M3 Ultra Mac Studio rumored to debut in mid-2024 -- without a Mac Pro

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  • Reply 21 of 41
    danoxdanox Posts: 2,856member
    danox said:
    Hopefully behind the scenes Apple is starting to support thru hardware/software any software needed for AI/Inference, in the next three years Apple has to whatever they can to push UMA their 128 GIG and above memory systems using Apple Silicons high performance low wattage systems. I hope they can showcase multiple UMA 256 gig Mac Studio's running together at WWDC.

    https://creativestrategies.com/apple-silicon-and-the-mac-in-the-age-of-ai/

    https://anakin.ai/blog/mlx-apple-m1-m2/
    That’s the last thing I’d expect to see from Apple at WWDC. Are you serious?

    Apple has to do all they can behind the scenes to have seat at the AI developers table in light of Qualcomm chip efforts and they can't sit the side lines in the server market either for too much longer (but, I bet you thought Apple should let Intel do the cpu's for Apple thru the end of the century?), they cannot ignore what they have in the M2, M3, M5, M6 with UMA memory, low wattage and the over all performance in comparison to their competition.

    Apple efforts in the cad and 3d market also needs to improve too, the hardware/power usage and OS capability at this time (advantage) is too good with the Apple Silicon family of chips. I'm sure they are working on it because Apple is known for executing over the long haul.

    Oh, and Apple will talk about and demo something in connection to their efforts in AI at this year's WWDC their developers will expect it.
    d_2watto_cobra
  • Reply 22 of 41
    programmerprogrammer Posts: 3,458member
    Interesting set of comments above. I can't see the Mac Pro getting capabilities that can't also be acquired via external Thunderbolt/PCIe enclosures for the Mac Studio and MacBook Pro. I think that's the unspoken, as-yet unrealized message that the 2023 Mac Pro sends. Its place in the lineup is about convenience, having everything inside a box. It's not about having capabilities no other Mac can reach.

    Maybe at one point, early on in the development of Mac silicon, Apple thought an Extreme, quad M-series variant for Mac Pro only would make sense. The original "Jade" leak, which was otherwise 100% correct, suggests that. But that is ancient history now. It dates to before the Mac Studio and, more importantly, to before the A17/M3 graphics architecture. Apple has been driving toward this since at least the A12X in 2018. That October 30 presentation in Brooklyn ("More in the Making") for the iPad Pro is important, and with the benefit of hindsight we can see it is the first major event that foreshadows the transition to A14/M1 -- the executives on stage, which include Anand Shimpi (for the first time, I think, I could be wrong), know there is no turning back. It's a very different feel from 2017, in retrospect. 

    If they abandoned the M1/M2 Extreme in favor of a different approach, a change in direction that may have been hinted at by Anand Shimpi less than a year ago (February 2023), then Apple has displayed an ability to adapt that is heartening. The whole trajectory from 2017 to the present looks really good in that respect.

    I think there's no rush. They need PCIe 5 (let alone 6) and Thunderbolt 5/DisplayPort 2.1 to build this structure, and the industry shift to these standards will progress slowly. But I think it's pretty clear that Apple knows what it is doing. There are signs. For example, there were people all up in arms about how Apple uses PCIe lanes in the 2023 Mac Pro, but those criticisms were all predicated on expectations for PCIe 3 lanes, not PCIe 4. The whole thing was just unbelievably stupid. 
    I still don't think going beyond Ultra (i.e. 2 Maxes fused together) is going to happen as its a very hard problem that only applies to the high end where its not worth the silicon design and packaging expense to Apple.  An external chassis is limited to the performance of Thunderbolt, which is fine for some uses but not ones that require all of the chip's available PCIe lane performance.  So a MacPro with internal slots still offers something.  I still think that shipping a PCIe card with an M3 Max or Ultra on it so that a MacPro could become a multi-M3 monster is a compelling idea.  Especially if they can figure out how to do UMA over PCIe, but potentially even without that by using virtual memory and/or frameworks.

