Apple introduced the Mac Studio with M1 Max and M1 Ultra chips in March 2022. Positioned as a brand-new pro-tier Mac, it’s best described as a Mac mini on steroids. However, when the M2 Pro Mac mini arrived in January 2023, the Mac Studio, with the it’s M1-series chips, lost some of its shine.
The wait for the M2 Max and M2 Ultra Mac Studio is over. Apple announced the Mac Studio with M2 Max and M2 Ultra at WWDC, delivering the performance boost of the M2 Max and introducing the M2 Ultra. The new Mac Studio is available to order now and will start shipping on Tuesday June 13.
The Mac Studio isn’t the only Mac to have launched with the M2 Ultra though: Apple also launched the very overdue Apple silicon Mac Pro at WWDC, and these two Macs have a lot in common and a lot that sets them apart.
2023 Mac Studio release date
The new Mac Studio goes on sale on Tuesday June 13, 2023. You can pre-order from Apple now.
There are two standard Mac Studio models. The price has stayed the same in the U.S, but increased by £100-£200 in the U.K. There have been similar price hikes elsewhere in the world, just as there were earlier this year.
Mac Studio with 12-core CPU, 30-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine, M2 Max model with 32GB RAM and 512GB SSD costs $1,999/£2,099 (was £1,999).
Mac Studio with 24-core CPU, 60-core GPU, 32-core Neural Engine, M2 Max model with 64GB RAM and 1TB SSD costs $3,999/£4,199 (was £3,999).
There are some build-to-order options including:
Apple M2 Ultra with 24‑core CPU, 76‑core GPU, 32‑core Neural Engine (extra $1,000)
Up to 192GB unified memory (extra $1,600)
8TB SSD (extra $2,200)
The Mac Pro has the same specs, with the M2 Ultra being the only chip to choose from, and the same upgrade options, but it also adds PCIe extendability and lots of ports that the Mac Studio doesn’t have. It also costs a lot more, starting at $6,999. There was some uncertainty about how Apple would distinguish the Mac Studio from the Mac Pro if they share the same chip and launch at the same time–this was one reason why there was doubt as to whether Apple would update the Mac Studio, with Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman writing that he “wouldn’t anticipate the introduction of a Mac Studio in the near future. The upcoming Mac Pro is very similar in functionality to the Mac Studio—and adds the M2 Ultra chip rather than the M1 Ultra. So it wouldn’t make sense for Apple to offer an M2 Ultra Mac Studio and M2 Ultra Mac Pro at the same time.”
2023 Mac Studio design
At launch the Mac Studio had a very similar design to the Mac mini and this is still the case with the second generation. Both are silver and have an Apple logo on the top. The base of the Mac Studio is exactly the same size: 7.7 inches square (19.7cm) as the Mac mini, but the Mac Studio is taller: 3.7 inches (9.5cm) rather than 1.41 inches (3.58cm).
There are differences between the Max and Ultra versions, as there were with the previous generation. The Max has four Thunderbolt ports and the Ultra has six Thunderbolt ports. The Max has an additional two USB-C ports instead. Both models have two USB-A ports for old school peripherals.
Roman Loyola / Foundry
New Mac Studio: Processor and specs
We already knew what to expect from the M2 Max because it has been used in the MacBook Pro (14-inch and 16-inch). As for the M2 Ultra, we had inferred some details about the chip from rumors and our experience with the M1 Ultra, which is two M1 Max processors fused together. This is how we correctly predicted that the chips would break down:
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 says the Mac Studio with M2 Max, with 12-core CPU, up to a 38-core GPU, is up to 50 percent faster than the previous-generation Mac Studio and four times faster than the most powerful Intel-based 27-inch iMac. It features 96GB of unified memory and 400GB/s of memory bandwidth.
Apple also says the M2 Ultra delivers twice the performance and capabilities of M2 Max. The M2 Ultra is up to three times faster than the previous-generation Mac Studio with M1 Ultra, says Apple. It is also up to six times faster than the most powerful Intel-based 27-inch iMac.
The Mac Studio with M2 Ultra and it’s 24-core CPU, up to a 76-core GPU, can support up to 192GB of unified memory, which is “more memory than the most advanced workstation graphics cards”, according to Apple, meaning it is able to take on demanding workloads other systems can’t even process. The M2 Ultra supports 192GB of memory with 800GB/s of unified memory bandwidth.
Next Mac Studio: Ports
Petter Ahrnstedt / Foundry
The original Mac Studio had a good selection of ports, with four Thunderbolt 4 ports, 10Gb ethernet, two USB-A ports, HDMI 2.0, and a 3.5 mm headphone jack. That was an impressive array of ports for 2022, but it came with some limitations.
For one, the HDMI 2.0 port meant users can only connect a display with 4K resolution at 60Hz. The 2023 Mac mini has an HDMI 2.1 port with support for 4K at 240Hz and 8K at 60Hz. Additionally, the 2023 Mac mini brings Bluetooth 5.3 and Wi-Fi 6E, both of which are likely to make an appearance in the next Mac Studio.
This situation has been rectified in the 2023 Mac Studio with the following:
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.