Apple Mac Studio Review: The Ultimate Studio Machine?

Published Categorized as Buying Guide
mac studio review

The stunningly compact, crazily expensive, and outrageously powerful Apple Mac Studio continues in the Mac lineup that gets its power from a beastly fast M1 Max or the all-new M1 Ultra.

We do know that Mac Desktop is a nice-looking PC that is supposed to sit on your desk sharing the same footprint as Mini’s, but just about twice as tall. 

Although we see that Mac Studio fits perfectly on your workspace, it feels denser and packed because of the heat sink that’s incorporated in the most powerful M1 Ultra Model making it two whole pounds heavier. The Ultra is made of copper, which is better at absorbing heat than the aluminium system in the Max version.

All this adds in a few extra pounds.

In the following review, we will see how this power machine stacks up mainly in terms of performance, design, ports, and price. We will see how the specs and everything work and figure out if it is worth spending your hard-earned cash on!

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Apple Mac Studio: The Price Battle 

The new Mac Studio 2022 kicks off with a base price of $1,999 and you can have yours via Apple’s website.

For this price, you get a Studio with an entry-level M1 Max chip sporting a 10-core CPU, 24-core GPU, and a 16-core Neural Engine, along with other leverages such as 32GB of unified memory and a 512 GB SSD

The fierce Mac Studio with the new M1 Ultra chips bumps up the price to $3,999 for the entry-level model. M1 ultra chip joins two M1 Max chips into one mega-chip and for this engineering, you get a 20-core CPU, a 48-core-core GPU, and a 32-core Neural Engine, along with other leverages such as 64GB of RAM and 1TB SSD

Apple Mac Studio Review: The Ultimate Studio Machine?

Apple Mac Studio Review: The Design Dynamics

The Studio isn’t really aimed to be carried around places, but if you pick it up, you’ll notice some weight to it. It looks good on a desk but has acquired the engineering dynamics that make it look this way than its predecessor Apple Mac Mini, and we do like it.

While it may look more unwieldy than the Mac Mini, Mac Studio will still manage to slide into the existing desk setup, and to be real it will not put a strain on your eyes. The grills on the back and the bottom for cooling allow for better airflow and make the Studio appear a little elevated off the table.  

A 7.9 pound Apple Mac Studio compared to the 5.9 pounds M1 Max won’t annoy you when you know you have the most powerful portable desktop PC that can run five displays out of a single Mac Studio at the same time. 

Apple Mac Studio Review: The Ultimate Studio Machine?

Apple giving Ports?

via GIPHY

Mac Studio M1 is equipped with quite a decent number of ports. There are these 4x thunderbolt 4 ports, 2x USB-A ports, an HDMI port, a 10GB Ethernet port and a 3.5mm audio jack that supports the speakers. These port options are a big bonus for professionals who use flash drives to transfer software and content between clients. Thunderbolt 4 ports are better at higher transfer speeds, bandwidth, and multiple display support than the even-known USB-C ports. 

The chassis on the front carries an SD card slot with 2x USB-C or Thunderbolt 4 which is a benefitting bonus for creative professionals. 

Apple Mac Studio Review: The Ultimate Studio Machine?

Mac Studio M1: Performance Delivery 

This machine needs to be appreciated for its shockingly quiet power deliverance. Apple Mac Studio M1 had no problem running resource guzzling software like Adobe After Effects and Blender. It felt inaudible. While you could only hear the fans vibrating, it’s hard you would hear the fans shouting. 

Artist working on a 3D animation.

We tried a few software that many studios would be using daily:

Adobe Premiere Pro

We were stunned when we saw Mac Studio doing its job at video editing. We watched endlessly with our editors playing a 4k at full resolution in Adobe Premiere Pro at the max speed. During this, we had no lag between hitting the spacebar and stopping playback. 

Adobe After Effects

Then we took Adobe After Effects for a spin and used the colours, glows, gradients, motion blur and all sorts of effects to their fullest. At this point, we encountered a slight lag when we’d pressed the spacebar and when playback would start or stop. 

