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A new Mac Studio model with the M3 Ultra chip—which could be more powerful than expected—will launch in mid-2024, according to a new report.

M3-Mac-Pro-and-Studio-Feature.jpg

The report comes from Taiwanese research firm TrendForce citing ICsmart. The current Mac Studio, which contains M2 Max and M2 Ultra chip options, was introduced at WWDC in June 2023. With TrendForce forecasting another mid-year update for the Mac Studio, a repeat appearance at WWDC seems likely this year.

The Mac Pro is the only other Mac model that contains an "Ultra" Apple silicon chip, so its absence from today's report discussing the M3 Ultra is noticeable. While, logically, the Mac Pro should receive an update to add the M3 Ultra chip alongside the Mac Studio, just like it received the M2 Ultra chip last year, there have been no rumors to suggest this will be the case again this year as of yet.

Interestingly, TrendForce claims that the M3 Ultra chip will be fabricated with TSMC's N3E node, just like the A18 chip that is expected to debut in the iPhone 16 lineup later in the year. This means it would be Apple's first N3E chip. The M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max chips are fabricated with TSMC's N3B process, just like the A17 Pro. N3E is an enhanced version of TSMC's 3nm process, offering slightly better performance and higher production yield.

It would be somewhat odd for Apple to make the M3 Ultra its first N3E chip, since Apple's "Ultra" chips comprise two "Max" chips linked via its UltraFusion chip interconnect technology, meaning that an N3E M3 Ultra would effectively be two M4 Max chips. To date, each generation of Apple's custom silicon chips have used the same fabrication process across the lineup, since the chip architecture is simply scaled up. Using different nodes in the same family of chips, especially on the "Ultra" chip variant, would be an unprecedented move.

The only explanation if Apple does opt for this route would be that the company plans to introduce the M4, M4 Pro, and M4 Max chips sooner rather than later, perhaps in late 2024, and would want to ensure that the M3 Ultra Mac Studio remains competitive with the newer chips. Even so, in this instance, it would surely be more straightforward to brand the chip "M4 Ultra" and skip the M3 Ultra entirely.

As a result, this part of the report should be treated with some skepticism. Nevertheless, a mid-year time frame for the launch of a new Mac Studio seems likely.


Article Link: M3 Ultra Mac Studio Rumored to Launch in Mid-2024, But No Sign of New Mac Pro
 
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chucker23n1

macrumors G3
Dec 7, 2014
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The Mac Pro is the only other Mac model that contains an "Ultra" Apple silicon chip, so its absence from today's report discussing the M3 Ultra is noticeable.

Wouldn't shock me if the Mac Pro only gets a spec bump every 24 months or even less frequently. The last time it was updated on an annual schedule was 2006 through 2010. That's a long time ago, and with a very different market.

The only explanation if Apple does opt for this route would be that the company plans to introduce the M4, M4 Pro, and M4 Max chips sooner rather than later, perhaps in late 2024, and would want to ensure that the M3 Ultra Mac Studio remains competitive with the newer chips. Even so, in this instance, it would surely be more straightforward to brand the chip "M4 Ultra" and skip the M3 Ultra entirely.

The N3* processes seem a bit complicated, and the M3 line-up is a bit odd as a result. (Branding the A17 as the A17 Pro is unusual, too.) So it wouldn't surprise me if either the M3 Ultra is similar to the M3 Max, but different enough to use its own process, nor would it surprise me if they've launched M4 by then.
 
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Yoms

macrumors 6502
Jun 1, 2016
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Wouldn't shock me if the Mac Pro only gets a spec bump every 24 months or even less frequently. The last time it was updated on an annual schedule was 2006 through 2010. That's a long time ago, and with a very different market.
Yeah, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Mac Pro updated every other M generation and therefore skip one. It's the kind of product people are not changing on a regular basis like an iPhone.
 

MacDevil7334

Contributor
Oct 15, 2011
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There is no way Apple will leave the Mac Pro on sale with a M2 Ultra while the Mac Studio gets the M3 Ultra and sells for less money. Either the Mac Pro will also get the newer chip or it will be discontinued. My money is on discontinuation, as the AS Mac Pro had little reason to exist beyond Apple saying early on in the transition that they would be making one.
 

