The arrival of the Mac Studio marks the first time in a long time that Apple has addressed a long-neglected group of Mac users. These users had largely turned to the 27-inch iMac to meet their power and budget needs, and Mac Studio finally gives them a headless Mac worth considering.
The Mac Studio is in some ways a whole new Mac, and in other ways it’s an evolution of the Macs that came before it. Obviously the Mac Studio fills the void left when Apple discontinued the 27-inch iMac, but at the same time it’s also an evolution of the Mac mini and a throwback to the Mac Pros of yore.
So whether you’re looking to upgrade an old all-in-one or add a new Mac to your collection, you’re probably wondering how Mac Studio compares to the iMacs it replaced and whether it’s a worthy replacement for Apple’s top version. late iMac. Spoiler alert: If you’re worried that Mac Studio isn’t a proper upgrade for your existing iMac, don’t worry.
Mac Studio vs. iMac: Overview
The iMac is by far Apple’s most famous computer, the one that put Apple on its way to becoming the company it is today. What started out as a colorful mainstream all-in-one has come a long way over the years, with the most recent 27-inch model sporting a gorgeous Retina 5K display, 10th Gen Intel Core i9 processors, up to to 128GB of RAM and up to 8TB of storage. For a brief period, Apple also sold a 27-inch iMac Pro that used Intel Xeon W processors with up to 18 cores, a variety of high-end graphics cards and up to 256 GB of RAM and 4 TB of storage.
The Mac Studio, on the other hand, is just the computing part – it lacks a display, keyboard and mouse – but it offers up to a 20-core CPU, 64-core GPU, 128GB of RAM and 8TB of storage, far exceeding any iMac. never done. However, if you’re upgrading from an iMac, you’ll need to purchase a new display, as you can’t use Target Display Mode on M1 Macs.
Mac Studio vs. iMac:Specifications and ports
The now-discontinued 27-inch iMac was last updated in August 2020 when it received the 10th Gen Intel Core i5 or i7 processor as standard configuration, alongside Radeon Pro 5000 series graphics It only offered 8GB of RAM as standard, and the entry-level storage option was a 256GB SSD. 10th Gen Intel Core i9 with up to 10-core processor, up to 128GB RAM, 8TB SSD and Radeon Pro 5700 or Radeon Pro 5700 XT graphics. . To get the ultimate configuration, including 128 GB of RAM and the maximum storage capacity, you would have paid over $5,000.
While comparing Intel and Apple chips isn’t straightforward, Mac Studio’s specs and price already make it a much better bang for your buck, even without a keyboard, monitor, and mouse. If you stick with the base model, a 10-core CPU/24-core M1 Max GPU, 32GB RAM and 512GB SSD for $1,999, you’re already getting a faster machine, even if you had bought a 27 inches fully loaded. iMac. And if you upgrade to the $3,999 M1 Ultra, you’ll absolutely blow the doors off your old iMac.
To really see the difference, take a look at these benchmarks, which are from the 2020 iMac which would have cost $4,499 / £4,499. The Mac Studio here is the 32-core M1 Max model that costs $2,199, more than half the price of the iMac. So any configuration you choose will give you more power than you had before.
Anyone spending that much on a new Mac will have a lot of peripherals to hook up, and the Mac Studio has lost none of the expanse and capability of the 27-inch iMac. Here’s what the iMac had:
3.5mm headphone jack
SDXC card slot (UHS-II)
Four USB-A ports
Two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C)
And here is what the Mac Studio has:
Four Thunderbolt 4 ports with support for:
3.5mm headphone jack
SDXC card slot (UHS-II (front)
Two USB-A ports
Four Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports (rear)
Two USB-C (M1 Max) or Thunderbolt (M1 Ultra) ports (front)
10 Gb ethernet
So whatever your setup, you won’t have to worry about which expansion ports are available on the Mac Studio. If anything, you’ll have more than you need.
