The first benchmarks are in, and it appears that, as expected, the M2 Ultra is indeed the fastest chip that Apple has ever produced.
MacRumors spotted the Geekbench 6 listing for the new chip, announced by Apple last week as an optional upgrade for the 2023 Mac Studio and the only option for Mac Pro buyers. Both launch next week with prices starting at $3,999 for an M2-Ultra packed Mac Studio and $6,999 for the Mac Pro.
The results are every bit as impressive as you’d hope, with the chip recording a single-core score of 2,837 and a multi-core result of 21,730.
For comparison’s sake, a Mac Studio running the M1 Ultra achieves around 2,350 to 2,430 for single-core, and 17,900 to 18,700 for multicore performance. In other words, at best, this represents around a 20% boost to CPU power, which is what Apple promised during its keynote unveiling.
What this doesn’t reveal, of course, is how much faster the M2 Ultra will be in terms of graphical and AI-related tasks. For that, Apple has promised that the 76-core GPU will deliver a 30% boost, while the 32-core Neural Engine is set to be 40% faster.
While this is a substantial performance boost over the M1 Mac Studio, it’s an even bigger boost for the Mac Pro, which hadn’t been refreshed since 2019 — a time when it was still running an Intel Xeon processor.
As you might expect, the M2 Ultra wipes the floor with the fastest Intel-based Mac Pro and its 28-core Xeon W processor. According to GeekBench, it achieves a single-core score of 1,378 and a multi-core one of 10,390, despite prices starting at over $5,000 just a couple of weeks ago.
That doubling of CPU performance isn’t to cast any shade on Intel — comparing a state-of-the-art 2023 chipset to one from 2019 clearly isn’t a fair comparison. Indeed, Intel’s Core i9-13900KS comes out on top with a score of 3,083 for single-core performance and one of 21,668 for multi-core. Rather, it’s to highlight that Mac Pro enthusiasts have something that’s cutting edge again.
As to whether power users should buy an M2 Ultra Mac Studio or Mac Pro, it depends on their use cases. The former is deliberately compact, which impacts your ability to customize it. The latter, meanwhile, comes with seven PCIe expansion slots, giving you plenty of room to grow.
That limited flexibility comes at a cost, mind. An M2 Ultra-toting Mac Pro starts at $3,000 more than the Mac Studio, meaning that most power users would be better off sticking with the Studio.
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Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.