    tenthousandthingswatto_cobra
  • Reply 23 of 41
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 15,323moderator
    hypoluxa said:
    I can't see them (yet) removing the MacPro from their roster. The PCI expansion slots are a niche market for some Pro users who use them, they still have a customer market for it albeit a shrinking one.
    Could this not be addressed with a working external PCI expansion system?
    I think so, there are devices like the Asus Rog Ally handheld PC that has a proprietary PCIe connector to plug in a 4090 GPU:

    https://rog.asus.com/us/external-graphic-docks/rog-xg-mobile-2023-model/

    Apple can easily add an external PCIe connector to the Mac Studio and let 3rd parties like Sonnet build chassis options around it. They already make these but are limited to Thunderbolt bandwidth:

    https://www.sonnettech.com/product/xmac-studio/overview.html

    A single PCIe x16 gen6 connector would be plenty of bandwidth (~1Tbit/s).

    https://www.tomshardware.com/news/pcie-70-to-reach-512-gbs-arrive-in-2025

    It needs to take into account latency, heat, reliability too though. Some of the uses cases are for high-end audio production. If a 3rd party solution doesn't measure up or the 3rd party companies eventually closed up, the studios would have to switch platform.

    Every Mac Pro upgrade feels like they are testing the water to see if there's still demand for it just to make sure. Every year the sales will keep drying up, it must be in the low 10k units per year by now. There has to be a breaking point eventually where they pull the plug.
    williamlondontenthousandthingswatto_cobra
  • Reply 24 of 41
    9secondkox29secondkox2 Posts: 2,717member
    Don’t need to launch a new Mac Pro in a big way. If the SOC module is swappable, then Apple can offer customers and upgrade module. Would makes sense to justify a Mac Pro. Still can’t shake the idea that the Ultra isn’t the top end of Apple Silicon though. Having a Mac Pro and Mac Studio as-is is redundant — unless Apple has bigger plans for the Mac Pro. 


    watto_cobra
  • Reply 25 of 41
    9secondkox29secondkox2 Posts: 2,717member
    I much prefer macOS over Windows but unless a person really needs Mac specific software they are much better off using something like a HP Z8 Fury G5 which offers much more freedom for high end applications.
    LOL no. 

    With the money needed to spec that out like a Mac Studio, it’s better to just get an actual Mac Studio or Mac Pro. 
    edited January 5 macxpresswatto_cobra
  • Reply 26 of 41
    I much prefer macOS over Windows but unless a person really needs Mac specific software they are much better off using something like a HP Z8 Fury G5 which offers much more freedom for high end applications.
    LOL no. 

    With the money needed to spec that out like a Mac Studio, it’s better to just get an actual Mac Studio or Mac Pro. 

    There are still professional situations where an M3 Max isn’t up to scratch. Such as with 3D animation, where high end rigs can have up to 1TB of RAM and multiple GPUs (even if they aren’t run in SLI having a free GPU whilst one is working can be helpful). 

    Additionally the cost of updating a GPU on a rig each year is less than the cost of buying a new Mac Studio each year. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 27 of 41
    danoxdanox Posts: 2,856member
    sloaah said:
    I much prefer macOS over Windows but unless a person really needs Mac specific software they are much better off using something like a HP Z8 Fury G5 which offers much more freedom for high end applications.
    LOL no. 

    With the money needed to spec that out like a Mac Studio, it’s better to just get an actual Mac Studio or Mac Pro. 

    There are still professional situations where an M3 Max isn’t up to scratch. Such as with 3D animation, where high end rigs can have up to 1TB of RAM and multiple GPUs (even if they aren’t run in SLI having a free GPU whilst one is working can be helpful). 

    Additionally the cost of updating a GPU on a rig each year is less than the cost of buying a new Mac Studio each year. 

    That may be true but Apple isn't on that path and they are soon to be joined on that path by Qualcomm? UMA memory, low wattage with high performance? only time will tell. Hopefully the Justice Dept. won't take exception if it works out big for Apple. :)
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 28 of 41
    longfanglongfang Posts: 455member
    danox said:
    sloaah said:
    I much prefer macOS over Windows but unless a person really needs Mac specific software they are much better off using something like a HP Z8 Fury G5 which offers much more freedom for high end applications.
    LOL no. 

