Mac Studio Teardown Reveals Huge M1 Ultra Chip That Dwarfs AMD Ryzen CPU in Size

Image: Max Tech

Apple may have overestimated the performance of its Mac Studio, but if there’s one thing that the company didn’t exaggerate, it’s the size of its M1 Ultra chip, according to a teardown of the system shared by Max Tech’s Vadim Yuryev that provides a clear look at how massive the SoC actually looks in person. As shown at the end of the video, Apple’s M1 Ultra chip completely dwarfs one of AMD’s Ryzen 3 3300X desktop processors, overshadowing red team’s relatively diminutive CPU by almost three times.

“And just to show you guys the difference, here is a Ryzen processor, the whole package compared to Apple’s M1 Ultra package,” Yuryev said in his teardown below, showing off the size difference between the two chips and prompting some laughter from an associate.

“That is crazy. But at the same time, you see the size difference. Apple has the RAM in there, the controllers in there, everything is in there. […] So they have an incredible, incredible design.”

Apple’s M1 Ultra comprises two M1 Max chips that are connected using UltraFusion, the company’s fancy name for its custom-built packaging architecture. The M1 Ultra is almost three times as large as a Ryzen processor, occupying around 25% of the Mac Studio’s motherboard.

Yuryev’s breakdown also provides a look at the system’s modular SSDs, which, naturally, use a proprietary form-factor due to the controller residing in the SoC. According to Apple, the drives cannot be upgraded by users, so accessing them is likely to void the warranty.

Mac Studio Dissected: M1 Ultra About 3x Bigger Than AMD’s Ryzen CPUs (Tom’s Hardware)

The Mac Studio features a minimalistic design that looks pretty humble compared to modern workstations like other Apple devices. But what these design hides are Apple’s massive M1 Ultra processor package that occupies around one-fourth of the motherboard, a very complex voltage regulating module (VRM), and two user-accessible SSDs.

Apple’s M1 Ultra processor is two M1 Max system-on-chips (SoCs) in TSMC’s CoWoS-S (chip-on-wafer-on-substrate with silicon interposer) 2.5D interposer-based package. The two SoCs feature memory subsystems. They are linked together using the company’s UltraFusion interprocessor interconnection that offers a bandwidth of 2.5 TB/s, enough to present two GPUs and two memory subsystems as one to the OS. We expected Apple’s M1 Ultra to be massive given such an architecture.

Indeed, the M1 Ultra is massive. Compared to an AMD Ryzen processor in an AM4 form-factor, it is about three times larger. One M1 Ultra occupies around 25% of Mac Studio’s motherboard. Since we are two M1 Maxes, the M1 Ultra has two rather complex VRMs that can feed the two-headed beast and ensure high-quality power to let it run at high clocks. It, of course, means that we are dealing with a very complex motherboard, but if you need to maximize performance, this is the way to go.

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