Apple's Mac Studio launches with new M1 Ultra chip in a compact package

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Apple has launched the Mac Studio, a professional-level Apple Silicon Mac that offers high performance in a package about twice the size of a Mac mini.

Slotting into the Mac lineup between the Mac mini and the Mac Pro, the Mac Studio is a desktop Mac that sits between the two, both in size and in performance. Aimed at professional users, the Mac Studio promises high-level performance using Apple Silicon, but in a monitor-less desktop form.

Officially, it is 7.7 inches wide and deep, and 3.7 inches tall. This is roughly the same footprint as a Mac mini, and twice as tall.

The front of the Mac Studio has two USB-C or Thunderbolt 4 ports and an SDXC card reader.
The front of the Mac Studio has two USB-C or Thunderbolt 4 ports and an SDXC card reader.

Apple takes advantage of the height to include a system of double-sided blowers for cooling, pushing air out through over 4,000 perforations at the back. Apple claims the cooling system will still keep the Mac Studio quiet under heavy workloads.

At the front is an SDXC slot, along with a pair of USB-C ports for the M1 Max version, Thunderbolt 4 for the M1 Ultra. To the back are four Thunderbolt 4 ports, along with 10 Gigabit Ethernet, two USB-Type A, HDMI, and a headphone jack. Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 is also included.

The back of the Mac Studio has the rest of the ports, and over 4,000 perforations for cooling.
The back of the Mac Studio has the rest of the ports, and over 4,000 perforations for cooling.

It also benefits from the M1 Max and M1 Ultra and the included Media Engine for encoding and decoding video, which will make the Mac Studio attractive to creative professionals. At its highest configuration, the M1 Ultra version will provide a 20-core CPU and a 64-core GPU, and a 32-core Neural Engine.

The M1 Max variant can be ordered with up to 64GB of Universal Memory, while the M1 Ultra can be configured with up to 128GB.

In Apple's benchmark claims, the Mac Studio with M1 Max has up to 50% more CPU performance than a Mac Pro with a 16-core Xeon processor, as well as graphics performance over 3 times faster than a Mac Pro with its most popular graphics card. For transcoding video, it's up to 3.7 times faster than the 16-core Mac Pro.

The M1 Ultra version boosts the CPU performance to 90% faster than the same 16-core Xeon Mac Pro processor and up to 80% faster graphics performance than the fastest available Mac graphics card. For transcoding video, it's up to 5.6 times faster than the 28-core Mac Pro.

Storage is also impressively high, with a maximum 8TB of capacity available, as well as transfers at up to 7.4GB/s.

Video support runs to a maximum of four Pro Display XDRs plus a 4K TV, totaling close to 90 million pixels driven by the device.

The Mac Studio starts from $1,999 with M1 Max, $3,999 with M1 Ultra. It is open to preorders from Tuesday, and available from March 18.

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