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Today's Apple event bought an all-new M1 Max or M1 Ultra powered Mac Studio and a 27-inch 5K Retina Studio Display.

Today's Apple presentation was full of new products, the iPad Air, updated iPhone SE, new green iPhone 13s, but the two stand-out products for us were the new form factor Mac Studio and the new 27-inch 5K Retina Studio Display.

We knew something good was coming as Apple went into great depth about the new Apple Silicon M1 Ultra chip that powers the beefier of the Mac Studio models. The M1 Ultra is two M1 Max chips connected together using fast UltraFusion technology. This offers stunning performance without the need for software to be written for multiple chips. (How many can you hook together???)

Let's start by posting the hour-long presentation. Good to see that Final Cut Pro was shown a few times, Motion got a look-in as well as the new iPad version of iMovie with a new storyboard feature that will be released in March. 

 

The star of the show was obviously the new Mac Studio. Designed to sit between the Mac Mini and Mac Pro for desktop users, we like the new form factor. Not only does this fit under the new display nicely, we also bet you can get two of them in a 19" rack. Both machines are 19.7 cm square and 9.5 cm tall. The M1 Max version is 2.7kg and the M1 Ultra nearly a kilogram heavier at 3.6 kg.

apple mac studio 02There are two USB-C ports on the front, the M1 Max supports 10Gb/s USB 3, and on M1 Ultra supports 40Gb/s Thunderbolt 4. There is also an SDXC card slot (UHS‑II).

The Mac Studio is powered by either the M1 Max or M1 Ultra SOC. The latter consisting of 114 billion transistors, the most ever in a personal computer chip. Apple are saying that a Mac Studio with M1 Ultra can play back 18 streams of 8K ProRes 422 video. Pretty impressive if you have fast enough storage to keep up.

apple mac studio 03On the back, Mac Studio includes four Thunderbolt 4 ports, a 10Gb Ethernet port, two USB-A ports, an HDMI port (4K resolution at 60Hz) and a pro audio jack for high-impedance headphones or external amplified speakers.

 

Just take a look a the performance figures. there are going to be a lot of disgruntled Mac Pro owners that see a less expensive machine giving better performance. In the presention, Apple did mention that the Mac Pro would be the last machine to be updated with Apple Silicon. Let's hope a new Apple Silicon motherboard for the existing Mac Pro will be an option rather than having to buy a whole new machine!

Mac Studio Powered by M1 Max Enables:

  • Up to 2.5x faster CPU performance than the fastest 27-inch iMac with 10-core processor.
  • Up to 50 percent faster CPU performance than Mac Pro with a 16-core Xeon processor.
  • Up to 3.4x faster graphics performance than the 27-inch iMac, and over 3x faster than Mac Pro with its most popular graphics card.
  • Up to 7.5x faster than the 27-inch iMac, and up to 3.7x faster than 16-core Mac Pro when transcoding video.

Mac Studio Powered by M1 Ultra Enables:

  • Up to 3.8x faster CPU performance than the fastest 27-inch iMac with 10-core processor.
  • Up to 90 percent faster CPU performance than Mac Pro with 16-core Xeon processor.
  • Up to 60 percent faster CPU performance than 28-core Mac Pro.
  • Up to 4.5x faster graphics performance than the 27-inch iMac, and up to 80 percent faster than the fastest Mac graphics card available today.
  • Up to 12x faster than the 27-inch iMac, and up to 5.6x faster than 28-core Mac Pro when transcoding video.

It will be interesting to see some real-life performance stats. As a sidenote, all the tests were done with a pre-release version of Final Cut pro 10.6.2.

Both machines can be specified with up to 8TB SSD, the M1 Ultra can go to 128 GB of unified memory, but the  M1 max version only allows for a maximum of 64GB.

apple mac studio 04

 

The new 27 inch Studio Display is the perfect partner for the Mac Studio. It features a 27-inch 5120x2880 resolution at 218 pixels per inch 5K Retina screen with over 14.7 million pixels. Slightly disappointed that it only reaches 600 nits of brightness considering the stunning 1600 output of the new MacBook Pros and its bigger XDR brother. No mention of available refresh rates.

Apple Studio Display 01The new Studio Display running Final Cut Pro from a Mac mini

It is rammed with speakers though and supports Dolby Atmos, which on the basis of how good the MacBook Pro is, this should sound superb. There's also a studio-quality three-mic array with high signal-to-noise ratio and directional beamforming.

Gone is the dreaded 720p camera, the screen contains a 12MP Ultra Wide camera with 122° field of view that supports Centre Stage.

On the back it has three USB-C ports that deliver speeds up to 10Gb/s and a Thunderbolt 3 port that has 96W host charging. Which means you can have one cable to the display from your MacBook Pro. 

