Category Archives: M2 Ultra

Apple Mac Pro M2 Ultra

The Mac Pro M2 Ultra is Apple’s most powerful workstation made and the ultimate for music & video recording studios

Apple Mac Pro M2 Ultra Tower – $6999.00 Apple Mac Pro M2 Ultra Rack – $7499.00

If you’re a serious pro or amateur musician, you really want the Apple Mac Studio M2 Max & M2 Ultra or the Apple MacBook Pro M3 Pro & M3 Max. A large music and/or video recording studio without budget restraints or someone who must have PCIe slot expansion may want to consider the Apple Mac Pro M2 Ultra. These are the three best computers for creatives you can buy.

If you absolutely must spend less than $1999.00, consider the Mac mini M2 Pro. Other less expensive options are the Mac mini M2MacBook Pro M2 Pro, MacBook Air M2, or 24″ iMac M3. Even buy used or refurbished if need be. To suggest buying less than these systems is bad advice. Also see notes below in the Unified Memory section.

See: Apple Silicon is the DAW standard.

The Mac Pro M2 Ultra is clearly for the well compensated

While quite a marvel for those of us who appreciate technology, I think it is safe to say the Mac Pro M2 Ultra is not for the average professional or amateur creator. The power it wields and the price of that power will be more than most of us need or can afford. OK, there is sure to be a smattering of well heeled tech fans that will have to have it, but you know what I am saying.

I am extremely glad Apple finally got rid of its last Intel machine.

Kind of humorous, watching YouTube influencers that can’t think beyond Final Cut Pro questioning the value of the Mac Pro M2 Ultra over the Mac Studio M2 Ultra. The Mac Pro M2 Ultra has everything the Mac Studio M2 Ultra has and has tower or rack case, 7 PCIe slots, 1 more fan, 1 more 10Gb Ethernet, 2 more Thunderbolt 4/USB-C ports, 1 more USB-A port, and 1 more HDMI port. Maybe Apple has some secret tricks unrevealed but at this point, these are the only known differences.

If you don’t need to pay $3000.00 for PCIe expansion, get a Mac Studio.

For an easy to read M2 Series specifications chart, see Apple M2 Processor Series

If you really do need PCIe expansion though, whoa baby!

Don’t be mislead by YouTube influencers, for someone who must have PCIe, the Mac Pro is essential and well worth the uptick over a Mac Studio. PCIe kicks the tush out of USB and Thunderbolt of any kind if you need fast. For a server or any other high bandwidth need, hell yeah. Multiple 100GB Ethernet ports, high capacity and/or fault tolerant RAID SSDs, high end audio…

Time will show it was a very good idea to get the Intel Mac Pro into past history. My guess is over time Apple could engineer further enhancements like multiple processors or add-on GPU cards into new generations as well.

I don’t need a Mac Pro, YouTube influencers don’t need a Mac Pro, and you probably don’t need one either. But for those who do, they know it and will make very good use of the Mac Pro M2 Ultra.

CPU & GPU Performance Benchmarks

I would generally advise to not get too tied up in the minutiae of benchmarks, but they are useful for relative comparisons of processors. It is worth noting that no M Series processors are slouches. Some more than others, but all of them are a noticeable improvement over the Intel processors in previous generation Macs.

CPU single-core performance of the M2 Ultra processors in the Mac Pro are very similar to all other M2 Series processors, because of course they all share the same CPU single-core.

CPU and GPU multi-core performance is where the differences become more apparent because of the different number of cores.

It is worth pointing out again, if you don’t need to pay $3000.00 for PCIe expansion, get a Mac Studio, which has for all intents and purposes exactly the same performance and memory/storage options.

Thanks!
–Yehuda

Manufacturer’s website
https://www.apple.com/mac-pro

Product support, downloads
https://support.apple.com

Videos

Yehuda Rothschild Apple Mac Pro M2 Ultra YouTube Playlist

Apple related pages
Updated periodically – Apple Silicon is the DAW standard
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Studio M1 Max & M1 Ultra
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Studio M2 Max & M2 Ultra
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Studio M3 Max & M3 Ultra
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Pro M1 Pro & M1 Max
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Pro M2 Pro & M2 Max
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Pro M3 Pro & M3 Max
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Pro M2 Ultra
Updated periodically – Apple Mac mini M1
Updated periodically – Apple Mac mini M2 & M2 Pro
Updated periodically – Apple Mac mini M3 & M3 Pro
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Air M1
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Air M2
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Air M3
Updated periodically – Apple 24″ iMac M1
Updated periodically – Apple 24″ iMac M3
Updated periodically – Apple Studio Display
Updated periodically – Apple M1 Processor Series
Updated periodically – Apple M2 Processor Series
Updated periodically – Apple M3 Processor Series

Follow on Mastodon – TurtleIsland.social/@Yehuda

This page is subject to content updates/additions. If you think any content should be updated or added, please leave a private comment on Mastodon – TurtleIsland.social/@Yehuda.

