Apple Mac Studio review: A powerful and compact workstation for creative professionals

Apple Mac Studio: an M1 Max- or M1 Extremely-powered ‘Mac Mini on steroids’.

Picture: Apple

Apple actually is aware of how you can maintain a secret. Web rumours surrounding Apple’s 8 March occasion centred round a second-generation M2 processor, which might function in a brand new MacBook Professional, Mac Professional, MacBook Air and/or Mac Mini. What the corporate truly got here up with was one other iteration of its current M1 vary — the M1 Extremely, which mixes two 10-core M1 Max chips to create a 20-core SoC (system-on-a-chip) colossus. 

And fairly than utilizing the M1 Extremely to improve an current Mac, Apple got here up with a completely new design, known as the Mac Studio. Apple additionally discontinued the Intel-based 27-inch iMac on the similar time, making it clear that the Mac Studio, together with the brand new 27-inch Studio Show, was aimed on the many designers and artistic customers who’ve historically relied on the iMac as their major desktop system.


  • Compact design
  • Workstation-class efficiency
  • Good connectivity
  • Runs cool and quiet

Do not Like

  • Costly
  • No inner growth or consumer upgrades
  • Monitor, mouse and keyboard are extra-cost objects

Design & options

Out there with both an M1 Max or M1 Extremely processor, the design of the Mac Studio is each strikingly new and immediately acquainted, wanting fairly like a Mac Mini on steroids. It was immediately dubbed the ‘Mac Mini Professional’ by many Apple watchers, whereas the courageous souls at iFixit described it as “greater than a Mac Mini, however not fairly a Mac Professional”, following a current teardown. 

Just like the Mac Mini, the Mac Studio is bought with out a monitor, mouse or keyboard. It has the identical compact footprint because the Mac Mini, measuring 197mm (7.7 inches) sq.. The distinction, in fact, is that the Mac Studio stands significantly taller, at 95mm (3.7 inches), in comparison with the low-profile 36mm (1.4 inches) of the Mac Mini. A lot of that further bulk is dedicated to a extra highly effective cooling system that may accommodate the warmth generated by the M1 Max and Extremely processors. Nonetheless, Apple has additionally improved the Mac Studio’s connectivity to fulfill the wants {of professional} customers. 


The Mac Studio has loads of ports, back and front, however you’ll be able to’t improve any inner elements.

Photos: Apple

There are 4 Thunderbolt 4 ports on the again panel, and one HDMI connector, with the multi-core GPUs supplied by the M1 Max (24-32 cores) and Extremely (48-64 cores) permitting the Mac Studio to assist 4 of Apple’s 6K Professional Shows and one 4K show. The again panel additionally homes two USB-A ports, 10-Gigabit Ethernet, and a 3.5mm headphone socket.  

And, in a break with Apple custom, the Mac Studio even has some further ports on its entrance panel — so that you now not have to face up and attain behind the Mac to plug in a reminiscence stick or an SD card. When you go for a top-end Mac Studio with the M1 Extremely processor then you definately get an SDXC card slot and two further Thunderbolt 4 ports (supporting speeds of as much as 40Gb/s), whereas the M1 Max model gives two USB-C ports (as much as 10Gb/s) as a substitute.

However, in fact, it is the M1 processors contained in the Mac Studio that basically set it other than the extra compact Mac Mini. As talked about, the Mac Studio is accessible with both an M1 Max or M1 Extremely, the latter offering a 20-core CPU, 48 or 64 GPU cores, and a 32-core Neural Engine.


The highest-end M1 Extremely is actually two M1 Max chips bolted collectively utilizing Apple’s on-die UltraFusion structure.

Picture: Apple

Bolting two M1 Max processors collectively is not a easy matter, so fairly than join them by way of the motherboard Apple has developed an on-die interconnect know-how known as UltraFusion, which permits MacOS to easily deal with the M1 Extremely as a single processor. Which means software program builders do not need to rewrite their functions with the intention to utilise the M1 Extremely’s twin processors, permitting the Mac Studio to essentially hit the bottom operating.

The M1 Max does not generate as a lot warmth because the M1 Extremely, so it solely requires an aluminium heat-sink, which leads to a complete weight of two.7kg (5.9lbs). Nonetheless, the larger energy of the M1 Extremely requires a copper heat-sink, growing the burden to three.6kg (7.9lbs). Even so, that is not a lot heavier than a big 16- or 17-inch laptop computer, and Apple is understandably happy with the truth that it has designed a desktop workstation that may match right into a backpack.  


Regardless of the compute energy packed into its compact chassis, the Mac Studio runs cool and quiet because of a thermal design that features double-sided blowers, precision airflow channels and over 4,000 perforations on the again and backside of the enclosure.

Photos: Apple

The elephant on the desktop, although, is the truth that — but once more — Apple has designed a ‘professional’ desktop laptop with completely no inner growth ports.

We have been right here earlier than, in fact, when Apple produced the equally hanging ‘garbage can’ Mac Professional in 2013. That black, cylindrical design drew gasps when it was first unveiled, but it surely quickly turned clear that Apple had designed itself right into a nook, and it spent years creating the present Intel-based Mac Professional with its battery of growth slots and drive bays. It is telling that the Mac Professional stays on sale, whereas the 27-inch iMac, as famous above, has now been discontinued. 