The Studio Display is $1599, there are some options. The non-reflective nano-texture glass from there XDR is available for an extra $300 along with a $400 tilt and height adjustable stand and no cost VESA mount option.

 

Although a Thunderbolt cable is provided with the display, you'll need a few more peripherals for the Mac Studio/Studio Display combo.

Apple Studio Display 02 

 

Also announced are a new $199 silver-and-black colour option for Magic Keyboard with Touch ID,  $149 Magic Trackpad, and $99 Magic Mouse.

Let's hope we get our hands on one of each soon!  

 


Written by
Top BloggerThought Leader

I am the Editor-in-Chief of FCP.co and have run the website since its inception ten years ago.

I have also worked as a broadcast and corporate editor for over 30 years, starting on one inch tape, working through many formats, right up to today's NLEs.

Under the name Idustrial Revolution, I have written and sold plugins for Final Cut Pro for 13 years.

I was made a Freeman of Lichfield through The Worshipful Company of Smiths (established 1601). Though I haven't yet tried to herd a flock of sheep through the city centre!

Current Editing

great house giveaway 2020

2020 has been busy, the beginning of the year was finishing off a new property series (cut on FCP) for Channel 4 called The Great House Giveaway. I also designed and built the majority of the graphics as Motion templates. It has been a great success and the shows grabbed more viewers in the 4pm weekday slot than any previous strand. It has been recommissioned by C4 for 60 episodes, including prime-time versions and five themed programmes. The shows have also been nominated for a 2021 BAFTA.

Tour de france 2020
Although both were postponed to later in the year, I worked again on ITV's coverage of the Tour de France and La Vuelta. 2020 was my 25th year of editing the TdF and my 20th year as lead editor. The Tour was the first broadcast show to adopt FCPX working for multiple editors on shared storage.

 

BBC snooker the crucible

BBC's Snooker has played a big part in my life, I've been editing tournament coverage since 1997. I'm proud to be part of a very creative team that has pioneered many new ideas and workflows that are now industry standard in sports' production. This is currently an Adobe Premiere edit.

amazon kindle BF

Covid cancelled some of the regular corporate events that I edit such as trade shows & events. I was lucky however to edit, from home, on projects for Amazon Kindle, Amazon Black Friday, Mastercard and very proud to have helped local charitable trust Kendall & Wall secure lottery funding.

As for software, my weapon of choice is Final Cut Pro and Motion, but I also have a good knowledge and broadcast credits with Adobe Premiere Pro, MOGRT design and Photoshop.

Plugin Design & Development

I'm the creative force behind Idustrial Revolution, one of the oldest Final Cut Pro plugin developers. It hosts a range of commercial and free plugins on the site. One free plugin was downloaded over a thousand times within 24 hours of release.

I also take on custom work, whether it is adapting an existing plugin for a special use or designing new plugins for clients from scratch. Having a good knowledge of editing allows me to build-in flexibility and more importantly, usability.

FCP.co

Now in its 10th year and 4th redesign, running FCP.co has given me knowledge on how to run a large CMS- you are currently reading my bio from the database! Although it sounds corny, I am pretty well up on social media trends & techniques, especially in the video sector. The recent Covid restrictions has enabled live FCP.co shows online. This involves managing a Zoom Webinar through Restream.io to YouTube and Facebook. 

The Future

I'm always open to new ideas and opportunities, so please get in touch at editor (at) fcp.co. I've judged film competitions, presented workflow techniques to international audiences and come up with ideas for TV shows and software programs!

 

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Oliver Peters's Avatar
Oliver Peters replied the topic: #119373 09 Mar 2022 13:33
I guess Apple was listening :)
digitalfilms.wordpress.com/2020/06/12/the-missing-mac/

It's worth noting that the 27" iMacs are now gone (for now?) and that the only Intel left is the Mac Pro.
cseeman's Avatar
cseeman replied the topic: #119382 09 Mar 2022 20:35
I really wish there were a 27" iMac M1Max, M1Pro option.
Otherwise, the base Mac Studio with 27" monitor prices at just about $3600. Although that's not bad considering what the 2017 iMac Pro cost, there's no 27" iMac 2020 i7 was about $2300 or so.
MWoods's Avatar
MWoods replied the topic: #119384 09 Mar 2022 21:21
I am glad to be freed from the obligation to buy an Apple display personally. I have an 5120 × 2880 iMac Pro sitting next to an old Apple 2560 x 1440 Thunderbolt display. I have to put my face uncomfortably close to the display to be able to tell the difference in resolution. My eyes just aren't that good. I would much rather buy a much larger 4k display so I can put some of those extra pixels to use in Final Cut's interface without it being too tiny for me to see. Does anyone have any good recommendations for large displays for this? A non-editor friend of mine recommended a Gigabyte AORUS FV43U 43" 4k Gaming monitor. Does anyone else have experience with that or a similar large size gaming Monitor or TV as a primary display for Final Cut?
Bartbo's Avatar
Bartbo replied the topic: #119408 11 Mar 2022 12:32
Hello,

