The rumors were true: Apple has introduced a high-powered headless desktop that sits between the Mac mini and Mac Pro. The company has launched the Mac Studio, a compact machine with up to a 20-core M1 Ultra chip, a 64-core GPU and more expansion than its mini counterpart. Not surprisingly, Apple is making bold performance claims — it believes the Studio is up to 60 percent faster than a 28-core Intel Mac Pro in CPU tasks, 80 percent faster than the fastest Mac graphics card and capable of handling up to 18 8K ProRes 4:2:2 video streams at once.
You'll have plenty of choice for peripherals with four Thunderbolt 4 ports, two USB-A ports, HDMI and 10Gbps Ethernet on the back. And yes, Apple is aware you want front ports — two USB-C connectors (Thunderbolt 4 on M1 Ultra models) and an SD card slot will spare you from reaching behind the system to upload photos. The computer is also power-efficient. Apple claims the Mac Studio uses about 100W less power than a 16-core Windows at similar performance levels. It's not clear how performance stacks up in real life, of course, but it's notable that Apple is even comparing a desktop Mac against high-end consumer PC towers.
The Mac Studio starts at $1,999 with an M1 Max, 32GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD, and will be available on March 18th. Pre-orders start today. A version with the M1 Ultra, 64GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD costs $3,999, and maxing out the system with 128GB of RAM and an 8TB SSD will cost a whopping $7,999. The complementing 27-inch Apple Studio Display is $1,599, and you can once again buy the Magic Keyboard (with Touch ID), Magic Trackpad and Magic Mouse in silver and black at respective $199, $149 and $99 prices.
This isn't the Apple Silicon-based Mac Pro some creatives want. That's "for another day," Apple said at its event. It also isn't cheap, as you're looking at a cool $3,600 (plus peripherals) if you want an all-Apple setup. Still, this might be appealing if you've craved a fast Mac desktop but didn't want to tie yourself to a built-in display or the overkill of a full-size workstation. This might be a dream machine for Power Mac G4 Cube fans.
Catch up on all of the news from Apple’s Peek Performance event right here!