The new product intro asks the usual questions about what specifications are displayed and how much you can pay. But if Apple unwraps this week for a brand new product like the Mac Studio, another question comes up. Who is the target audience for this latest desktop?
The answer to that question is more complicated than it seems at first. MacStudio opens up new space between Apple’s ongoing desktop options, so it doesn’t really replace existing products. From Apple’s point of view, the Mac Studio is the machine you use when your Mac mini and iMac don’t provide the kind of power you need for your daily tasks.
“With the move to the M1, we’ve provided these users with two great desktops. The iMac and Mac mini have outstanding performance and all-new features,” said Apple’s hardware at this week’s Peek Performance event. John Ternus, Senior Vice President of Hardware Engineering, said. .. “Still, some users want more so they can push the boundaries of their creativity.”
Techsponential’s lead analyst, Avi Greengart, puts it another way. “MacStudio compiles large code bases, edits videos all day long, and performs heavy computing, graphics processing, or other demanding computing tasks that require video rendering. It’s aimed at professionals who do things, “he said.
It’s not a replacement for the Mac Pro. “Apple plans to continue to develop the more powerful Mac Pro, which is also targeted at this market and for use in CGI render farms and more,” Greengart added.
Users who are in a position to benefit from MacStudio’s M1 Max and M1 Ultra chips will know best if a more compact design and more powerful Apple marketing will appeal to their needs. But it’s also helpful to know what Mac Studio offers and how this new desktop compares to Apple’s existing models.
Mac Studio: What to offer
Mac Studio looks like an elongated Mac mini. The base of the new machine is the same 7.3×7.3 inches, but the studio height is 3.7 inches compared to the 1.4 inch height of the mini. The Mac Studio base draws air into the desktop thermal system and keeps the internal components humming.
It is these components that help MacStudio establish itself as a powerful desktop option. The machine can be equipped with either the M1 Max or M1 Ultra chipsets. The former starts with a 10-core CPU, a 24-core GPU, and a 16-core neural engine. Get the most out of M1 Max with a 20-core CPU, a 64-core GPU, and a 32-core neural engine.
For the newly introduced M1 Ultra Silicon, the basic model of Mac Studio has a 20-core CPU, a 48-core GPU, and a 32-core neural engine. Mac Studio can have up to 128GB of memory (if you choose M1 Ultra), with a maximum storage capacity of 8TB.
“The M1 Ultra architecture provides a huge amount of RAM that can be used directly on the CPU and GPU,” says Greengart. “Moreover, with more AI processing and dedicated encoding / decoding media resources, Mac Studio has great features for modeling, rendering, transcoding, and more.”
The fusion of Mac Studio performance and design impresses Mikako Kitagawa, Gartner’s director and analyst focused on PCs and tablets. “If Mac Studio works as announced at the event, the low noise and temperature of the device is very impressive,” she said. “In addition, I was impressed with the small form factor of such a powerful composition.”
MacStudio and iMac
Mac Studio joined Apple’s Mac lineup at the same time that Apple removed the 27-inch iMac from its offering. (Apple’s all-in-one 24-inch version with the M1 chipset is still available.) It may have given the impression that Mac Studio is a direct replacement for the iMac, but in reality it isn’t. No, analyst attention.
“Undoubtedly, some Mac fans just buy the best Mac available, whether they need it or not, but the iMac is for regular consumers such as email, web browsing, and consumer video editing tasks. It’s an all-in-one computer for workloads, “said Greengart. “It’s easy to see what consumers are saying about investing in Apple Studio Display, but for most people Mac Studio is overkill.”
Apple has improved performance with Mac Studio over the iMac and made it the centerpiece of the launch event. The M1 Max in MacStudio has a CPU 2.5 times faster than the 27-inch iMac, and graphics are 3.4 times faster. The M1 Ultra offers even more powerful performance than its iMac. Its CPU is 3.8 times faster than the iMac and its graphics are 4.5 times faster.
The numbers draw a very compelling picture. The iMac will continue to be an all-in-one machine for consumers who want a desktop that comes with a monitor and has enough processing power to handle basic tasks. In contrast, Mac Studio is a machine for people who see the Mac at the heart of their professional life.
One of the big tips is Mac Studio’s support for multiple monitors like the newly announced Apple Studio Display. According to Apple, the new desktop can drive up to four displays and a 4K TV. When you want to reach people who value productivity, it’s like you advertise.
Mac Studio, Mac mini and Mac Pro
So if Mac Studio attracts a different audience than the iMac, how does it measure to Apple’s other desktops? For the Mac mini, Apple can clearly present Mac Studio as a big step. You can now get a Mac mini with an 8-core CPU and an M1 chip with an 8-core CPU (Intel-based options are also available). This should be easily surpassed by Mac Studio. Mac Studio also offers more ports, mainly for Thunderbolt 4 ports.
An even more interesting comparison is the comparison with the Mac Pro, the only Mac remaining in Apple’s lineup without the Apple Silicon Option. Starting at $ 5,999, it’s $ 4,000 more expensive than the base model Mac Studio, and the Mac Pro is also the most expensive Mac to buy. Still, Apple says the new M1 chip could be better than high-end desktops.
“I think this release is aimed at replacing existing Intel-based Mac Pros with M1-based Mac Studios,” said Gartner’s Kitagawa.
That’s why, according to Apple, a Mac Studio with M1 Max is 50% faster than a Mac Pro with a 16-core Xeon chip. After upgrading to the M1 Ultra, Mac Studio is 90% faster than the same Mac Pro.
Given that Mac Studio is much cheaper than its Pro equivalent, this is a pretty surprising claim. That performance gap doesn’t always apply — Apple is reportedly working on an Apple silicon-based version of the MacPro. It may be coming soon at the Worldwide Developer Conference in June of this year. However, Mac Studio is becoming a desktop that can withstand the Mac Pro, and seems to appeal to professionals who are lagging behind Pro’s high start-up price.
Mac Studio outlook
If you have the opportunity to test and review your new machine, you’ll see how good Mac Studio is performing. Apple’s Ternus says it aims to use Mac Studio to create “a whole new thing that gives users what they need to build their dream studio.” Only thorough testing will determine if Mac Studio will reach that goal, but at least on paper, the new desktop is off to a promising start.