could someone tell me if the Mac Studio with M1 Max should be powerful enough to process 4K 10bit 50fps material without proxies, and of course without frame drops at playback or spinning beach ball? Thanks in advance for your reply!
Bartbo's Avatar
Bartbo replied the topic: #119409 11 Mar 2022 12:32
Hello,

could someone tell me if the Mac Studio with M1 Max should be powerful enough to process 4K 10bit 50fps material without proxies, and of course without frame drops at playback or spinning beach ball? Thanks in advance for your reply!
Oliver Peters's Avatar
Oliver Peters replied the topic: #119410 11 Mar 2022 13:23
No one knows yet, because it depends on the codec you are working with. ProRes? Sure. Something else? Who knows?
joema's Avatar
joema replied the topic: #119413 11 Mar 2022 14:54

Hello,

could someone tell me if the Mac Studio with M1 Max should be powerful enough to process 4K 10bit 50fps material without proxies, and of course without frame drops at playback or spinning beach ball? Thanks in advance for your reply!

If you tell me the exact codec specifications, I could try it on my M1 Max MacBook Pro 16. IOW camera, frame rate, bit rate, bit depth, etc. If you aren't sure, use the 3rd-party tool MediaInfo or Invisor: 
apps.apple.com/us/app/mediainfo/id510620098?mt=12
apps.apple.com/us/app/invisor-media-file...or/id442947586?mt=12

Or you could upload a brief test clip to a file sharing service and I can test that.
Bartbo's Avatar
Bartbo replied the topic: #119416 11 Mar 2022 20:22
Thank you, both Oliver and Joema, for your reply. I'm filming with a Sony A7SIII at 4K 10bit 4.2.2 SCineTone. It's only a few months ago that I even held a mirrorless camera for the first time, so I'm still learning a lot. For instance, I'm not quite sure what codecs are.

Joema, I uploaded one of my clips on this WeTransfer-link. I would really appreciate it if you would check out if your M1 Max can easily edit this in FCPX without te use of proxy's. Thanks in advance!

we.tl/t-ozTm5sqiuj
joema's Avatar
joema replied the topic: #119417 11 Mar 2022 22:40

Thank you, both Oliver and Joema, for your reply. I'm filming with a Sony A7SIII at 4K 10bit 4.2.2 SCineTone....would really appreciate it if you would check out if your M1 Max can easily edit this in FCPX without te use of proxy's. Thanks in advance!...

I tested it on three machines, a 2017 10-core Vega 64 iMac Pro, a 2017 top-spec iMac 27 and a 2021 M1 Max MacBook Pro 16. The iMac Pro and M1 Max were running Monterey 12.2.1 and FCP 10.6.1, the iMac 27 was running Catalina 10.15.7 and FCP 10.5.2.

The clip was Quicktime MOV, AVC (ie H264) UHD 4k/50, 10-bit 4:2:2, 2 reference frames, format profile=High@L5.2. I assume that was originally from an A7SIII using 10-bit 4:2:2 XAVC-S in a MP4 wrapper.

In general the M1 Max did OK without proxies. It's not perfectly smooth but most editors would find it OK for a single stream. If it was multicam, maybe not. As typical with FCP, the viewer update rate when skimming in the event browser was fast, slower when skimming in the timeline, and update rate when moving the playhead in the timeline was slower still. However all those would be acceptable to most editors.

Responsiveness when issuing JKL commands and switching from forward to reverse at 4x speed was a bit laggy but probably good enough. Switching the viewer to "better performance" made a small improvement but it was minor.

By contrast I would classify that clip as unusably slow on the iMac Pro without proxies, and almost unusable on the 2017 iMac 27. The iMac was likely a little faster because Intel's Quick Sync accelerator works better than Apple's 1st-gen accelerator in the T2 chip of the iMac Pro.

Compared to those machines the M1 Max is vastly faster and smoother but on very difficult codecs like that one, it's not like editing ProRes or an All-Intra codec. The A7SIII can do 4k 10-bit 4:2:2 XAVC S-I, which produces larger files but is smoother to edit. The similar XAVC-I codec (MXF format) from our FX6 cameras is even smoother, almost like ProRes on the M1 Max, and usable on the iMac Pro without proxies.
Bartbo's Avatar
Bartbo replied the topic: #119423 12 Mar 2022 12:47
Wauw, Joema. Thank you so much for all the effort you took in answering my question. I really appreciate it! So if I'm correct, I can learn two things from what you're saying:

1. The M1 Max could satisfactory process my A7SIII video files giving my current codec, but not extremely smooth.
2. I could film in a different codec so the files are easier to process cq edit. This is something I could change on my camera.