We have had our previous experience working with the Intel iMacs that we have in our office, and to be real Mac Studio M1 computer felt about twice as fast as the 2015 iMac with a Core i7 and Radeon R9 that we usually use. 

Photoshop & Blender

We have also reviewed it to be faster than (actually twice as fast) as a 2019 Core i9 iMac at rendering the graphics. Even Mac Studio outperformed our expectations as our editor used the machine to composite an image in Photoshop. We imported renders from Blender, brought in high-resolution photos from Unsplash, colour corrected, and added a lot of detail. Processes like De-noising took 1/10th of the time as we do on our PC that runs on a Core i7, a GTX 1080 and a GTX 1070.

Architectural designer in shared workspace.

Stress Test

In addition to this, Mac Studio gave us all no problem powering through our daily workload all because of the beefiest M1 chip. To be real, we had like 31+ tabs opened in Chrome and running multiple 4K videos streaming, and listening to Apple music simultaneously without any glitches. 

Encoding

We achieved great numbers during the encoding test. Bringing down a 4K video to 1080p, we achieved a real 3:55 which is three seconds slower than the Alienware Aurora R13. This is a bit disappointing for Apple cheerers especially when the Origin Millennium 2022 kicked in at 3:22. A few seconds do matter but finishing it in under 4 minutes is way better. 

City planner looking at advanced data visualization.

A day later, we ran the Apple Studio through 3DMark’s Wild Life Extreme graphical benchmark in Unlimited mode. The Mac Studio M1 managed to achieve a score of 35,100 and a framerate of 210.0 frames per second. This is nearly twice as good as the M1 Max-powered Pro which scored a solid 20,200 and 120 fps in the same test. 

When we forced our Studio Mac under Geekbench 5 CPU synthetic benchmark, it performed extraordinary well. The fusion of M1 Max helped the Studio to earn a score of 23,900 in the Geekbech multi-core CPU benchmark which was way better than many of the best gaming PCs in the industry. 

The top of the line M1 ultra Apple Mac Studio is tremendously good at big things even after running hard-core tests on the Mac for long hours. 

Apple Mac Studio M1: What We Believe

A big decision needs some homework. If you’re considering a Mac Studio Max or even more powerful Mac Studio Ultra M1, the consensus needs to be enjoined upon from every perspective. Ultra definitely is fast. However, we did not notice considerable glitches across rendering, scrubbing and everything else from Studio Max. Obviously, those milliseconds do come across a slight difference when we compare it with Max

Max Studio is fast-very fast and for a normal workload, it does not seem to be $2000 faster. If creators know their workload at their best, they’ll probably also consider how much a small increase in things like render time and scrubbing speed is worth it for them and how the extra boost will help them scale up their business.

Apple Mac Studio Review: The Ultimate Studio Machine?
Apple Mac Studio Review: The Ultimate Studio Machine?

While we talked with some folks who knew about it a little, they said that Mac Studio Max was perfectly adequate for their current workload and they didn’t find the need for an Ultra. See, in the end, it’s about your workflow and we believe that the benchmarks and everything within is just some peculiar numbers. 

Using the Mac Mini for some while had us impressed and now the Mac Studio – it’s just awesome, but not for hard-core gaming.

Else, rendering and editing are just smooth and light. So from that perspective, we did not see anything crash or not working. Our editors were truly immersed in using the Mac Studio on the software they use every day and they were left in awe.

Apple Mac Studio Review: The Ultimate Studio Machine?

To be honest, you’ll be paying for the privilege. The beast is packed in an unimaginable well-designed and quiet chassis that chops to compete with the leading Intels and AMDs. 

Even the $2000 Mac Studio delivers more power than any other PC or workstation and looks more elevated and elegant. You won’t find any powerhouse running as quiet as the Mac Studio. 

Your Mac Studio will also tackle AI and machine learning tasks which will get its power from the M1 and if you feel like you don’t need such features, you’re probably better off building a nice Windows desktop that has a nice monitor display and added accessories with it.

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