Apple's 24-Core M2 Ultra Combines Two M2 Max Dies, Powers New Mac Pro, Mac Studio

m2 ultra wwdc
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple has added its newest — and most powerful — member to the M2 family of Apple Silicon chips here at WWDC. The new system on a chip, the M2 Ultra, will power an updated Mac Studio, alongside a configuration with M2 Max, as well as a new Mac Pro. This completes the company's transition away from Intel's CPUs.

M2 Ultra connects two M2 Max dies together, and Apple says it's the most powerful chip for a personal computer -- which is a hefty claim.

The M2 Ultra chip will have 24 CPU cores (16 performance cores and 8 efficiency cores) for 20% faster performance than the M1 Ultra, with options for up to 76 GPU cores. RAM will go up to 192GB. These are all increases over the M1 Ultra, which offered 20 CPU cores and was configurable up to a 64-core GPU, a 32-core Neural Engine and 800 GB/s memory bandwidth. The new Studio can handle six Pro Display XDR monitors.

The Mac Studio looks the same as the previous system, but the new chips should provide tangible benefits, especially in multi-core workloads. The M2 Max, which will be in the starting configurations of the Mac Studio, is already available in the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros.

Apple says that the Mac Studio will start at the same $1,999 price as its predecessor, or $1,799 for education customers.

Andrew E. Freedman is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming. He also keeps up with the latest news. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Kotaku, PCMag and Complex, among others. Follow him on Threads @FreedmanAE and Mastodon @FreedmanAE.mastodon.social.

  • bit_user
    The M2 Ultra chip will have 24 CPU cores ... for 20% faster performance than M1 Ultra ... which offered 20 CPU
    For single-threaded, 20% is great. For multi-threaded, it's exactly equivalent to their core-count increase, meaning virtually no IPC or clockspeed improvement. I'm guessing the CPU cores are the same as the baseline M2, so we should have some idea about the answer... I just haven't looked it up, yet.

    Also, does anyone know the M2 Ultra's memory speed?
    Reply
  • SSGBryan
    The specs are now live.

    It is worse than I thought it would be.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    SSGBryan said:
    The specs are now live.

    It is worse than I thought it would be.
    Care to enlighten us? In what respects are you disappointed?
    Reply
  • Sippincider
    Wonder if they refreshed the Studio's case to cure the whistling.

    Guess we'll find out soon enough.
    Reply
  • JamesJones44
    bit_user said:
    Also, does anyone know the M2 Ultra's memory speed?

    From what I've seen the M2 line uses the same LPDDR5-6400 as the M1 Pro/Max/Ultra. I'm guessing they doubled the channels to get the 2x memory bandwidth over their M1 siblings, but that's only a guess.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    JamesJones44 said:
    I'm guessing they doubled the channels to get the 2x memory bandwidth over their M1 siblings, but that's only a guess.
    I highly doubt that. The M1 series' memory bus was already scaled up to crazy widths.
    VariantMemory data bus width (bits)M1128M1 Pro256M1 Max512M1 Ultra1024
    According to this the M2, M2 Pro, and M2 Max all have the same width as their M1 counterparts.
    https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2023/01/apple-unveils-m2-pro-and-m2-max-next-generation-chips-for-next-level-workflows/
    Reply
  • JamesJones44
    bit_user said:
    I highly doubt that. The M1 series' memory bus was already scaled up to crazy widths.
    VariantMemory data bus width (bits)M1128M1 Pro256M1 Max512M1 Ultra1024

    According to this the M2, M2 Pro, and M2 Max all have the same width as their M1 counterparts.
    https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2023/01/apple-unveils-m2-pro-and-m2-max-next-generation-chips-for-next-level-workflows/
    I think I mess read somewhere that they had double memory bandwidth with the M2 line, but a quick check shows the base M2 is the only one that got a memory bandwidth bump (100 GB/s vs 66.7 GB/s). Would make sense if they are using the same LPDDR5-6400 and same bus width.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    JamesJones44 said:
    a quick check shows the base M2 is the only one that got a memory bandwidth bump (100 GB/s vs 66.7 GB/s). Would make sense if they are using the same LPDDR5-6400 and same bus width.
    The base M1 used LPDDR4. All of the other M1s used LPDDR5. So, that should explain why the base M2 got a speed increase (i.e. from switching to LPDDR5).
    Reply
  • SSGBryan
    bit_user said:
    Care to enlighten us? In what respects are you disappointed?
    16 big/8 little CPU cores

    No H.265, No AV1 encoding

    2 x16 PCIe 4 slots; 4 x8 PCIe 4 slots

    1 PCIe 3.0 slot X4 for I/O

    This is a $7,000 machine, not a $2,000 machine
    Reply
  • bit_user
    SSGBryan said:
    No H.265, No AV1 encoding
    Source?

    SSGBryan said:
    2 x16 PCIe 4 slots; 4 x8 PCIe 4 slots
    I agree that I/O is a sore spot. However, other than a few SSDs, there's not really any PCIe 5.0 device out there. Plus, there's such limited selection of cards you can put in a Mac.
    Reply