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M1 Pro vs M1 Ultra: Which chip should you go for?

The announcement of the latest M1 Ultra has once again raised the bar for Apple Silicon processors, but how does it really compare to the M1 Pro?

The M1 Ultra will become the most powerful processor in the Apple Silicon collection, with it set to launch on 18 March.

But how does it compare to the M1 Pro chip, which is now the third most powerful processor in the family? Keep reading for everything you need to know about the M1 Pro and the M1 Ultra.

The M1 Ultra will not be available in laptops

The M1 Ultra chipset is the most powerful processor on the market from Apple, premiering in the Mac Studio desktop PC. However, due to the sheer size of the Ultra, it’s unlikely to ever make the move over to Apple laptops.

This is unlike the M1 Pro, which is already in both of the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro laptops. The smaller size of the die means that it can be put into portable machines, making it the better option for people looking for powerful on-the-go devices.

M1 Ultra is packing more CPU cores

The M1 Ultra has a shocking amount of CPU cores, with up to 20-cores available. That is more than either of the M1 Pro CPU options, which pack 8 or 10 CPU cores depending on your chosen configuration.

Apple claims it has achieved this via UltraFusion, with fuses together two dies to double the performance, which we would expect to see once we get the Mac Studio in for testing.

CPU cores
M1 Ultra20
M1 Pro8 / 10
M1 Ultra chipset

And more GPU cores

The M1 Ultra dominates the M1 Pro for graphics performance too, with the GPU count coming in at 64-cores, while the M1 Pro sits at a meagre 16-cores.

The Mac Studio has been marketed as the ultimate creative desktop for intensive tasks, such as 3D rendering and video editing, with the ability to connect to multiple displays at once.

Apple claims the M1 Ultra in the Mac Studio is 4.5x faster than the Intel-powered 27-inch iMac in terms of GPU power, and 80% faster than the Mac Pro with the Radeon Pro W6900X graphics card. While it’s still too early to make any definitive claims, this seems to be one of the most powerful integrated GPUs that we have seen in any desktop available right now.

GPU cores
M1 Ultra 64
M1 Pro 16

M1 Ultra makes it ultra expensive

The Mac Studio is only available with M1 Max and M1 Ultra chips, though it’s fair to say that this PC will cost a pretty penny regardless of its configuration.

The cheapest variations of the Mac Studio with the M1 Ultra chip start at £3999/$3799, while the cheapest 16-inch MacBook Pro with M1 Pro starts out at £2399, with the more expensive options only coming in when you choose the 8TB of SSD storage.

While we can’t claim that either processors, or the devices they come with, are cheap, it’s clear that the M1 Ultra will require a lot more spending, especially if you want to buy it with all the trimmings.

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