M3 Max Chip Has Hidden Change That Could Affect Future 'M3 Ultra' Chip

Apple's M3 Ultra chip may be designed as its own, standalone chip, rather than be made up of two M3 Max dies, according to a plausible new theory.

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The theory comes from Max Tech's Vadim Yuryev, who outlined his thinking in a post on X earlier today. Citing a post from @techanalye1 which suggests the M3 Max chip no longer features the UltraFusion interconnect, Yuryev postulated that the as-yet-unreleased "M3 Ultra" chip will not be able to comprise two Max chips in a single package. This means that the M3 Ultra is likely to be a standalone chip for the first time.

This would enable Apple to make specific customizations to the M3 Ultra to make it more suitable for intense workflows. For example, the company could omit efficiency cores entirely in favor of an all-performance core design, as well as add even more GPU cores. At minimum, a single M3 Ultra chip designed in this way would be almost certain to offer better performance scaling than the M2 Ultra did compared to the ‌M2‌ Max, since there would no longer be efficiency losses over the UltraFusion interconnect.

Furthermore, Yuryev speculated that the M3 Ultra could feature its own UltraFusion interconnect, allowing two M3 Ultra dies to be combined in a single package for double the performance in a hypothetical "M3 Extreme" chip. This would enable superior performance scaling compared to packaging four M3 Max dies and open the possibility of even higher amounts of unified memory.

Little is currently known about the M3 Ultra chip, but a report in January suggested that it will be fabricated using TSMC's N3E node, just like the A18 chip that is expected to debut in the iPhone 16 lineup later in the year. This means it would be Apple's first N3E chip. The M3 Ultra is rumored to launch in a refreshed Mac Studio model in mid-2024.

Top Rated Comments

Thunderstrike76 Avatar
3 days ago at 07:20 am
If there’s one YouTubers videos I roll my eyes constantly at it’s MaxTech.
Score: 45 Votes (Like | Disagree)
chucker23n1 Avatar
3 days ago at 07:13 am
This is all possible, but the entire thread hinges on “the M3 Max looks, in a blurry, cropped photo, like it might not have an interconnect”, which also hinges on “the M3 Ultra’s interconnect looks exactly like the M1 and M2’s”.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
leman Avatar
3 days ago at 07:23 am
When will we finally stop confusing popularity with competence? It is entirely possible that this theory is correct, however, it is unlikely to be correct simply because Yuryev said so. He knows a great deal about video editing, general computing and semiconductor technology are not really his forte though.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
EugW Avatar
3 days ago at 07:27 am

When will we finally stop confusing popularity with competence? It is entirely possible that this theory is correct, however, it is unlikely to be correct simply because Yuryev said so. He knows a great deal about video editing, general computing and semiconductor technology are not really his forte though.
"not really his forte"

Heh. You are being very, very generous with that description.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
PotentPeas Avatar
3 days ago at 07:27 am
I'm skeptical. The M3 Max die is already huge! They're going to have a 2× bigger single die for M3 Ultra? That seems crazy.

There are a number of options that could pan out.
* The interconnect is there but not clearly visible in this blurry image.
* The interconnect has changed in some way and it is not clear what we should be looking for.
* There is a different variation of the chip that has the interconnect that we haven't seen yet.
* M3 Ultra will be significantly scaled back from what we expected based on M1/M2 Ultra, being a more modest upgrade over M3 Max.
* M3 Ultra isn't even going to make an appearance this generation.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
leman Avatar
3 days ago at 08:13 am

Or maybe they could try some actual courage, and admit that they're not good at building GPUs.
They are quite good at building GPUs, considering how much of the headstart Nvidia had. In some key areas (instruction scheduling, resource allocation, ALU utilization) Apple is ahead of Nvidia. I mean, we have Nvidia engineers openly saying that Apple managed to achieve things Nvidia tried and failed. There is a lot of evidence that Apple is building a superscalar GPU. It’s all quite exiting stuff for me as GPU tech enthusiast. In fact, I think that the GPU division is innovating at a much higher pace than the CPU division.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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