How much space does the Mac Studio take up? Surprisingly little
Apple recently introduced the Mac Studio as its latest desktop computer, and it came with some big claims right off the bat. According to Apple, the Mac Studio can put the top-tier Mac Pro to shame. But the Mac Pro is a big computer, so surely the Mac Studio isn’t too far off, right? Not exactly. The Mac Studio doesn’t take up a whole lot of space, and it’s actually closer to the size of the Mac mini.
In fact, the width and length of the Mac Studio are exactly the same as the Mac Mini, at 7.7 inches square. The only difference is the height, where the Mac Studio comes in at 3.7 inches tall. For reference, the Mac mini is 1.4 inches tall, so the Mac Studio is roughly 2.6 times taller. That’s still incredibly compact, and you can easily have this on a desk next to your monitor or slightly behind it. It may be a problem if you specifically what it aligned under the monitor, but that sounds easy enough to work around.
How does the Mac Studio compare to the Mac Pro?
During its announcement, Apple kept comparing the Mac Studio to the Mac Pro’s performance. With the new Apple M1 Ultra processor, the Mac Studio can have put o 60% faster CPU performance, 80% faster graphics than the most powerful Mac Pro GPU, and 5.6 times faster video transcoding. It’s kind of incredible that these numbers come in such a small package.
How much smaller is it? Well, the current “cheese grater” Mac Pro is 17.7 inches deep and 8.58 inches wide. It’s also 20.8 inches tall, including the handles and feet, or 21.9 inches with the optional wheels. It’s much, much bigger in just about every dimension, and it’s really something that’s meant to rest on the floor, or further to the side if you have a large enough desk. The Mac Studio requires far less space, so you can have the computer and all of its I/O much more easily accessible, which is a big deal.
Here’s a visualization of the difference in size, with front and side views of the Mac Pro for reference. We didn’t include a side view of the Mac Studio because it’s essentially a square. We did our best to scale the products to their real-life sizes.
Aside from fantastic performance, the Mac Studio also crams quite a bit of I/O into this compact chassis. Four Thunderbolt 4 ports, two USB Type-A ports, 10Gbps Ethernet, HDMI and a 3.5mm headphone jack are on the back, and the front has two extra USB Type-C ports and an SD card reader. If you go with the M1 Ultra processor, the front USB-C ports also support Thunderbolt 4.
Part of the reason for this is that the Apple M1 Ultra is a system-on-a-chip (SoC), while the Mac Pro uses more traditional PC components. With the Mac Pro, you have an Intel Core or Xeon CPU, an AMD graphics card, the option for an Afterburner card, and so on. It’s much more upgradeable than the Mac Studio, which simply can’t be upgraded at all. The CPU, GPU, and RAM on the Mac Studio are all part of the SoC, and the storage is also soldered onto the motherboard, which allows it to save a lot of space. The Mac Pro does give you some room to at least add more RAM and storage later on.
If the lack of upgradeability isn’t a problem to you, or if you think the savings in space and performance are worth the tradeoff in upgradeability, you can order the new Mac Studio below, starting at $1,999 with the M1 Max processor or $3,999 with the M1 Ultra. You’ll also need a monitor if you don’t have one already, and Apple’s Studio Display is the perfect pairing. If that’s too steep, you can always check out the best Macs you can buy right now. And for new or relapsed Mac users, it may be worth checking out the best apps for Apple Silicon Macs, as well as everything you need to know about macOS Monterey.