Mac Studio M2 Ultra reviews: ‘Champion’ desktop despite Apple silicon Mac Pro, cooling fixed

Home » Mac Studio M2 Ultra reviews: ‘Champion’ desktop despite Apple silicon Mac Pro, cooling fixed
2023 Mac Pro versus 2023 Mac Studio? There are four differences

A month ago, no one outside of Apple really expected to see a new Mac Studio this year (or maybe even ever). Why make a Mac Studio with an M2 Ultra if the Mac Pro uses the same chip? It turns out there are plenty of reasons to make both, and one of those reasons is a $3,000 value.

Yep, the M2 Ultra Mac Studio and Mac Pro share identical processing power, but the Studio retails for $3,999 compared to the Mac Pro at $6,999. Three grand gets you PCIe slots for expanding I/O, like networking and ultrafast storage on the Mac Pro, but you do lose the built-in SDXC card reader!

Of course, the Mac Studio is no mainstream computer compared to the MacBook Air or Mac mini. Niche as it may be, the Mac Studio already appears to be eating the Mac Pro’s lunch for a category of users. Where does that leave the Mac Pro? Almost a custom build-to-order option for a group of companies that already rely on the Mac Pro and PCIe cards to get the job done.

Jason Snell at Six Colors says the M2 Ultra Mac Studio is “still the champion,” even with the first Apple silicon Mac Pro on the market. Perhaps, most importantly for potential Mac Studio customers, Jason says the M2 generation Mac Studio is also quieter. “Apple has rejiggered the cooling system,” he writes, which he says eliminates that low white noise sound produced by the first-gen Studio.

Andrew Cunningham at Ars Technica points out that a base Mac Studio for $1,999 will outperform a Mac mini configuration at the same price. Andrew considers that lack of internal expansion a black eye for the Mac Studio, but “even the Mac Pro can’t really be upgraded” like it could before. He helpfully equates the M2 Max Mac Studio as the 27-inch iMac replacement.

Brian Heater at TechCrunch also took the new Mac Studio for a spin before it reaches customers this week. He summarizes that the Mac Studio excels at giving professionals Mac Pro performance that the Mac mini can’t offer and without requiring Mac Pro prices. “Those who need PCIe [expansion] slots, additional ports and upgradable storage will need to shell out a few extra thousand for the Pro,” he concludes.

Each review has benchmarks to show the differences in performance. For more on the M2 Max and Ultra Mac Studio, see these video reviews:

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