Apple Mac Studio M2 Max & M2 Ultra

The Mac Studio M2 Max/M2 Ultra is the best choice for an Apple 2023 desktop for majority of musicians and creators

Apple Mac Studio M2 Max $1999.00 – M2 Ultra $3999.00 minimum per processor type

If you’re a serious pro or amateur musician, you really want the Apple Mac Studio M2 Max & M2 Ultra or the Apple MacBook Pro M3 Pro & M3 Max. A large music and/or video recording studio without budget restraints or someone who must have PCIe slot expansion may want to consider the Apple Mac Pro M2 Ultra. These are the three best computers for creatives you can buy.

If you absolutely must spend less than $1999.00, consider the Mac mini M2 Pro. Other less expensive options are the Mac mini M2MacBook Pro M2 Pro, MacBook Air M2, or 24″ iMac M3. Even buy used or refurbished if need be. To suggest buying less than these systems is bad advice. Also see notes below in the Unified Memory section.

See: Apple Silicon is the DAW standard.

Mac Studio M2 Max/M2 Ultra was announced June 5, 2023

After months of bogus rumors, Apple did the smart thing and announced the 2nd generation Mac Studio with M2 Max and M2 Ultra at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference on June 5, 2023.

Personally, I have no intention of upgrading my M1 Ultra until M3 or M4 Ultra, but if I didn’t have an M1 Ultra, I would jump at the M2 Max or M2 Ultra. It makes me very happy to see Apple is still upgrading this machine with both the Max and Ultra processors.

As predicted, there is no redesign of the M2 Series Mac Studio. The Mac Studio M2 Max & M2 Ultra has the same basics as the M1 Series. This is fine with me, I love the Mac Studio M1 Max & M1 Ultra a lot.

Also, like the M2 Series 14″ and 16″ MacBook Pros there are upgrades to HDMI 2.1, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3. The prices remain the same as well. Fortunately, in many ways Apple chose to not fix what isn’t broken, amen.

If you want more details about the Mac Studio, read the Mac Studio M1 Max & M1 Ultra page. Beyond that, everything in the M2 Series is exactly the same as the M1 Series, except the M2 Max/Ultra processor, HDMI 2.1, Wi-Fi 6E, and Bluetooth 5.3 upgrades.

Information you need to properly digest web sites & especially YouTube.
Updated frequently – Apple Technology YouTube Critique

CPU & GPU Performance Benchmarks

I would generally advise to not get too tied up in the minutiae of benchmarks, but they are useful for relative comparisons of processors. It is worth noting that no M Series processors are slouches. Some more than others, but all of them are a noticeable improvement over the Intel processors in previous generation Macs.

CPU single-core performance of the M2 Max and M2 Ultra processors in the Mac Studio is very similar to all other M2 Series processors, because of course they all share the same CPU single-core.

CPU multi-core and GPU multi-core performance is where the differences become more apparent because of the different number of cores.

SSD Performance Benchmarks

I think it’s safe to say Apple now has a trend of using a single NAND chip for its 512GB SSDs. So smart money says stay away from 512GB SSDs. Otherwise you can expect Mac Studio M2 Max & M2 Ultra 1TB and larger SSDs to have the same stellar performance M1 Series have now.

DAW Performance Benchmarks

You can expect Mac Studio M2 Series DAW performance to be improved over the Mac Studio M1 Series. Keep in mind that Mac Studio M1 Series DAW performance was already way beyond what nearly every musician can even dream of using.

Check software compatibilities

The Mac Studio M2 Max & M2 Ultra has macOS Sonoma on it.

It should go without saying, but I’m gonna say it anyway. M Series has been out since November 2020. I think it’s crazy that any DAW or plugin should have issues or still be running on Rosetta emulation, but not everyone listens to me. Do your homework!

