2023 Mac Studio review roundup: Eye-watering power | Cult of Mac

2023 Mac Studio review roundup: Eye-watering power


2023 Mac Studio
What makes the 2023 Mac Studio a standout professional desktop doesn’t show from the outside.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s professional-grade Mac Studio desktop has been updated with either an Apple M2 Max or M2 Ultra processor. The new chips give a welcome increase in performance, and the top-tier model now supports 8K monitors.

Read on to discover what the first reviewers have to say about the powerfully upgraded Mac.

A speed-enhanced Mac Studio for 2023

The original Mac Studio launched in March 2022 as a computer for “studio” professionals.

At WWDC23, Apple took the wraps off a new version that launches June 13. Essentially the only change is the switch from M1 series processors to just-launched ones in the M2 series.

Performance powerhouse

Apple M2 Ultra processor from WWDC23
It’s Apple fastest processor yet.
Photo: Apple

The primary difference between the new Mac Studio and its predecessor is the processor, so this was the focus of much the reviews.

The Apple M2 Max offers a 12-core CPU and 30-core CPU. The M2 Ultra is two M2 Max chips merged together.

PCmag was loaned a unit with an M2 Ultra with a 24-core CPU and 76-core GPU, 192GB of RAM and 8TB SSD. On Primate Labs Geekbench 5, the review unit scored 27,945 in the multicore test. For comparison, a unit running the M1 Ultra scored 23,918 on the same test, so the newest model offers a 17% increase.

Engadget’s M2 Ultra test unit had the same configuration, and it scored 19% better than the M1 Ultra version.

Geekbench tests performance at general computing tasks, but people choose the Mac Studio for graphics. Of course, reviewers tested for this. On Cinebench R23, PCmag’s M2 Ultra unit scored 28,559, while an M1 Ultra scored 24,216 on the same test. That’s an 18% increase for the latest and greatest.

Engadget saw a 19% increase in the same Cinebench R23 test.

As PCmag put it, “All told, from our testing here, the Mac Studio is able to chew up just about any multimedia-production and 3D-content-rendering task you’ve got on hand.”

So many ports

Mac Studio 2023 rear ports
Unlike MacBooks, Apple’s desktops include a wide array of ports.
Photo: Apple

The 2023 Mac Studio is more than just a world-class processor. The desktop also boasts a wide array of ports. The exact configuration depends on the processor, however. And there are enhancements compared to the 2022 model.

On the back, there are four Thunderbolt 4 ports, two USB-A ports, 10Gb Ethernet and a 3.5 mm headphone jack. There’s also an HDMI port — on the M2 Max version this support 6K video, and on the M2 Ultra it supports 8K.

On the front of the computer are two USB-C ports. On the M2 Ultra version, these support Thunderbolt 4.

The new Mac Pro tower includes six PCIe slots, while the Mac Studio has none. But that’s not as significant a difference as it once was.

“Thanks to Thunderbolt 4 and USB 4, external storage options are fast enough to deal with the demands of a video production shop, noted the Engadget review.

2023 Mac Studio: A worthy upgrade

PCmag’s summary of the new Apple desktop says, “Markedly better than the M1 Ultra Mac Studio in every performance metric (plus upgraded with faster Wi-Fi), this year’s model is so powerful that even Apple’s new Mac Pro tower flagship desktop doesn’t come with a better processor.”

And Engadget’s closing comments say, “I’ve gone from being intrigued by the Mac Studio to truly impressed. It continues to blow PCs away when it comes to heavy-duty work, and it has so much connectivity I don’t miss the lack of internal expansion.”

The M2 Ultra Mac Studio specs.
The M2 Ultra Mac Studio specs.
Photo: Apple


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