Mac Studio vs Mac Pro Buyers Guide

studio v pro feature purple

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The brand new Mac Studio is now Apple’s most powerful desktop computer, surpassing even the high-end Mac Pro. The Mac Studio also starts at $1,999, which is significantly less than the Mac Pro’s starting price of $5,999.

studio v pro feature purple


So why is the more expensive Mac Pro still in the lineup and should you buy it over the new Mac Studio? Our guide helps answer that question, how to decide which of these desktop Macs is best for you.

Comparing Mac Studio and Mac Pro

The Mac Studio and Mac Pro share some essential features, including a silver aluminum design and up to 8TB of SSD storage. Apple lists these four similar features of the two devices:

Similarities

  • Storage up to 8TB
  • bluetooth 5.0
  • built in speaker
  • silver aluminum design

Although these Macs share some characteristics, the two machines are distinguished by a large number of differences, including completely different chipsets, memory capacity, selection of ports, and external display capabilities.

Difference

mac studio

  • Integrated, non-upgradable design
  • Apple M1 Max Chip or Apple M1 Ultra Chip
  • up to 20-core CPU
  • up to 64-core GPU
  • up to 128GB of integrated memory
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • 10 Gb Ethernet
  • SDXC Card Slot (UHS-II)
  • Up to six Thunderbolt 4 ports
  • two USB-A ports
  • HDMI port with support for multichannel audio output
  • Support for up to four Pro Display XDRs and a 4K display
  • Starts at $1,999
mac pro

  • Modular, Upgradable Design
  • Intel Xeon W Processor
  • up to 28-core CPU
  • Up to AMD Radeon Pro W6800X Duo GPU
  • Memory up to 1.5TB
  • Wi-Fi 5
  • Dual 10Gb Ethernet
  • Eight PCI Express expansion slots (availability of open slots depends on the configuration selected)
  • Up to 12 Thunderbolt 3 Ports
  • Support for up to 12 4K displays, six 5K displays, or six Pro Display XDRs
  • Starts at $5,999

What about the rumored Apple Silicon Mac Pro?

At its “Peak Performance” event, Apple apparently teased the launch of a new Mac Pro with Apple Silicon, making it clear that Mac Studio is not a replacement for the Mac Pro. John Turnes, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware engineering, went on to confirm that “another day” is coming to clear up any confusion about the continuity of the Mac Pro product line, and rumors suggest that A new Mac Pro is still expected to be announced in 2022.

mac pro tower close up


The high-end Mac is equipped with the Studio m1 Ultra chip that houses a 20-core CPU and up to a 64-core GPU. The new Mac Pro is expected to feature an even more powerful chip with 40 CPU cores and 128 graphics cores.

The Mac Pro is expected to be announced at some point in 2022, and could be presented at the Worldwide Developers Conference, perhaps in early June. Apple could preview the machine at the event and then release it later this fall, giving developers some time to prepare the software for it.

final thoughts

There are two main reasons to buy a Mac Pro over Mac Studio. The first is for its Intel chip, as some high-end professional applications perform better on native Intel systems despite Rosetta 2.

The second reason is modularity. The Mac Pro has eight PCI Express expansion slots that are used to optimize the machine’s hardware for specific needs, such as adding more storage or a graphics card. The modularity of the Mac Pro also means that components are easy to replace and upgrade over time. Mac Studio, on the other hand, is a fully integrated machine with no modularity or the opportunity to add or replace components.

The Mac Pro is also more versatile when it comes to ports, which users can also connect to via a PCI Express slot, and has support for more external displays.

If these factors are unimportant to you, it would be better to get Mac Studio. Mac Studio’s m1 Ultra chip outperforms the 28-core Xeon Mac Pro with the highest-end graphics card, which means the Mac Studio is a more powerful machine overall and should be faster for many workflows. Considering that its base model is $4,000 cheaper than the Mac Pro, Mac Studio is the best option for users who don’t need the Mac Pro’s exclusive benefits at all.