Furthermore, in my opinion any major software company that markets to Apple users and hasn’t updated their software to include Apple silicon compatibility deserves to lose your business. It’s been over 3 years, and at this point it’s a real screw you. They obviously don’t care about their customers and should be replaced by a company that cares more about their customers.

macOS 13 Ventura: Compatibility Guide

macOS 14 Sonoma: Compatibility Guide

My personal experience with Ventura and Sonoma has been very good. Everything I use runs natively on M Series and is compatible with those. But don’t listen to me, do your homework!

The Mac Studio has what it takes to get through the next 5+ years of your music & video productions

This is why you buy Apple. Realistically with the cost of computers these days, a 1-3 year refresh cycle is not practical for most people. Unlike the majority if not all PC systems, Apple computers are built to last and Apple silicon is state of the art enough to start you at the head of the pack.

Keep coming back

Thanks!
-Yehuda

Manufacturer’s website
https://www.apple.com/mac-studio

Product support, downloads
https://support.apple.com

Videos

Yehuda Rothschild Apple Mac Studio M2 Series YouTube Playlist

Useful Links

Apple related pages
Updated periodically – Apple Silicon is the DAW standard
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Studio M1 Max & M1 Ultra
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Studio M2 Max & M2 Ultra
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Studio M3 Max & M3 Ultra
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Pro M1 Pro & M1 Max
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Pro M2 Pro & M2 Max
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Pro M3 Pro & M3 Max
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Pro M2 Ultra
Updated periodically – Apple Mac mini M1
Updated periodically – Apple Mac mini M2 & M2 Pro
Updated periodically – Apple Mac mini M3 & M3 Pro
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Air M1
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Air M2
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Air M3
Updated periodically – Apple 24″ iMac M1
Updated periodically – Apple 24″ iMac M3
Updated periodically – Apple Studio Display
Updated periodically – Apple M1 Processor Series
Updated periodically – Apple M2 Processor Series
Updated periodically – Apple M3 Processor Series

Follow on Mastodon – TurtleIsland.social/@Yehuda

This page is subject to content updates/additions. If you think any content should be updated or added, please leave a private comment on Mastodon – TurtleIsland.social/@Yehuda.

Apple M2 Processor Series

Understanding the four Apple M2 Series processors

Apple M2
Apple announced the M2 SoC on June 6, 2022, at WWDC, along with the new MacBook Air and the new 13-inch MacBook Pro and later the iPad Pro (6th generation). It is the successor to the Apple M1. The M2 is made with TSMC’s “Enhanced 5-nanometer technology” N5P process and contains 20 billion transistors, a 25% increase from the previous generation M1. The M2 can be configured with up to 24 gigabytes of RAM and 2 terabytes of storage. It has 8 CPU cores (4 performance and 4 efficiency) and up to 10 GPU cores. The M2 also increases the memory bandwidth to 100 GB/s. Apple claims CPU improvements up to 18% and GPU improvements up to 35% compared to the previous M1.

Apple M2 Pro
The M2 Pro is a more powerful version of the M2, with six to eight performance cores, four efficiency cores, 16 to 19 core GPU, 16 Apple Next Generation Neural Engine cores, up to 32 GBs of unified RAM with up to 200 GB/s memory bandwidth, and over 40 billion transistors, 20 percent more than the M1 Pro and twice the M2. It was announced on January 17, 2023 in a press release and it is used in the 14 and 16 inch 2023 MacBook Pro (Apple silicon) as well as the Mac Mini. Apple claims the CPU performance on the M2 Pro is 20 percent faster than the M1 Pro and the GPU is 30 percent faster than the one on the M1 Pro.

Apple M2 Max
The M2 Max is a larger more powerful version of the M2 Pro, with eight performance cores, four efficiency cores, 30 to 38 core GPU, 16 Apple Next Generation Neural Engine cores, up to 96GBs of unified RAM with up to 400 GB/s memory bandwidth, and over 67 billion transistors, 10 billion more than the M1 Max and 3x the M2. It was announced on January 17, 2023 in a press release and it is used in the 14 and 16 inch 2023 MacBook Pro (Apple silicon). Apple claims the CPU performance on the M2 Max is 20 percent faster that M1 Max and the GPU is 30 percent faster than the M1 Max. According to Apple, “the M2 Max is the most powerful and efficient chip in a pro laptop”.

