Upgrading to Mac Studio? :: Comparison with other Macs

We have been enjoying our Mac mini (2018) 3.2 Ghz 6-core Intel Core i7 w/ 16 GB RAM since its arrival. We are considering an upgrade to the basic Mac Studio. We are not doing any heavy lifting of video files or cpu guzzling tasks. Our fan does come on a few times a month. We do appreciate faster performance and keeping up with newer technology.

If you made a similar transition, would you be willing share your experiences?
Where can we find performance comparisons and specs?

Also, we are curious to hear what would have us choose to upgrade from the basic Mac Studio 24 core to the 32 core option? 32GB RAM seems plenty enough.

I look forward to hearing comments. Thank you.

If you can wait, and if you think 24GB would be enough RAM, then I’d be willing to bet that an M2 Mini will be out sooner rather than later (though that may end up being spring of 2023, which may be too long to wait).

In any case, you can search the Geekbench database for performance statistics (single and muli-core) to get an idea of the relative peformance. (Spoiler alert, even the base M1 is much faster than the i7 in your Mini for single core performance, which is what most non-power users notice most).


The jump from Intel to M1 is hard to believe. You have to experience it yourself. I went from a top of the line iMac circa 2017 and even the first M1 13-inch MacBook Pro ran circles around it. So even the cheapest M1 Mac Mini would be a huge improvement over what you have now.


I too would dissuade you a little from the Mac Studio, which is probably more oomph than you need. Our M1 MacBook Air is almost as fast as my iMac Pro was, most of the time, and it’s completely silent. My M1 Max laptop runs circles around the iMac Pro, which is hard for me to believe.

I don’t have benchmarks, but I have had all these machines fairly recently and did compare how they feel in use, which is more important to me than just about any benchmark.

Use the money you save with an M1 mini to get a Studio Display, which I’d imagine you’d enjoy (unless your monitor problem is solved, in which case, I’m happy for you).


Could you give some insight into what kinds of tasks you typically do? Is there something specific you think the extra cores would help with?

If it’s mostly email and surfing the web, then any M1 would be a great option.

I have the base Studio (with 1TB) and it’s great. Even under “full” load doing video transcoding, the fans remain at idle.

It sounds like a new Mac Mini would suit your needs without having to stretch to the Mac Studio.

I bet the Mac Mini M1 would smoke your current one with 16gb of memory and an SSD upgrade it would last a long time too.

I went from a 2018 i7 32 GB ram Mini to a M1 Max Studio, 64 GB ram. It is so much faster. Photo processing tasks which took minutes on the Mini now finish in seconds. It is wonderful.

My wife got a M1 Mini. She too does image processing and I would be happy with that machine as well, although I use more displays than the M1 Mini supports. Thus I held out for the Studio.

As others have said, you’ll be happy with either. It depends on how much you want to spend.

Why? You say no need for “CPU guzzling”

So, not pushing the limits of your current Mac.

Only siminar as in “moving from Intel to Silicon”. I do a lot of “CPU guzzling” tasks (LR, PS, Premiere, Final Cut, R,…) on an M1 16GB MBP. Huge difference.

32 GB will be unused most of the time. 24cores will be unused most of the time.

Or did I miss any application you run that requires high memory/CPU specs?

Get a mini and enjoy the huge jump in performance and save a lot of money.

Would that not help also for multitasking non-multithread workloads? Like, if the CPU has 8 cores, would not macOS be able to run apps each on its own core? So you would get some kind of benefit with non-optimized apps.

In theory, yes. Measurable in real life (with “standard” apps), not really.

I can open Photoshop, Lightroom, Logic, Final Cut and Premiere on my 16GB M1, load a project into each one. I can seamlessy switch between them and don’t notice any lag. The original posted stated he’s not using any of these powerhouses. And right now, in Photoshop, I have a 115 megapixel (16bit) image open.

Yes, always get as much RAM as you can afford. But since the use case is nothing special at all, … what constraint will he hit with only 16GB?

Also, the great breakthrough was the Intel → Apple Silicon transition. Now we are going to see incremental updates.

Beyond all the Apple marketing (20% more cores! 87.57 more transistors!) finally you end up being more than served for normal usage by a 16GB machine with just a bunch of cores and a fast SSD

My mid-2018 2.2 i7 15’’ feels now a little long in the tooth but performance-wise is basically ok for the workloads I throw at it (some Logic Pro usage here and there).

This is anecdotal, but it seems to me that my Carbon Copy Cloner and Arq backups run about the same whether I continue to work or let the M1 MacBook Air “rest” during the backup. I attribute this to better multi-tasking. Time Capsule backups still seem to pause when I start typing.

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You may find that the Backups only run on the High Efficiency cores rather than the standard (more performant) cores so they don’t affect your more intensive work.

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Carbon Copy Cloner and Arq might be exercising the I/O subsystem (and maybe memory) more than they are exercising CPU. Particularly if they lock bits of the file system.


Yes, both make use of the APFS snapshot feature.

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