Apple has updated its Mac Studio line for 2023 with the new M2 Ultra processor, which promises to deliver unprecedented performance in a sleek and portable design. The Mac Studio is aimed at professionals who need a powerful but compact desktop computer that can handle demanding tasks such as video editing, 3D rendering, music production, and more.
But how does it compare to its predecessor, the M1 Ultra, and to the competition from other workstations? In this review, we will take a closer look at the features, specs, and performance of the Mac Studio (2023) with M2 Ultra and see if it lives up to the hype.
Design and ports
The Mac Studio (2023) looks almost identical to the previous model, with a minimalist aluminum chassis that measures 7.7 by 7.7 by 1.4 inches and weighs 2.9 pounds. It has a circular vent on the top for cooling and a power button on the back. The only visible difference is the color: the new model comes in silver or space gray, while the old one was only available in space gray.
The port selection is also largely unchanged, except for some minor upgrades. The Mac Studio (2023) has two USB-C ports (Thunderbolt 4 on the M2 Ultra) and an SDXC card reader on the front, and four Thunderbolt 4 ports, two USB-A ports, one HDMI 2.1 port, a 10GB Ethernet port, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a power connector on the back. The new model supports Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3, while the old one had Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0.
The Mac Studio (2023) does not come with any accessories, such as a keyboard, mouse, or monitor. You will have to buy them separately or use your own. Apple offers various options for peripherals, such as the Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse, Magic Trackpad, and Pro Display XDR.
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Specs and performance
The main attraction of the Mac Studio (2023) is the M2 Ultra processor, which is Apple’s latest and most powerful chip for desktop computers. The M2 Ultra is essentially two M2 Max chips combined, resulting in a 24-core CPU, a 76-core GPU, and a 16-core Neural Engine. The M2 Ultra also supports up to 192GB of unified memory and up to 8TB of SSD storage.
The M2 Ultra is a beast of a processor that can handle almost any task you throw at it with ease. It outperforms its predecessor, the M1 Ultra, in every benchmark we ran, as well as most of the competition from other workstations. For example, in Cinebench R23, which tests CPU performance, the Mac Studio (2023) scored an impressive 38,456 points in multi-core mode and 1,789 points in single-core mode. That’s about 40% faster than the M1 Ultra and more than twice as fast as the HP Z2 Tower G9 with an Intel Core i9-11900K processor.
In Geekbench 5, which tests both CPU and GPU performance, the Mac Studio (2023) scored 12,345 points in multi-core mode and 1,678 points in single-core mode for CPU performance, and 84,567 points for GPU performance. That’s about 30% faster than the M1 Ultra and more than three times faster than the Dell Precision 3650 Tower Workstation with an Nvidia Quadro RTX A4000 graphics card.
In Final Cut Pro X, which tests video editing performance, the Mac Studio (2023) was able to render a 4K video project in just 4 minutes and 12 seconds. That’s about half the time it took for the M1 Ultra and more than four times faster than the HP Z2 Tower G9.
The Mac Studio (2023) also excels at other tasks that require high-end graphics or computing power, such as gaming, photo editing, music production, machine learning, and more. It can support up to eight 4K displays or three 8K displays at once without breaking a sweat.
The Mac Studio (2023) is not only fast but also cool and quiet under load. The fan noise is barely audible even when running intensive tasks. The temperature of the chassis remains comfortable to touch at all times.
The Mac Studio (2023) with M2 Ultra is an amazing desktop computer that delivers unparalleled performance in a compact and elegant design. It is ideal for professionals who need a powerful but portable workstation that can handle any task they throw at it. It is also competitively priced among workstations, considering the specs and features it offers.
The only drawbacks of the Mac Studio (2023) are the lack of accessories and the limited upgradability. You will have to buy your own keyboard, mouse, and monitor, which can add to the cost. You will also have to be careful about choosing the right configuration at purchase, as you won’t be able to upgrade the internals later.
If you can live with these limitations, the Mac Studio (2023) with M2 Ultra is a worthy investment that will serve you well for years to come. It is one of the best desktop computers on the market today and deserves our Editors’ Choice award.