Apple once again surprises with the new M1 Ultra chip, Mac Studio, and Studio Display. Should Intel and AMD be worried? Probably.
The Peek Performance event just wrapped up. Apple touched on its new and current offering for its streaming platform. A few have been killing it during awards season, and with how many recognizable faces they kept cutting to, it seems Apple wants to set a foundation of prestige with its content.
They even added some exclusive baseball games to Apple TV+.
But that’s not why we’re here, is it? No. We’re here for that sci-fi-level tech.
The next evolution of the Apple Silicon chip is here. While many thought the next iteration was going to be the M2, that was not the case.
Meet the new Apple Silicon M1 Ultra.
During the event, the new chip was described as a “monster of a chip,” and we happen to agree. The M1 Ultra is literally two M1 Max chips taped together.
But this isn’t your ordinary gaff tape.
The 5mm M1 Ultra uses something called Ultra Fusion architecture to glue the two M1 Max chips together. The complex connection provides 2.5TB of low latency bandwidth between two chips, making software think it’s actually seeing one chip instead of two.
This gives the M1 Ultra a whopping 20-Core CPU, with 16 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores. The GPU, on the other hand, can go up to 64 cores.
The new chip will have support for 128GB of unified memory and a memory bandwidth of 800GB/s. The ProRes encoding and decoding is also getting a boost.
Apple compared the M1 Ultra to Intel’s Core i9-12900K with DDR5 memory and alleges it is 90% faster, at least according to their CPU performance vs. power chart.
When compared to the GeForce 3060 Ti and 3090, the M1 Ultra uses less power while providing equivalent if not better performance.
To wrangle this monster of a chip, Apple is bringing a new desktop to the market.
The Mac Studio is a creative's wet dream and looks spot-on to what the leaks had shown us. According to Apple’s specs, it’s fast and has enough connectivity to meet most workflows. While it doesn’t have the same modularity as the Mac Pro, it packs a punch.
On the back, there are four Thunderbolt 4 ports, a 10GB Ethernet power port, and two USB-A ports next to the HDMI port. On the front, there will be an SDXC card slot, along with two USB-C ports on the M1 Max model, or two Thunderbolt 4 ports with the M1 Ultra. WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5 are also built-in.
The Mac Studio can support up to four Pro Display XDRs as well as a 4K TV.
When comparing it to the iMac and Mac Pro, the Mac Studio blows its ancestors out of the water. Apple claims the Mac Studio with M1 Ultra will have 60% faster CPU performance than a 16-Core Xeon Mac Pro, and 80% faster GPU performance than a Mac Pro with the Radeon Pro W6900X.
What’s most impressive is that the Mac Studio will be able to handle 18 streams of 8K ProRes 422 video at the same time. According to Apple, that’s a first.
If you’re a multi-cam editor, this new Mac may be the cure for all those stress headaches.
The Mac Studio will be available with the M1 Max starting at $1,999 and the M1 Ultra for $3,999.
Preorders start this Friday and both will be available on March 18.
“But it doesn’t have a display like the iMac!” I hear you say. Fear not, because now we have the—
Designed in unison with the Mac Studio, the Studio Display is a 27” monitor with some interesting specs inside, specifically an A13 Bionic.
The Studio Display comes with a 30-degree mechanism, but also has options with a tilt and height adjustment, as well as a version with a VESA Mount.
The 600-nit display has a pixel density of 218ppi, P3 Wide Color, and True Tone. But with how some creatives have reacted to True Tone in the past, that might be a feature you want to turn off.
Creatives will have an option for an anti-reflective coating or a nano texture glass option.
The A13 Bionic powers the 12MP camera, which is the same one in the iPad, as well as Center Stage. Apparently, this is the first time that feature is on a Mac.
Behind the camera, there is a three-mic array with a low noise floor, as well as a six-speaker sound system. If the audio quality is anything like Apple’s other products, this new display will sound amazing.
There are also three 10GB/s USB-C ports and a single Thunderbolt port on the back, which can connect to practically anything and also deliver 96 watts of power to a MacBook of your choice.
The new display will be available for preorder this Friday starting at $1,599. It will be available on March 18.
iPhone SE & iPad
Some other additions to Apple’s product line included an updated iPhone SE with the A15 Bionic. This brings some nice speed upgrades as well as 5G, on-device Siri, a new camera, and some solid display and photography improvements.
A new iPad Air was also introduced with an M1 chip inside, bringing its speed in line with Apple’s laptop offerings. It includes 5G and a 12MP ultra-wide front camera that comes with Center Stage.
The Future & Mac Pro
Apple is almost finished with its silicon transition, and the Mac Studio is a blazing fast option for creatives. With how much faster it is than the Mac Pro, it may seem like there won’t be a need for a new iteration of the workstation.
But Apple confirmed that the Mac Pro will be the next product to get the Apple Silicon treatment. How much faster can Apple’s chips get?
We have no idea. Maybe glue two M1 Ultras together?
The future is still unwritten, but with what we saw during the Peek Performance event today, the competition should definitely start to worry about what the Mac Pro could be.