Science Technology

Can Apple’s M1 Ultra launch “spell out” a future?

Users who are familiar with the development of chips may remember that Intel and AMD were flushed with excitement in the competition of “multi-core and multi-core” chips, and the focus of which was true four-core and true eight-core. I vaguely remember that Intel is a “splicing” technology, while AMD is a real four-core, eight-core chip product; At that time, there were also rounds of controversy and sophistry about performance, running points, data testing, etc.
Now, Apple’s chips are also beginning to “splice”. Its latest self-developed chip, M1 Ultra, is aimed at desktop devices and uses “splicing” technology. According to Apple, M1 Ultra is the most powerful SoC built by Apple at present, with high performance and energy consumption control. The M1 Ultra structure is composed of two M1 Max chips connected by a silicon intermediate layer. The two chips support 2.5TB/s inter-processor bandwidth and become the Ultra Fusion structure.
In other words, Apple may not be able to directly develop the performance of two M1 Max chips into one chip at present, but can only go back and seek to “splice” the two M1 chips. In this way, the efficiency of two chips can be achieved through some connection. But the technical advantages of two independent chips and one chip are also obvious. It indirectly shows that in terms of technology evolution, Apple has no ability to achieve such deep integration at present, and can only temporarily achieve some changes through this means. This is the same as Intel’s embarrassment. At the beginning, AMD participated in the competition, but now, who is competing with Apple?
Since there are no competitors in the market, and Apple uses its own chips on its own products, it does not need the participation of competitors. The most important thing is whether the products using its own chips can compete with computers using Intel, AMD, Qualcomm and Huawei chips. This is the only aspect that Apple can compete with. In its product system, it only competes with the previous generation of products, and the M1 Ultra with two M1 Max chips will naturally be better than the previous M1 including M1 Pro products. Unless in the M2 era, Apple can launch a truly integrated chip product.
Of course, Apple may also be able to launch truly integrated products, but it is not the time yet, and some transition products are needed to attract some market consumption capacity. It is estimated that the launch of M2 will take some time, and may change by the end of this year. In terms of chip research and development, it is unrealistic for even Apple, which has a lot of money, to make continuous breakthroughs. Apple’s accumulated thickness is not enough to support this rapid iteration. Only small changes can constantly harvest market expectations and purchase demand.
It is reported that there are 114 billion transistors in the M1 Ultra with a 20-core CPU and a 64-core GPU with a 32-core neural engine. The official said that the GPU speed is 8 times that of the M1 chip. The M1 Ultra processor is manufactured with 5nm technology. In terms of energy consumption, Apple’s display data has a performance advantage of more than 90% compared with the latest 16-core chip in the same power consumption range. The power consumption of GPU is only 1/3 of that of the popular GPU graphics card this year.
As we all know, Apple’s first-generation self-developed chip M1 is mainly equipped with many Apple devices including MacBook Pro series, iMac, Mac mini, etc. What about the M1 Ultra? At present, it is mainly Mac Studio, and the price is quite expensive. The current starting price is 29999 yuan. For example, Mac Studio is similar to Mac Pro. It is a desktop host that needs to be used with a display. In Mac Studio products, the CPU performance of M1 Ultra is 90% higher than that of 16-core Intel Xeon processors and 60% higher than that of 32-core Xeon processors. Of course, specific use can distinguish the gap.
The shell of Mac Studio uses an integrated aluminum body, which looks like a thickened Mac mini at first glance. The Mac Studio is equipped with two centrifugal fans for heat dissipation, with more than 2000 cooling holes on the back. There are four lightning interfaces, two USB-A interfaces, two USB-C interfaces, one HDMI interface, one 10Gb network cable interface, one SDXC card slot and 3.5mm audio interface.
At present, Apple has fully applied self-developed chips in almost all Mac product lines. Including M1, M1 Pro, M1 Max and this release of M1 Ultra. According to Apple executives’ boast, “M1 Ultra is another subversive product in Apple chips, which will shake the personal computer industry again. By using UltraFusion packaging architecture to connect the grains of two M1 Max chips, we can push Apple chips to an unprecedented new height.” Of course, the actual effect may only be felt by users after use.