Apple announced the Mac Studio, a brand-new line of desktop Mac computers, in March 2022. Just over a year later, Apple has refreshed its powerful desktop line with new processors, including the new M2 Ultra.
The new Apple Mac Studio is a Powerhouse Desktop Computer
Even the base model of the original Mac Studio is a fantastic choice for photographers. However, the refreshed Mac Studio powered by M2 chips, including the newly announced M2 Ultra, take the relatively compact desktop machine to new heights, especially for hybrid photographers who work with 4K ProRes and 8K video files.
The original Mac Studio came in two variants, one with an M1 Max and one with the M1 Ultra, each of which could be tweaked a bit to the user’s needs, especially concerning RAM and internal storage — two things that can’t be upgraded after purchase because of Apple silicon’s integrated design.
The revised Mac Studio, which looks the same as its predecessor, sports new M2-family chips, including the M2 Max announced earlier this year and the M2 Ultra that Apple unveiled today. For all intents and purposes, the new Mac Studio is the same fabulous computer but even more powerful, with more CPU and GPU cores, better speed, more and faster memory, and more extensive storage.
However, the performance gets taken to new heights with the brand-new M2 Ultra. Apple calls it a “monster” of a chip. It doubles the performance of M2 Max, which makes sense given that it’s two M2 Max chips combined.
Mac Studio with M2 Ultra is up to six times faster than the most powerful Intel-based 27-inch iMac.
Faster across the board, the M2 Ultra supports 192GB of unified memory — 50 percent more than M1 Ultra. It’s the most powerful chip ever created for a computer, per Apple.
“The new Mac Studio and Mac Pro with Apple silicon are the two most powerful Macs we’ve ever made,” says John Ternus, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Engineering. “Mac Studio has been a breakthrough for pros everywhere, and it’s at the heart of hundreds of thousands of home and pro studios across the world. Today, it gets even better with M2 Max and the new M2 Ultra, featuring even more performance and enhanced connectivity. And for those users who need the versatility of internal expansion, Mac Pro combines PCIe slots with our most powerful chip. The new Mac Studio and Mac Pro join our other pro systems to give our users the most powerful and capable lineup of pro products that Apple has ever offered.”
Design: Still Reasonably Compact and Sleek
The Mac Studio form factor has stayed the same. It’s 3.7 inches (9.5 centimeters) tall, 7.7 inches (19.7 cm) wide, and 7.7 inches (19.7 cm) deep. The weight differs slightly depending upon the configuration, but it ranges from around six pounds (under three kilograms) to around eight pounds (3.6 kilograms).
The HDMI port has been upgraded, allowing the Mac Studio to support six Pro Display XDRs, 8K video, and 4K/120p thanks to HDMI 2.1. This is a big upgrade over the HDMI 2.0 featured in the original Mac Studio.
Like the Mac Mini, the Mac Studio requires a separate display(s), keyboard, and mouse (or trackpad). There’s just the Mac Studio computer and a power cord in the box.
M2 Max is no Slouch
The Mac Studio with the M2 Max processor announced earlier this year is no slouch. The M2 Max-powered Mac Studio is up to 50 percent faster when using After Effects than the Mac Studio with M1 Max. Xcode is up to 25 percent faster.
Mac Studio Goes ‘Ultra’
Of course, for the ultimate Mac Studio performance, users must opt for the M2 Ultra-equipped machine.
When using M2 Ultra, Octane is up to three times faster compared to the M1 Ultra, and DaVinci Resolve, a popular app for video editing, is up to 50 percent faster. That’s a major speed boost.
Pricing and Availability
Mac Studio remains an excellent value option for Mac users aiming to achieve professional performance. The new Mac Studio starts at $1,999, although the M2 Ultra-equipped version will start at a higher price. Configurations are available with up to 192GB of RAM.
The 24-core M2 Ultra version of the Mac Studio starts at $3,999. This version includes a 24-core CPU and 60-core GPU. Upgrading to the M2 Ultra with the 76-core GPU adds $1,000 to the price.
Configuration options include RAM up to 192GB and internal SSD storage up to 8TB. The Mac Studio’s highest-spec option is $8,799.
Image credits: Apple