Key Points

  • Both M1 Max and M1 Ultra offer fast processors and can work well as work desktops
  • Both M1 Max and M1 Ultra offer up to 8TB of storage.
  • M1 Ultra offers 128GB of RAM, while M1 Max offers 64GB of RAM.

If you’re looking to upgrade your computer chip, you may be comparing the Apple M1 Max and Apple M1 Ultra. Which option is best for you, and how do the two compare? Let’s discuss which choice may be best in the battle of the M1 Max vs M1 Ultra, and how the two weigh up to most needs.

Apple M1 Max vs Apple M1 Ultra: Full Comparison

We’ll be comparing the M1 Max and M1 Ultra version, but it’s important to note that both of these options are fast processors and can work well as work desktops or for creatives.

First, the M1 Max is more widely available and offers high-quality graphics and efficiency when browsing, using apps, and more. And while the M1 Ultra is more expensive, it technically has two of everything, so it can offer double the power.

So which should you invest in?

Apple M1 Max vs Apple M1 Ultra: Side-by-Side Comparison

M1 MaxM1 Ultra
CPU10 cores20 cores
GPU24 cores48 cores
Neural Engine 16 cores32 cores
RAM32GB, 64GB 64GB, 128GB 
Memory Bandwidth 400 GBps800 GBps
Storage512GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, or 8TB 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, or 8TB
Release Date October 26, 2021March 8, 2022
Available For MacBook Pro 14, MacBook Pro 16, and Mac StudioMac Studio only
2021 Apple MacBook Pro (14-inch, Apple M1 Pro chip with 8‑core CPU and 14‑core GPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD) - Silver
  • Apple M1 Pro or M1 Max chip for a massive leap in CPU, GPU, and machine learning performance
  • Up to 10-core CPU delivers up to 3.7x faster performance to fly through pro workflows quicker than ever
  • Up to 32-core GPU with up to 13x faster performance for graphics-intensive apps and games
  • 16-core Neural Engine for up to 11x faster machine learning performance
  • Longer battery life, up to 17 hours

Apple M1 Max vs Apple M1 Ultra: What’s the Difference?

M1 Ultra offers 128GB of RAM, while M1 Max offers 64GB of RAM.

While both the M1 Max and M1 Ultra are currently two of the most powerful chips on the tech market, there are a few key differences that need to be talked about. Both are (currently) only available for Apple products. They’re also considered powerhouses when it comes to computer chips. But in certain cases, one may be a clear winner for your needs. Let’s talk about them.

Price

First, one of the biggest differences between these two chips is their cost. As an example, comparing the M1 Max to the M1 Ultra in a Mac Studio desktop will mean a difference of $2,000 (with the Ultra chip costing more. But, neither of these chips is sold separately (currently), so you’ll have to invest in either the laptops or the desktop.

These are proprietary chips, so they’re only available inside Apple products like the Mac Studio and Mac laptops. But based on their costs, the M1 Ultra chip would technically be more expensive when purchased on its own. The Ultra chip can only be installed in the Mac Studio for $3,999 total.

Availability

Along with the price, the availability of each chip is another potential concern depending on what a consumer needs. Currently, the M1 Max chip is available for the MacBook Pro 14 (2021), MacBook Pro 16 (2021), and Mac Studio (2022). However, the M1 Ultra chip is only available on Mac Studio (2022 only). Also, it won’t be available for laptops for at least another year.

Build

Both the M1 Max and M1 Ultra offer their RAM, CPU, and GPU, in just a single chip. And both are built on TSMC’s 5nm process node, just as before. However, the biggest difference between the two chips is that the M1 Ultra combines two M1 Max chips into one processor — technically this offers double the power. This makes the M1 Ultra chip larger than the M1 Max, and is connected via what Apple calls their proprietary “UltraFusion“. This is also why the M1 Ultra chip is currently only available on the new Mac Studio desktop.

Storage

Both the M1 Max and M1 Ultra chips offer quite a bit of storage for computer lovers and for those that need to save much of their work. However, the M1 Ultra chip doubles the minimum storage than the M1 Max chip.

The M1 Max chip starts at 512 GB of storage and then goes up to 8 TB. The M1 Ultra starts at 1 TB of storage and then goes up to 8 TB. For those who need to save items like raw video, data, or even games, you’ll need to max out the M1 Max chip’s storage. So it may be better to get the extra storage from the M1 Ultra.

Efficiency and Performance

mac
Both M1 Max and M1 Ultra offer fast processors and can work well as work desktops

Of course, many people look to upgrade their systems to increase their productivity, efficiency, and performance. And while both the M1 Max and the M1 Ultra are both high-performing chips (rivaling chips like Intel and AMD chips), the M1 Ultra is significantly better.

Why? The M1 Ultra chip offers better CPU and GPU performance, increasing graphics quality and other items like input/output operations. Because it’s basically two M1 Max chips put together, it also has higher RAM and storage — a bonus for computer lovers.

