Apple's M1 Ultra absolutely dwarfs your CPU

Apple M1 Ultra next to an AMD Ryzen 3 3300X for scale.
(Image credit: Max Tech)

The latest Apple Mac Studio is now out in the wild, and that means the various Mac sites and YouTubers are getting their hands on the Apple M1 Ultra. One of the most interesting videos so far is from Max Tech, which is a complete teardown of the Mac Studio, revealing the simply massive System-on-a-Chip at the heart of the unit. 

Max Tech dropped over $17,000 buying up three different versions of the Apple Mac Studio as well as some screens in order to do the teardown, and we're glad they did because it's certainly an interesting beast to rip apart. While it isn't the most technical teardown you'll ever see, there are still plenty of interesting tidbits in there, including confirming that the Mac Studio's SSDs appear to use a slightly different interface to previous models.

It's not an easy system to get into, with no obvious screws or catches to open it up. At least not until you remove the rubber ring on the base. Once that's done there's a whole world of unscrewing needed before you can access the main motherboard and chip. It appears that every port needs to be extracted before you can remove the bulk of the machine.

While stripping the Mac Studio down does look possible with fairly standard tools, and with no particularly evil design practices at play, having to strip everything down to access the SoC does look daunting. As Max Tech says, "I'm just dreading putting this thing back together."

Once freed, though, it reveals an impressive piece of design with twin blowers on the top of the motherboard tasked with keeping the chip cool. Most importantly, the M1 Ultra is an absolutely massive SoC. During the teardown, they hold up an AMD Ryzen 3 3300X next to it for scale and it absolutely dwarfs the AMD CPU. 

It's worth noting that the whole SoC does include RAM as well as a pair of M1 Max's so it isn't a like-for-like comparison. You can't read too much into the size of the package until someone sacrifices their M1 Max so we can see what's underneath that heatspreader either—an expensive investigation for sure.

The M1 Ultra version of the Mac Studio is available to buy now for $3,999 (gulp), with deliveries due for the last week of May. That nets you a 20-core CPU and 48-core GPU with 64GB of unified RAM and 1TB of SSD storage. 

Alan Dexter

Alan has been writing about PC tech since before 3D graphics cards existed, and still vividly recalls having to fight with MS-DOS just to get games to load. He fondly remembers the killer combo of a Matrox Millenium and 3dfx Voodoo, and seeing Lara Croft in 3D for the first time. He's very glad hardware has advanced as much as it has though, and is particularly happy when putting the latest M.2 NVMe SSDs, AMD processors, and laptops through their paces. He has a long-lasting Magic: The Gathering obsession but limits this to MTG Arena these days.