Apple scales back plans for 'Extreme' Apple Silicon Mac Pro

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited December 2022
Apple's introduction of an Apple Silicon Mac Pro won't include an "Extreme" variant of the M2 chip, with the top-end Mac said to feature an M2 Ultra instead.

An Apple Silicon Mac Pro could be smaller than the last Intel-based model.
An Apple Silicon Mac Pro could be smaller than the last Intel-based model.


The Mac Pro is the last model in the entire Mac range to not be offered with an Apple Silicon chip. While rumors and speculation has Apple working on one for launch sometime in 2023, it may not be as powerful as once thought.

The model was believed to use an "M2 Extreme" chip, a doubling down of the Ultra chip concept that combines two M2 Ultra chips into one piece of silicon. In theory, the chip could've offered 48 CPU cores and 152 GPU cores, but that apparently won't be happening.

According to Mark Gurman's "Power On" newsletter for Bloomberg, Apple's pulling back from offering a Mac Pro with an Extreme chip inside, due to production problems. Due to its complexity and worries over its cost, the chip's manufacturing won't go ahead, and the high-end Mac Pro variant is scrapped.

Instead, the Mac Pro will use an M2 Ultra chip, which will have 24 CPU cores and 76 GPU cores, as well as support for up to 192 gigabytes of Unified Memory.

The M2 Extreme could've been a reason for the relatively slow introduction of a New Mac Pro. In July, Gurman said Apple had an M1 Mac Pro ready, but didn't launch it in favor of developing the more powerful M2 Extreme chip.

Despite the reduced potential computing power, Gurman insists that Apple will continue to offer some level of Mac Pro expandability, including options to increase the memory, internal storage, and other components.

An M2 Pro Mac mini and M2 Ultra Mac Pro are apparently in testing for 2023 launches, Gurman adds, while M2 Pro and M2 Max versions of the 14-inch MacBook Pro and 16-inch MacBook Pro.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 43
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 2,918member
    Disappointing if true 
    cpsrodoozydozenthtwatto_cobradk49byronlurahara
  • Reply 2 of 43
    blastdoor said:
    Disappointing if true 
    This doesn't make any sense or whatsoever to me. May be, Apple is trying to catch the leaksters with this one.
    lolliverwatto_cobradk49byronl
  • Reply 3 of 43
    There are some people who require tons of memory and used the 1.5TB of memory. For those people, I do not see how 192GB of memory is going to work for them. Yes people can get away with smaller memory, but not that much shrinkage. The Studio has up to 128GB of memory, so this wouldn't increase memory that much. Is this just going to be a M2 Mac Studio in a bigger box with more expandability of something? For that matter, is the M2 Mac Studio going to offer up to 192GB of memory?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 43
    Gurman is wrong. 

    Apple didn’t delay the Mac Pro two plus years in order to give us a Mac Studio with a different name. 

    The new Mac Pro won’t arrive until apple is ready to blow the doors off everything else - even if that means waiting for M3 Extreme. 

    The M2 just isn’t the destroyer hoped for. It’s great, but not something that will meet expectations of the delayed pro. 

    M3 has been for a long time where the convergence of all the good things was headed. It may mean Apple breaks a promise, but it’s better than releasing something prematurely just because an ambitious project didn’t work out in time. 

    The only way an M2 Ultra goes in a Mac Pro is if Apple developed an external-to-SOC traffic controller that mimics how their Fabric works - and then add multiple M2Ultra packages in a “modular” config. 
    macxpressdoozydozenwatto_cobraAlex_Vlibertyandfreeurahara
  • Reply 5 of 43
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,457member
    Gurman is wrong. 

    Apple didn’t delay the Mac Pro two plus years in order to give us a Mac Studio with a different name. 

    The new Mac Pro won’t arrive until apple is ready to blow the doors off everything else - even if that means waiting for M3 Extreme. 

    The M2 just isn’t the destroyer hoped for. It’s great, but not something that will meet expectations of the delayed pro. 

    M3 has been for a long time where the convergence of all the good things was headed. It may mean Apple breaks a promise, but it’s better than releasing something prematurely just because an ambitious project didn’t work out in time. 

