Apple Mac Studio M3 Max & M3 Ultra

The Mac Studio M3 Max/M3 Ultra will be the best choice for an Apple 2024 desktop for majority of musicians and creators

Apple Mac Studio M3 Max $1999.00 ??? – M3 Ultra $3999.00 ??? minimum per processor type

If you’re a serious pro or amateur musician, you really want the Apple Mac Studio M2 Max & M2 Ultra or the Apple MacBook Pro M3 Pro & M3 Max. A large music and/or video recording studio without budget restraints or someone who must have PCIe slot expansion may want to consider the Apple Mac Pro M2 Ultra. These are the three best computers for creatives you can buy.

If you absolutely must spend less than $1999.00, consider the Mac mini M2 Pro. Other less expensive options are the Mac mini M2MacBook Pro M2 Pro, MacBook Air M2, or 24″ iMac M3. Even buy used or refurbished if need be. To suggest buying less than these systems is bad advice. Also see notes below in the Unified Memory section.

See: Apple Silicon is the DAW standard.

3rd Generation Mac Studio could be announced by June 2024

Other than the processors, the Mac Studio M3 Series will likely be exactly the same as the Mac Studio M1 and M2 Series, except for other possible small changes that I will note here once they become known.

Based on the fact that we know what the M3 Max performance level is, and that M3 Ultra is likely near double that, this Mac Studio generation looks very attractive. I can picture that many M1 Max/Ultra owners would be interested in upgrading, self included. Not sure I can raise the cash, so it may have to be the Mac Studio 4th generation for me, we’ll see. I am very interested though.

I have a MacBook Pro M3 Max 14 core CPU, 30 core GPU, 36GB memory, 1TB SSD, which is slightly faster in single and multi core CPU benchmarks and slightly slower in GPU benchmarks than my Mac Studio M1 Ultra 20 core CPU, 48 core GPU. From my perception, the performance of both machines seems about the same which is totally wild to me.

If we use Apple’s current and known pricing as a guide, a Mac Studio M3 Max 14 core CPU, 30 core GPU, 36GB memory, 1TB SSD would be $2199.00. Many will be very pleased. It is a serious jump in performance over M1 and M2 versions.

On the MacBook Pro M3 Max, the jump to 16 core CPU, 40 core GPU, 48GB memory, is $500 additional. On the Mac Studio, this would be $2699.00, which is very attractive in my opinion. 64GB memory would add another $200.00 for a total of 2899.00.

If the Mac Studio M3 Ultra is a double of the base M3 Max, 28 core CPU, 60 core GPU, 72GB memory, 1TB SSD for $3999.00, wow is all I have to say.

Continuing Apple’s current pricing trend, a Mac Studio M3 Ultra, 32 core CPU, 80 core GPU, 96GB memory, 1TB SSD would be $4999.00.

If you want more details about the Mac Studio, read the Mac Studio M1 Max & M1 Ultra page. Beyond that page, everything in the M2 Series is exactly the same as the M1 Series, except for the M2 Max/Ultra processor, HDMI 2.1, Wi-Fi 6E, and Bluetooth 5.3 upgrades. The Mac Studio M3 Series is expected to be exactly the same as the M1/M2 Series, except for the processors.

Information you need to properly digest web sites & especially YouTube.
Updated frequently – Apple Technology YouTube Critique

CPU & GPU Performance Benchmarks

I would generally advise to not get too tied up in the minutiae of benchmarks, but they are useful for relative comparisons of processors. It is worth noting that no M Series processors are slouches. Some more than others, but all of them are a noticeable improvement over the Intel processors in previous generation Macs.

CPU single-core performance of all M3 Series processors are very similar, because of course they all share the same CPU single-core.

CPU and GPU multi-core performance is where the differences become more apparent because of the different number of cores. We already know how the M3 Max performs and likely the M3 Ultra is near double that.

SSD Performance Benchmarks

I think it’s safe to say Apple now has a trend of using a single NAND chip for its 512GB SSDs. So smart money says stay away from 512GB SSDs. Otherwise you can expect Mac Studio M3 Max & M3 Ultra 1TB and larger SSDs to have the same stellar performance M1/M2 Series have now.

I fully expect the Mac Studio M3 Max/Ultra 1TB+ SSD to benchmark exactly as my MacBook Pro M3 Max 1TB SSD. 512GB could be half this, and 2TB+ capacities equal or faster.

DAW Performance Benchmarks

You can expect Mac Studio M3 Series DAW performance to be improved over the Mac Studio M1/M2 Series. Keep in mind that Mac Studio M1/M2 Series DAW performance was already way beyond what nearly every musician can even dream of using.

I’ll replace this when the real benchmarks become available. For now though the M3 Max 14 core CPU has a maximum of 275 tracks, and the M3 Max 16 core CPU has a maximum of 328 tracks. The M3 Ultra 28 core CPU could be 500+ tracks maximum. The M3 Ultra 32 core CPU could be 600+ tracks maximum.

Check software compatibilities

The Mac Studio M3 Max & M3 Ultra will have macOS Sonoma on it.

It should go without saying, but I’m gonna say it anyway. M Series has been out since November 2020. I think it’s crazy that any DAW or plugin should have issues or still be running on Rosetta emulation, but not everyone listens to me. Do your homework!

Furthermore, in my opinion any major software company that markets to Apple users and hasn’t updated their software to include Apple silicon compatibility deserves to lose your business. It’s been over 3 years, and at this point it’s a real screw you. They obviously don’t care about their customers and should be replaced by a company that cares more about their customers.

macOS 13 Ventura: Compatibility Guide

macOS 14 Sonoma: Compatibility Guide

My personal experience with Ventura and Sonoma has been very good. Everything I use runs natively on M Series and is compatible with those. But don’t listen to me, do your homework!

The Mac Studio has what it takes to get through the next 5+ years of your music & video productions

This is why you buy Apple. Realistically with the cost of computers these days, a 1-3 year refresh cycle is not practical for most people. Unlike the majority if not all PC systems, Apple computers are built to last and Apple silicon is state of the art enough to start you at the head of the pack.

Keep coming back

Thanks!
-Yehuda

Manufacturer’s website
https://www.apple.com/mac-studio

Product support, downloads
https://support.apple.com

Videos

Yehuda Rothschild Apple Mac Studio M3 Series YouTube Playlist

Useful Links

Apple related pages
Updated periodically – Apple Silicon is the DAW standard
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Studio M1 Max & M1 Ultra
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Studio M2 Max & M2 Ultra
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Studio M3 Max & M3 Ultra
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Pro M1 Pro & M1 Max
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Pro M2 Pro & M2 Max
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Pro M3 Pro & M3 Max
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Pro M2 Ultra
Updated periodically – Apple Mac mini M1
Updated periodically – Apple Mac mini M2 & M2 Pro
Updated periodically – Apple Mac mini M3 & M3 Pro
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Air M1
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Air M2
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Air M3
Updated periodically – Apple 24″ iMac M1
Updated periodically – Apple 24″ iMac M3
Updated periodically – Apple Studio Display
Updated periodically – Apple M1 Processor Series
Updated periodically – Apple M2 Processor Series
Updated periodically – Apple M3 Processor Series

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