Worth & choices

There’s an enormous worth distinction between the 2 variations of the Mac Studio, with the M1 Max mannequin beginning at $1,999. That worth contains an M1 Max with 10-core CPU, 24-core GPU, and 16-core Neural Engine, together with 32GB of built-in ‘unified’ reminiscence and 512GB of solid-state storage. 

Nonetheless, choosing an M1 Extremely immediately doubles the worth to $3,999. This gives you with a 20-core CPU (3.2GHz), 48-core GPU and 32-core Neural Engine, together with 64GB of and a 1TB SSD. Nonetheless, you can too improve the M1 Extremely to supply 64 GPU cores for an extravagant $1,000 extra, whereas doubling the reminiscence to 128GB prices an extra $800, bringing the whole worth to $5,799.  

It is also doable to buy the Mac Studio with as much as 8TB of solid-state storage, which provides a hefty $2,200, bringing the whole worth to $7,999. Nonetheless, most customers will probably favor to make use of extra reasonably priced exterior drives for added storage. 

Arguably, the entry-level Mac Studio with M1 Max represents a direct substitute for the discontinued 27-inch iMac however, in fact, the worth of the iMac included an built-in 5K show, whereas the Mac Studio does not even embrace a keyboard or mouse, not to mention a monitor. When you go for Apple’s new Studio Show then you definately’ll need to finances a minimum of $1,599 for that, though there are lots of inexpensive 4K and 5K shows obtainable from different producers. 


Benchmarking Macs that use Apple’s home-grown M1 processors stays problematic, as there are few cross-platform artificial benchmarks that may evaluate M1 Macs with Home windows PCs. Nonetheless, we do have Geekbench 5 benchmarks for the 16-inch MacBook Professional with M1 Max processor, which makes for an fascinating comparability with the top-of-the-range M1 Extremely that powered our Mac Studio evaluate unit. 

When operating the Geekbench 5 CPU benchmark, the Mac Studio and MacBook Professional achieved equivalent single-core scores of 1790. Nonetheless, the Mac Studio’s 20-core M1 Extremely leapt forward on multi-core efficiency, scoring 24,050 — virtually twice the rating of 12,780 for the MacBook Professional’s 10-core M1 Max. 

Listed here are these numbers in comparison with Geekbench figures for different M1-based Macs, together with the Intel-based Mac Professional and (now-discontinued) 27-inch iMac: 


Knowledge: Geekbench & Cliff Joseph / Chart: ZDNet

The Geekbench 5 graphics efficiency take a look at (Compute) did not produce the identical stage of enchancment: the M1 Extremely-based Mac Studio scored precisely 100,000 utilizing the Steel API — round 53% larger than the 64,950 rating delivered by the M1 Max-based MacBook Professional. Underneath the 3DMark WildLife Excessive graphics benchmark, the MacBook Professional achieved 121 frames per second (fps), whereas the Mac Studio was 72% quicker, breezing forward to 209fps.

Geekbench 5 Compute additionally permits for a cross-platform comparability, utilizing the OpenCL API. This places the M1 vary — even the Extremely — a good distance behind Nvidia’s high-end GeForce RTX 3090:


Knowledge: Geekbench / Chart: ZDNet

OpenCL clearly does not present Apple Silicon in its greatest mild, and to get one of the best GPU efficiency from the M1 Max and Extremely, you may need to hunt down functions like Adobe Photoshop that run natively with Steel on Macs.

Regardless of the workstation ranges of efficiency supplied by the M1 Extremely, the followers within the Mac Studio have been barely audible, even when operating the demanding 3DMark graphics exams. 


The Mac Studio is a type of designs that solely Apple might give you, offering a novel mixture of energy and class — in addition to frustrations comparable to its lack of inner growth and consumer upgrades. Some customers will mourn the lack of the all-in-one 27-inch iMac, however the Mac Studio proves that Apple Silicon can ship real workstation efficiency and offers the skilled finish of Apple’s desktop vary a welcome shot within the arm.

Apple Mac Studio specs

Chipset (SoC)

Apple M1 Max (10 CPU cores, 24-32 GPU cores, 16-core Neural Engine) • M1 Extremely (20 CPU cores, 48-64 GPU cores, 32-core Neural Engine)  

Reminiscence bandwidth

400GB/s (M1 Max) • 880GB/s (M1 Extremely)  

RAM (unified reminiscence)

32-64GB (M1 Max) • 64-128GB (M1 Extremely)  


512GB (M1 Max), 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 8TB (M1 Max & Extremely)  


1x speaker, 3.5mm headphone jack, multi-channel audio assist over HDMI  

Connections & growth

Rear: 4x Thunderbolt 4 (DisplayPort, USB 4, USB 3.1), 1x RJ-45 Ethernet, 2x USB-A, 1x HDMI • Entrance: 2x USB-C (M1 Max), 2x Thunderbolt 4 (M1 Extremely), SDXC card slot  


Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), 10Gbps Ethernet  

Dimensions (WxDxH)

19.7cm x 19.7cm x 9.5cm (7.7in. x 7.7in. x 3.7in.)  


M1 Max: 2.7kg (5.9lbs) • M1 Extremely: 3.6kg (7.9lbs)  


from $1,999 (M1 Max) • from $3,999 (M1 Extremely)


Peek Efficiency showcases the triumph of Apple silicon 

Apple M1 Extremely chip blows away the competitors 

Mac Studio vs. Mac Professional and Mac mini: Apple delivers excessive energy 

Apple’s new Mac Studio: The Mac Mini grows up 

One of the best Macs: Is the Mac Studio or MacBook Professional best for you? 

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