Discussion Apple Silicon SoC thread

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Ajay

Lifer
Jan 8, 2001
11,642
5,333
136
So, this is my thinking for their final headless lineup:

M1 Mac mini
M1 Pro/Max Mac mini (to be released in fall)
M1 Max/Ultra Mac Studio
M1 Ultra/Ultra Duo Mac Pro (to be released at WWDC)
Hmm, seems like an M1 Max Mac mini would be pushing close to the price of the base M1 Max Mac Studio.
 

Eug

Lifer
Mar 11, 2000
23,380
802
126
Hmm, seems like an M1 Max Mac mini would be pushing close to the price of the base M1 Max Mac Studio.
Yes, but it would fill in the price gap. Plus, such a product lineup encourages the upsell: "If I spend only $300 more than a spec'd out high end Mac mini, I can get a Mac Studio, so maybe I'll just do that."

But then again, many people seem to think the high end Mac mini will simply disappear completely.
 

ashFTW

Senior member
Sep 21, 2020
252
178
96
Sure, so long M1 Ultras can work as a dual "socket" system.
Maybe it will be dual M2 Ultra; it’s the end of the line for M1 based chips.

I'm thinking:

M2: 4P+4E, 10GPU
M2 Pro: 12P+2E, 20 GPU
M2 Max: 12P+2E, 40 GPU
M2 Ultra: 24P+4E, 80 GPU
M2 Grande: 48P+8E, 160 GPU
 

Ajay

Lifer
Jan 8, 2001
11,642
5,333
136
But then again, many people seem to think the high end Mac mini will simply disappear completely.
That would be my guess - we'll see. The base Mac Studio Max is nicely equipped - except for the standard 512GB NVMe drive (and the $200 1TB upgrade). Sooo close to not being penny pinching jerks for once :rolleyes:.
 

Eug

Lifer
Mar 11, 2000
23,380
802
126
That would be my guess - we'll see. The base Mac Studio Max is nicely equipped - except for the standard 512GB NVMe drive (and the $200 1TB upgrade). Sooo close to not being penny pinching jerks for once :rolleyes:.
Well, I'd agree it is reasonably spec'd for its price point, but my main point is that it's way too expensive for the majority of the population. Plus it's huge in comparison to the Mac mini. It's got the same footprint, but it's actually fairly tall.

BTW, it turns out the Mac Studio won't actually fit under my monitor. I have a 30" Apple Cinema HD Display, and it only has about 3.4" of clearance under its bottom bezel, or about 3ish inches if you measure the clearance above the base platform. Not that Apple cares though, since that is an ancient monitor.

The Mac mini is nicely priced too, but it's underspec'd for some people, especially because of its 16 GB RAM limitation. Hopefully that's fixed with M2 (although I personally would be OK with 16 GB).
 

Doug S

Golden Member
Feb 8, 2020
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Apple said the M1 Ultra is the last M1 chip. But Apple said Mac Pro is for another day, so who knows what they got planned. They cannot reach a bigger die because they reached the limits of TSMC 5nm.

TSMC's reticle limit is 858 mm^2. Apple could have gone a LOT bigger if they wanted. It makes sense to reuse the M1 Max die in this way rather than create a special die just for the Mac Studio.

Another reason to shy away from larger dies is that it is a dead end for everyone soon. With the high NA EUV machines coming along in a couple years that reticle limit is halved. For everyone, not just TSMC.
 

Doug S

Golden Member
Feb 8, 2020
1,435
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Maybe it will be dual M2 Ultra; it’s the end of the line for M1 based chips.

I'm thinking:

M2: 4P+4E, 10GPU
M2 Pro: 12P+2E, 20 GPU
M2 Max: 12P+2E, 40 GPU
M2 Ultra: 24P+4E, 80 GPU
M2 Grande: 48P+8E, 160 GPU
I'm thinking along those lines but they might have 12/24/48 GPU cores, so it is a 50% increase on both CPU and GPU. The die size would grow a bit assuming it is based on N4/N4P. I'm assuming the M2 will have A16's cores, which may get a decent performance bump on their making a 50% increase in their number less necessary (particularly if they get bigger)
 

Ajay

Lifer
Jan 8, 2001
11,642
5,333
136
Well, I'd agree it is reasonably spec'd for its price point, but my main point is that it's way too expensive for the majority of the population. Plus it's huge in comparison to the Mac mini. It's got the same footprint, but it's actually fairly tall.

