Looking to Apple’s 67bn transistor M2 Ultra chip

Looking to Apple’s 67bn transistor M2 Ultra chip

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Apple has launched its latest M2 Pro and M2 Max processors built on 5nm technology with up to 67 billion transistors, with the prospects of a dual chip in the works.

The M2 Pro scales up the architecture of M2 with up to 12 CPU cores and up to 19 GPUs, together with up to 32GB of fast unified memory. This uses eight high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores built with 40 billion transistors with, twice that of the original M2 10 core design

The M2 Max provides up to 38 GPU cores with double the unified memory bandwidth, and up to 96GB of unified memory. This is 67 billion transistors, up from the 57 billion in the M1 Max, with the same 12-core CPU as M2 Pro but doubling the number of GPUs and increasing the L2 cache.

Apple has so far not commented on the dual chip approach that it took for the M1 Ultra, putting two M1 Max chips on a silicon interposer. An M2 Ultra chip with two M2 Max chips would have 134 billion transistors with 24 CPU cores and 76 GPU cores. Expect this later in the year

Both the M2 Max and Pro chips also use a faster 16-core Neural Engine that is capable of 15.8 trillion operations per second (TOPS) and up to 40 percent faster than the previous engine. The M2 Pro has a revised media engine, including hardware-accelerated H.264, HEVC, and ProRes video encode and decode, allowing playback of multiple streams of 4K and 8K ProRes video while using very little power. M2 Max features two video encode engines and two ProRes engines for video encoding twice as past as the than M2 Pro.

“Only Apple is building SoCs like M2 Pro and M2 Max. They deliver incredible pro performance along with industry-leading power efficiency,” said Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Technologies. “With an even more powerful CPU and GPU, support for a larger unified memory system, and an advanced media engine, M2 Pro and M2 Max represent astonishing advancements in Apple silicon.”

The chips include a new image signal processor delivers better noise reduction and, along with the Neural Engine, uses computational video to enhance camera image quality, and a next-generation Secure Enclave for security.

Apple says it plans to have net-zero climate impact across the entire business by 2030, which includes manufacturing supply chains (with foundry TSMC) and all product life cycles. This means that every chip Apple creates, from design to manufacturing, will be 100 percent carbon neutral.


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