Hack Studio SFF

Z690 miniITX, i9-12900K, RX 6900 XT, RAM 64GB, 1TB NVMe, Lian Li DAN A4-H20

Fun project & benchmark comparison between a US$3,500 SFF Intel Hack Studio and a US$4,000 M1 Ultra Mac Studio.

Comparison of Specifications

Mac Studio Ultra US$4,000

Mac Studio - Technical Specifications - Apple

  • CPU: M1 Ultra 20-core with 16 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores

  • GPU : M1 Ultra 48-core (add US$1,000 for 64 cores)

  • Media: H.264, HEVC, ProRes acceleration, 4 engines

  • RAM: 64GB unified memory

  • SSD: 1TB, up to 7.4GB/s

  • WIFI: 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 & Bluetooth 5.0

  • Ethernet: 10Gb

  • PORTS: Four Thunderbolt4 ports and 1 HDMI port (5 displays)

  • Dual Fan air cooling (All)

  • PSU: 370 Watts

  • SFF: 4 liter case (20 cm x 20 cm base x 10 cm height)

Hack Studio Ultra US$3,500

Hack Studio - Saved Part List - PCPartPicker

  • CPU: i9-12900K - 16-core with 8 performance cores and 8 efficiency cores

  • GPU: RX 6900 XT - 40 compute units

  • Media: hardware acceleration via RX 6900 XT

  • RAM: 64GB DDR 5

  • SSD: 1TB, up to 7.0GB/s

  • WIFI: 802.11ac & Bluetooth 4.0

  • Ethernet: 2.5Gb

  • PORTS: 2 Thunderbolt4 Ports, 3x DisplayPort and 1 HDMI port (4 displays)

  • Dual Fan liquid cooling (CPU)

  • PSU: 850 Watts

  • SFF: 11 liter case (14 cm x 32 cm base x 24 cm height)

Published Benchmarks

These are still limited and lack real world application benchmarks for creative professionals.

Geekbench CPU Multi-Core

Processor Benchmarks - Geekbench Browser

  • i9-12900K - 17201

  • M1 Ultra - 24000 (96% scaling)

  • M1 Max- 12500

In raw CPU performance the M1 Ultra is about 50% faster than the i9-12900K, which may not perform optimally in real world applications due to the lack of support for P and E cores in macOS.

Geekbench CPU Single-Core

Processor Benchmarks - Geekbench Browser

  • i9-12900K - 1996

  • M1 Ultra - 1790

  • M1 Max - 1780

Geekbench GPU Metal

Geekbench GPU OpenCl

Benchmarks and scaling

The M1 scales almost linearly with doubling the CPU core count from M1 Max to M1 Ultra (96%), but the GPU does not scale quite as well, as the increase in performance is only 80% when doubling the GPU cores. This puts the 48 core version closer to a RX 6600 XT and the 64 core version at only two-thirds of the Metal performance of the RX 6900 XT.

  • Barefeats: M1 Max 16 versus Intel 16 The M1 Max does perform better in real world benchmarks than the raw Geekbench Metal scores suggest. With 80% scaling, the M1 Ultra with 64 cores should therefore be able to outperform the RX 6900 XT in some important applications.

Proposed Alder Lake SFF Hardware for a Hack Studio Ultra

Hack Studio Ultra - PCPartPicker US$3,500

See also: Hack Studio Max - PCPartPicker US$1,800

Liquid Cooler in SFF Case

  • hoses should face upward and pump should not be too big pump due to cramped ITX board

  • use shorter hoses (380 mm, over PSU), rather than over memory and under PSU

An i7-12700 might be more suitable for this case with a 240 mm cooler. - If the cooling capacity inside the Lian Li DAN A4-H20 proves to be insufficient for the i9-12900K, a case like the 15 liter Meshlicious could be used instead, as it can accommodate a bigger 280 mm liquid cooler and has more space for the GPU. (Dimensions:42 cm x 22 cm x 31 cm)

Updated Benchmarks

More real world benchmarks as they become available:

Last updated