    The only way an M2 Ultra goes in a Mac Pro is if Apple developed an external-to-SOC traffic controller that mimics how their Fabric works - and then add multiple M2Ultra packages in a “modular” config. 
    I agree...I've also never really like Mark Gurman. He may be right sometimes but other times its just throwing shit at the wall to see what sticks and then if that doesn't seem to work out, throw more shit at the wall to see if that sticks. I still remember when be blamed Apple for him being wrong lol. This is the kind of arrogant person he is. 

    I wouldn't be surprised to see an M3 based MacPro and also wouldn't be surprised if it was supposed to be an M3 MacPro all along. Apple has MacStudio which can hold over most users who need power. Apple can afford to wait to get MacPro right. 
    edited December 2022 doozydozenwatto_cobraAlex_V
  • Reply 6 of 43
    The rumored price for the M2 Ultra was around $10K. Unless there is a mile of difference between the Ultra and everything else, those who need to upgrade will take the less powerful model and use it until the real deal is finally available. Apple would never have made money on a tiny run of Ultra models (factor in costs for development, future support, packaging, inventory, etc). And as we know, Apple is not a 503(c). 
    williamlondondoozydozenwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 43
    Grid computing is where Apple should be focusing. Leverage processing power from every device on the local network transparently.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 43
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,582member
    A thought; how about an M2-Ultra, but multiple processors. Yes, the ultra, but 2, 4, or 8 of them? 
    Then maybe having the option to upgrade the processor later?
    edited December 2022 taugust04_aiking editor the gratewatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 43
    There are some people who require tons of memory and used the 1.5TB of memory. For those people, I do not see how 192GB of memory is going to work for them. Yes people can get away with smaller memory, but not that much shrinkage. The Studio has up to 128GB of memory, so this wouldn't increase memory that much. Is this just going to be a M2 Mac Studio in a bigger box with more expandability of something? For that matter, is the M2 Mac Studio going to offer up to 192GB of memory?
    Did you read “ Despite the reduced potential computing power, Gurman insists that Apple will continue to offer some level of Mac Pro expandability, including options to increase the memory, internal storage, and other components. ”? I take this to mean that there will be more than 192GB memory options, as well as some compatible expansion cards. 
    doozydozenwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 43
    jwdawso said:
    There are some people who require tons of memory and used the 1.5TB of memory. For those people, I do not see how 192GB of memory is going to work for them. Yes people can get away with smaller memory, but not that much shrinkage. The Studio has up to 128GB of memory, so this wouldn't increase memory that much. Is this just going to be a M2 Mac Studio in a bigger box with more expandability of something? For that matter, is the M2 Mac Studio going to offer up to 192GB of memory?
    Did you read “ Despite the reduced potential computing power, Gurman insists that Apple will continue to offer some level of Mac Pro expandability, including options to increase the memory, internal storage, and other components. ”? I take this to mean that there will be more than 192GB memory options, as well as some compatible expansion cards. 
    That’s the problem, no one outside of Apple knows so they don’t know if they have to migrate their workflow to PC.
    xyzzy01Fidonet127
  • Reply 11 of 43
    We know the M2 in the MBAir can support 24GB of ram. So for the next generation of M2 MBPros we could expect the current 64GB ram limit could increase to 96GB and the M2 Mac Studio could perhaps go from 128 to 196GB of ram. 

    I wonder if the M series MacPro might make the 196GB proposed as a guess the cache for memory cards in slots. The speed could be decremented going off the chip to a bus but there could be a memory bus and an I/O devices bus.

    I am not an EE person, but wonder if there is a physical limitation to how big a single chip can be before speeds head south? I guess the speed of light is the barrier.....
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 43
    This really is a wait-and-see scenario, the Mac Pro has looked like a lot of different things over the years, including dual-chip variants.

    We’ve heard many similar rumours about Apple Silicon, which haven’t eventuated.

    The fact that the pundits can’t tell us a release or announcement date tells you everything you need to know. 
    watto_cobraAlex_V
  • Reply 13 of 43
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,877moderator
    The only way an M2 Ultra goes in a Mac Pro is if Apple developed an external-to-SOC traffic controller that mimics how their Fabric works - and then add multiple M2Ultra packages in a “modular” config. 
    This seems the most logical route for them to go. The Mac Pro is such a small shipment volume (<50k units per year), it doesn't make sense to manufacture a custom chip that would only go in the highest-end model where the shipment volume drops to under 10k units/year and will just continue to fall as upgrade cycles lengthen and people migrate to cheaper models.