    With the money needed to spec that out like a Mac Studio, it’s better to just get an actual Mac Studio or Mac Pro. 

    There are still professional situations where an M3 Max isn’t up to scratch. Such as with 3D animation, where high end rigs can have up to 1TB of RAM and multiple GPUs (even if they aren’t run in SLI having a free GPU whilst one is working can be helpful). 

    Additionally the cost of updating a GPU on a rig each year is less than the cost of buying a new Mac Studio each year. 

    That may be true but Apple isn't on that path and they are soon to be joined on that path by Qualcomm? UMA memory, low wattage with high performance? only time will tell. Hopefully the Justice Dept. won't take exception if it works out big for Apple. :)
    A Trump DoJ would be too busy going after his perceived enemies to bother with Apple. Just saying. 
    9secondkox2watto_cobramuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 29 of 41
    Interesting set of comments above. I can't see the Mac Pro getting capabilities that can't also be acquired via external Thunderbolt/PCIe enclosures for the Mac Studio and MacBook Pro. I think that's the unspoken, as-yet unrealized message that the 2023 Mac Pro sends. Its place in the lineup is about convenience, having everything inside a box. It's not about having capabilities no other Mac can reach.

    Maybe at one point, early on in the development of Mac silicon, Apple thought an Extreme, quad M-series variant for Mac Pro only would make sense. The original "Jade" leak, which was otherwise 100% correct, suggests that. But that is ancient history now. It dates to before the Mac Studio and, more importantly, to before the A17/M3 graphics architecture. Apple has been driving toward this since at least the A12X in 2018. That October 30 presentation in Brooklyn ("More in the Making") for the iPad Pro is important, and with the benefit of hindsight we can see it is the first major event that foreshadows the transition to A14/M1 -- the executives on stage, which include Anand Shimpi (for the first time, I think, I could be wrong), know there is no turning back. It's a very different feel from 2017, in retrospect. 

    If they abandoned the M1/M2 Extreme in favor of a different approach, a change in direction that may have been hinted at by Anand Shimpi less than a year ago (February 2023), then Apple has displayed an ability to adapt that is heartening. The whole trajectory from 2017 to the present looks really good in that respect.

    I think there's no rush. They need PCIe 5 (let alone 6) and Thunderbolt 5/DisplayPort 2.1 to build this structure, and the industry shift to these standards will progress slowly. But I think it's pretty clear that Apple knows what it is doing. There are signs. For example, there were people all up in arms about how Apple uses PCIe lanes in the 2023 Mac Pro, but those criticisms were all predicated on expectations for PCIe 3 lanes, not PCIe 4. The whole thing was just unbelievably stupid. 
    I still don't think going beyond Ultra (i.e. 2 Maxes fused together) is going to happen as its a very hard problem that only applies to the high end where its not worth the silicon design and packaging expense to Apple.  An external chassis is limited to the performance of Thunderbolt, which is fine for some uses but not ones that require all of the chip's available PCIe lane performance.  So a MacPro with internal slots still offers something.  I still think that shipping a PCIe card with an M3 Max or Ultra on it so that a MacPro could become a multi-M3 monster is a compelling idea.  Especially if they can figure out how to do UMA over PCIe, but potentially even without that by using virtual memory and/or frameworks.
    I was vague about what that “as-yet unrealized” approach would be, because I don’t know how to guess. I just think the 2023 Mac Pro commitment to PCIe gen4 sends a message, which I’m interpreting as something like, “We don’t need a different interface. PCIe will support what we plan to do.” That got me to look at the upcoming PCIe generations and, wow, yeah, seems like doubling everything (gen5) and then doubling it again (gen6) should be enough.

