The Revamped Mac Studio: Apple’s Powerhouse Now with M2 Max and M2 Ultra
The evolution of Apple’s Mac Studio has taken another giant leap. In March 2022, Apple introduced the Mac Studio with M1 Max and M1 Ultra chips, effectively positioning it as the Mac mini’s supercharged cousin. However, when the M2 Pro Mac mini debuted in January 2023, the Mac Studio’s luster seemed to wane slightly, being outshined by the newer M2-series chips.
But, Apple is not one to rest on its laurels. The wait for the M2 Max and M2 Ultra Mac Studio is finally over. Apple made the grand reveal at WWDC, introducing the performance prowess of the M2 Max, while also making its first foray into the M2 Ultra space. Now available for pre-order, the Mac Studio starts shipping on Tuesday, June 13, 2023.
Interestingly, the Mac Studio was not the only device to launch with the M2 Ultra. Apple simultaneously introduced the long-anticipated Apple silicon Mac Pro, revealing a unique blend of similarities and distinctions between the two machines.
The 2023 Mac Studio: Pricing and Specifications
The Mac Studio models come in two standard variants. While the prices remain constant in the U.S, the UK has seen an increase by £100-£200. Similar hikes have been observed in other regions.
The entry-level Mac Studio is equipped with a 12-core CPU, 30-core GPU, a 16-core Neural Engine, and the M2 Max model with 32GB RAM and a 512GB SSD, priced at £2,099. The higher-end model, equipped with a 24-core CPU, 60-core GPU, 32-core Neural Engine, M2 Max model with 64GB RAM and a 1TB SSD, is available at £4,199.
Moreover, Apple offers various build-to-order options, including:
- Apple M2 Ultra with 24‑core CPU, 76‑core GPU, 32‑core Neural Engine for an extra £1,000
- Up to 192GB unified memory for an extra £1,600
- 8TB SSD for an additional £2,200
With the same specs and the M2 Ultra being the only available chip, the Mac Pro offers the same upgrade options. But it also includes additional PCIe extendability and numerous ports that the Mac Studio doesn’t have, though at a higher starting price of £4,199.
The 2023 Mac Studio Design
In terms of design, the Mac Studio echoes the style of the Mac mini. Both are housed in silver casing with an Apple logo adorning the top. The Mac Studio base maintains the same dimensions as the Mac mini – a neat 7.7-inch square (19.7cm), though the former stands taller at 3.7 inches (9.5cm) compared to the latter’s 1.41 inches (3.58cm).
Distinct variations exist between the Max and Ultra versions. The Max model sports four Thunderbolt ports, while the Ultra version boasts six. The Max model compensates with an additional two USB-C ports. Both models, however, offer two USB-A ports for compatibility with older peripherals.
2023 Mac Studio: Processor and Specs
We had an idea of what to expect from the M2 Max, thanks to its integration in the MacBook Pro (14-inch and 16-inch). As for the M2 Ultra, we gleaned details about the chip from rumors and our knowledge of the M1 Ultra, which is essentially two M1 Max processors combined.
Here’s how the chips stack up:
- CPU: 12 cores
- GPU: 30 cores/38 cores
- RAM: 32GB/64GB (and 96GB with 38-core GPU)
- CPU: Up to 24 cores
- GPU: Up to 76 cores
- RAM: Up to 192GB
Apple states that the Mac Studio with the M2 Max is up to 50 percent faster than its predecessor and four times faster than the most potent Intel-based 27-inch iMac. It boasts 96GB of unified memory and 400GB/s of memory bandwidth.
On the other hand, the M2 Ultra delivers double the performance and capabilities of the M2 Max. It is three times faster than the previous-generation Mac Studio with the M1 Ultra and up to six times quicker than the most powerful Intel-based 27-inch iMac.
The Mac Studio with the M2 Ultra, featuring a 24-core CPU and up to a 76-core GPU, supports up to 192GB of unified memory, significantly surpassing advanced workstation graphics cards. This power allows it to process demanding workloads that other systems might struggle with. Furthermore, the M2 Ultra supports 192GB of memory with a striking 800GB/s of unified memory bandwidth.
2023 Mac Studio: Enhanced Ports
In 2022, the Mac Studio came equipped with a substantial selection of ports, which included four Thunderbolt 4 ports, 10Gb ethernet, two USB-A ports, HDMI 2.0, and a 3.5 mm headphone jack. However, the HDMI 2.0 port had its limitations, supporting only a 4K resolution display at 60Hz.
The 2023 Mac Studio rectifies this with an upgrade to HDMI 2.1, capable of supporting 4K at 240Hz and 8K at 60Hz. In addition, the new model comes with enhanced Bluetooth 5.3 and Wi-Fi 6E capabilities.
Other notable features include:
- 3.5mm headphone jack with advanced support for high-impedance headphones.
- Support for up to eight 4K displays, six 6K displays, or three 8K displays.
- 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6E
- Bluetooth 5.3
In conclusion, the 2023 Mac Studio, with its M2 Max and M2 Ultra chips, is set to raise the bar for professional-grade computing. Its robust processing power and capacity, coupled with a well-rounded selection of ports, ensure it stands as a formidable choice for professionals seeking top-tier performance. Its debut alongside the Apple silicon Mac Pro also indicates that Apple is keen on pushing boundaries, continually innovating to meet and exceed user expectations.