    They can sit a large heatsink on two ultras next to each other and join them with a slower interconnect.



    If the interconnect causes a bottleneck for some tasks, they can make it optional to use both together. In many cases, pro apps will scale across both. Video apps like After Effects, Da Vinci, Final Cut rendering will double in performance as they can render separate frames on each.

    256GB RAM support would be enough but an option for 512GB would probably be useful for working with 8K frames. 8K60 10-bit uncompressed frames = 10GB RAM/second. Fast SSDs negate the need for lots of RAM in many scenarios now.

    Add in a single x16 PCIe 5/6 connector and people can connect whatever else they want externally.

    On 3nm, a dual Ultra would be 80TFLOPs and would be roughly equivalent to an Nvidia 4090 combined with a dual i9-13900k and the price would be under $10k, which is the price point most Mac Pro buyers are at. A 5nm model would perform ok too, it would perform like the higher-end 2019 Mac Pro at the mid-range price point and much smaller, cooler, quieter under full load.
    williamlondonwatto_cobrabloggerblog
  • Reply 14 of 43
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,090member
    Grid computing is where Apple should be focusing. Leverage processing power from every device on the local network transparently.
    This would be nice in a very large installation but means nothing when there are only a few computers on the LAN. To get the type of throughput you're asking for, every device would need to be on 10Gb ethernet or some kind of specialized PCIe bus interconnect. If the data use is minimal but it requires a lot of computing, the network wouldn't be a big deal. If you're trying to simulate a supercomputer (used by DOE, DoD and others) using Apple Silicon, the Mac Pro isn't going to do it. You'd need a backplane of M-series Maxes with a very fast interconnect (don't think the Ultra could scale to a backplane and keep its speed) to get anywhere near catching supercomputers. I don't feel grid computing will come close to today's supercomputers because, as I've stated, the "grid" interconnect just isn't going to be fast enough to match the supercomputer interconnect circuitry.

    Apple is not going to focus on grid computing because that's not how they can make money. They're a consumer company first and unless they actually come out with a very good Mac Pro, or a totally different scheme or connecting Studio type boxes (or computing servers like a specialized Mini without the extra stuff), I don't see Apple putting that much effort into the "professional" market. Those users will just have to be satisfied with the top of the line consumer devices. Do I like what I'm saying? Absolutely not but I feel that's where Apple is going.

    ApplePoor said:
    We know the M2 in the MBAir can support 24GB of ram. So for the next generation of M2 MBPros we could expect the current 64GB ram limit could increase to 96GB and the M2 Mac Studio could perhaps go from 128 to 196GB of ram. 

    I wonder if the M series MacPro might make the 196GB proposed as a guess the cache for memory cards in slots. The speed could be decremented going off the chip to a bus but there could be a memory bus and an I/O devices bus.

    I am not an EE person, but wonder if there is a physical limitation to how big a single chip can be before speeds head south? I guess the speed of light is the barrier.....
    I'm not an EE either but I worked at a place with TOP500 supercomputers. If Apple really wan't to expand their Apple Silicon line to match the hardware capabilities of their old Intel devices, they're going to have to get really creative and figure out a way to either enlarge their SoC or start stacking specialized memory and storage SOCs onto a main CPU, etc., SOC that has a minimum amount of memory and storage (for booting, etc.) but has extra I/O hardware and very fast buses/interconnects that would allow this sandwich type of system that could handle >1GB memory and lots of extremely fast storage. 
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 43
    DAalseth said:
    A thought; how about an M2-Ultra, but multiple processors. Yes, the ultra, but 2, 4, or 8 of them? 
    Then maybe having the option to upgrade the processor later?
    I’m thinking the same. If memory or storage are expandable, it may make more sense to develop an extra high speed bus to connect multiple soc’s to each other as well.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 43
    Nobody knows what the new Mac Pro will look like or what the features will be. This rumor is that the extreme chip which may never have existed or planned will not happen. Is it just 196GB of on chip memory or will it have additional memory off chip that will be slower? I can guess that, at least some Pros will not be happy if they don’t get a beast of a computer that beats the current Mac Pro in all aspects.

