Apple Mac Studio, first reviews: lots of power in a compact and silent case


In addition to the 15-inch MacBook Air with M2 processor, Apple announced last week, during the opening keynote of WWDC 2023, also an updated version of the Mac Studio with M2 Max, the SoC already used on MacBook Pros as an alternative to the M2 Pro, and with the new and more powerful M2 Ultra that has also been chosen for the new generation of Mac Pro.


From today, after the pre-orders started at the end of the keynote, both the 15-inch MacBook Air and the new Mac Studio and Mac Pro, with which the transition from Intel processors to Apple Silicon was definitively concluded, are actually also available in Apple Store and Apple Authorized Resellers. Mac Studio has a starting price in Italy of 2,449 eurosMac Pro starts at 8,499 euros in the tower version and 9,199 euros in the rack version.

At exactly 19:00 yesterday, June 12, as happened at 15:00 for the MacBook Air 15, it is international embargo expired on reviews of the new Mac Studio with M2 Max and M2 Ultra. Apple, as usual, had already sent its new test desktop to some journalists and influencers in recent days, establishing an exact date and time for the publication of usage impressions.


Before moving on to the reviews, let’s do a quick summary of the features. The new Mac Studio with M2 Max chip, according to Apple, is up to 50% faster than the previous generation. Mac Studio with the M2 Ultra chip, meanwhile, offers twice the performance and capabilities of the M2 Max chip and is up to three times faster than the previous generation model with the M1 Ultra.

In summary, these are the main features:

  • CPU up to 24 cores
    • with M2 Max it’s up to 4x faster than the fastest Intel iMac
  • GPUs up to 76 cores
    • with the M2 Ultra it’s up to 6x faster than the fastest Intel iMac
  • Neural Engine up to 40% faster
  • up to 192GB of unified storage
  • up to 8TB of storage
  • up to 800GB/s of memory bandwidth
  • 10Gb Ethernet, HDMI, SDXC, Thunderbolt 4
  • WiFi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3
  • support for 8K displays.


Waiting to be able to try this Mac Studio too, as we did for the MacBook Air 15, we have made an overview of the reviews made by the most authoritative international newspapers, emphasizing the aspects that have been considered most interesting and those that have satisfied a little less.

For all, this Mac Studio generally represents Apple’s “most compelling” professional desktop, unmatched in performance and capabilities, a “Mac mini on steroids” despite its compact form. Less appreciated, however, the impossibility of being able to update the internal hardware after the purchase.


Andrew Cunningham of Ars Technica especially appreciated the silence of the Mac Studioa small, fast and efficient desktop with a good set of ports (even on the front) and performance comparable to a Mac Pro with equivalent configuration.

“I loved the Mac Studio last year and I still love it today. It runs well, it’s quiet, it fits pretty much everyone, and it’s one of the few Apple computers that offers ports on the front where you can actually access it”

Among the cons, Cunningham reported i excessive prices for a greater amount of RAM and SSD in the configuration phasethe doubling of hardware resources in M2 Ultra that doesn’t actually double the performance compared to M2 Max, e the impossibility of internal expandability.


For Engadget’s Devindra Hardawar, the Mac Studio is the “ideal machine” for more expert usersperfect for video editing thanks to the 32GB of RAM offered as standard.

Suddenly, the high-end Mac Studio makes so much more sense. It has the same raw power as the Mac Pro, loads of ports, and won’t take up much space on your desk. What seemed like a trivia last year now seems like a huge value for power users.

Among the “Pros”, Hardawar put the M2 Ultra processor, the 32 GB of RAM by default, the compact and silent case and the excellent offer of ports (both front and rear). Among the “Cons”, no internal expansion for memory or storage, the placement of the audio jack on the back and the ports Front Thunderbolt 4 only with M2 Ultra version.


PC Magazine’s Joe Osborne awarded the Mac Studio the “Editors’ Choice” award among high-end workstations. Particularly appreciated were the significant performance improvements compared to the M1 Ultra version, the decidedly competitive price and the availability of Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3.

Mac Studio shows substantial progress in external display compatibility as it now has the ability to connect with up to eight 4K displays, six 6K displays, or three 8K displays. Another improvement is the M2 Ultra’s 32-core Neural Engine that offers a massive 40% speedup over the previous generation.

Among the “Cons”, Osborne points the finger at the accessories sold as an option And non-upgradeable internal hardware by the user after the purchase.


PetaPixel’s Jaron Schnider tested a Mac Studio running the M2 Ultra with a 24-core CPU and a 76-core GPU, 192GB of RAM, and 8TB of SSD storage. The maximum configuration available. Schnider especially appreciated silence and performance offered by this Mac Studio by testing with the Adobe suite (Photoshop, Premiere Pro and Lightroom).

“When you look at the Mac Studio, you can be impressed with the performance because it’s pretty much top notch, but you should also consider that it does it in a surprisingly small case, consuming a relatively low amount of power and hardly making any noise while doing it”

On the other hand, Schnider also pointed the finger at it the impossibility of being able to expand it once purchased:

The main downside to the Mac Studio line is that once you buy it, you’re done. You cannot upgrade these machines. Heck, it’s hard to even go inside and clean them since the screws that hold the little silver box together are hidden under the black silicone hoop that keeps it from moving around on the desk.”


As always, the reviews of influencers on YouTube are also enthusiastic. Tom Honeyands (The Tech Chap) used the term “enthusiast” to define his experience with this Mac Studio with M2 Ultra that offers performance well above what most users need.

“It’s probably not worth getting the new one if you already have last year’s or a MacBook Pro. But if you have a Mac with Intel stop using it and get one of these.”


We also complete this overview with videos from two other influencers, iJustine and Tyler Stalman. Strangely, the Mac Studio has not been tested by Marques Brownlee.

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