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Apple Mac Studio: Test of the smaller variant with M1 Max


Apple has been building mini PCs for a long time – so far, the Mac mini models were not exactly slow, but they were not particularly powerful either. The Mac Studio is not much larger (just higher), but has a lot more power – the smaller model with M1 Max was also able to convince in the test across the board.

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No bargain

The Mac Studio is pretty mini, the price rather max. Nice the smallest variant beats at 2,300 euros to book, keyboard and mouse or trackpad go again extra. The tested model with the smaller processor variant M1 Max, but otherwise very lavish equipment with stronger graphics (32 cores), extra-large SSD (2 terabytes) and a lot of RAM (64 gigabytes) even costs almost 3,700 euros (at the time of testing), with the chic new one Keyboard-mouse combo in black just under 4,000 euros.

M1 Max with top speed

Even the first Apple processor (M1) convinced the following models in the test of the Mac mini and the iMac 24 inch with high speed M1 Pro in the MacBook Pro 14 inch and M1 Max in the 16-inch MacBook Pro, it went up a notch in the tests. The M1 Max in the Mac Studio is practically as fast when working as in the MacBook Pro 16 inch. Only the big brother is currently faster M1 Ultra. With the right software, such as the 3D animation program Cinema 4D, it can work up to twice as fast. Not surprising as the M1 Ultra is assembled from two M1 Max. For most users, however, the M1 Max is sufficient. Photographers can use Photoshop CC, for example, to assemble panoramas or HDR images in seconds.
Apple Mac Studio front side

Easy to reach on the front: 2x USB-C (on the M1 Max with USB 3.2 Gen2, on the M1 Ultra with Thunderbolt 4) and the card reader for SD cards.

Graphics with speed

The graphics in the processor are also strong. Calculate in the tested Mac Studio 32 graphics cores (there is also a 230 euro cheaper processor version with 24 graphics cores) and they ensure a very high speed not only when working, but also when playing. On average, the M1 Max calculated at Play in 4K (3840×2160 pixels) 108 frames per second – almost eight times faster than a Mac mini and a whole lot faster than the 16-inch MacBook Pro with the same processor. Here, the Mac Studio benefits from the significantly larger cooling system, which allows the processor to run longer with particularly high performance (and correspondingly high heat generation). Only the Mac Studio with M1 Ultra is currently faster for games. However, the speed boost of the Mac Studio is not always so drastic, for example with Office programs. Here the Mac Studio with M1 Max is “only” 30 percent faster than the Mac mini. This is mainly due to the fact that these programs do not require as much computing power.

Apple Mac Studio

Chic but rarely seen – “Mac Studio” engraved on the bottom. The Mac Studio uses the small holes for cooling.

Very economical and quiet

Great: Despite the concentrated power, the Mac Studio is very quiet and very economical. The fans are included maximum 0.5 sons hardly heard. The power consumption falls with it maximum 30 watts much lower than with a high-performance PC with Windows, which, with a high-performance graphics card, sometimes swallows more than 300 watts under full load. In normal operation, the Mac Studio is enough even 10 watts.

Apple Mac Studio rear cooling system and connectors

The cooling system occupies a large part of the rear. Most of the connections are underneath: 4x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4, network, 2x USB-A, HDMI and audio jack.

Finally more connections

Many Apple users have asked for more connections, for example to connect several external SSDs as well as monitors and a printer at the same time. You get it now at Mac Studio six USB-C (with DisplayPort and Thunderbolt) and two USB-A sockets. That’s enough for up to five monitors (four via USB-C, one via HDMI). There is also a particularly fast network connection (with a maximum of 10 gigabits per second) and a 3.5 millimeter socket for headset, headphones or loudspeakers as well as a card reader for SD cards. A small drop of bitterness: Maximum speed via USB is only available with USB 4 (then it is just as fast as Thunderbolt 4), with USB 3.2 a maximum of 10 gigabits per second is possible (USB 3.2 Gen2), Apple does not support Gen2x2 technology that is twice as fast. A maximum of 950 megabytes per second flow over the USB cable.

Pace with Office programs

Video editing speed

Game speed (Full HD / 4K) in frames per second

USB tempo from external SSD to Mac / Mac to external SSD

RAM (built-in / expandable)

Memory: usable size, type

Free expansion options

Connections (front / rear)

Operating noise ( video / games)

Power consumption: Office / full load / costs per year

Quality of the keyboard/keyboard lighting/standard layout/Navigation keys standard size/biometric unlocking/connection

Quality of mouse/scrolling/additional buttons/connector

very high (129) / very high (108)

very high (776 / 624 MB per sec.

very much (1858 GB, NVMe / no)

1x combo socket, 1x HDMI, 1x network (10 Gbit) / 6x USB-C (with Thunderbolt 4.0 and up to 4x display port), 2x USB-A

802.11ax (2.4 & 5 GHz) / Bluetooth 5

very quiet (0.5 sone / 0.4 sone)

10.42 watts / 30.38 watts / 8.79 euros

very pleasant, slightly less travel / no / yes / yes / yes / Bluetooth

a bit flat, unusable when charging/via gestures/via gestures/bluetooth

Please buy appropriate

Important! As always with Apple, if you want to buy the Mac Studio, you should think carefully about how much memory you need before you buy it. Because the main memory and SSD are firmly attached to the motherboard and cannot be replaced. More RAM (64 gigabytes for the M1 Max or 128 gigabytes for the M1 Ultra) should be needed above all by users who work with 3D software. On the other hand, more storage space on the SSD is not quite as critical – an external SSD can be connected if necessary. A model with PCI Express technology and a USB-C connection is best, the usually hefty surcharge for a Thunderbolt model is rarely worth it.
  • Very high work pace
  • Very high game speed
  • high price
  • Not upgradeable

Test conclusion Apple Mac Studio M1 Ultra

Also with the M1 Max is the Apple Mac Studio (Test grade 1.5) not a bargain (base price 2,300 euros). But for many users it is a good choice. Because even with the smaller processor, the Mac Studio is a super-fast, well-equipped and very quiet desktop computer in mini format. Only a few notice the speed difference to the much more expensive M1 Ultra model, but everyone notices the significantly lower price.



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