In the early hours of Wednesday morning Downunder, Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiled a host of new devices aimed at giving access to some of the brand’s most famous lines at a lower price – think iPhone SE and iPad Air – however, one particular device strayed from the status quo. With a gigantic price tag and breakthrough performance to match, welcome to the world of the Apple Mac Studio.
Apple Mac Studio
The first cab off the rank is the Mac Studio. Building on the success of the Mac Pro and Mac Mini, this new form factor is larger, more powerful, and offers an array of connectivity and capability features for professional users. It’s also not great news for those who picked up a set of $1049 AUD Apple Mac Pro Wheels. Alas, here’s what Apple had to say.
“Mac Studio ushers in a new era for the desktop with unbelievable performance powered by M1 Max and M1 Ultra, an array of connectivity and a compact design that puts everything users need within easy reach,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.
How Powerful is the Mac Studio?
Powered by Apple Silicone alongside the new M1 Max or M1 Ultra chipset, Apple claims the studio offers capabilities that no other desktop can achieve. The Ultra chip essentially interconnects the die of two M1 Max chips to create an ‘Ultra Chip’ to match your “Big Mac” sized Apple Studio. Here’s what the brand promises in terms of performance.
M1 Max Performance Specifications
- Up to 2.5x faster CPU performance than the fastest 27-inch iMac with the 10-core processor.
- Up to 50 per cent faster CPU performance than Mac Pro with a 16-core Xeon processor.
- Up to 3.4x faster graphics performance than 27-inch iMac
- More than 3x faster than Mac Pro with its most popular graphics card.
- Up to 7.5x faster than the 27-inch iMac, and up to 3.7x faster than 16-core Mac Pro when transcoding video.
M1 Ultra Performance Specfications
- Up to 3.8x faster CPU performance than fastest 27-inch iMac with a 10-core processor.
- Up to 90 per cent faster CPU performance than Mac Pro with a 16-core Xeon processor.
- Up to 60 per cent faster CPU performance than 28-core Mac Pro.
- Up to 4.5x faster graphics performance than 27-inch iMac.
- Up to 80 per cent faster than the fastest Mac graphics card available today.
- Up to 12x faster than the 27-inch iMac, and up to 5.6x faster than 28-core Mac Pro when transcoding video.
Just How Big Is It?
Sheer power aside, the form factor is giving fans of the brand a hard time. At first glance, it looks to be the size of a Mac Mini, but after seeing the picture circulating (above) many users are coming up with nicknames for the device, “Big Mac” being our favourite of the lot. Regardless, size matters, and with double-sided blowers, precisely placed airflow channels, and over 4,000 perforations on the back and bottom of the enclosure to guide air through the internal components and help cool the new high-performance chips at least it makes sense. And it’s all in the name of quiet operation.
I don't care what Apple's branding says, I'm going to be calling the Mac Studio the Big Mac.
— Brian Westover (@BrianatPC) March 8, 2022
What Can You Connect?
When it comes to desktop CPU connectivity is one of the most important factors to consider, here’s what you get on the rear of the device.
- 4x Thunderbolt 4 ports for high-performance displays and devices (up to four Pro Display XDRs, plus a 4K TV).
- 2x USB-A ports
- 1x HDMI port
- 10Gb Ethernet port
- Pro audio jack for high-impedance headphones or external amplified speakers.
- Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 built-in.
The front houses portable storage options with two USB-C ports that support 10 Gbps USB 3 on M1 Max, and on M1 Ultra supports 40 Gbps Thunderbolt 4. There’s also an SD card slot on the front for importing photos and video.
Price and Availability
All this must come at a cost then, surely? You’d be right to guess that this beast is one of the more expensive Apple items you can get your hands on. Available to pre-order right now from the Apple Store via the link below, the Mac Studio starts at a whopping $3,099 AUD and A$2,789 AUD for education. At the other end of the spectrum comes the Mac Studio with M1 Ultra Chip and 20-core CPU, 64-core GPU, and 32-core Neutral Engine, combine this with 128GB of unified memory, and 8TB of SSD storage and you’ll be spending $12,099 AUD.