Recently Apple launched the M2 Ultra SoC with 24 (16P +8E) CPU cores and 76 GPU cores alongside 192GB of unified memory accessible to the entire chip at a peak bandwidth of 800GB/s. The company claims a gen-over-gen gain of 20% on the CPU and 30% on the GPU sides. Like many upcoming x86 processors, a Neural Engine has also been added for AI instructions.
Unfortunately, the real-world performance is worse than AMD and Intel’s fastest processors despite the outrageous $7000 price tag of the Max Pro. We’ll review the known scores of the M2 Ultra in Geekbench 5, Geekbench 6, Cinebench R23, and OpenCL and pitch them against the Core i9-13900KS and the Ryzen 9 7950X3D.
In Geekbench 6, a memory-sensitive benchmark, the Apple M2 Ultra 2 is slower than its x86 rivals despite featuring the same (or higher) core count. In the single-threaded benchmark, the 16-core Ryzen 9 7950X3D is 13% faster than the M2 Ultra while maintaining a minimal lead in the multi-threaded test.
The 24-core i9-13900KS is even faster, with a 42% and 35% lead in the single and multi-threaded benchmarks, respectively. Remember that the x86 CPUs ran with the XMP 3.0 memory profile, as Geekbench is quite memory-bound.
Geekbench 5 is more compute-oriented, so the x86 chips perform even better. The Core i9-13900KS is 40% and 22% faster than the M2 Ultra in the single and multi-threaded benchmarks. The Ryzen 9 7950X3D manages a lead of 16% in single-threaded performance but falls behind in the multi-threaded benchmark on account of the lower core count.
Cinebench R32 favors the x86 processors the most. In the multi-threaded benchmark, the Core i9-13900K and Ryzen 9 7950X3D are 33% and 49% faster than the Apple M2 Ultra. It’s the only test where the Apple M2 Ultra gets beaten by over 30% in the single-threaded benchmark (by the Core i9-13900KS).
Since gaming on Mac is a joke, users will mostly use the M2 Ultra for acceleration and compute workloads. In OpenCL (GPGPU), the M2 Ultra fails to beat even the $399 GeForce RTX 4060 Ti. The RTX 4070 is 25% faster, while the RTX 4080 is nearly twice as fast in the Geekbench OpenCL compute benchmark.
Keeping the $7000 price tag in view makes the M2 Ultra look like an abomination. You’ve got an overpriced notebook in a closed ecosystem at 3.5x the price of a faster Windows-based gaming laptop with little to no room for upgrades or modifications.