Mac Studio vs iMac: design and display
The 27-inch iMac hadn’t changed much in appearance since the slim unibody version arrived in 2013. We expected a redesign to bring it in line with the 24-inch M1 model, but Apple gave us two devices instead. separate: Mac Studio and the 27-inch Studio Monitor.
The Mac Studio looks like a large Mac mini, roughly equivalent to three minis stacked on top of each other. It’s a neat, compact design that won’t take up too much space on your desk and fits easily under a studio screen or most other monitors. Basically, if you have room for a Mac mini on your desk, you have room for a Mac Studio. It has a simple design that looks good but isn’t as striking as a 27-inch iMac and is only available in silver, although your Space Gray iMac Pro accessories will still look great.
The display is obviously the biggest difference between the iMac and the Mac Studio. On one side you have a Mac with a built-in 27-inch 5K display, and on the other a Mac that has no display at all. To make up the difference, Apple is selling a 27-inch Studio Display starting at $1,599 for those who want an iMac-like experience, and it offers some features that weren’t available on the 27-inch iMac. . At the ultra high end, Apple sells the 32-inch Pro Display XDR which costs $4,999 and doesn’t even come with a stand (that’s $1,000 more).
The Studio Display has a native 5K resolution of 5120×2880 at 218 pixels per inch, with 600 nits of brightness, P3 color gamut support, and True Tone. It’s very similar to the 27-inch iMac’s screen, which had the same features and resolution, but with 500 nits of brightness. Like the iMac, the standard Studio display uses standard anti-reflective glass with a matte nano-textured glass option for an additional $300.
The design is very similar to the chinless 27-inch iMac and works the same way: you can tilt the screen but not adjust the height. Apple offers a tilt and height adjustable stand for the Studio Display that costs an additional $400.
The Studio Display has a few features that the iMac and other Macs and third-party displays lack, thanks to the inclusion of an A13 chip (as seen in the iPhone 11). These features include a built-in 12MP Ultra Wide camera, which is an improvement over the 27-inch iMac’s 1080p FaceTime HD camera. The camera also includes support for Center Stage, which automatically keeps you centered in frame if you move during a call.
The Studio Display also features a three-microphone array with directional beamforming for “Hey Siri” support, as well as six speakers (four force-cancelling woofers and two high-performance tweeters) with Spatial Sound. Finally, you get three additional USB-C ports on the back.
Of course, you don’t have to spend that much money to get a decent display. Any monitor will work with the Mac Studio, and you can get a really good 27-inch (or larger) monitor for well under $1,599. Most of them won’t have a camera, high-end speakers, or far-field microphones, so you’ll have to weigh the importance of these features.
Mac Studio vs. iMac:Price
Now that we have reviewed the differences between the two models, let’s try to compare the prices. You can get a Mac Studio with a 10-core M1 Max CPU, 24-core GPU, 32GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD for $1,999. Add a Studio Display and you get a minimum of $3,598.
To match that with a 27-inch iMac, you’d have considered a build-to-order option, since the 10-core model wasn’t standard. If you wanted to max out your 27-inch iMac with a 3.6GHz 10-core Intel Core i9 processor and 32GB of RAM, you’d be looking at a price of $3,299, very close to the Mac Studio and Studio Display bundle shown below. on it, and not all that far from the price of the M1 Ultra Mac Studio (without a screen, of course).
Mac Studio vs. iMac:Verdict
There’s no doubt that the Mac Studio offers an improvement over the 27-inch iMac, not just in specs but also in value. When you break down the price of a comparable 27-inch iMac, you get a much better machine with more expandability and versatility for less.
The only real issue is the entry-level cost. You could previously get a 27-inch iMac for $1,799, while the Mac Studio starts at $1,999 without a display. Until an M1 Pro Mac mini arrives, users who don’t need the power of a Mac Studio could look at one of Apple’s M1 machines, which are a good match for the 27-inch iMac. basic. You can also consider the 14-inch MacBook Pro for $1,999 with an 8-core M1 Pro processor.
But if you’re looking for a replacement for a high-end iMac at a similar cost, you’ll be extremely happy with the Mac Studio, no matter what display you decide to pair it with.