Apple Announces Insanely Powerful New Mac Studio Desktop

Apple Announces Insanely Powerful New Mac Studio Desktop

Today's Apple event brought a ton of exciting new devices for photographers and filmmakers, but perhaps the most notable was the new M1 Ultra chip, the most powerful the company has ever made. Apple wasted no time putting it in a brand new computer, the Mac Studio, so let's take a look at this powerful new desktop, tailor-made for photographers and filmmakers. 

Mac Studio

The Mac Studio offers the performance of the M1 Max or the new M1 Ultra chip in a small package akin to a tall Mac mini, offering top-shelf performance for tackling intensive creative projects in an impressively compact footprint. Here's what comes with it:

  • M1 Ultra, which uses two M1 Max chips married together, features 114 billion transistors, the most ever in a personal computer chip:
    • Can be paired with up to 128 GB of unified memory
    • 20-core CPU
    • 64-core GPU
    • 32-core Neural Engine
    • Transcords video to ProRex up to 5.6x faster than a 28-core Mac Pro with Afterburner
    • Still features high levels of power efficiency compared to comparable PC chips
  • Can play back up to 18 simultaneous streams of 8K ProRes 422 video
  • Double-sided blowers and over 4,000 perforations help to keep internal components cool and running at top speed without creating significant noise
  • Ultra-fast SSD offering up to 7.4 GBps and 8 TB of capacity
  • Four Thunderbolt 4 ports
  • 10 Gb Ethernet port
  • Two USB-A ports
  • HDMI port
  • Pro audio jack
  • Front SD reader
  • Two front USB-C ports
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • Bluetooth 5
  • Ability to drive up to four Pro Display XDRs and a 4K TV for a total of almost 90 million pixels
  • Also available with M1 Max chip

Altogether, the Mac Studio looks like a powerful computer that sits nicely above the popular mini. It does not replace the Mac Pro, as Apple noted during the presentation that that line will be due for conversion to their own silicon eventually. 

The Mac Studio starts at $1,999 for the M1 Max configuration and $3,999 for the M1 Ultra configuration, with preorders beginning today and availability beginning March 18. 

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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Are there any 3rd party monitors that will work with the Mac Studio and save on a $1,599 Mac model?

I don't see why you couldn't use a 3rd party monitor. They sell a couple of LGs on their site. The least expensive is s 4K for $700.

thank you

Nah, when you plug them in you get a message on screen saying ‘pffft peasant, this won’t work’

At least that’s what I heard.

I use a Dell U2720QM with my MacBook Pro, and it is an excellent monitor, with specific Mac support (USB-C input is all you need for full Mac support). Costs less than $600 too....

thank you

Yes, any monitor that uses USB-C or HDMI connections.

You should be able to just get a Thunderbolt to DisplayPort or HDMI cable. I use a ViewSonic 4K display with my iMac, it works with both the TB -> DP as well as TB -> HDMI cables.

Use an non-Apple mouse?

Even better, a Wacom.

I tried to adapt to a Wacom months and months ago. I used a Wacom exclusively for 3 straight weeks. But, still, I could never lift the pen without causing a check-mark movement or swipe.

In the end, for general browsing, I use a Wacom because it's light. Or, if I'm going to be dodging and burning like crazy.

For most editing and slider adjustments, back to good 'ol mouse.

You'll never take away my gaming mouse and mousepad.

That kinda reminds me of a scene from Braveheart. "...tell our enemies, that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take… our freedom!"

Hahaha that'll be me yelling in Microcenter as the salesman tries to convince me to upgrade my Wacom.

This would make Fstoppers video of the year!

You know a mouse is an OPTIONAL accessory right?

Uhhhh, are you for real right now? You know you can use practically ANY keyboard / mouse with Mac's, right?

And you do know the Magic Mouse is covered with a capacitive surface which recognizes gestures which actually make it MORE versatile than mice with fixed buttons, right?

I've been using a 5 button mouse with my Macs since 2002.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand there we have it… the real reason you made your comment.

I use all three (in fact apart from photography, Linux is my go-to - my daily driver) and they all have it's place.

You'll be just fine (unless your wallet thinks otherwise) using any of these.

Ok, I’m just gonna say this in case anyone else has wanted to say it and is just afraid of reprisals…

You’re so fucking stupid.

I use a Logi MX Anywhere 3 mouse on my Mac...