Are these conclusion correct?
joema's Avatar
joema replied the topic: #119424 12 Mar 2022 13:46
Yes, correct. I just re-tested several A7SIII codecs on FCP 10.6.1 on an iMac Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pro 16. 
Tested:

- 4k/23.98 10-bit 4:2:2 XAVC S-I (All Intra)
- 4k/23.98 10-bit 4:2:2, XAVC-S (H264)
- 4k/23.98 8-bit 4:2:0 XAVC-S (H264)
- 4k/23.98 10-bit 4:2:2 XAVC-HS (HEVC)
- 4k/23.98 10-bit 4:2:0 XAVC-HS (HEVC)

On the iMac Pro only the XAVC S-I format was usable without proxies. On the M1 Max they were all usable but the XAVC S-I (All Intra) format was even smoother.

The exact behavior and smoothness will vary between machines and NLEs. E.g, the same codecs on an x86 2019 iMac 27 or x86 MacBook Pro 16 might be smoother than the iMac Pro since those machines have a recent version of Intel's Quick Sync accelerator. However they are still not nearly as smooth as the M1 Max.

That said, there are some codecs such as the DJI 5120x2700 29.97 fps 8-bit 4:2:0 which is a bit laggy even on the M1 Max.
Bartbo's Avatar
Bartbo replied the topic: #119445 14 Mar 2022 19:16
Hi Joema, thanks again.Your reply let me to further dive into all these codecs and as far I understand (from several YouTubers) "the way to go" on the Sony A7SIII is XAVC-S (H264), since the other codecs lack some options like filming in 100fps and such. 

But the most important thing I hear from you is that you can edit these H264-files without proxies and pretty "smooth" with an M1 Max machine. I was thinking on ordering the Mac Studio M1 Max 32-core with 64GB. Does that equal or even top the MacBook Pro 16 you used? Thank again for all the effort you took to help me!
Albo's Avatar
Albo replied the topic: #119446 14 Mar 2022 19:20
Since we are mentioning GB.
I am working with 1080 and maybe and not often with 2K.
I am planning on ordering the 32GB M1 Max version which I think should be more than enough for my needs.
Right ?
joema's Avatar
joema replied the topic: #119447 14 Mar 2022 19:36

Hi Joema, thanks again.Your reply let me to further dive into all these codecs and as far I understand (from several YouTubers) "the way to go" on the Sony A7SIII is XAVC-S (H264), since the other codecs lack some options like filming in 100fps and such.

If you need native 120 fps, yes XAVC S-I will not do that. However for all other cases my preference is XAVC S-I because it's smoother to edit, even on the M1 Max. I never know if my material will be edited on an M1 Max or somebody else on the post production team might use a regular machine. However the M1 Max is smooth enough on 4k/23.98 10-bit 4:2:2 XAVC-S and XAVC-HS that you can generally get by without proxies, at least for single-cam material. 

..But the most important thing I hear from you is that you can edit these H264-files without proxies and pretty "smooth" with an M1 Max machine. I was thinking on ordering the Mac Studio M1 Max 32-core with 64GB. Does that equal or even top the MacBook Pro 16 you used?...

That should be about equal to the M1 Max on the MacBook Pro 16, but 3rd-party benchmarks are not yet available. In about 5 weeks I will have an M1 Ultra Mac Studio and test it then vs the other machines.
joema's Avatar
joema replied the topic: #119448 14 Mar 2022 19:42

Since we are mentioning GB.
I am working with 1080 and maybe and not often with 2K.
I am planning on ordering the 32GB M1 Max version which I think should be more than enough for my needs.
Right ?

If you are working with 1080p, almost any recent x86 Mac should handle that. But increasingly 4k is the production standard, even if distribution is mostly 1080p. It's possible over the several-year-life of a new machine, that trend will increase. An M1 Max (whether MacBook Pro or Mac Studio) should be able to handle most variants of single-cam 4k H264 and HEVC 4k without proxies, should that need arise. Even the regular M1 and M1 Pro can handle much of that.
Albo's Avatar
Albo replied the topic: #119449 14 Mar 2022 19:51
Thank you Joema,
I can do most of my work on an iMac mid-2017.
I am at the point where rendering and working with a few apps photo and vector slows it down quite a lot.
I was looking at the mac mini but only 16GB. Might as well upgrade to mac Studio.
I will indeed be working in 2K and distribute in 1080.