Returned Mac Studio

I purchased a Studio thinking I’d be able to get better performance in rendering than my eGPU. After testing it though, I found it to be almost exaclty the same as my desktop class AMD Radeon Pro Vega 56 (with a cooling tower). It may be slightly quieter (the eGPU is pretty quiet too even under load), but that doesn’t justify the price if I don’t get better performance. This is hooked up to an Intel i9 laptop.

In terms of day to day usage, I couldn’t tell any difference in speed from my daily driver - a 14" MacBook with the M1 Pro. So, I’ve decided to take advantage of the 14 day return Window and I’ll wait for something that is better performing than my eGPU, not on par.

It was a bit of a disappointment for me and I can’t justify the price only for a quieter machine. I’m glad I waited and didn’t trade in my old Mac, as I’d have lost over €2k.

6 Likes

Can you connect your eGPU to the Mac Studio or will the eGPU only work with Intel?

It has to be a Mac with an Intel processor:

An Intel Mac in combination with an eGPU is a very powerful machine (M1 MacBook Pro versus Intel MacBook Pro with eGPU - this test is not exactly comparable to a Mac Studio, but still).

I do not know, if it really is true, but allegedly there are patent issues which prevent Apple to support eGPUs with their SoC (I was not able to find the article again). I might be totally wrong, though. Apart from that, Apple seems to be quite pleased with the performance they are able to deliver with their higher end SoCs. I am not sure, if Apple sees a need to enable eGPU support for Mx-silicon Macs in the future.

It will be interesting to see what the M-family Mac Pro (MacRumors) will bring to the table with regards to external components, cards and what not. It looks to me as if all other Macs will completely rely on Apple’s SoC.

1 Like

They only work on Intel.

Out of curiosity, what spec Mac Studio did you have?

I finally got my 16" MacBook Pro and am using it now as a daily driver. M1 Max, 32C GPU, 64GB RAM. It’s a very fast machine, but it doesn’t typically feel faster than my old iMac Pro.

Until it does. In normal work, it’s not much faster — I haven’t noticed the speed a lot yet — but as soon as I do anything extremely intense, it flies like butter. (Oddly enough, I’ve noticed this a lot with Docker and Homebrew. There is absolutely no comparison when it comes to CPU-bound development tasks. I haven’t noticed a huge GPU bump yet.)

Thanks for posting this – these real-world experiences are really useful and can be difficult to find. I seem to recall I heard some speculation on a recent podcast that perhaps one of the defining differences Apple Silicon Mac Pro would be the ability to connect to an eGPU. Who knows if that’s true, and if it would be available for the M1 line (or would have to wait for the M2 or whatever the successor is called).

As for my experience with my new Mac Studio, in a lot of day-to-day stuff there’s no difference – until there is (as @snelly said). Lots of small things that used to take a noticeable few seconds now happen “instantly”. (That’s compared to my 2019 MacBook Pro, which was only an i7). While nice, if this were the only thing to justify a new purchase, well, it wouldn’t be enough.

It was the Max with a 32 core GPU.

1 Like

I have the same machine and share your experience. I also have a 16” intel machine from the year before which is now collecting dust because the m1max machine is such a lovely experience. And besides speed, battery performance is fantastic. I sometimes run long test cycles (to external connected embedded cpu using python app which interrogates the hardware every few seconds) and forget to connect the power connector. It takes 6 or more hours before power is needed. I loooove this machine!

The one thing I did not see mentioned, which may have no bearing at all on your decision anyway, is power consumption. Obviously everything is powered from the wall, but if you were running this at full pelt for long periods of time, might your power bill have been lower with the Mac Studio?

Other than that (and perhaps even though), it’s hard to fault you for returning it. Oh, that we should all be as lucid in our purchasing decisions. :slight_smile:

It still doesn’t stop me wanting one, and still doesn’t justify me getting one. :laughing:

2 Likes

I only do render 2-3 times a week, so I can’t even justify it from the power consumption point of view.

1 Like

My Mac Studio arrived on Saturday, after quite a journey of almost one month from being shipped late March.

I was quite happy when I received the package. Today I returned the Mac Studio. It already is on its way back to Apple. This is something I did not see coming.

Why? I might be spoiled by the MacBook Air and … yes my Mac Mini (an Intel one). Am I crazy? I might be. I don’t know. The fan noise drove me nuts. It is not loud, but it is there. All the time. No matter if the Mac Studio is idling or crunching numbers, files and whatever else. And that is something I am not used to any longer: my MacBook Air has no fans. There is no noise, no matter what. And the Mac Mini is silent when idling. The fans only get “loud” when they are needed.