The Mac mini is nicely priced too, but it's underspec'd for some people, especially because of its 16 GB RAM limitation. Hopefully that's fixed with M2 (although I personally would be OK with 16 GB).
Yeah, configuring a Mac Studio w/1TB is $2199 - is kind of high. It would be cool if the next Mac Mini had an M2/M2 Pro option. M2 Pro would be a nice jump over the current M1 SoC. I would think a Mac Mini M2 Pro 16GB/1TB at ~$1500 would be more enticing - especially with small bumps in the # of CPU and GPU cores. It would certainly entice me (as I’m getting so sick and tired of Windows). I’d probably get hit with the Apple $200 tax for doubling memory :p
 

nickmania

Member
Aug 11, 2016
44
12
81
I think is not going to be any Mac Pro or Mac Mini, it does not make sense with this Mac Studio, apple is not going to let you to use its M1 chip for less than $2000 in a Mac Mini and a Mac Pro is unnecessary with this new Mac Studio. Probably the only new computer will be the Imac with M1.
 

Eug

Lifer
Mar 11, 2000
23,380
802
126
Yeah, configuring a Mac Studio w/1TB is $2199 - is kind of high. It would be cool if the next Mac Mini had an M2/M2 Pro option. M2 Pro would be a nice jump over the current M1 SoC. I would think a Mac Mini M2 Pro 16GB/1TB at ~$1500 would be more enticing - especially with small bumps in the # of CPU and GPU cores. It would certainly entice me (as I’m getting so sick and tired of Windows). I’d probably get hit with the Apple $200 tax for doubling memory :p
16 --> 32 GB is usually $400 at Apple.
 
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guidryp

Platinum Member
Apr 3, 2006
2,665
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I think is not going to be any Mac Pro or Mac Mini, it does not make sense with this Mac Studio, apple is not going to let you to use its M1 chip for less than $2000 in a Mac Mini and a Mac Pro is unnecessary with this new Mac Studio. Probably the only new computer will be the Imac with M1.
They should have the M1 Pro somewhere in the lineup. I don't really care if it's in the Mini M1 Pro or a Studio M1 Pro.

Not having an M1 Pro model at all is a gap in the lineup, that Apple seems to recognize, since they are keeping the Intel Mini on sale for now. If they felt that base was covered they could discontinue the Intel Mini.

Or they might just be waiting for the M2 Mini as powerful enough to kill off the Intel Mini.
 

Eug

Lifer
Mar 11, 2000
23,380
802
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M1 Ultra Mac Studio is 2 lbs / 0.9 kg heavier than the M1 Max model.

Some have said it could be due to a beefier power supply, but if you look at the power specs, Apple says the max power output is the same between the two models. So that makes me wonder if the M1 Ultra has a different cooling setup.
 

Doug S

Golden Member
Feb 8, 2020
1,435
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They should have the M1 Pro somewhere in the lineup. I don't really care if it's in the Mini M1 Pro or a Studio M1 Pro.

Not having an M1 Pro model at all is a gap in the lineup, that Apple seems to recognize, since they are keeping the Intel Mini on sale for now. If they felt that base was covered they could discontinue the Intel Mini.

Or they might just be waiting for the M2 Mini as powerful enough to kill off the Intel Mini.

Nah, I think it makes sense to offer the Mini with regular M1 & M1 Pro, given that the Studio is offering with the M1 Max / Ultra. That completes a nice range for the SFF desktop line. Whether they wait until M2 to do a Pro version or just silently replace the x86 model with an M1 Pro model on some random day in the next few months, who knows.
 
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Eug

Lifer
Mar 11, 2000
23,380
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Roland00Address

Platinum Member
Dec 17, 2008
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TSMC's reticle limit is 858 mm^2. Apple could have gone a LOT bigger if they wanted. It makes sense to reuse the M1 Max die in this way rather than create a special die just for the Mac Studio.

Another reason to shy away from larger dies is that it is a dead end for everyone soon. With the high NA EUV machines coming along in a couple years that reticle limit is halved. For everyone, not just TSMC.
Question since I do not know and this seems like a very basic concept (which I need to learn), how does something like Cerebras work with the reticile limit since the entire chip is the entire wafer except a rectangle?
 