Apple M2 Ultra
The M2 Ultra consists of two M2 Max dies connected together by a silicon interposer through Apple’s UltraFusion technology. It has 134 billion transistors, 16 performance cores, 8 efficiency cores, 60 to 76 GPU cores and 32 Neural Engine cores; it can be configured with up to 192 GB unified RAM of 800 GB/s memory bandwidth. It was announced on June 5, 2023, as an optional upgrade for the Mac Studio and the sole processor for the Apple silicon Mac Pro. Apple claims the M1 Ultra can deliver up to 22 streams of 8K ProRes video playback.
Wikipedia 

The brilliance of Apple silicon is the components of each one are the same. There are just more or less of them in each type.

Performance of the various M2 processors really boils down to the base M2 processor performance.

The base M2 has been in the MacBook Air and available since the beginning of July 2022. The Mac mini refreshed its lineup to the M2 and M2 Pro in Q1 of 2023.

The 14″ & 16″ MacBook Pros upgraded to the M2 Pro and M2 Max in Q1 of 2023.

The Mac Studio upgraded to the M2 Max and M2 Ultra, and the Mac Pro upgraded to M2 Ultra in June of 2023.

Apple is possibly trying to move M Series processor upgrades to an annual rhythm like the A Series processors for iPhones etc. The M2 Extreme has been reportedly scrapped. Rumors say the 24″ iMac will not get released in a M2 iteration.

By the end of 2023, the Apple M1 Processor Series should be history and fully replaced by the Apple M2 and M3 Processor Series in newly released products.

M2, M2 Pro, M2 Max, and M2 Ultra specifications

While M2, M2 Pro and M2 Max are distinct designs, the M2 Ultra is essentially two interconnected M2 Maxs (as the M1 Ultra was two M1 Maxs).

** If you are browsing this page from a phone, you may want to view the following chart in landscape mode.

ComponentM2M2 ProM2 MaxM2 Ultra
Efficiency CPU Cores4448
Efficiency Clock2.4GHz2.4GHz2.4GHz2.4GHz
Performance CPU Cores46 or 8816
Performance Clock3.5GHz3.5GHz3.5GHz3.5GHz
Neural Engine Cores16161632
GPU Cores options8 or 1016 or 1930 or 3860 or 76
Unified Memory options8GB 16GB 24GB16GB 32GB32GB 64GB 96GB64GB 128GB 192GB
Memory Bandwidth100GB/s200GB/s400GB/s800GB/s
Video Decode Engines1112
Video Encode Engines1124
ProRes Encode-Decode Engines1124

Assuming a less than 2 year processor life cycle, before the end of 2024 the M2 Series should be history and fully replaced by the Apple M3 Processor Series in newly released products.

CPU & GPU Performance Benchmarks

Buying an Apple M2 Series computer

Any Apple M2 Series computer will be a joyful experience compared to music and video production on Intel hardware. Highly recommended to get at least 16GB of memory and 512GB storage if you select an M2 Series system.

So far, there are 8 basic form factors of Apple macOS systems with M2 Series processors, 5 laptops and 3 desktops.

Thanks!
-Yehuda

Useful Links

Apple related pages
Updated periodically – Apple Silicon is the DAW standard
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Studio M1 Max & M1 Ultra
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Studio M2 Max & M2 Ultra
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Studio M3 Max & M3 Ultra
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Pro M1 Pro & M1 Max
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Pro M2 Pro & M2 Max
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Pro M3 Pro & M3 Max
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Pro M2 Ultra
Updated periodically – Apple Mac mini M1
Updated periodically – Apple Mac mini M2 & M2 Pro
Updated periodically – Apple Mac mini M3 & M3 Pro
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Air M1
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Air M2
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Air M3
Updated periodically – Apple 24″ iMac M1
Updated periodically – Apple 24″ iMac M3
Updated periodically – Apple Studio Display
Updated periodically – Apple M1 Processor Series
Updated periodically – Apple M2 Processor Series
Updated periodically – Apple M3 Processor Series

Follow on Mastodon – TurtleIsland.social/@Yehuda

This page is subject to content updates/additions. If you think any content should be updated or added, please leave a private comment on Mastodon – TurtleIsland.social/@Yehuda.