    Your ideas sound good, it’s got to be something like that. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 30 of 41
    multimediamultimedia Posts: 1,035member
    Why is everyone ignoring the M3 and M3 Pro Mac minis?
    9secondkox2watto_cobra
  • Reply 31 of 41
    kelliekellie Posts: 50member
    Apple shows no signs of wanting to offer products that compete with the ultra high end systems used for the most advanced animation and video editing functions.  They don’t want to offer systems that are open and extensible. They certainly don’t want to provide a means for Nvidia or AMD to inject their gpus into the Apple ecosystem.  Apple wants absolute control of their platform to optimize revenue and profits. The only upgrade path Apple wants to offer is chucking old systems and buying new systems.  You can’t even add memory or storage to any Apple product these days. For a company that hypes their environmental friendliness, their product strategy does not overall result in friendly environmental impacts.  They tout use of recycling. The best recycling is getting maximum life out of each product they sell through design and upgrade options vs recycling a three year old Mac book pro because the ssd failed and there’s no way to repair it. 
    9secondkox2williamlondonmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 32 of 41
    9secondkox29secondkox2 Posts: 2,717member
    All Apple has to do is keep pressing on to make the best stuff in the world. 

    Let everyone else get caught up in how to nerdifyvthe latest buzz. 

    Meanwhile apple tinkers away making things indespsnsibly useful while everyone else has the latest cowbell to make noise with. 

    Apple isn’t a company known to be behind and its isn’t now. Apple will launch its new stuff when it’s worthy of being an integral part of life. 

    The current chat got stuff and other AI mashup software is really a pain. It’s wrong quite often and getting the right results from your input is a crapshoot.and exercise in frustration. And then you’ve got big tech shielding ip theft by offering to step in on behalf of the plagiarist when the actual creator gets stuffed. It’s a “bag of hurt” to quote Jobs. 

    Apple coming along and baking a more reliable, ethical, and user friendly “Siri +” or whatever is deserving of all the time they need to get it right down to the last Lifeway characters of code. 




    watto_cobra
  • Reply 33 of 41
    9secondkox29secondkox2 Posts: 2,717member

    kellie said:
    Apple shows no signs of wanting to offer products that compete with the ultra high end systems used for the most advanced animation and video editing functions.  They don’t want to offer systems that are open and extensible. They certainly don’t want to provide a means for Nvidia or AMD to inject their gpus into the Apple ecosystem.  Apple wants absolute control of their platform to optimize revenue and profits. The only upgrade path Apple wants to offer is chucking old systems and buying new systems.  You can’t even add memory or storage to any Apple product these days. For a company that hypes their environmental friendliness, their product strategy does not overall result in friendly environmental impacts.  They tout use of recycling. The best recycling is getting maximum life out of each product they sell through design and upgrade options vs recycling a three year old Mac book pro because the ssd failed and there’s no way to repair it. 
    Disagree. Apple had quite the hardcore Mac Pro but they had to lay the groundwork with apple silicon. So it got missed. Then it wasn’t exactly the dream machine hoped for when it came out again last year. 

    However, we are talking “signs” here. The m3 rollout is showing us apple is preparing the foundations for an assault on “high end” use cases. They’re already highly capable. But it’s only going to get better. Apple silicon isn’t playing around and is progressing faster than we thought it would. 

    Rejecting amd and Nvidia does equal rejecting high end computing. It simply means apple is matching to make the best stuff come from themselves. And with the progress they’ve made in 3 short years, it’s looking like that’s in the cards. 

    They’re already toying with Intel and amd. Nvidia isn’t far behind. 
    watto_cobradanox
  • Reply 34 of 41
    9secondkox29secondkox2 Posts: 2,717member

    longfang said:
    danox said:
    sloaah said:
    I much prefer macOS over Windows but unless a person really needs Mac specific software they are much better off using something like a HP Z8 Fury G5 which offers much more freedom for high end applications.
    LOL no. 

    With the money needed to spec that out like a Mac Studio, it’s better to just get an actual Mac Studio or Mac Pro. 

    There are still professional situations where an M3 Max isn’t up to scratch. Such as with 3D animation, where high end rigs can have up to 1TB of RAM and multiple GPUs (even if they aren’t run in SLI having a free GPU whilst one is working can be helpful). 

