I think I answered my own question really, as to why the Studio is a new line.
Looking at the CPUs by themselves, it’s just an extension of what’s in the Mini.
But, the Studio is the whole package. Rather than just putting in a better CPU and then getting bottlenecks elsewhere, the Studio is improved in every area to create a system that is perfectly balanced (in theory). Faster SSD, faster bandwidth, more RAM (no idea if the RAM is faster yet).
Personally, I rarely need more than my M1 Air. Alright, I never need more than this.
But, throughout the year I do little projects that would make use of the power (most recently I’ve been transcoding and editing 24h audio files, making my Air hotter than it’s ever been…yet still responsive whilst working away on that, which is its brilliance).
As an enthusiastic hobbyist, I see a Mac Studio with the better Max chip in my future, and hopefully it will keep me content for many, many years.
Well written, from Michael Tsai with quotes from Adam Engst, Dan Moren and Nick Heer: Thoughts about what to buy, if the Studio is too much. I am in that camp. I will wait for a Mac Mini in its next incarnation with a Mx Pro CPU. I will stick to my Intel Mac Mini as my desktop Mac until a new higher end Mini materializes. The Studio would mean to have a mostly idling monster wasting energy in my case. But I would like to have 32 GB of RAM. In a fast (mostly single-core with a little multi-core speed if needed), quiet, small, power saving machine that is a dedicated desktop.
I have the prior version under my mini, without the SSD slot. Very nice that the ports are in front.
There are other versions by other manufacturers as well. While it should work with any computer it certainly would not fit snugly with any but the mini methinks. I expect to see a similar product for the Mac Studio, maybe on top because of the airflow path?
I plan to get a Studio and I see how I could adapt this to use with it, should I see the need to do so. My wife just went from an old iMac (2014 if I recall correctly) to an M1 mini, so she may be getting a new (to her!) doc in the not to distant future.
Are you talking about rack enclosures? If so, there’s definitely one for a Mac Mini. And no, the existing ones wouldn’t work with the Studio - but since the Studio is basically just a taller Mini it wouldn’t take much to build a different enclosure.
It would be pretty inefficient rack-wise though, as it would require a 3U rack space where the Mini only requires one.
P.S. Yes, I know that rumors are just that. But … I … will … not … wait … any … longer. Especially with my M1 MB Air on the couch: my desktop needs to be a M1 (it hard to go back to a slow Intel (i7 ) after experiencing a M1). Now. So, ok, it is the Studio M1 Max then.
I think the current M1 Mini, with a Studio display, is a worthy alternative to the 27" iMac in the Apple ecosystem. The problem with the iMac always was that the screen stays relevant much longer than the CPU. One of the reasons iMacs held out so long even when they were technically aged computers.
The Mac Studio with the Studio Display equals the iMac Pro given the significant performance jump.
These solutions give Apple the opportunity to refresh hardware more often to a more reasonable price… You would expect a good display to survive 3-4 generations of CPU. My 10 year old 30" Dell monitors are still good today, just can’t use them anymore because of I/O changes (who uses dual-DVI or HDMI 1 anymore?)
Apple has taken some of the the best qualities of an iPad (instant-on, no fan, and stout battery life) and put them into my M1 MacBook Air. Add in the amazing performance bump that M1 gives over even a fast i7 intel chip, and I continue to be delighted with this machine every day I get to use it!
It seems to me that any New Mac Mini will be based on M2. And here’s the thing nobody seems to have talked about (anywhere): I reckon M2 will be A16 based, not A15. The timing suggests some level of unification between Mac and iPaf chip design. It’s late for A15. On time for A16.
But I’m still glad I didn’t wait - and went for the Studio. It’s more than enough for me - for many years.
(If I were to guess A16 would be 10% faster than A15 which is about 10% faster than A14 (M1) - so that’s a worthwhile single core speed bump of 20 - 25%. Throw in some more cores and we might get 50% M1 → M2. And the 16GB M1 (not Pro or Max or Ultra) memory limit removed, plus the other limits raised by Pro / Max / Ultra.
I honestly don’t know why Apple would do this. The M1 is a spectacular chip without even going to the Pro and above. Increasing the available memory options for the plain M1 would increase the number of SKUs/configuration options and potentially cannibalise the pro and above.
Note, I’m not saying that they shouldn’t do it, just I don’t see why they would.
I also can’t see this happening, or why it would. Currently there is a gap in the desktops, but to me having vanilla M# chips being 8/16 GB, M# Pro being 16/32 GB, M# Max at 32/64 GB and M# Ultra at 64/128 GB seems perfectly sensible. One day every step will go up, but there’s no need for that now.
I’m assuming that Apple knows their chips and they feel that these values balance things out and minimise bottlenecks. At every step, RAM increases along with many other elements of the SOC.
Now, some users may have a genuine need for something different, but I don’t think that’s ever been Apple’s target market. They seem to aim to provide the best computing experience, and whether they get it right is up for debate.