Apple Mac Studio in the first test: More professional than Mac Pro

Apple has pushed the prices of professional desktop computers to dizzying heights in recent years: the basic version of the iMac Pro costs more than 5,000 euros, while the Mac Pro, relaunched in 2019, starts around 6,500 euros. With more memory and cores, buyers can quickly break the €10,000 mark.

With the new Mac Studio, Apple is now backing off the screw: the entry-level price is around €2,300 – similar to Power Macs and Mac Pros in the old cheese grating tower. Mac Studio has connections up front, which Apple hasn’t had in nearly ten years.

Unlike the expensive Mac Pro, Mac Studio cannot be expanded internally, and there is no requirement to open the housing. But the new desktop Mac is not lacking in power: even in the base model, Apple installed its own 10-core M1 Max processor with either 24 or 32 GPU cores. The new M1 Ultra debuts in a better-equipped version, which is a 20-core processor with 48 or 64 GPU cores and up to 128GB of RAM. However, double the cores also double the price: Mac Studio with the M1 Ultra costs no less than 4,600 euros. For the maximum equipment with an 8 TB SSD, 128 GB of RAM and 64 GPUs, Apple requires 9,200 euros – without a keyboard and mouse.

The single-thread performance core is virtually identical to Apple’s M1 SoC series, so the single-thread standards in Macs with the M1 such as the MacBook Air, Mac mini, M1 Pro, and M1 Max in the MacBook Pro deliver nearly identical values ​​as in the M1 Ultra. However, once the difficult tasks are distributed over several cores, Pro, Max and Ultra in particular show their strengths. This also applies to comparing the M1 Ultra with an Intel Core i9-12900K or even AMD’s Ryzen Threadripper, as our benchmarks confirm: in the multithreaded Geekbench 5 test, the M1 Ultra achieves a value of close to 24,000 and is therefore higher than an Intel processor and relatively close to the Ryzen Threadripper 3970X .

Thanks to a special media engine, Apple’s M1 chip is designed to quickly export video without overheating. A 4K export of a video project with multiple 8K video streams from Final Cut Pro with Redcode RAW material took 227 seconds in our test on a highly upgraded Mac Pro (Intel Xeon with 24 cores, 384 GB of RAM), on a MacBook Pro with the M1 Pro (32 On Mac Studio with M1 Max (64GB RAM) only 102 seconds and on Mac Studio with M1 Ultra (128GB RAM) finally 74 seconds: at least a third of the time.


Size comparison: Apple’s new Mac Studio (left) is two and a half Macs stacked on top of each other.

In the Metal test, the M1 Ultra scored twice as high as the upgraded Mac Pro with two graphics cards. Mac Pro is defeated in most Rosetta simulator 3D shooting games. The Mac Studio stayed pleasantly quiet during tests at 0.2 pin and drew significantly less power than Intel Macs or computers of a similar performance class.

  • Meanwhile, Mac&i continues to test the two devices. You can read the detailed testing of Mac Studio with the M1 Max and M1 Ultra in v2/2022, which will be available from April 7, 2022. The article also contains all the benchmark results for the connections, the integrated SSD, and many other benchmarks related to the CPU and CPU. Mac Studio graphics processing, computer suitability ratings for specific applications, and recommendations on who should raise money together. We also tested Apple’s new Studio Display. We also detail the improvements in the M1 Ultra. Mac & i subscribers will receive the test report in advance, which will also appear in heise+.


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