Apple announces Mac Studio with the powerful M1 Ultra chip in a tiny package

Apple has announced a new brand-new Mac Studio, powered by powerful M1 Max and M1 Ultra chips. The little powerhouse provides unprecedented levels of performance and connectivity, in an extremely small 7.7-inch square package.

Mac Studio front

Mac Studio – Apple’s newest workstation 

Design

Made out of a single aluminum enclosure, the Mac Studio is incredibly small for the power it provides. In terms of dimensions, the square package is just 7.7 inches in size with a height of 3.7 inches. The design is minimalist undoubtedly Apple and can fit under any display and stay out of the way.

Alongside the usual ports at the back of the Mac Studio, there are useful ports added to the front which provide easy access to USB-C and SD card. A single light at the front of the Mac indicates when it is powered on, however, the power button itself is strangely located at the back of the system. Still, the Mac Studio provides the best port selection of any Mac in recent history, and puts it front and center.

The internals feature an innovative thermal system with two fans that guide air through the components to keep them cool. Apple claims that due to the efficiency of Apple Silicon, Mac Studio will remain quiet under most heavy workloads.

Mac Studio 1

Performance

In terms of performance, the Mac Studio can be configured with either an M1 Max or M1 Ultra chip. With M1 Max, users can get up to a 10-core CPU, 32-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine, and 64GB of unified storage, while M1 Ultra features up to 20-core CPU, 64-core GPU, 32-core Neural Engine, and 128GB of storage. Both configurations feature fast SSDs (up to 8TB) with up to 7.4GB/s performance, and support for up to 5 displays.

Both configurations also support powerful media engines, with the M1 Ultra providing twice the number of encode and decode engines than the M1 Max, allowing it to support playback of 18 streams of 8K ProRes 422 video.

As per Apple, here is the performance that can be expected with both chips:

With M1 Max:

  • Up to 2.5x faster CPU performance than the fastest 27-inch iMac with 10-core processor.
  • Up to 50 percent faster CPU performance than Mac Pro with a 16-core Xeon processor.
  • Up to 3.4x faster graphics performance than the 27-inch iMac, and over 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.

With M1 Ultra:

  • Up to 3.8x faster CPU performance than the fastest 27-inch iMac with 10-core processor.
  • Up to 90 percent faster CPU performance than Mac Pro with 16-core Xeon processor.
  • Up to 60 percent faster CPU performance than 28-core Mac Pro.
  • Up to 4.5x faster graphics performance than the 27-inch iMac, and up to 80 percent 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.

Mac Studio 2

Connectivity

In terms of connectivity, let’s get the most important thing out of the way: Apple has put USB-A ports in Mac Studio. Here is the complete list of ports and connectivity features:

  • Back:
    • Four Thunderbolt 4 ports (up to 40Gb/s)
    • 10Gb Ethernet port
    • Two USB-A ports (up to 5GB/s)
    • HDMI port
    • 3.5 mm headphone jack with support for high-impedance headphones or external amplified speakers
  • Front:
    • Two USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 ports (up to 40Gb/s)
    • SDXC card slot (UHS-II)
  • 802.11ax W-Fi 6
  • Bluetooth 5.0

When configured with an M1 Ultra, the front USB-C ports also support Thunderbolt 4 with up to 40Gb/s transfer speeds. With M1 Max, they only support 10Gb/s transfer speeds.

Mac Studio back

Price

The starting prices are as follows:

M1 Max: $1,999

  • 10-Core CPU
  • 24-Core GPU
  • 16-Core Neural Engine
  • 32GB unified memory
  • 512GB SSD storage

With a 32-core GPU, 64GB unified memory, and 8TB SSD, the cost goes up to $4,999.

M1 Ultra: $3,999

  • 20-Core CPU
  • 48-Core GPU
  • 32-Core Neural Engine
  • 64GB unified memory
  • 1TB SSD storage

With a 64-core GPU, 128GB unified memory, and 8TB SSD, the cost goes up to $7,999.

The new Mac Studio is available for pre-order today from Apple, and will start shipping to customers starting from March 18.

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