An Early Look at the Details of M1 Ultra

Ryan Smith, AnandTech:

The net result is a chip that, without a doubt, manages to be one of the most interesting designs I’ve ever seen for a consumer SoC. As we’ll touch upon in our analysis, the M1 Ultra is not quite like any other consumer chip currently on the market. And while double die strategy benefits sprawling multi-threaded CPU and GPU workloads far more than it does more single-threaded tasks — an area where Apple is already starting to fall behind — in the process they re breaking new ground on the GPU front. By enabling the M1 Ultra’s two dies to transparently present themselves as a single GPU, Apple has kicked off a new technology race for placing multi-die GPUs in high-end consumer and workstation hardware.

As with the keynote yesterday, I struggle to translate the massive numbers in Smith’s analysis to real-world effects. For those of us with workflows that revolve mostly around email and web browsing, it can be hard to appreciate the significant leap forward represented by chips like the M1 Ultra.

I use a ten year old laptop every day. It is fine for reading and writing in the evening, and one reason it has lasted so long is because it has a solid-state drive. The raw read/write speed of the drive does not matter very much to me, but the long-term advantages have become obvious. I have to wonder how the capabilities of these high-end SoCs will trickle down over time as the chips used by consumer-grade products catch up to their performance today.