    Additionally the cost of updating a GPU on a rig each year is less than the cost of buying a new Mac Studio each year. 

    That may be true but Apple isn't on that path and they are soon to be joined on that path by Qualcomm? UMA memory, low wattage with high performance? only time will tell. Hopefully the Justice Dept. won't take exception if it works out big for Apple. :)
    A Trump DoJ would be too busy going after his perceived enemies to bother with Apple. Just saying. 
    Interesting. just a cursory glance on the news would indicate that’s what already been happening with the CURRENT DOJ. 

    Everything from actual parents, a presidential competitor, Apple, you name it. 

    The current DOJ seems to have issues with things that are good in this world - as we are seeing in the nonsensical Apple case. It would seem anything that seems stable, wholesome, successful, moral, etc. is a target. 

    All Apple has done is be successful and build quality, safe, reliable products and services people are happy to part with their hard earned money to obtain. 

    It’s a free market. It’s supposed to play out … freely. The people, the customers decide who wins. It’s not a consolation prize game where you take from this kids successful go at the piñata and give to this kid over here who missed every swing. This is business with high stakes. It takes a lot of wisdom (which doesn’t come cheap), time, effort, and money to achieve. For some corrupt organization to just waltz in and declare it “bad. Give your candy to the other guy” is sickening. It’s theft outright. You just destroy one persons hard work and sacrifice in order to prop up someone else who’s an actual adversary. Evil stuff. 

    The current DOJ is a joke. The sooner they get exposed by a whistleblower or whatever, the better. It’s a sad sad day when people like this are running America and rags to riches successes like Apple suffer for no good reason. 
    irwinmauricewatto_cobramobirddanox
  • Reply 35 of 41
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,251member
    Why is everyone ignoring the M3 and M3 Pro Mac minis?
    Because they’re not in the same league as an M3 Ultra will be. Nothing wrong with the minis, they’re just not configured for the same level of work. 

    If I could find a reasonable alternative to the Studio Display, I’d get a mini which I see as a reincarnation to the first home Mac I ever bought, the Performa 400.
    watto_cobranubus
  • Reply 36 of 41
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 3,289member
    If they abandoned the M1/M2 Extreme in favor of a different approach, a change in direction that may have been hinted at by Anand Shimpi less than a year ago (February 2023), then Apple has displayed an ability to adapt that is heartening. The whole trajectory from 2017 to the present looks really good in that respect.
    What do you think Anand was hinting at?

    One thing I've wondered -- might they separate the GPU onto a separate 'chiplet' that is connected by some high speed interconnect (ultra fusion or whatever) to the CPU+SOC silicon? Right now, for high-end users, there's not a lot of flexibility in how much CPU vs GPU power you can get. Some workloads skew heavily towards CPU and some towards GPU. If the CPU and GPU weren't on the same die, maybe we could get a bit more flexibility in configurations. For example, I'd take as many CPU cores as they would give me, but I have little use for GPU. I'd be fine with an M3 Max GPU, but I'd like a lot more CPU power. Today, I have to pay for GPU cores I don't need in order to get more CPU cores. So, I'd pick something with, say, 64 CPU cores on one die fused to a GPU die that has, say, 30 GPU cores. 
    mobirdwatto_cobra
  • Reply 37 of 41
    Don’t need to launch a new Mac Pro in a big way. If the SOC module is swappable, then Apple can offer customers and upgrade module. Would makes sense to justify a Mac Pro. Still can’t shake the idea that the Ultra isn’t the top end of Apple Silicon though. Having a Mac Pro and Mac Studio as-is is redundant — unless Apple has bigger plans for the Mac Pro. 



