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Apple Launches Mac Studio Desktop With New M1 Ultra Chip

Apple has announced a killer combination of tech goodies that set a new gold standard for a desktop and monitor built for creatives with its Mac Studio and Studio Display.

The Mac Studio is 7.7 x 3.7 inches. Its size is like that of two Mac minis stacked on top of each other, which is fitting, because as far as specs are concerned, the Mac Studio is also stacked. It comes with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 support, a 10GB Ethernet port, four Thunderbolt 4 ports, a HDMI port, and a SDXC card slot. This desktop can have an up to 20-core CPU, up to 64-core GPU, up to 128GB unified memory, up to 800GB/s memory bandwidth, up to 8TB SSD, and up to 7.4GB/s storage performance, depending on whether one chooses the M1 Max model or M1 Ultra model.

The M1 Ultra is Apple’s latest chip, which is, in essence, two M1 Maxes fused together as a way to scale up performance. Apple’s UltraFusion custom packaging architecture allowed the two chips to be combined and recognised as a single chip by software, which avoids incurring significant tradeoffs in improving the power of the chip.

Here is how the Mac Studio fares against the desktops that came before it:

M1 Max model:

  • 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.

M1 Ultra model:

  • 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.

The performance on this beast of a desktop is mindboggling. The M1 Ultra model is able to play back 18 streams of 8K ProRes 422 video, which is way more than anyone would reasonably need, so for creatives who work on massive projects that require a lot of memory, the Mac Studio will deliver both speed and performance in spades.

To complement the new desktop, Apple also announced the Studio Display that’s powered by the A13 Bionic chip. It is a 27-inch 5K Retina screen that’s able to deliver on the visuals front. There is also a nano-texture glass option, first introduced on Pro Display XDR, which scatters light to minimise glare.

Not only that, it also comes built with studio-quality three-microphone array and a six-speaker sound system with Dolby Atmos. This means that audio-wise, the monitor by itself is a video-conferencing solution. The quality of the sound system also allows music and movies to be as immersive and as clear as possible.

The camera built into the monitor is a 12MP Ultra Wide camera with Centre Stage, lending credence to it being a video-conferencing solution. Not only is it able to accommodate groups during a video call, it also automatically keeps everything in frame, saving users quite a bit of frustration.

The Studio Display has three USB-C ports, and one Thunderbolt port which can deliver 96W of power to a Mac notebook and even fast-charge a MacBook Pro.

The Mac Studio and Studio Display as a combo can be seen as the answer to the 27-inch iMac that Apple fans have been clamouring for. As with many cutting edge Apple products, all the delicious features and specs come at a price. Both the Mac Studio and Studio Display will be available to order from 14 March 2022 at the Apple Store. The Mac Studio starts at S$2,899, and the Studio Display is S$2,299.


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