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Mac Studio vs iMac M1: What’s the difference?

With the recent announcement of the Mac Studio desktop PC, is the iMac M1 still worth your time? Here is how they compare.

With the launch of the Mac Studio during the Peek Performance Apple event, we now know what Apple is truly capable of, with the new M1 Ultra chip on offer.

While we haven’t had the chance to check out the Mac Studio in all its glory yet, we have had a chance to play with the iMac M1, so we’re going to be comparing the main differences between each device now.

The Mac Studio lacks a monitor

The biggest difference between these two devices is that the Mac Studio is just a PC, while the iMac has an built-in monitor. This saves the cost of having to buy a separate monitor, especially since the iMac display has such fantastic specs.

But with the Mac Studio being just a dinky computer, it is easier to chuck into a bag to take it to the office. Apple has also launched the new Apple Studio Display, which is a new external monitor that works with the Mac Studio.

The Mac Studio packs a more powerful chip

We all expected that the Mac Studio would come with beefed-up specs, though the announcement of the brand new M1 Ultra has blown us out of the water.

The M1 Ultra comes with up to a 20-core CPU and a 64-core GPU, which overpowers the M1 by miles, as that comes with 8 CPU cores, made up of 4 P-cores and 4 E-cores.

Apple claims the M1 Ultra has 7x more transistors than the standard M1 chip, emphasising the performance gulf between the two Macs.

Mac Studio comes in two flavours

Despite packing the M1 Ultra, the Mac Studio also comes with the M1 Max, which will still offer a high performance compared to the M1.

The iMac currently only has one Apple Silicon processor available, and that’s the base M1 chip. However, rumours suggest that an M1 Pro configuration may become available in the future.

Mac Studio specs

More storage and more memory

The iMac M1 comes with up to 16GB of unified memory, with 256GB SSD or 512GB SSD on offer.

Meanwhile, the Mac Studio comes with up to 128GB of unified memory on offer, with the higher specs coming with the M1 Ultra chip, as well as 1TB of storage that can be configured up to 8TB.

The iMac is cheaper

Seeing as the Mac Studio packs so much power, it’s no surprise that it costs more money than the iMac. Both the M1 Max and M1 Ultra configurations are significantly pricier than the M1-flavoured iMac.

The Mac Studio starts at £1999/$1999 with the M1 Max chip and £3999/$3999 when you go for the M1 Ultra. Meanwhile, the iMac M1 starts out at £1249, making it the more affordable option.

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