    I think that as well. They gotta have an extreme or whatever it would be called above an Ultra in testing. All the leaked schematics had a quad chip from what I recall. But who knows!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 38 of 41
    blastdoor said:
    If they abandoned the M1/M2 Extreme in favor of a different approach, a change in direction that may have been hinted at by Anand Shimpi less than a year ago (February 2023), then Apple has displayed an ability to adapt that is heartening. The whole trajectory from 2017 to the present looks really good in that respect.
    What do you think Anand was hinting at?
    Anand just used a sort of hypothetical, saying they wouldn’t build something that didn’t meet their expectations for the end product. I forget the exact language he used, but I took it as a hint as to why they had abandoned the Extreme “Jade 4C Die” (assuming it ever made it beyond the design stage)

    I didn’t mean to suggest he provided any hints about what alternatives they might pursue, sorry about that. 
    edited January 7
  • Reply 39 of 41
    blastdoor said:
    One thing I've wondered -- might they separate the GPU onto a separate 'chiplet' that is connected by some high speed interconnect (ultra fusion or whatever) to the CPU+SOC silicon? Right now, for high-end users, there's not a lot of flexibility in how much CPU vs GPU power you can get. Some workloads skew heavily towards CPU and some towards GPU. If the CPU and GPU weren't on the same die, maybe we could get a bit more flexibility in configurations. For example, I'd take as many CPU cores as they would give me, but I have little use for GPU. I'd be fine with an M3 Max GPU, but I'd like a lot more CPU power. Today, I have to pay for GPU cores I don't need in order to get more CPU cores. So, I'd pick something with, say, 64 CPU cores on one die fused to a GPU die that has, say, 30 GPU cores. 
    I think, based on what others have said, it isn't necessary to use a substrate (like UltraFusion) or a specialized interconnect like AMD's Infinity Fabric (as seen in the 2019 Mac Pro). You'd still have your base unit, Max or Ultra, maybe not Pro now that the relationship between Max and Pro is not as straightforward as it used to be. Anyhow, you'd have the base unit, then add to it via PCIe.

    I think you'll see PCIe 5.0 lanes in the next Mac Pro. Intel is already using it in its 12th generation. How Apple allocates them and what they connect to is up to Apple. Intel uses two types of lanes: those that connect to the CPU and those that connect to the PCH (platform controller hub), but that's just Intel. 
  • Reply 40 of 41
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 3,289member
    blastdoor said:
    One thing I've wondered -- might they separate the GPU onto a separate 'chiplet' that is connected by some high speed interconnect (ultra fusion or whatever) to the CPU+SOC silicon? Right now, for high-end users, there's not a lot of flexibility in how much CPU vs GPU power you can get. Some workloads skew heavily towards CPU and some towards GPU. If the CPU and GPU weren't on the same die, maybe we could get a bit more flexibility in configurations. For example, I'd take as many CPU cores as they would give me, but I have little use for GPU. I'd be fine with an M3 Max GPU, but I'd like a lot more CPU power. Today, I have to pay for GPU cores I don't need in order to get more CPU cores. So, I'd pick something with, say, 64 CPU cores on one die fused to a GPU die that has, say, 30 GPU cores. 
    I think, based on what others have said, it isn't necessary to use a substrate (like UltraFusion) or a specialized interconnect like AMD's Infinity Fabric (as seen in the 2019 Mac Pro). You'd still have your base unit, Max or Ultra, maybe not Pro now that the relationship between Max and Pro is not as straightforward as it used to be. Anyhow, you'd have the base unit, then add to it via PCIe.

    I think you'll see PCIe 5.0 lanes in the next Mac Pro. Intel is already using it in its 12th generation. How Apple allocates them and what they connect to is up to Apple. Intel uses two types of lanes: those that connect to the CPU and those that connect to the PCH (platform controller hub), but that's just Intel. 
    Some googling indicates that PCIe 5 bandwidth falls well short of the m3 max, so I don’t think apple could keep a GPU connected via PCIe in the same memory space as a GPU connected via ultra fusion. 

    Of course, Apple could choose to support discrete GPUs anyway, but that’s something they could do now, too.

    I’m skeptical that apple will support discrete GPUs. They have made *such* a big deal about the benefits of the unified memory that I don’t think they will go back on that.

    but separate GPU chiplets would allow for greater flexibility while maintaining the super high bandwidth. So I think that’s a real possibility for the M lineup eventually (probably not going to happen for A lineup, though). 
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