Well, I use Linux, Windows (work) and Mac. Each has it's place. I goto Mac for photography (C1P and affinity), Linux for daily driver (SW dev, media streaming, gaming, video editing, etc), windows for work.

They all have their own place in your workflows. I don't see a point trashing one in favor of another.

And with one fell swoop, Apple gives Intel the 🖕 again

And the new M1 Ultra outpaced an nVidia GTX 3090 in Apple’s own presentation (look at the fine-print on lower-right corner).

We know you irrationally hate Apple based on your other ridiculous comments in just this thread alone, so your statements carry no weight here anymore.

You really don’t know anything about what you are talking about, do you? The M1 and its variants are a combined multi-core CPU and GPU. There is no “video card”.

Pretty nifty... but starting at $3600 isn't going to happen. I was hoping for an upgrade to my 27" iMac but since Apple discontinued those today with no plans for a M1 powered 27" iMac I'll have to figure out something else... and a Mac Mini or laptop isn't happening.


It's almost as if you just woke up from a very, very long nap. lol. That's no longer the case, especially since the M1's.

The PC configuration I am planning is $7k. I think it all depends on your configuration.

God you’re so full of shit

You can just go with the $1999 M1 Max that destroys a 12th-gen Core i9 and be a happy camper, this new Mac Studio has something for many price points.

Can you add your own internal hard drives or add your own ram?

Should it be called the mac min max?

I've used dozens of WD, Seagate, Sandisk, and other drives for over a decade without a problem. I don't know why you think Macs can't handle off-brand hard drives or mice, but they can (as well as pretty much any other peripheral).

I use Dell monitor, sometimes Logitech kb and mouse and SanDisk external drive for additional capacity and it's fine.

Sweet mother, you really are an ignorant Apple-hating troll! Attach ANY USB-A/C or Thunderbolt 3/4 drive enclosure of your choice to this, or any Mac, and you’re golden.

The fast and powerful devices are on USB-C, nowadays.

This was also pretty popular back in the day. Just 'cause you're slow, doesn't mean tech should be.

You poor guy. How long were you stuck under that rock? Apple ain't the only ones that makes USB-C peripherals and devices. And, get this...wait for ain't gots to use Apple brand. Use whatever brand that tickles your fancy.

You should be about half way to China by now given the depth of the hole of ignorance you have been digging for yourself . All you’ve succeeded in doing is demonstrating what an idiot you are as everything you have said has been false. In reality the limiting factor for any Apple computer for using external peripherals has always been the interface. That has been true since the early days with SCSI to today’s thunderbolt. If the external device had the right interface and compatible drivers you were and are good to go. The same is the case for any computer regardless the badge. Having used Macs since 1984 I’ve used countless non Apple branded peripherals. Have you ever heard the term plug and play?

Oh for the love of god, we get it, you are a total Apple hating ignoranous, do everyone a favour and take it elsewhere.

I will be buying this new Mac Studio for sure. I just have to figure which chip and upgrades will work for me. I will have to do some more reseach. I have a 27 inch NEC Pro MultiSync Photoshop monitor I love. The color on my monitor matches my Epson printer prints perfectly. My NEC monitior was designed for photographers and the screen is not shiny. B&H is where I bought my monitor and I highly recommend it for someone looking for a monitor other than Apple. I was waiting for something like this. I would say my budget would be arouind $4000 for my new computer and it should last me for a long time. I want a computer that can run Lightroom and Photoshop fast. For the work I do I can shoot between 1000-2000 RAW images daily and having a fast computer that can edit my images will be a time saver for me. My old Mac is on its last legs. I am very happy Apple came out with this new computer. I do not see them coming out with a 27 iMac pro. This is a better option becasue a Mac user can use their own monitor.

One genuine question: how does the ultra compare with Threadripper 32 core, Nvidia TI 10gb and 64 gb 3200 ram and nvme 2.0 drives combo? Besides the power.

We'll know pretty soon once reviewers start getting their hands on them.

Apparently it's pretty close. M1 Ultra beats AMD 64 core on single core performance, and 5% less on multi core performance all the while drawing way less power.

Unfortunately, my next desktop is gonna be Threadripper still.

Oh man, what a comment thread, too bad I got here late to see all of Jared Weavers contributions😂
On another note I was positively surprised by the price point, given the specs and the premium Apple adds to its high end devices I’d have expected a lot more!