The upgrades to the iPhone and iPad models at the Peek Performance event were minor, but Apple came for the first time in a long time with an announcement for a new class of desktop computers in the “Mac” family. It’s called Mac Studio and wants to complete the professional PC offering, for those who need more performance than a Mac Mini or iMac can offer, but don’t want a big desktop like a Mac Pro. . It’s the company’s first computer to feature a new, even more powerful Apple Silicon processor: the M1 Ultra. Along with this model, I also came across a new Apple display: Studio Display.
M1 Ultra processor sticks two M1 Max for double performance
In fact, the M1 Ultra is not a completely new processor, but a combination of two existing processors. Apple has integrated into the design of the M1 Max model, announced last year with the MacBook Pro series, an on-chip physical interface called Ultra Fusion with a bandwidth of 2.5 TB / s. This allows the direct connection of two M1 Max processors to operate as a single processor. The operating system recognizes it as a standalone processor and its performance is immediately accessible in all applications, without the need for special programming to access new cores or additional memory.
Consisting of 2 M1 Max, the M1 Ultra comes with 20 CPU cores (16 high performance and 4 efficient) and 64 GPU cores, with up to 128 GB of unified RAM for system and GPU. Apple says the new processor is made up of 114 billion transistors, which is 7 times the 2020 M1 model. It also has the fastest memory on the market, with double the bandwidth of the M1 Max: 800 GB/s. Being 2 processors in one, you also get two neural processors, with 32 cores in total, as well as two media engines for video processing. Apple claims you can simultaneously play 18 8K videos in ProRes 422 format on the M1 Ultra, being the only processor in the world capable of delivering this level of performance.
At the GPU level, Apple even surpasses the most powerful RTX 3090 with the M1 Ultra, but also with better efficiency. With 66% lower power consumption than the NVIDIA RTX 3060 Ti, Apple claims to deliver similar performance on the M1 Max, and on the M1 Ultra we have better performance than the RTX 3090 with 200% lower power consumption W.
Mac Studio: the best PC with Apple Silicon
The first computer to feature the M1 Ultra will be Mac Studio, a new desktop PC from Apple, equipped with everything you need in a creative environment, Apple says. Thus, you have the option of opting for the new processor, or choosing a model equipped with the M1 Max, at half the performance. Models with the M1 Max come with 32 or 64 GB of unified RAM, while the M1 Ultra offers 64 or 128 GB of unified memory. Storage can go up to 8TB, with a 7.4GB/s speed SSD.
Everything is cooled using a twin-turbine system, which should provide efficient and quiet cooling. Apple says that in most cases you shouldn’t hear the fans.
The case takes up the same horizontal space as the Mac Mini and appears to be as tall as two Mac Mini cases. In terms of connectivity, however, it is by far the best-equipped Mac model of recent years (same as the Mac Pro). We’re talking two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports on the front, along with a full-size SDXC card reader, plus another 4 Thunderbolt 4 USB-C on the back, two USB-A, HDMI, and 10 Gbps Ethernet, plus a 3.5mm amplified “pro audio” jack. In terms of wireless, it comes with WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.
Apple says you can simultaneously connect up to four 6K Pro Display XDR monitors and one 4K HDMI TV to this model.
Compared to other Macs, the M1 Max and M1 Ultra are more powerful than some of the more powerful iMac and Mac Pro setups. Both in CPU and GPU performance.
However, the prices are “peppery” to say the least. Mac Studio with M1 Max, 32GB of RAM and 512GB of storage starts at $1,999, while the M1 Ultra version with 64GB of RAM and 1TB of storage starts at $3,999. Of course, for additional storage or more RAM, prices go up quickly. The launch is March 18.
Studio Display: a monitor with an integrated iPhone 13 processor
To complete the “Studio” offer, Apple has also launched a new monitor dedicated to this desktop computer, but which can be used without problems with other Macs with USB-C connector. It’s called Studio Display and comes with a 27-inch diagonal and 5K resolution. However, it is not HDR and only offers 600 nits brightness, with 10-bit color support, compatible with DCI-P3 color space.
The Studio Display benefits from an anti-reflective treatment, but can also be configured in “nanoglass”, just like the XDR model. In addition to the “standard” option, which tilts only 30 degrees, Apple offers a vertically adjustable Studio Display, as well as a “VESA” version, which can be mounted on a stand.
What this screen offers that I haven’t seen on any other monitor from Apple or other companies in recent years is a processor. Yes, Studio Display incorporates an Apple A13 processor (the same one used on the iPhone 11 range), which is used to drive the integrated 12-megapixel camcorder. It features an ultra-wide lens with Center Stage and 3 microphones for better sound quality. The monitor is also equipped with an audio system similar to that of the iMac, with six speakers (4 woofers and 2 tweeters), capable of playing Dolby Atmos sound.
On the back, the monitor also has three 10Gbps USB-C ports, as well as a Thunderbolt 4 port, which can also deliver 96W of power to charge a laptop. Apple says the new 14″ MacBook Pro can be quickly downloaded directly from this monitor.
Studio Display will launch on March 18 at a starting price of $1,599. Nanoglass and other stand variants will be more expensive.
I did not receive the announcement of new MacBook models at this event, nor the expected announcement for the M2 processor. However, Apple recalled that it has another model to update this year with Apple Silicon processors: the Mac Pro model. Details were promised at the event this year, undated.