It’s not every day that Apple launches a new category of Mac, with a new name to distinguish it from the rest. The last time was more than 14 years ago for the MacBook Air, which shows the at least symbolic importance of the Mac Studio. This new desktop computer looks like a big Mac mini without replacing it and it has ambitions worthy of a Mac Pro, without either succeeding it, since Apple has promised a new Apple Silicon model.
Straddling these two ranges, the Mac Studio must allow Apple to offer the best performance of the moment for its chips, while offering professionals a new “modular” Mac, according to the very Cupertinian definition of the term. Sold from €2,299, what is this Mac Studio worth on a daily basis? Are the performance promises fulfilled? Some answers in this test!
Design: a big Mac mini pierced with multiple connectors
Stack two and a half Mac minis, and you’ve got the Mac Studio. Apple has taken a square with rounded edges of 19.7 cm on each side for its new computer and we find the same black apple which breaks the monotony of aluminum in natural color, the only option offered. From above, you would have a hard time distinguishing the Mac Studio from a Mac mini, it is a perfect clone.
However, the difference is obvious when you look at the two computers from the side. Where the Mac mini is content with a thickness of 3.6 cm, the Mac Studio peaks at 9.5 cm high. That’s roughly two and a half times more and it’s hard to ignore. Tastes and colors are not discussed, but we can emphasize that Apple has favored function over form, again.
In this respect, we find the state of mind that presided over the creation of the latest generation MacBook Pro. If the Mac Studio is so high, it’s because Apple has opted for an imposing cooling system. Regardless of the version chosen, the cooling system occupies the majority of the space inside. We will come back to its efficiency at greater length below, but we can already note that the high-end models equipped with an Apple M1 Ultra chip are heavier than those with an Apple M1 Max because they incorporate a copper radiator and no longer aluminum.
On the scale, Apple mentions 2.7 kg for the basic Mac Studio and 3.6 kg for the high-end models. One thing is certain, even with the “light” model that I tested, the computer looks like a compact and solid aluminum block. The build quality is excellent, there are no moving parts, and the fit is as good as you’d expect from an Apple product at this price point. This apparent robustness makes you wonder if you can use the Mac as a support, why not for a screen.