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New Mac Studio

edited March 10 in SecuritySpy

The Mac Studio was released on 3/8/22. Any thoughts? Ben, have you put your order in or otherwise found one for testing? I am interested to see how it fits into your system requirements calculator.

I knew that Apple would be releasing a new Mac Mini this week, but wasn't expecting such leaps in performance and design. The Mac Studio is finally a model that rivals the current Mac Pro and most of us can actually afford. My 2012 Mac Pro 2 x 3.06 GHz (6-core) Intel Xeon was purchased new specifically for SecuritySpy and has served well 24/7 for the past decade. The Mac Mini M1was enticing, but not quite enough to retire the current soldier. The Mac Studio has definitely raised an eyebrow and made my wallet nervious.


Dr. Z.


  • The Mac Studio looks amazing. We will test this and add it to the system calculator in due course, but it's clear that this is going to provide extremely high performance, and will be another ideal machine for SecuritySpy. Like you I was quite surprised by this - the obvious move would have been an upgraded Mac mini with an M1 Max/Pro, not a whole new category of Mac! Another surprise is a lack of M1 27" iMac - I guess they are thinking that the new Mac Studio plus Studio Display will fill this particular niche instead. In any case, it's great news for the Mac lineup and great news for SecuritySpy - but possibly bad news for your wallet!

  • I have to admit I was kinda hoping for a Mac mini M1 with 32 or 64 gb of RAM but the Studio is a bit more than I need (planning to pay for).

  • I think M2 minis are in the pipeline, either later this year or early next year according to the rumors

  • Rumors are still pretty strong for an M2 Mac mini this year. I'm impressed and disappointed by the Mac Studio because I was waiting for the updated Mac mini (which fits my normal use cases better). Here's hoping!

  • It's finally time for me to retire my 2010 Mac Pro (cheese grater). I run 21 cameras, mostly 4MP and 5MP. The mac pro has performed brilliantly over the years, but has its limitations. H.265 uses way too much computing power at any more than 1 fps, so I use H.264. So with the newer 8MP (4K) cameras coming down in price, and not being able to install some of the latest software (TurboTax, for example) it's time to go shopping.

    I'm willing to buy the Mac Studio Max, but not the Ultra. The Max looks to be very capable. Question: Is there any benefit, from a Security Spy processing standpoint, to do the upgrade to a 32-core GPU (vs. 24)? And do you have a comment on 32GB vs. 64GB unified memory? There's no such thing as future proofing, but I'd like to look ahead to running higher MP cameras. Thanks for any guidance!

  • We haven't got metrics in yet for the performance of the various flavours of the new Mac Studio, so it's difficult for me to give you a precise answer, but I would be surprised if the enhanced GPU would make a significant difference to SecuritySpy with a system of this size, even if you upgrade all your cameras to 4K. And, I would say that 32 GB is plenty. Also, go for the standard internal SSD, and add on an external SSD/HDD for storage.

  • Thank you for your guidance. I ordered a Mac Studio Max with no upgrades to the GPU or memory. The great thing about the old Mac Pro has been the upgradability-- I've easily upgraded the graphics card, bluetooth module, RAM, and replaced the boot drive with a pcie SSD. I'm shocked that a 12 year old computer is still performing very well, largely because of the upgrades (especially the pcie SSD). In contrast, the new Mac Studio isn't upgradable at all.

    Security Spy's external storage on the old Mac Pro is to an eSata (or usb 3) enclosure. It's tough viewing video files while Security Spy is writing data. The limitation could be the spinning hard drive speed or the eSATA connection speed. The Mac Studio's Thunderbolt connection will really increase the data transfer speed, but Security Spy will be writing to the same spinning hard drives I'll move to a new Thunderbolt enclosure. This will be my first experience with the Thunderbolt connection.

    Thank you again for your help. I'll report on the performance when I can.

  • Cjp767, thanks for being the guinea pig in buying a Mac Studio first. I am extremely interested in how the endeavor pans out. Your past experiences with a Mac Pro and SecuritySpy almost mirrors mine. I also miss the old days of easily upgrading core portions of a Mac and man, I have tried it all. 

