Apple M2 Ultra Processor Falls Short in Tests Against AMD and Intel Rivals Due to Lower Core Count and Clock Speed

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Apple M2 Ultra, a powerful processor with 24 general-purpose cores and 76 integrated graphics subsystem cores, failed to surpass its current competitors, AMD and Intel, in the Geekbench 5 tests. The AMD and Intel counterparts proved to be more powerful, boasting a higher number of cores and a superior clock speed.

Workstation processors represent a unique category. They combine the benefits of desktop and server chips, needing to scale like a PC, yet also maintain consistently high performance under heavy loads. This necessitates a high performance per clock (PPC), high clock speeds, a large number of cores, support for large volumes of memory, and a high number of PCIe lines. The 56-core Intel Xeon W9-3495X and the 64-core AMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro W5995X both meet these requirements.

On the other hand, the Apple M2 Ultra is essentially a pair of combined M2 Max chips initially developed for MacBook Pro and Mac Studio computers. The M2 Max chip does not support high clock speeds or scalability – it supports fixed volumes of RAM, and the disk space situation isn’t straightforward. As workloads increase, built-in accelerators are used instead of increasing the clock speed. Due to power and cooling limitations, only a relatively small number of cores can be accommodated. As a result, the seemingly impressive Apple M2 Ultra predictably falls short of the Intel Core i9-13900K in clock speed and cannot compete with the AMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro W5995WX in terms of core count.

In the Geekbench 5 tests, the new flagship Apple processor conceded to the Intel Core i9-13900K in both single-thread and multi-thread workloads. It outperformed its direct competitors, the AMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro W5995X and Intel Xeon W9-3495X, in single-thread tests but was significantly slower when a large number of cores were required. Geekbench 5 is a synthetic benchmark that doesn’t always reflect a chip’s capabilities in real-world applications, but it does provide a general idea of the central processor’s capabilities without considering special accelerators, of which the Apple M2 Ultra has plenty. The true distribution of power will be demonstrated in practical applications.

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Martin Harris
I'm Martin Harris, a tech writer with extensive experience, contributing to global publications. Trained in Computer Science, I merged my technical know-how with writing, becoming a technology journalist. I've covered diverse topics like AI and consumer electronics, contributing to top tech platforms. I participate in tech events for knowledge updating. Besides writing, I enjoy reading, photography, and aim to clarify technology's complexities to readers.

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