Why Apple’s M3 Ultra Sets a New Standard in Performance

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The M3 Ultra is the final M3 chip needed to finish introducing Apple's newest lineup of Mac CPUs. The Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) by Apple is probably where it will be introduced, however some fresh speculations suggest that it will be a completely different processor than the M2 Ultra or M1 Ultra.

Vadim Yuryev, a YouTuber and Apple analyst, has revealed in a recent video on X that the M3 Ultra would not be a combination of two M3 Max circuits but rather a fully separate device.

The concept is derived from the M3 Max design, which is included in the MacBook Pro, rather than being based on intimate knowledge. Apple has never made an official statement about the design, but the new M3 Max doesn't seem to feature UltraFusion interconnect, according to a photo uploaded by Wccftech. That alone is a significant matter.

Where things become really intriguing, though, is how this will affect the upcoming M3 Ultra. Vadim believes that this will make the M3 Ultra a more suitable desktop processor. For instance, because the M3 Max is no longer a constraint, the M3 Ultra may not require Efficiency cores and instead contain additional Performance and GPU cores. Better performance scaling up from the basic M3 than in prior generations would be the ultimate outcome.

However, it doesn't end there.

Vadim goes one step further and speculates that two M3 Ultra dies would be combined to create an even larger M3 Extreme processor, which is supposedly in the works. Theoretically, this would be a far more effective approach to increase performance than combining four M3 Max processors. According to Vadim, this would enable Apple to ramp up the integrated GPU to compete "neck and neck with Nvidia' flagship desktop GPUs" and attach bigger memory modules. That's a strong assertion.

I would assume that this chip would be exclusive to the Mac Pro if it were to ever be released. Unfortunately, the Mac Pro and Mac Studio now use the same CPUs.

Naturally, this isn't the first time we've heard of the "Extreme" chip. Although there had been rumors about the M2 Extreme in 2022, the chip was apparently scrapped.

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According to Vadim, the release of the first Extreme chip may have to wait till the M4 series is introduced, missing out on another generation.

According to the most recent estimates, the M4 processor might not be released until early 2025, which would mean that there won't be many Mac launches for the remainder of this year. There's no denying that Apple may introduce the M3 Extreme on a revised Mac Pro this autumn and the M3 Ultra at WWDC. However, it appears that Apple will focus much more on artificial intelligence (AI) at WWDC this year, so we'll have to wait and see if there's space in its announcements for a comparatively specialized, high-end desktop CPU.

Of course, as of right now, that's all just hogwash.

But given the M3 Max's architecture, Vadim's analysis is undoubtedly fascinating and logical. To verify these M3 Ultra assumptions, we'll have to wait and see.

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