Mac Studio And Studio Display Make A Perfect Match

The main problem this week with the new Mac Studio has been finding workflows capable of breaking a sweat.

The big surprise at last week's Apple event was the Mac Studio, a new desktop Mac that resembles the Mac Mini but is much taller and can be equipped with the M1 Ultra, the fastest processor Apple has created to date moment.

As a complement, this Mac Studio also has a 27-inch monitor with 5K resolution that is much more affordable than the only monitor that Apple has sold until now, the Pro Display XDR. It's a monitor that can be used with any Mac, of course, and even Windows PCs, but it works primarily as a companion to this compact yet incredibly powerful new computer.

Tehnologija been able to test both for the past week, though the Mac Studio that Apple has provided to the Pixel for testing is configured with the M1 Max processor, not the M1 Ultra. Physically the teams are practically the same. The version with the M1 Ultra is a bit heavier because it uses a copper heatsink instead of aluminum, but in dimensions and ports, the two machines are indistinguishable.


Our main problem this week with the new Mac Studio, admittedly, has been finding workflows capable of breaking a sweat. I haven't got it. Even with the M1 Max, this machine has instantly opened and edited every photo, video, music, and 3D model I've been able to try no matter how big or complex.

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One of the toughest tasks I tried to tackle was editing a movie in Final Cut Pro with multiple simultaneous streams, many of them in 8K. They all played on screen without issue and without noticeable noise from the Mac Studio fans. As far as I can tell, this is the same M1 Max as the one in the Macbook Pros. It runs at the same frequency and initially doesn't seem like being in a Mac Studio gives it any thermal advantage. It can be configured with up to 64 GB of memory and 32 graphics processing cores.

Those who need more power or memory can go for the M1 Ultra, which is basically two M1 Max's combined into a single processor. That means it can be configured with up to 128GB of memory and 64 GPU cores. The performance will not always be double. It basically depends on the task being performed and how effective the software is.

In either case, the processing power, both general and graphic, is obscene for tasks that support multicore, which today are the vast majority. The M1 Max already made things very difficult for most PCs with Intel processors. 

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With the M1 Ultra the list is effectively reduced to zero. During the last few months, there have been rumors on the net about a new "Mac Pro Mini" from Apple and although in the end it has another name, I think it's the best way to define Mac Studio. It is a compact and practically silent beast that, for the power it offers, should not be.


The other interesting part of this team is that it represents a 180 degree turn in Apple's minimalist policy regarding expansion ports , something that has already been seen in a certain way with the Macbook Pro . It has four Thunderbolt 4 ports, a 10Gbps Ethernet connection, 2 USB-A ports, an HDMI output, and a headphone jack on the rear.

And on the front it also has ports, two USB-C in the case of the Mac Studio with M1 Max (Thunderbolt 4 in the model with M1 Ultra) AND an SD card slot.

In total, the Mac Studio can power up to 5 displays simultaneously, 4 through Thunderbolt, which can have up to 6K resolution and one more with 4K resolution from the HDMI port.

In exchange for so much connectivity, the equipment cannot be expanded or changed once configured. The case is a solid block of aluminum in which I have not been able to find a single screw. With the jump to its own processors, Apple has integrated the RAM into the chip itself, so you have to decide how much you want when buying. The Macbook uses solid-state drives with a speed of 7.4 GB/s. And it can be configured with up to 8TB of capacity, but as with RAM, there doesn't seem to be an easy way to change it once the kit is assembled.

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The Mac Studio is a machine aimed at the professional market and priced accordingly. The basic model with 32 GB M1 Max and 24-core GPU and 512 GB disk, for example, starts at 2,329 euros. The most affordable version with M1 Ultra, with 64 GB of RAM and 1 TB of SSD, costs 4,629 euros. Oh, and the price doesn't include a keyboard or mouse, just the computer and power cord. They can be pre-ordered today but they officially go on sale tomorrow.xxxxxxxxxxxxxx


As I said at the beginning, this week I was also able to test the Studio Display, the new Apple monitor. It is cheaper than the Pro Display XDR, with a price that starts at 1,779 euros (with the foot included!) instead of 5,499 euros and, of course, with somewhat more modest features, although it is also focused on professional users and not necessarily to domestic consumers.

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To understand why that price and the features it has, it is necessary to point out that right now there is only one other 27-inch monitor on the market with 5K resolution, which is what is needed to display the macOS interface with the quality it had. until now the 27-inch iMac (what Apple calls Retina). The monitor in question is from LG 27MD5KL and costs about 1,400 euros. The Studio Display uses the same panel, but it has the advantage of being better suited to the Mac and calibrated in exquisite detail. It looks amazing from any angle and with a brightness of 600 nits, it is very comfortable to work in all kinds of environments.

Inside there is an Apple A13 chip that is responsible for supervising some functions. The monitor's webcam, for example, has Center Frame to center the image on the user during a video conference.

The monitor has three voice-isolating microphones and six speakers (including two canceling woofers) that deliver great, clear sound, with powerful bass but no tabletop shake. It supports Spatial Audio, Apple's 3D sound positioning system.

It connects to the Mac Studio (or any other Mac) via Thunderbolt and can charge a laptop at 96 watts of power. It also has three USB-C ports to connect accessories.

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It is a great monitor on which to watch a movie or hold a conference and fills a huge gap that until now Apple had in its product catalog. But like the Mac Studio, it's for a very specific audience, one that wants that Retina resolution but doesn't want to spend what the Pro Display XDR costs. Professionals who need to work on a matte screen can also configure it with "nano-textured" glass, although it is an option that raises the price.

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The rest will find omissions that may be important. It does not have HDR support, for example, and its refresh rate is 60 Hz. That makes it a very uninteresting monitor for games, although the Mac is not an ideal platform for gaming.

A slightly more frustrating point is the kickstand. The one that comes by default can be adjusted in inclination but it does not offer height support and is a bit low. Putting a foot with adjustable height costs 460 euros more and is something that must be chosen during the purchase process. Once installed, it cannot be changed. Apple does offer the ability to equip the Studio Display with VESA mount instead of the default stand, but again, this must be chosen during checkout and cannot be changed afterwards.

Another unorthodox detail: the power cable is integrated, which takes away some versatility in the assembly, adds a critical point that can cause the whole set to fail (if the cable breaks you have to change the whole monitor) and means a step back just now that Apple has surprised in the 24-inch iMac with a magnetic power cable.

In a monitor of 1,779 euros, these are details that should be taken care of, but the Mac user community has been in such need of a monitor with these characteristics for years that it may possibly overlook them. It is, of course, a great monitor that finally allows users of a Macbook or Mac Mini (or the new Mac Studio), to have the immersive experience that until now could only be achieved with the iMac's 27-inch screen.

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