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The Apple Silicon lineup in the M1 and M2 set the template for chip families: the Ultra version actually offers twice as many cores and other elements as the Max version. This is because Apple has effectively connected the two Max chips with an interconnect and called them M1 Ultra and M2 Ultra.
In Bloomberg's Sunday “Power On” newsletter, Mark Gurman addresses the doubling mechanics while discussing what could eventually become the M3 Ultra.
Gourmet starts by suggesting that the M3 Ultra could have “a whopping 80 graphics cores.” Before we explain, Apple Silicon generations have a base version of “Pro” with more CPU and GPU cores, Max with dual GPU cores, and Ultra with double the number of cores of both types compared to the Max.
For the M2 Pro had up to 12 CPU cores and 19 GPU cores, the M2 Max had 12 CPU cores and 38 GPU cores, and the M2 Ultra had up to 24 CPU cores and 76 GPU cores.
However, “Apple has deviated slightly from this approach with the new M3 line,” writes Gurman. The M3 Max included more CPU cores, as well as doubling the GPU cores.
“This will affect the M3 Ultra, which Apple has not yet announced,” it suggests. If we continue doubling the processor and graphics cores for the Ultra, the Mac chip could have 32 processor cores and 80 graphics cores.
Similarly, if the memory is upgraded again, it's likely that Apple could enable a 256GB configuration option.
Gurman believes that details about the Ultra version will be known in a few months when testing begins, and that the launch will happen sometime in 2024.