So if you need a computer with a chip that will last years and allow you to work, game, and more, an M1 Ultra may work best. If you just need a chip for fast browsing, downloading, uploading, or work performance, you may be able to get away with the M1 Max.

It’s also important to note that both chips allow the desktop and laptops they are installed on to run longer. Many tests have showcased that each chip allows their laptops or desktop options to run for at least 11 hours of battery life.

Power Consumption

While both the M1 Max and M1 Ultra offer great battery life in the hardware they’re in, there is a slight difference between their power consumption.

Essentially, the M1 Ultra draws a bit more power than the M1 Max, but only because it has double the GPU and CPU. The good news is that even though it does draw more power, it can still compete with other chips.

The M1 Ultra’s chip takes about 100W less power. But it’s noted that it can still perform as well as Intel’s 12th-Gen Core i9-12900K processor. And even better — according to Apple themselves — it performs 90% better, all while using less power overall.

Ports

While the chips don’t offer the ports themselves, they are installed in the latest laptops and desktop that Apple offers. And, these chips are part of a piece of hardware that offers a lot more ports and options than previous releases.

First, the M1 Max chip is installed in the Macbook Pro 14 and 16. Both of these laptops offer three Thunderbolt ports, an HDMI port, an SDXC card slot, and MagSafe 3 port, plus a 3.5 mm headphone jack. The M1 Max chip is also available for the Mac Studio. This desktop offers four Thunderbolt 4 ports, a 3.5 mm headphone jack, two USB-A ports, an HDMI port, two USB-C ports, and an SDXC card slot.

The M1 Ultra is also available on the Mac Studio and includes the same ports as the M1 Max, plus two extra Thunderbolt 4 ports.

Longevity

Last but not least, it’s important to bring up potential longevity and which chip will last longer without the need for repairs or planned obsolescence. Technically, both chips are pretty much brand new, with both being released within the last year. But, the M1 Ultra is newer. So it’s still in the planning stages when it comes to Apple laptop installs. When you think about that, it will most likely “outlive” the M1 Max, and that’s just due to time and release dates.

And, the M1 Ultra might also last longer simply due to what it offers, especially if you need almost “everything”. With the extra storage, RAM, CPU, GPU, and more, it’s perfect to help consumers future-proof their computers.

Apple M1 Max vs Apple M1 Ultra: 6 Must-Know Facts

  • In addition to being available on desktops, the M1 Max chip is also available on laptops, but the M1 Ultra is only available on the Mac Studio desktop.
  • For graphic designers, creators, or gamers (just to name a few) that need high-quality graphics with little to no lag, the M1 Ultra is one of the highest-rated chips with 48 cores of GPU.
  • Both the M1 Max and the M1 Ultra offer more than 11 hours of battery life when installed in laptops or the Mac Studio.
  • Both the M1 Max chip and M1 Ultra chip offer built-in touch ID and encryption hardware for SSD security and performance.
  • The M1 Ultra chip offers more storage, which is perfect for those who work from home or who need to save more documents, videos, and the like.
  • The M1 Ultra chip is the newest version released by Apple, so it’s safe to say that this chip will be around for a while and is considered the “top-tier” chip option.

Apple M1 Max vs Apple M1 Ultra: Which One Is Better? Which One Should You Use?

While the M1 Ultra may seem like a powerhouse, it is simply two M1 Max chips put together to double the performance. So unless you need a computer that can “do it all” — and are willing to invest in a $4,000 desktop — it’s not completely necessary. The M1 Max is a great starting point for most laptop and desktop users. And, it still has powerful RAM and high-quality graphics for those that use their hardware for multiple purposes — like gaming and working.

However, if you want the best of the best when it comes to Apple products, and have the space for a larger desktop and workspace, an M1 Ultra could last you for years and offer supreme-quality graphics, fast loading times, and plenty of storage. Ultimately, the choice is up to you and your needs, but you can’t go wrong with either of these options.

Last update on 2022-11-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Apple M1 Max vs Apple M1 Ultra: Full Comparison FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

When did the M1 Max chip come out?

The M1 Max chip was released on October 26, 2021.

When did the M1 Ultra chip come out?

The M1 Ultra chip was released on March 8, 2022.

Can I buy the chip and install it in a Mac desktop or laptop I already own?

As of right now, no. You can only buy a new desktop or laptop from Apple with the M1 Max or M1 Ultra chip already installed. They are not sold separately.

What is the M1 Max chip good for?

The M1 Max chip offers a high graphics performance but draws less power than many other chips on the market.

What is the difference between ‌the M1‌ Max chip and M1 Ultra chip?

Simply put, the M1 Ultra chip uses Apple’s “UltraFusion” technology to double the M1 Max chip’s GPU, CPU, and RAM performance.

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