New Apple Mac Studio Like A Mac Mini On Steroids

Apple today introduced Mac Studio, a new Mac desktop computer, powered by the M1 Max or M1 Ultra chip, which they say is the world’s most powerful chip for a personal computer.

While the M1 Mac Mini is already popular with many musicians, the Mac Studio is like the Mac Mini on steroids. While the M1 Mac Mini was fast, the M1 Ultra Mac Studio is on another level – up to 60 percent faster than a top-of-the-line 28-core Intel Mac Pro.

It’s a tiny desktop Mac that can play back 18 streams of ProRes video, support up to 128GB of unified memory, 7.4GB/s SSD reads & up to 8TB capacity. And by building on the energy-efficient architecture, it can do this without getting hot or requiring noisy fans.

The Mac Studio blows away the current M1 Mac Minis in many other ways. On the back, Mac Studio includes four Thunderbolt 4 ports to connect displays and high-performance devices, a 10Gb Ethernet port, two USB-A ports, an HDMI port, and a pro audio jack for high-impedance headphones or external amplified speakers. Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 are built in as well.

And because users frequently connect and disconnect devices, like portable storage, the Mac Studio also includes ports on the front for more convenient access. There are two USB-C ports, which on M1 Max supports 10Gb/s USB 3, and on M1 Ultra supports 40Gb/s Thunderbolt 4.

There is also an SD card slot on the front to easily import photos and video. And Mac Studio supports up to four displays, plus a 4K TV.

Apple included Ableton in the introduction, suggesting essentially that users will need to make more complex projects before the M1 Ultra will break a sweat. Apple says that “Musicians and producers can work on the most complex compositions, with hundreds of tracks, plug-ins, and virtual instruments, all played in real time.”

“M1 Ultra is another game-changer for Apple silicon that once again will shock the PC industry. By connecting two M1 Max die with our UltraFusion packaging architecture, we’re able to scale Apple silicon to unprecedented new heights,” said Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Technologies. “With its powerful CPU, massive GPU, incredible Neural Engine, ProRes hardware acceleration, and huge amount of unified memory, M1 Ultra completes the M1 family as the world’s most powerful and capable chip for a personal computer.”

Pricing and Availability

The Mac Studio is available to pre-order now, starting at $1,999, configured with an M1 Max processor, 32GB of memory and 512GB of storage; or $3,999, configured with an M1 Ultra processor, 64GB of memory and a 1TB of storage.

Check out the stats and share your thoughts on the new Mac in the comments!

31 thoughts on “New Apple Mac Studio Like A Mac Mini On Steroids

    1. The M1 mini is great but this one is mostly for people who needs more GPU cores and ram (the 2000$ model) If you don’t it’s not for you. Too bad the 4000$ -20 CPU core version only comes with 48 GPU cores we don’t really need with audio.

    2. Can a machine with just 8gb of ram run modern DAWs comfortably, though?

      I would think 16gb is the minimum these days?

      1. this is a complete myth – it entirely depends on what you do – and how much of it you need to do at once

        if you edit audio and don’t need to many plugin – 8gb is fine

        If you’re computer can run a few tabs of google chrome and youtube – it can run almost any DAW

        1. if you run samplers with relatively big libraries it can/will run out. It will probably not be enough for a typical adventure movie score unless you only use physical modeling.

          1. “It will probably not be enough for a typical adventure movie score unless you only use physical modeling.”

            Most of us do not need machines capable of being used for scoring blockbuster movies. An M1 Mac Mini with 16GB more than capable of handling what I do – arrangements with maybe 30 or so tracks, with a mix of virtual instruments and audio. I have wondered if the 8GB M1 Mac Mini could actually handle this just as well.

            Obviously, anyone using multi-gigabyte sampled virtual instruments will want as much RAM as possible. But technology has changed a lot in the last decade – RAM is being used way more effectively and loading data from storage to RAM is blindingly fast.

            1. “I have wondered if the 8GB M1 Mac Mini could actually handle this just as well”

              Maybe and maybe not, probably, but still depends on many factors that specific to your needs.

              “But technology has changed a lot in the last decade – RAM is being used way more effectively and loading data from storage to RAM is blindingly fast”

              True, It is much more efficient, especially thanks to the amazing SSD speeds, but if you need to load samples libraries to the RAM (a unique requirement) a maxed out 8GB is a maxed out 8GB. If you use allot of samplers and less virtual instruments (more RAM less CPU) 16GB upgrade will keep it on the safe side.

