Chip Apple developed for the Apple Car reportedly carried a whopping 536 billion transistors

Last month, Apple put an end to the development of the Apple Car after spending ten years and ten billion dollars to create an autonomous vehicle. One of the components that Apple built for the car was a new chip that supposedly had the same performance capabilities as four M2 Ultra chips! Considering that each M2 Ultra chip is equipped with 134 billion transistors, a 24-core CPU, a 76-core GPU, and a 32-core Neural Engine, stitching together four of these components creates an extremely powerful chip.

Imagine a chip carrying 536 billion transistors with a 96-core CPU and a 304-core GPU. While there is no definitive proof that the chip Apple was planning to use to power the Apple Car was perfectly equivalent to four M2 Ultra chips, consider that the number of transistors inside a chip determines how powerful and/or energy efficient that chip is. Using the “UltraFusion” technology that helped Apple combine two M1 Max chips to become the M1 Ultra, and combine two M2 Max chips to become the M2 Ultra, Apple might have been hoping to create an incredibly powerful silicon component from four M2 Ultra chips.

Let’s do a simple comparison. The A17 Pro application processor (AP) that powers the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max contains 19 billion transistors, only 3.5% of the number of transistors that might have been placed inside the chip Apple would have used to “drive” the Apple Car. Wccftech says that the new chip that Apple was developing for the Apple Car was “nearly done” before Apple put the kibosh on the project. Could that chip have been the M3 Ultra?

When Apple introduces the M3 Ultra, it will be interesting to see whether any of that chip’s specs match the rumored powerhouse chip that would have been used on the Apple Car. One thing that we can be sure of, this chip would have been built by TSMC, the world’s largest foundry.

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