Max chip that comes in MacBook Pro and mac studio. Later, the Geekbench proved the intel’s claim right but only under certain conditions.

Geekbench revealed their score of Intel Core i9-12900 HK processor in a GR76 gaming laptop is around 12,707 un multi-core. The Apple M1 Max chip in the 16-inch MacBook scores a little less at around 12,244. Consequently, it proves that Intel core i9 12th gen is approx 4% faster than the Apple M1 max chip.

However, the power efficiency is the significant caveat that changes the total picture of both Intel i9 and Apple M1 max. When tested, the GE76 raider’s power draw while running Cinebench R23 states that Intel core i9 was using 100-watt power consistently, or more precisely, it utilized around 140-watts in max. On the contrary, when testing the MacBook Pro 16-inch with M1 Max chip running Cinebench R23, it used around 40 watts of power. This ultimately changes the views on Intel’s i9 12th gen being better than Apple M1 max. Consuming this high power, Intel i9 12th gen drastically hit the battery life. Some tests reveal that it achieves only 6 hours in the offline video. Apple’s latest 16-inches MackBook Pro using Apple M1 Max is getting a battery performance of 21 hours in offline video playback. The figures are pretty shocking for both Intel and Apple; Macbook Pro wins in this case.

In terms of design, the GE76 with Intel i9 12th gen gaming laptop 17-inches weighs around 6.5 pounds, whereas the MacBook Pro 16-inches with M1 max is relatively thin at 0.66 inches and weighs 4.8 pounds. Therefore, the claim of intel being the fastest i9 12th process is likely to be on hold, yet, the Apple M1 Max is closer in some aspects and, in certain factors, outperforms the Intel Core i9 12th generation.

It wouldn’t be wrong to claim that we’re looking at a considerable performance improvement in M1 Ultra over the M1 Max chip and the Intel Core i9-12900K, particularly in the multi-core. Based on the Geekbench 5 scores, the Apple M1 Ultra manages to gain around 24,000, whereas the Core i9-12900K Geekbench 5 scores are 17,500 in the multi-core test.

Is M1 good for gaming?

Undoubtedly, Apple M1 pro and M1 Max are still the latest Chip in MacBook Pro for heavy content creation and editing tasks. Perhaps, for games lovers, Macbook Pro with M1 Pro and M1 Max has been tested with a few high-end graphics games.

Those were the days when Apple used third-party graphic cards such as the Nvidia GeForce 9400M. However, with the Apple M1 Pro, M1 Max, and M1 Ultra, Apple introduced the in-build SoCs that include the CPU and GPU duties with a shared memory pool. This technology accurately handles high-end graphic acceleration. 

Even though Apple has stated that high-end MacBook Pro laptops are not specific gaming laptops yet, they are the best for top-notch content creation. Therefore, numerous developers and Apple lovers usually overlook Apple devices as gaming machines. The latest M1 max and M1 Ultra are even more capable than famous AMD Radeon or Intel Silicon chips. But, Apple doesn’t give a long list of games to choose from for macOS. Perhaps many games would be enough to test the Apple M1 chips.

The tested games include the Tomb Raider series, Rise of the Tomb Raider and Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Total war, Warhammer II, Hitman reboot, and Sid Meier’s Civilization VI. These games were tested in full HD resolution settings of 1,920 x 1,200 pixels. Apart from it, the HD high-end graphic simulations with 3DMark were also tested on the M1 Chip. These graphic simulations are HD gaming-style graphics that test the system similar to playing High-quality games on the device.

Jumping to the results while running the Hitman 2016 game, Apple MacBook Pro with M1 Pro, 16-core GPU on low settings of 1,920 X 1,200 produces 113 frames per second while running on Ultra setting 1080p, and it produces 104 frames per second. However, the MacBook Pro with M1 Max 32 core GPU delivers 120 and 106 frames per second on low and ultra preset settings, respectively. It depicts that apart from GPU power, since M1 pro and M1 max have different GPU abilities, it only draws out a slight difference in frame rates.

On the contrary, moving towards the latest Apple M1 Ultra entirely changes the picture in gaming performance. Apple claims the M1 Ultra to be the world’s best graphical performance integrated GPU, even faster than the High-end Nvidia RTX 3090. Running Apple M1 Ultra in the new Mac Studio compared with the RTX 3090 machine shows that RTX 3090 reached around 142fps and M1 Ultra to 108frps. Even so, the Geekbench 5 compute test of Mac Studio with M1 Ultra gives an 83,121 score against RTX 3090 215,034. Undoubtedly, M1 Ultra is doing great compared to its previous versions, yet, it can’t beat the RTX3090 in some cases.

Apple M1 Ultra – FAQs

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions related to the latest Apple m1 Ultra. These FAQs will help to clear your thoughts on the M1 ultra chip.

Is M1 Ultra the fastest Chip?

Undoubtedly, Apple is claiming the M1 Ultra to be the fastest Chip globally. Its previous version, M1 Max, was even the best performer. Perhaps, the M1 Ultra is the combination of two M1 Max with 20 core CPU and 128 GB Memory with 800Gb/s. Even a Geekbench score of 21703 proved it to be the fastest Chip.

Is the M1 Ultra better than the Intel i9 121th Gen?

Intel i9 12th gen seems to be pulling the outstanding benchmark scores of 13046, but M1 Ultra scores around 24138, which is relatively high. Therefore, M1 Ultra is better than Intel, but not in all cases, including the gaming sector.

Is Mac studio a CPU?

Mac Studio, the latest released by Apple, is a new desktop computer loaded with the latest Apple M1 Ultra Chip. However, Mac Studio is also available with the older M1 Max chip.

Is Apple M1 Ultra comes in MacBook Pro?

No, Currently, Apple has launched the M1 Ultra chip with just a Mac studio desktop. MacBook Pro is still coming with older M1 Pro and M1 Mac chips.

Conclusion

Indeed, Apple has essentially managed to build something amazingly complex and produce a chip that combines the power of two separate GPUs and double the performance of the M1 Max Chip. Apple is making a striking claim by contrasting the M1 Ultra and an RTX 3090, one of the most impressive GPUs. 

However, the truth will surface eventually about the real-world performance of the new M1 Ultra. An M1 Ultra chip is expected to be a power-house of performance while being energy-efficient compared to top-of-the-line desktops or laptops running an Intel Core i9-12900K and an RTX 3090. 

If you are a person looking to upgrade from the previous M1 Pro or M1 Max, with the tremendous upgrade in performance, you should consider shifting to the Apple M1 Ultra. Also, one can buy a system powered by the M1 Ultra for high-graphical rendering tasks, 3D editing, and heavy content creation tasks. However, considering the price value and gaming sector, since macOS doesn’t include a long list of games, if you are a gamer and thinking about the M1 Ultra system, you must reconsider it with other comparable options available.

HowtoiSolve Staff

Jaysukh Patel is the founder of howtoisolve. Also self Professional Developer, Techno lover mainly for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and iOS, Jaysukh is one of responsible person in his family. Contact On: jaysukh.pharma@gmail.com [OR] admin@howtoisolve.com

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