Apple Unveils Game-Changing M2 Ultra Chip

The latest Apple Silicon, hailed as the most potent to date, essentially combines two of its previously dominant chips into one.



Apple’s transition to its in-house CPUs has seen significant advancements in just two and a half years. Today, Apple announced the M2 Ultra, which powers the latest updates to its MacStudio and Mac Pro desktop lineup. While earlier M2 versions were exclusive to laptops, the Ultra version breaks new ground, delivering substantial performance improvements. By employing UltraFusion, Apple combines two M2 Max chips using a low-latency interprocessor connection, achieving a remarkable 2.5TB/s bandwidth. This approach mirrors the M1 Ultra’s integration of two M1 Max chips within a single package.


The M2 Ultra represents a significant leap forward compared to the M2 Max found in the MacBook Pro. Notably, the core count has doubled from 12 to 24, while the GPU cores have also doubled, with the high-end model boasting up to 76 cores. Additionally, the RAM support has increased from 96GB to an impressive 192GB, delivering 800GB/s of bandwidth. Although the majority of users may not require such extensive RAM capacity, having the option is a notable advantage. It is worth mentioning that the M1, launched in November 2020, was initially limited to just 16GB of unified memory, making this enhancement a substantial improvement. Furthermore, the Neural Engine receives a similar upgrade with 32 cores, resulting in a 40-percent boost in performance for AI-based tasks compared to the M2 Max.


Apple placed significant emphasis on the media capabilities of their new chips, highlighting their ability to handle demanding tasks. They showcased the impressive capability of running 22 streams of 8K ProRes footage simultaneously, demonstrating the raw power that would expedite video-editing projects of various complexities. Particularly, the Mac Pro stood out as it was mentioned to possess the equivalent power of seven Afterburner cards, which were relied upon in the Intel-based Mac Pro for video acceleration. This signifies a substantial leap in performance and efficiency for media-intensive workflows on the new Apple Silicon-based Mac Pro.


The M2 Ultra sets itself apart from its laptop-focused predecessors with an impressive level of expansion options. It includes built-in WiFi 6e, Bluetooth 5.3, and 10Gb Ethernet (dual 10Gb Ethernet on the Mac Pro). Additionally, the Mac Pro model offers up to eight Thunderbolt 4 ports and six PCIe Gen 4 slots, addressing the need for PCI expansion in a professional-grade desktop. This expansion capability has been a necessity for pro-level workstations, and it is a notable addition to Apple Silicon machines. In order for Apple Silicon to gain traction in the workstation market, it was crucial to provide users with the flexibility to incorporate high-end audio cards or 3D accelerators for rendering complex models.


With the introduction of the M2 Ultra and the refreshed Mac Pro, Apple has finally concluded its long-standing transition from Intel chips to its proprietary silicon. While Apple confidently highlights the advantages of its in-house chips, their success in penetrating the highest end of the market is yet to be determined. The company faces the challenge of establishing a strong foothold and gaining acceptance in this competitive segment. The reception and adoption of the M2 Ultra and the new Mac Pro will ultimately determine the extent of Apple’s triumph in this endeavor.