Apple Mac Studio featured image
Image courtesy: Apple

One of the big announcements at Apple’s online spring event was the new Apple Mac Studio. Mac Studio is a new high-performance desktop computer with a very compact form factor.

Systems on a chip

Apple is launching Mac Studio in two versions — based around either the Apple M1 Max or their brand new Apple M1 Ultra chips. The M1 Max and M1 Ultra chips are branded as “Systems on a Chip” by Apple. This is because they integrate components such as the CPU, GPU, unified memory architecture (RAM), SSD controller, encode/decode engines, Thunderbolt controller with USB 4 support and more. Apple claims that the M1 Ultra is the most powerful chip ever in a personal computer.

Apple Mac Studio with monitor
Image courtesy: Apple

M1 Max

The M1 Max-based Mac Studio has a 10-core CPU and 24-core GPU. This means that it delivers up to 2.5 times faster CPU performance and 3.4 times faster GPU performance. Apple states that it can play back up to 9 streams of 8K ProRes video.

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M1 Ultra

The M1 Ultra chip is built from two M1 Max chips. As such, it has a 20-core CPU and 48-core GPU. This means up to 3.5 times faster CPU performance and 4.5 times faster GPU performance. The M1 Ultra Mac Studio can support an amazing 18 streams of 8K ProRes 422 video playback.

Multiple displays

Both the M1 Max and M1 Ultras systems support up to 5 displays. These can be up to four Pro Display XDRs over USB-C and one 4K display over HDMI. In addition, both systems deliver hardware-accelerated encoding and decoding for H.264, HEVC and ProRes video files. They can also support up to 8 TB of SSD storage with read speeds of up to 7.4 GB/s.

Case And connectivity

Apple Mac Studio
Image courtesy: Apple

Somehow, Apple has managed to fit all of this power into a 7.7 inches square and only 3.7 inches high. From the images released by Apple, it seems that around half of the case is filled with a cooling system, which the company says is whisper quiet. The front of the case has two USB-C or Thunderbolt 4 ports and an SDXC card slot. In addition, the back of the case has four Thunderbolt 4 ports. There are also 2 USB-A ports, a 10 GB ethernet connection, an HDMI socket, and a 3.5 mm headphone jack.

Pricing

Apple says that the Mac Studio will be available on March 18th. The M1 Max version will cost $1999. For this, you will get 32 GB unified memory (expandable to 64 GB) and a 512 GB SSD. The M1 Ultra Mac Studio costs $3999 and has 64 GB unified memory, expandable to 128 GB. It also has a larger 1 TB SSD. Both systems can be configured with 1 TB, 2 TB, 4 TB or 8 TB SSDs.

Pete Tomkies is a freelance cinematographer and camera operator from Manchester, UK. He also produces and directs short films as Duck66 Films. Pete's latest short Once Bitten... won 15 awards and was selected for 105 film festivals around the world.