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Mac Studio M2 Max vs Mac Studio M2 Ultra: Is Ultra worth it?

At WWDC, Apple revealed refreshed models of the Mac Studio for 2023. The new version adds the M2 Max chip and the newly announced M2 Ultra. But, how do they compare?

Whichever Mac Studio you buy, you’ll be getting a powerhouse desktop machine for intensive creative needs. But, given the M2 Ultra is essentially two M2 Max chips strapped together for boosted power, there is quite a difference in price, specs and performance – but we’ll be investigating the latter come review time.

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As such, deciding which model to purchase is a key one, especially given the sizeable price difference. We’re comparing the M2 Ultra model with the M2 Max version to give you the lowdown on the options. Read on for all you need to know.

M2 Ultra is double the price of M2 Max

As with many key purchases, your decision is often made for you according to your budget. The M2 Max model has a starting price of £2099/$1999 while the M2 Ultra version starts at £4199/$3999. That’s a sizeable difference and that’s before considering boosts to unified memory or storage on either model, if you fancy upgrading those areas.

Specs also mean it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison, as the M2 Ultra base model, alongside the enhanced chip, gives you more unified memory and SSD storage.

Key specs are boosted for M2 Ultra

Moving onto those all-important differences in specs between the M2 Ultra and M2 Max base models, let’s dive in:

M2 MaxM2 Ultra
CPU12-core (8 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores)24-core (16 performance cores and 8 efficiency cores)
Neural Engine16-core32-core
Memory Bandwidth400GB/s800GB/s
Unified Memory32GB64GB
SSD Storage512GB1TB

Both models also offer plenty of ports, with 4 x Thunderbolt 4, a 10Gb Ethernet, 2 x USB-A, an HDMI and a headphone jack on the rear. On the front, the M2 Max offers two USB-C ports and an SDXC card slot. The M2 Ultra boosts those USB-C ports to Thunderbolt 4, along with the SDXC card slot too.

Mac Studio M2 Ultra offers more power

As you can see from those specs, the M2 Ultra is expected to offer far improved power compared to its M2 Max equivalent, and you would expect as much given the price difference.

We’ll be reviewing the new Mac Studio soon but, for now, taking cues from Apple’s own claims, the M2 Ultra offers twice the performance and capability of the M2 Max. Up against the previous model, the M2 Max is touted as being 50% faster. The M2 Ultra is said to come in at three times faster than its predecessor.

The M2 Max model is lighter

As a fairly weighty desktop machine, no matter what model you get, this is unlikely to be a huge factor for most who are considering picking up a Mac Studio. However, if you are someone who may have to move this machine on a fairly regular basis, for whatever reason, it’s worth noting the M2 Max model weighs 2.7kg whereas the M2 Ultra weighs 3.6kg.

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