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Apple Mac Studio M1 Ultra Estimated Performance: Focus Stacking with Zerene Stacker, Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop

re: Accessories and Storage for your Apple Mac Studio
re: Apple Mac Studio with M1 Ultra Looks to Offer Thrilling Performance

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CLICK TO VIEW: Apple Studio Mac and Displays

CLICK TO VIEW: Thunderbolt and Related Accessories

The new Apple Mac Studio offers unprecedented CPU and GPU performance that is likely to crush any prior Mac or PC via its M1 Ultra CPU (implemented as dual M1 Max chips on the same die). And so according to Apple:

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.

We cannot yet know what clock rates Apple is running the M1 Ultra CPU at, but we do know that it has a big copper heat sink, and therefore it is unlikey to throttle at all, thus running at least as fast as the 2021 MacBook Pro M1 Max, and maybe faster.

There are scalability factors involved in hardware, but the memory bandwidth is 10X that of most PCs, so hardware scalability should not be an issue.

Software scalability has always been the factor of most relevance—it already throttles performance with many applications. And while Photoshop and Lightroom have greatly improved over the past few years, they still make poor use of GPU and GPU for some things. However, Zerene Stacker scales beautifully.

Estimating speed with Apple Mac Studio

Deduced from actual measured performance of 2021 MacBook Pro M1 Max (cut the time in half). Actual results could be slower or faster, depending on several factors.

Showen below is what the Mac Studio M1 Ultra is likely to deliver with my most CPU-intensive application, Zerene Stacker. I’ve been using it a lot lately, and it is annoyingly slow on my $19000 28-core 2019 Apple Mac Pro.

In a nutshell, 4.1 minutes vs 6.6 minutes and/or 1.6 minutes vs 2.8 minutes (two different size stacks). Not bad for 1/3 the price!

Apple Mac Studio estimated performance: Zerene Stacker
Apple Mac Studio estimated performance: Zerene Stacker

Other factors might come to bear with Adobe Lightroom and we could be surprised with better performance than seen here, and maybe not. Adobe might also fit in more optimizations over the next few months (Adobe has said more is planned).

Apple Mac Studio estimated performance: Adobe Lightroom
Apple Mac Studio estimated performance: Adobe Lightroom

A lot depends on how well an application is optimized.

Apple Mac Studio estimated performance: Photoshop RAW to JPEG, Fujifilm GFX100S files
Apple Mac Studio estimated performance: Photoshop RAW to JPEG, Fujifilm GFX100S files

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