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Apple reveals Mac Studio, a powerhouse new desktop Mac

6 min read
  • New desktop Mac Studio revealed with a M1 Max or Ultra chip
  • Faster than 27-inch iMac and Mac Pro
  • Starts from $1999

Apple has revealed the Mac Studio, an absolute powerhouse of a desktop Mac. It looks akin to a Mac mini that has gained a few pounds (Big Mac, anyone?), and can be equipped with an M1 Max chip or the new M1 Ultra chip. Apple claims it is more powerful than the 27” iMac and some configurations of the Mac Pro.

The Studio is 3.7 inches tall and 7.7 inches on both width depth, weighing 5.9 pounds for the Max variant and a whopping 7.9 pounds for the Ultra variant, due to the Ultra using a copper heatsink compared to the Max’s aluminum heatsink.

The base config is equipped with an M1 Max chip with a 10-core CPU, 24-core GPU, and a 16-core Neural Engine, 32GB of unified memory, and 512GB of storage. The most powerful Studio has an M1 Ultra chip with 20-core GPU, 64-core GPU, and 32-core Neural Engine with 128GB of unified memory and an 8TB SSD.

On the back of the Studio, 4 Thunderbolt 4/USB-C ports, 2 USB-A ports, 1 HDMI port, and a 10Gb Ethernet port can be found along with a high impedance headphone jack. On the Max variant, two USB-C ports and an SDXC card slot can be found in front, with 2 Thunderbolt 4/USB-C ports instead on the Ultra variant.

According to Apple, the M1 Max in the Studio delivers similar performance to “the latest 10-core PC desktop chip” while consuming 65% less power, with the Ultra performing 90% better within the same power envelope as “the fastest 16-core PC desktop chip.” As for the GPU, the Max delivers similar performance to “one of the most popular discrete GPU” while using 68% less power, and the Ultra delivers faster performance than “the highest-end GPU available” while using 200 watts less energy. In classic Apple fashion, the names of these chips were not mentioned.

Compared to the 10-core i9 27-inch iMac, CPU performance in the Max Studio is 3.8x faster, and up to 90% faster than the 16-core Xeon W Mac Pro. The Ultra variant’s CPU is a whopping 60% faster than the top-tier 28-core Xeon W Mac Pro. The GPU is 80% faster than the highest spec graphics card in the Mac Pro, the Radeon Pro W6900X. This makes the Studio faster than the Mac Pro in every aspect, with the one downside of only being able to max out RAM to 128GB, not 1.5TB.

It also seems Apple considers the Mac Studio (and the Studio Display) as the successor of the 27” iMac as John Ternus, SVP of Hardware Engineering stated that there is “one more product to go, Mac Pro”, implying that there is no larger iMac to come. It is worth noting that the base Studio and Studio Display is $3598, significantly more expensive than the now discontinued 27-inch iMac, not including taxes.

The Mac Studio starts from $1999, going all the way up to $7999 with the highest configuration, with pre-orders available now and retail availability starting from March 18th.

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