Apple’s M3 Ultra chips promise a huge performance jump - if rumors are true

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As we gear up for Apple’s September iPhone 15 event, we’re getting more details of what to expect with the rumored M3 chip lineup, especially in regards to the high-end M3 Ultra chip, which is expected to launch in 2024.

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has been a source of plenty of juicy Apple scoops and predictions, and in his Power On newsletter, he states that the M3 Ultra will offer a huge increase in CPU cores and a humble bump in GPU cores. 9to5Mac breaks down the reported specifications for each of the Ultra chips we should be seeing.

The base M3 Ultra is rumored to feature a 32-core CPU with 24 performance cores and eight efficiency cores, plus a 64-core GPU, a potentially huge leap over the M2 Ultra, which has specs of 24-core CPU with 16 performance cores and eight efficiency cores, plus a 60-core GPU.

As far as higher-end models, the top-end M3 Ultra will apparently come with a 32-core CPU with 24 performance cores and eight efficiency cores, 80 GPU cores, which again surpasses the current top-end M2 Ultra chip which features 24-core CPU with 16 performance cores, and eight efficiency cores, 76-core GPU. Though note again there is only a slight bump in GPU cores. 

The jump in CPU cores for the M3 Ultra will come in the form of performance cores rather than efficiency cores. Having a higher performance core count means the new chip will be more capable of complex computational tasks, which should allow you to run multiple demanding programs with ease. 

Most daily tasks can be handled by the lower-powered efficiency cores (to help save battery life in MacBooks), but if you’re stressing your machine, the performance cores will kick in and power you through your work.

The M3 Ultra specs - if they turn out to be accurate - will be more than a bit overkill for most people so you might be better off setting your sights for the modest and hopefully more affordable M3 chip. It’ll be a good performance jump from the M2, and will ‘future-proof’ your new purchase for years to come.

Rumors suggest we’ll see new M3 Macs in October 2023, with the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro with the M3 Pro chips expected to make an appearance next year.

Muskaan Saxena
Computing Staff Writer

Muskaan is TechRadar’s UK-based Computing writer. She has always been a passionate writer and has had her creative work published in several literary journals and magazines. Her debut into the writing world was a poem published in The Times of Zambia, on the subject of sunflowers and the insignificance of human existence in comparison. Growing up in Zambia, Muskaan was fascinated with technology, especially computers, and she's joined TechRadar to write about the latest GPUs, laptops and recently anything AI related. If you've got questions, moral concerns or just an interest in anything ChatGPT or general AI, you're in the right place. Muskaan also somehow managed to install a game on her work MacBook's Touch Bar, without the IT department finding out (yet).