          2. I use a lot of sample libraries, kontakt, labs, etc… and only have 8gb of ram on my computers. It has basically never been a limitation for me regardless of project complexity.

            People need to get over the idea that their tools are preventing them from doing something.

  1. According to Synth & Software:
    “Those prices are in line with what we musicians have been accustomed to spending on studio computers since the dawn of the digital era.”

    Of course, there’s a wide range of needs and budgets. It’s now possible to do a whole lot with very inexpensive computers. And there are use cases in which the amount spent on a Mac Studio (and the Studio Display) gets amortized quickly.

    1. Sounds like total BS honestly. Most musicians I’ve known just use whatever they can afford and it’s generally not a mac. I’d put the average cost of musicians computer around 700-1000, not even close to the 2k they are claiming.

  2. It starts at $1,999
    Earlier this year I benchmarked the 16” m1 pro laptop and it was better than an iMac Pro. CPU and GPU. And almost as fast as the current Mac pros with 8/12 cores. This will be faster than those by miles.
    But honestly for most people a decent laptop or iMac or Mac mini will literally do the music job just fine and not break the bank. My 2 cents.

    1. Totally agree. My M1 Mac fully specked mini hardly ever breaks a sweat even when running most demanding projects, but getting new Mac studio M1 Ultra with Studio monitor is very tempting indeed… 😉

    2. It starts at €2,349

      It specs out the same as a 2021 16″ Macbook Pro (with a CPU bump) that costs €3,439

      It’s certainly better value

      1. It starts at 1999$ with 10x CPU core, 24x GPU core, 32GB RAM, 512GB SSD.
        So same specs 14″ will cost 2899$ and the 16″ 3099$
        But since the GPU is less important for audio you can go with 16x core GPU but still 32GB of RAM so the 14″ will be 2599$ (2199$ with 16GB RAM) or the 16″ 2899$ (2499$ with 16GB RAM)
        But CPU is, I noticed you can upgrade the Studio Max to the Ultra 20x CPU cores, 64GB RAM but keep the 512GB storage for 3799$, a little better price than the 3999$.
        For some reason you can’t downgrade the Ultra SSD from 1TB to 512GB on the Ultra Store page.

  3. Why is it always “on steroids” and not “on a healthy diet and active lifestyle”? Whatever, my spec’d out M1 Mac Mini is ridiculously overpowered for anything I throw at it, so I think I will not upgrade anytime soon. But good to know what to get down the road.

    1. haha.. thats pretty funny. The answer is a simple one though.. “muscle”. The most “notable” use of steroids is to put on massive muscle. A bowl of arugula and a fruit smoothie not so much.

    1. It doesn’t.

      Funny reading this while taking a break from my MASSIVE rack running in VCV 2 with VCV host running multiple VST’s. If you replaced “all” with “low performance”, I might agree but then I was running VCV Rack on a 2015 macbook with 8GB of ran and never ran into issues either so…… What mac you got?

      1. Hi ! I have a MacBook Pro ? 2016 with 16GB ram with i7 8 cores multithreaded. So it should be ok … but not . I m obliged to use a 3rd party software that disable the CPU throttling…

        1. There are many reason your computer can get hot and throttle but anyway your intel 4 core is not indication about anything apple silicon.

    1. The way their new ARM processors use ram is much more integrated than just jamming in some old SIMM or DIMM modules. NVMe drives are much much faster than cheap spinny drives with huge capacity.

      I’m not going to argue that it’s some sort of best value, which Apple never is, but just to brush it off as overpriced is being ignorant.

      1. Space skeleton is correct. Apple’s system-in-package design trades off memory expandability for higher performance: high bandwidth, low latency, and unified memory architecture to reduce copying between CPU/GPU/neural engine.

        Regarding storage, you can plug in additional NVMe storage via Thunderbolt, though Thunderbolt 4 is 40 Gbit/s (like Thunderbolt 3) so it will max out near 5 GB/s rather than the 7.4GB/s of the internal storage.

  4. I wish people would stop using “on steroids” as an analogy for something impressive, because being on steroids just to be impressive is now universally recognized as bad as being on opioids just to be happy. It’s a phrase that needs to be nullified in the language. Steroids have legitimate use as do opioids, but vitality is not it.

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