Apple executives discuss how the M1 Pro, M1 Max were developed

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in General Discussion
Apple's goal with the M1 Pro and M1 Max Mac chips was to "blow the doors off" in terms of what was possible, a pair of Apple executives said in a recent interview.

Credit: Apple
Credit: Apple


Apple vice presidents Tim Millet and Tom Boger recently spoke with the hosts of the Upgrade podcast, Jason Snell and Myke Hurley. During the conversation, the pair discussed how M1 Pro and M1 Max came to be.

The two Apple executives said that the company's goal with the M1 Pro and M1 Max was to significantly scale the performance while maintaining a familiar chip architecture for developers and professionals. That required the team to tear the chip apart and "put it all back together."

When asked about whether the M1 Pro and M1 Max took more work than the M1, the Apple VPs noted that the first Apple Silicon Mac chip really "stood on the shoulders" of a decade of the company's existing silicon work. The M1 Pro and M1 Max were completed in a much shorter period of time, and required a ramping up of research and development.

On the unified memory architecture, both Apple staffers touted its benefits on the two new pro chips, stating that "we're just beginning to find all the ways in which it's going to make things possible that weren't possible before, or faster and better than they were before."

At another point in the conversation, the Apple executives discussed the system-on-chip model of the company's Mac chips. Specifically, they said there's a responsibility to ensure that every single part of the chip -- from the display engine to the I/O -- is "world-class."

The ultimate goal of the M1 Pro and M1 Max, as well as other Apple Silicon projects, was to be "game-changing" in the chip industry, and game-changing for pro users, the executives said.
"We know that our pro users, I mean, their livelihood depends on a Mac, their life is on that Mac. And so we want to make it the best it can possibly be, in every way it can possibly be, as much as we can. And, so, that is the reward for us and that's what we're thrilled to do when we make systems like this."
The full interview with Millet and Boger, which contains additional details about the M1 Pro's and M1 Max's development, is available in episode 379 of the Upgrade podcast.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 4
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 3,062member
    At another point in the conversation, the Apple executives discussed the system-on-chip model of the company's Mac chips. Specifically, they said there's a responsibility to ensure that every single part of the chip -- from the display engine to the I/O -- is "world-class."
    Indeed, it seems ensuring that the full quota of 57B transistors of an M1 MAX function properly and reliably is a major QC undertaking. (Of course some MAX failures will lead to binning into M1 Pro parts, but still....)
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 4
    I don't think you can bin an M1 Max chip into an M1 Pro part - much different form factors.

    The M1 Pro has 10 CPU cores and 16 GPU cores, and the M1 Max 10 CPU cores and 32 GPU cores.

    All the M1 Pro and M1 Max variants which have fewer cores are binned parts - and I betcha at those monolithic sizes yields still aren't great.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 4
    cpsro said:
    At another point in the conversation, the Apple executives discussed the system-on-chip model of the company's Mac chips. Specifically, they said there's a responsibility to ensure that every single part of the chip -- from the display engine to the I/O -- is "world-class."
    Indeed, it seems ensuring that the full quota of 57B transistors of an M1 MAX function properly and reliably is a major QC undertaking. (Of course some MAX failures will lead to binning into M1 Pro parts, but still....)
    I doubt that.  Look at the layout & physcal size of the M1 Pro vs. M1 Max.  The SoC is a completely different size & layout.  You couldn't put a binned M1 Max on a motherboard designed for a M1 Pro.  Cooling system might be different, also (physical x/w dimensions of heatsink/pipe for the CPU).
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 4
    robabarobaba Posts: 226member
    They call it (M1PRO) Jade Chop for a reason.
    watto_cobra
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