    Apple already does some grid computing. Final Cit Pro’s Compressor module can be installed on multiple computers to encode video. You don’t need a high amount of computers to make a difference. Every bit helps for smaller businesses. I don’t know how well it works or what kind of network is needed. 

    I keep imagining a Mac Pro as a desktop version of a Cray 1 super computer. The CPU modules would have an edge connector that plugs into a network that connects all the cpu modules in the center as a loop. In the seat, would be hard drives, power supplies and external signal connections, USB, Thunderbolt and video. The idea of the ring in the center is to reduce space between cpu modules for signal quality. 
    watto_cobradewme
  • Reply 17 of 43
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,286member
    It could be for iMac Pro, not Mac Pro yet. 

    Also, remember that we had COVID pandemic shutdown causing a significant turnover with employees in many tech companies during that time - the effects of shutdowns are often not felt until a couple of years later. And now we're already seeing the effects.
     
    Another consideration is that we have reduced our dependence on China and that means the age of cheap and quick consumerism is fading. 
     
    Also, why do we really need Apple computers for high end computing workstations which often have only a specific purpose? It just makes no economic sense. If consumers need 512GB of RAM, then they would just use a customized PC and that's gonna work just fine - pretty sure for every Mac app built for that, there is also a Windows app. It's not like they cannot do that. They can. They're called pros for a reason. 
    watto_cobra9secondkox2williamlondon
  • Reply 18 of 43
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,286member
    Fidonet127 said: 
    I keep imagining a Mac Pro as a desktop version of a Cray 1 super computer. The CPU modules would have an edge connector that plugs into a network that connects all the cpu modules in the center as a loop. In the seat, would be hard drives, power supplies and external signal connections, USB, Thunderbolt and video. The idea of the ring in the center is to reduce space between cpu modules for signal quality. 
    I marvel that our iPhone 14 is 5,000 times faster than 5,500 lb Cray-2. 

    https://blog.adobe.com/en/publish/2022/11/08/fast-forward-comparing-1980s-supercomputer-to-modern-smartphone 
    watto_cobraStrangeDays
  • Reply 19 of 43
    DAalseth said:
    A thought; how about an M2-Ultra, but multiple processors. Yes, the ultra, but 2, 4, or 8 of them? 
    Then maybe having the option to upgrade the processor later?
    That’s what I mentioned earlier. But it would only work if they developed an external “fabric” to tie it all together with minimal performance loss. Sort of an Xsan in a box. That would allow apple to keep the modular marketing. 

    Still, m2 anything just may not be what ends up in Mac Pro. M3 is where the m series will supposedly shine. 
  • Reply 20 of 43
    netrox said:
    It could be for iMac Pro, not Mac Pro yet. 

    Also, remember that we had COVID pandemic shutdown causing a significant turnover with employees in many tech companies during that time - the effects of shutdowns are often not felt until a couple of years later. And now we're already seeing the effects.
     
    Another consideration is that we have reduced our dependence on China and that means the age of cheap and quick consumerism is fading. 
     
    Also, why do we really need Apple computers for high end computing workstations which often have only a specific purpose? It just makes no economic sense. If consumers need 512GB of RAM, then they would just use a customized PC and that's gonna work just fine - pretty sure for every Mac app built for that, there is also a Windows app. It's not like they cannot do that. They can. They're called pros for a reason. 
    It wouldn’t be a Mac. 

    The whole reason people buy Macs to begin with is the far superior experience. 

    So, no. A “chesp” pc (which will actually cost similar or more to a Mac at the same high end specs) won’t cut it. 

    Mac Pro vs jimmy rig… yeah I’ll get the Mac Pro. 

    Why buy an “expensive” Mac when you can buy a “cheap” pc? Oh I don’t know, probably the same reason people buy “expensive” iPhones when they can have a “cheap” subsidized android instead? 

    Come on dude. You know the answer. 
    edited December 2022 Fidonet127fastasleep
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