    Currently my 2012 Mac Pro has gobs of RAM with four of the fastest SATA hard drives possible in a RAID configuration, one SSD hard drive as the startup disk, and another SSD as a clone. Yup, all of this contained inside the Mac Pro, which I will miss. All data is backed up nightly over a dedicated wired network (I’ll also miss those two Ethernet ports), as my computer is in a secure network closet. I do the vast majority of my video review from that backup and a second Mac. For live viewing there are four monitor feeds that are distributed via separate HDMI-to-Cat6-to-HDMI units and this is the easiest way to limit the CPU usage. Every room in the home has access to all of these feeds through an HDTV; a couple on 24/7. This has all worked fairly well, but one can only expect so much from aging technology. Having to remotely login to the host Mac in order to do maintenance or make changes is cumbersome at times. Of course, being limited to Mac OS 10.14x is also a bummer, but kind of surprised Apple even supports that still.

    The Mac Studio is in my sights for later this year. Thanks in advance for sharing any experiences with yours.


    Dr. Z.

  • Something to keep in mind is that the Studio is lower cost than the Mac Pro. So you can buy a Studio now and trade that in for an upgraded Studio in a few years - likely for lower TCO than buying and later upgrading components with a Mac Pro.

    FWIW, we still have some older giant (pre cheese grater) mac pros in use as render engines and even occasionally for light editing.

    Have a couple of Studio Ultra's on the way to us though :-)

  • Make sure you pop those 2010/2012 Mac Pros up for sale or keep them safe in your vintage computing collection! :)

    This one is still my daily machine (using it right now) and while single-core an M1 is ~2.6x faster, multi-core it's roughly the same performance and the M1 can be left in the dust by an old Mac Pro with a decent GPU for a lot less money. However, you're trading support and power consumption for a little bit of twiddling for macOS 12.3 to work. But work it does, and very nicely.

    I'm an unapologetic cheesegrater fan though, and it's the M1 Ultra that starts to seal the deal. While a Radeon VII and the M1 Ultra get pretty close for GPU compute, the M1 Ultra brings that ~3x performance boost to single AND multi-core workloads. Sadly, lack of Windows on ARM and no native Linux (yet) means I'll probably be looking for 2019 Mac Pro outcasts when this one gets past it.

    Though I upload virtually all my compute jobs now anyway... so who knows when I'll need to. 😂

  • The numbers are in from some testing with the Mac Studio with the M1 Ultra chip, and they are very impressive. The Mac Studio can decode 4K H.264 video at 1000 fps and H.265 video at 1200 fps in hardware (compared with 170 fps and 190 fps respectively for a standard M1 Mac mini). This is hardware-based decoding, so using no CPU resources. And when you combine software plus hardware decoding together, maxing out the machine, the numbers are even more impressive: 1800 fps for H.264 and almost 3000 fps for H.265 (compared with 400 fps and 600 fps for a standard M1).

    This is quite amazing, and is great for SecuritySpy since video decoding is one of the main tasks that SecuritySpy has to do. For video encoding in hardware (which SecuritySpy does to create streams to send via its web interface), the M1 Max is around 4x more capable than the standard M1. Of course, there are plenty of other things that SecuritySpy does that the Studio will certainly excel at due to its 10- or 20-core CPU. So overall this will be a fantastic machine for running SecuritySpy for large installations.

  • edited April 3

    Yes I'm looking forward in getting my Mac Studio M1 Ultra 2TB configuration even though it would be an overkill for my Photo editing and 4k Video editing but at some point I'll start 8k video for the Canon R5. However, I plan to run Security Spy on it too while doing other things on it. At this point I'm a BlueIris user and will be evaluation SecuritySpy for my clients. To me the M1 has changed the ball park for the Mac for video editing and recording. Always been a Mac Fan but for security recording I turned to BlueIris and a PC. However, Now with the M1 that changes everything. I should be getting my Mac Studio shipped to me by the end of April. Then needed to order a few security Cameras. Looking forward to sticking with H.265 recording and not H.264.

  • I received my Mac Studio (Max, 32 GB RAM) and finally got it set up. As mentioned in an earlier post, I have 21 cameras on the property, most 4 MP and 5 MP, but a few older ones with lower resolution. I adjusted the settings on each camera to the maximum frame rate. Video storage is to a new OWC Thunderbolt enclosure.

    The Mac Studio is really, really, handling the data well. Activity Monitor reports 12% System use and 11% User. Memory pressure is negligible. The computer runs silently on my desk, but I think hear a giggle coming from the enclosure-- "Is this all you got?" Outstanding performance.

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