Bokito

macrumors 6502
May 29, 2007
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The Mac Pro is dead. My guess is that some engineers working on the Mac Pro left the company when Apple decided that the Mac Pro would just be a Mac Studio with PCI-E, that’s why it took so long. The current Mac Pro won’t sell enough to make a profit from, so they’ll axe it. Just like they did with Xserve: blame the buyers, not themselves.
 

skippermonkey

macrumors 6502a
Jun 23, 2003
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I bought the 2019 Mac Pro along with a W6800X Duo. Worst money I ever spent – could barely give it away when I switched to a top-of-the-range M2 Ultra Mac Studio. I'll be ordering the top-end M3 Ultra the moment it's announced.

The only reason for buying a Mac Pro now would be to stuff it full of storage, which is inherently better than external enclosures (as I've had to do with the Studio). But frankly the price differential makes that a non-starter.
 

darngooddesign

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Jul 4, 2007
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Yeah, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Mac Pro updated every other M generation and therefore skip one. It's the kind of product people are not changing on a regular basis like an iPhone.
What Apple should be doing with the MacPro is for an M# SoC each generation and update the body every other generation. People should be able to drop the new SoCs in their existing MacPro bodies. Then again, I think Apple made a mistake by not offering a way to support dual SoCs in the MacPro.
 

bradman83

macrumors 6502a
Oct 29, 2020
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Buffalo, NY
Annual spring updates for the Studio makes sense given past updates. And if Apple goes to the trouble of designing new A-series silicon every year there's no reason they can't do the same with M-series silicon, seeing as how they use the same microarchitecture, so an M4 in the fall with further incremental updates is perfectly reasonable and in line with how Intel and AMD release their products. It would be nice to get back on the wagon of Apple updating their core Mac lineup on an annual basis even if it's just a spec bump between major revisions.

As for the Mac Pro, I'd be curious to see if there are any rumors of the Jade 4C dies being resurrected (essentially four Max chips stitched together), or some other form of silicon that can differentiate the Pro from the Studio aside from PCIe slots. That could account for the Pro not being upgraded to the Ultra if Apple has something else in mind. I highly doubt it, but it was on Apple's radar at one point.
 

azentropy

macrumors 601
Jul 19, 2002
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If you can't buy an M3 SoC to drop in your existing MacPro then really what's the point of it.
Exactly. They "took" away other upgrade options and I really thought they were going to change the paradigm in that they would instead have it use a daughter card in which consumers could easily upgrade (through apple of course) that SoC daughter card if they wanted more memory, or faster processor etc. at a later time.
 

tomscott1988

macrumors 6502a
Apr 14, 2009
707
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UK
Hopefully it means they the Mac Pro will actually get a valid update.

The whole apple silicon timescale is a bit weird I think. Because the chips are staggered the Max then performs similarly to the Ultra and then you get a portable laptop thats as quick as a desktop like the Mac Pro.

The thought process just doesn't make sense to me and the 6 month gaps. It's hard to rely on too like this year they have swapped it round - pro machines first. Although they were only 9 months old and annoying owners of m2 buyers. Then the MacBook Air is going to be 18 months old by the time its updated, probably dragging it out because of the 15".

They should lean on an 18 month time scale and get all out at once to stop these games of uptake on the m3 being better than the m2 pro, m3 max silmiar to the m2 ultra so they get the uptake sales.

It makes the higher end purchases even more pointless because the Max to ultra gains are silly. I would be really p*ssed if id bought an M2 Mac Pro regardless that its still quick.

The as soon as M3 ultra/max desktops come out the m4 will be replacing it and the new tech will annoy those desktop owners when they spend £3+K on a work desktop.

I know they had issues getting the M2 out which is the reason but the whole strategy seems off to me.
 
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JippaLippa

macrumors 65816
Jan 14, 2013
1,419
1,518
I really think the Mac Pro would be better off discontinued.
In the future with even better thunderbolt standards, the need for the specific addon cards will become less and less prevalent.
The Mac Studio was a revelation, and I think it'll carry the torch of the Mac Pro.
Already the M2 Pro Mac Pro offers very limited functionality when compared to the studio, but at quite a higher cost.
I really like my little M1 Ultra Mac Studio; I only wish it was just that little more powerful, but I'm aiming at pourchasing an M3 Ultra at the end of the year.
 

syklee26

macrumors 6502a
Jul 26, 2005
898
2,431
There are two ways to keep Mac Pro survive (very customer unfriendly but in typical Apple fashion):

1. Don’t sell Ultra installed Mac Studio (of course people will hate it, but Apple is more than capable of spit at customers like this)

2. Completely modular Mac Pro at extremely high price ($20,000 range) with permanently user replaceable M chip, Board, RAM and storage (but only allow RAM and storage compatible with Apple parts).

Don’t spit fire at me; I am only talking about what Apple would do, not what they should do for customers.
 
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