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Apple M3 Ultra/M4 Ultra: What to Expect for Computing Grunt in 2024

2023 MacBook Pro M3 Max

Whether it’s called M3 Ultra or M4 Ultra, apparently Apple is likely to move to an even more efficient process technology, improving speed and cutting power consumption.

Noise aside, the testing results for the 2023 MacBook Pro M3 Max are spectacular.

Even if nothing else changed, M3 Ultra (conjoined dual M3 Max) would offer 32 CPU cores eg 24 performance cores plus 8 efficiency cores. As compared to 16+8 on the M2 Ultra. On that basis alone, we should expect a 50% leap in computing power for scalable multiprocessing. Plus the cores are outright faster by about 10%, so 55% or so.

All told, the raw computing power of M3/m4 Ultra vs M2 Ultra should be at least 55% greater, when all available CPU cores can be used. With improved N3E process technology, it might be 60% or more. And not ruled-out is something even more robust eg something like 28+12 = 40 CPU cores.

All that power would require efficient cooling (which the MacBook Pro fails at), but a Mac Studio or Mac Pro have no issue keeping things cool.

Given that the M2 Ultra already sits near the top of the computing-grunt heap, such an achievement seems likely to vault Apple into undisputed king-of-the-hill. But Intel is not idle, all the better.

As for GPU cores, test results with things like Adobe Camera Raw AI Denoise suggest that 80 to 100 GPU cores would be a very nice boost. And M3 Max implies a minimum of 80 GPU cores vs the 60 cores I have in my M2 Ultra (I did not spend for 76 GPU cores)—that’s a 33% higher GPU core count.

M3 Ultra should bring a massive leap in computing power for any photography or video user on the order of 33% to 60%, depending on scenario. That is a rare and wonderful leap forward vs a miserly 10-15% at best across too many years.

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