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ashFTW

Senior member
Sep 21, 2020
252
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I'm thinking along those lines but they might have 12/24/48 GPU cores, so it is a 50% increase on both CPU and GPU. The die size would grow a bit assuming it is based on N4/N4P. I'm assuming the M2 will have A16's cores, which may get a decent performance bump on their making a 50% increase in their number less necessary (particularly if they get bigger)
Sounds reasonable.
 

Mopetar

Diamond Member
Jan 31, 2011
6,953
4,262
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I think that a lot of people are going to miss the 27 inch iMac. The Studio even in it's base configuration with a non Apple monitor is going to be an expensive replacement.
I don't think it will be gone for long. Apple just doesn't have the replacement ready yet.

Given that the entry-level iMac has been bumped up to 24", we may see a high-end 30" model in the future.

Maybe they're waiting until they have a new chip (M2 and variants) before releasing it, but they've had a large and small iMac for some time now so it would be unusual for them to have a single model.
 

Hitman928

Diamond Member
Apr 15, 2012
4,238
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Question since I do not know and this seems like a very basic concept (which I need to learn), how does something like Cerebras work with the reticile limit since the entire chip is the entire wafer except a rectangle?
They are able to use a process called stitching to combine multiple reticle shots together.

Edit: I don't have experience in stitching, but my company has done it for some large sensor arrays (not my group). From what I understand, you basically put some special markers on the design and that lets the foundry align the reticle shots as it steps through each one, with a slight bit of overlap.
 
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Doug S

Golden Member
Feb 8, 2020
1,435
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They are able to use a process called stitching to combine multiple reticle shots together.

Edit: I don't have experience in stitching, but my company has done it for some large sensor arrays (not my group). From what I understand, you basically put some special markers on the design and that lets the foundry align the reticle shots as it steps through each one, with a slight bit of overlap.
Yep, I don't know the limitations to that, but I assume there's enough connectivity that chiplet type designs like the M1 Max could be connected on the wafer (if Apple didn't have to flip them around for that) but the cost savings for that (i.e. no carrier/interposer required) is probably lost by the fact you have to bin on multiple dies at once. Cerebras doesn't care about that since 'AI' designs have tons of redundancy already.
 

Hitman928

Diamond Member
Apr 15, 2012
4,238
5,368
136
Yep, I don't know the limitations to that, but I assume there's enough connectivity that chiplet type designs like the M1 Max could be connected on the wafer (if Apple didn't have to flip them around for that) but the cost savings for that (i.e. no carrier/interposer required) is probably lost by the fact you have to bin on multiple dies at once. Cerebras doesn't care about that since 'AI' designs have tons of redundancy already.
Yeah, the defect rate obviously starts to bite you hard the more and more you stitch together if each stitch tile has to be fully functional (or near it due to limited redundancy). There's also an added factor of the possibility of misalignment between stitches. If you just are stitching two together and it's a tiny bit off, it's probably not a big deal, but if you're stitching dozens or more together, then a little misalignment over the whole thing can be disastrous. I'm sure there's extra checks involved as you go which will also increase cost.

There's not a lot of circuits out there that stitching would make sense, but something like Cerberus is a prime candidate for it, to the point that they just stitch the whole wafer together, which is pretty mind boggling.
 

Doug S

Golden Member
Feb 8, 2020
1,435
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Yeah, the defect rate obviously starts to bite you hard the more and more you stitch together if each stitch tile has to be fully functional (or near it due to limited redundancy). There's also an added factor of the possibility of misalignment between stitches. If you just are stitching two together and it's a tiny bit off, it's probably not a big deal, but if you're stitching dozens or more together, then a little misalignment over the whole thing can be disastrous. I'm sure there's extra checks involved as you go which will also increase cost.

There's not a lot of circuits out there that stitching would make sense, but something like Cerberus is a prime candidate for it, to the point that they just stitch the whole wafer together, which is pretty mind boggling.
Well I would assume that since 'AI' calculations are embarrassingly parallel, there isn't a whole lot of communication between individual Cerebras "chips" required. That means they don't need too many stitches so they can be thicker which increases the margin for error. If you wanted to have 10,000 of them along one edge like the M1 Ultra, the margin for error is would be reduced.
 

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