A look at the GPU in Apple’s latest mini PC

The Mac Studio is said to deliver incredible performance in a small, unassuming package, but can it actually outperform gaming rigs twice its size?

That Mac Studio is designed to deliver incredible computing power in a tiny, inconspicuous package. Despite its tame exterior, its internal specs alone sound strong enough to outperform gaming rigs twice its size, but there are other factors to consider as well. If Apple merged the Mac Pro and Mini and then increased its capabilities to eleven, the result would be the Mac Studio.

The Mac Studio was officially announced during Apple’s March 8 event, with the company claiming that it can easily outperform most of its high-end models. Mac Studio runs on what Apple calls “most powerful chip in a personal computer‘ and explains that not only can it deliver top-notch performance, but it also consumes less power than most desktops. All of this paints a very tantalizing picture when it comes to gaming, but can it actually be the best monstrous desktop PCs purpose-built for the purpose, even without a dedicated GPU?


Related: Apple M1 Ultra Early benchmarks are in, and they’re stunning

In terms of performance, the Mac Studio uses Apple’s M1 Max chip, a 10-core CPU with an integrated 24-core GPU and 400GB/s of maximum memory bandwidth, according to the official specs. Apple is also giving buyers the option to choose the more powerful M1 Ultra chip, which basically doubles those numbers to a 20-core CPU with a massive 800GB/s of memory bandwidth. For comparison, most high-end desktop PCs use a 16-core Intel Core i9 processor with a maximum memory bandwidth of 76.8 GB/s. These numbers determine the amount of processing power and concurrent operations, as well as the amount of data that can be read at any given time. In other words, higher numbers generally mean better performance.

How will the Mac Studio fare in actual gaming scenarios?

Apple Mac Studio M1 Ultra chip

Apple claims its testing showed that the Mac Studio’s M1 Max chip alone showed similar GPU performance to an Intel Core i9-based desktop running Nvidia’s RTX 3060 Ti, at just a third of the power consumption. Additionally, the beefier M1 Ultra chip reportedly even outperformed a rig running Nvidia’s rogue BFGPU at peak performance. Sure, that sounds promising on paper, but when you apply it to a real gaming scenario, given the various factors at play, things are rarely that simple.

Because some dedicated GPUs come with their own power and cooling systems that are independent of the processor, they already have the benefit of adding an extra punch in the graphics compared to the Mac Studio, which runs all of the graphics processing power and cooling system on a single chip generate computing power. Then there’s the case of software, as some games are better optimized to run on dedicated GPUs and operating systems like Windows. In contrast, Mac Studio has to rely on programs like Boot Camp for games that don’t natively support macOS, which is mostly the case with the latest PC titles. While Mac Studio will no doubt be better at gaming compared to previous Macs, consumers won’t really know if it can compete with actual gaming PCs until they’re able to do the comparisons themselves, and they can by March 18th do.

Next: Apple’s Studio Display Is $1,599: Is It Worth Buying?

Source: Apple, Intel

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