I might be quite sensitive noise-wise, I guess. The Mac Studio fans do not stop, no matter what the Mac Studio does. They keep running all the time. Yes, I knew about that. Still, I am quite surprised about many reviewers talking about the “silent” Mac Studio. While it is not extremely loud, it is in no way “silent”. I was able to hear the Mac Studio even 20 ft away. Yes, you will not hear anything while listening to Music and even in a work environment with more than one person, the fan very well may be inaudible. But that is not my situation. My Mac is being used in an environment that does not emit noise. Nothing will drown out fan noise: if it is there, it will be recognized.

My next desktop Mac eventually will be a Mac Mini. :slight_smile:

P.S. Yes, I totally do understand that the power of the Mac Studio needs heat dissipation. I just underestimated what that means after having used my Macs during the last two years. :slight_smile:

2 Likes

+1 for M1 MacBook Air!

Sorry the Mac Studio did not work out for you. It looks like an amazing machine. I covet one. But I don’t need one. :slightly_smiling_face:

1 Like

Bummer!

But I have not found this to be the case with my Mac Studio (M1 Max, 64 GB). I cannot hear the fans.

Now:

  • I’ve only had it for a week, and haven’t done anything serious with it yet.
  • I’m old, and I cannot hear higher frequencies all that well*. :slight_smile:
  • The temperature in my home office varies between 60 - 70 ℉∘
  • iStat Menus reports that the average CPU temp is ~ 95 ℉ (corrected, not ℃ - sorry about that).

I just now turned off all sound sources, closed the office door and windows, and held my ear to the rear vents of the Studio. Not a sound. iStat shows the fans running, a little over 1330 rpm on average.

I had two 2018 Mac minis (the second replacing the first after two lighting strikes last summer - not fun!). The first ran silent. The second did not, with noticeable fan noise. So there is clearly (small sample size warning!) variance in these machines. And like I wrote to begin, bummer you got a noisy one.


* We got one of these Candle Tasers for Christmas, and if you read the reviews there are complaints about the high pitched sound. I hear nothing.

1 Like

it flies like butter

I don’t know why, but I’m hilariously stuck on this simile. Why is your butter flying? :joy:

2 Likes

This is a fair question. Definitely mixing up a couple different sayings. I do that a lot. I’m an honours English graduate, and this is a deep source of shame for me.

2 Likes

Oh, dear… it was not my intention to shame… almost more to thank you for the good elongated giggle I’ve been having considering the various reasons why butter would fly around in your world. Feel better–you made someone smile today! :slight_smile:

3 Likes

Thank you for your detailed answer!

I was able to find this article:
https://screenrant.com/mac-studio-fan-noise-how-loud-does-it-get/

One quote:

Does the Mac Studio have loud fan noise? Relative to other M1 Macs, yes. The Mac Studio’s fan noise is constant when idle or browsing the web, and that’s also true if you’re doing more demanding tasks. But even at the loudest rating of 25dB, that means the Mac Studio’s fan is only slightly louder than leaves rustling or someone whispering from multiple feet away. It is one of the loudest Macs that Apple sells today, but it’s nothing that should seriously impede your workflow.

It is referring to this topic:
https://discussions.apple.com/thread/253759027

One quote from there:

I have the M1 Max version.

Yes, it’s noisy. Not a lot but much than my iMac 27 5k.

I’ve never heard my iMac since 2015 and the Studio is much present.

But it’s only when my office is very quiet. When i’m listening the radio or music, no problem.

That is in line with the experience I had. Then again, there are other posts there that are more in line with what you have described.

I do not know, but there really might be variances.

1 Like

As I sit here now doing nothing particularly onerous with my 2020 13" MacBook Pro M1, the hottest component in the system, according to iStat Menus, is the Power Manger, at 39 ºC. When I push the system with exporting large numbers of processed RAW images using the Neural Engine, the CPU tops out around the mid 70s, along with screaming fans.

Is it really 95 ºC or 95 ºF (35 ºC)?

You are correct, it is ℉!

D’oh!

2 Likes

Sorry to hear that it didn’t work out for you.

I’m waiting for the next generation Mac Mini as well. It’s difficult for me to think of a good reason, given Apple’s technology, for a current Mac to always be audible. Comparing Apple’s Mac Studio acoustic performance numbers with measurements in my home office makes it clear that this one will be audible in my setting. Not for me.

2 Likes