Mac Studio 6 months later

In this video im going to share my thoughts on the Mac Studio from A video and photo editors perspective

Cover if you should go for an M1max or M1 Ultra

How much RAM you should get
Review the Mac Studio Display and a stunning 42” 4k
HDR OLED monitor

Apple sure didn’t disappoint with the Mac Studio
They knocked it out of the park.

I was upgrading from a 2017 27” Intel quad core iMac, with 40GB Ram.
Mainly used for video editing on Davinci Resolve
Photo editing in Adobe Lightroom

And the occasional bit of Gaming, yes you heard that right, gaming on a Mac

There’s quite a few options when ordering a Mac Studio

Should you buy an M1Max or M1Ultra ?
How much RAM do you need to add ?
How much storage should you get

You can’t upgrade the RAM later on, once its arrived your stuck with that amount.

While using the iMac I checked the RAM usage at it was easily getting close to 32GB running, Davinci Resolve, Libre office, chrome and a few other apps
If you need to check how much ram you are using
Open activity monitor and select the Memory tab
At the bottom you will see Memory Used
So I figured go with 64GB of RAM as this would allow plenty of headroom in the future

Lets look at pricing and specs

Jumping from an M1Max to an M1Ultra doubles the price from
£1999 to £3999
But benchmarks revealed double the price did not equate to double the performance
Video export times were rapid on both
So I thought save the money
Go for the M1Max, 24 core GPU, 64GB of RAM and 1 TB of storage
Mine came to £2600 for this spec

I did have budget to get an M1 Ultra but really it would be overkill for my use.

This meant extra budget for a second screen, which we’ll get to a bit later

I ordered the Studio display with a Vesa mount for maximum flexibility.
The monitor arm is the Invision Monitor Arm Bracket for 22”-35” screens

This works great, clamps onto the desk, tilts and swivels.
Feels rock solid and only cost around $60
Has good cable management too
Apples stand which adds $400 to the price is only height and tilt adjustable, so the Invision is a better option.
The 27” 5K Retina display is stunning and incredibly sharp
Ideal for photo editing and video work.

What do I like the most after 6 months with the Mac Studio ?

The SD card reader on the front is super useful, I shoot photos and video with the Canon R6
Pop the SD card into the Mac, import the files and your good to go
The old iMac I was constantly having to stick my head round the back, reach behind the screen, it was frustrating, now that’s not an issue.

For content creators having the SD card reader on the front makes
Inserting SD cards easy.
This reader is much much faster than my old iMac
It helps speed up the workflow, if you can get files imported faster, you can start editing sooner.
If you do a lot of drone filming then its worth getting an SD to Micro SD adaptor too.

The design works really well
You get the SD card reader on the front,
2 USB C with M1Max, the M1Ultras front ports are Thunderbolt 4
That’s fine with me
On the rear you get 4 Thunderbolt 4 ports, 10Gigabit Ethernet, power socket
2 USB A’s handy for older devices
HDMI 2.0
I would have preferred HDMI2.1
A 3.5mm high impedance headphone socket
It has all the ports I want and its really portable

I bought some USB c to usb a converters and USB A to USB C
To give maximum flexibility on all the ports
Links are in the description
They do come in pretty handy,
If you have a USB A, you can then plug it into the front
Clients often hand me a USB A device with files on it.
This saves reaching round the back

On the Mac Studio display you also have 3 more thunderbolt 4 ports
96watts of power, charge iPhone, charge Mac books, plug in additional hardware.

Noise, it is very quiet, if you put an ear right up close you can just about hear the fans
Recording voice overs with a good microphone you can’t hear it at all in the back ground
When editing large projects I don’t hear the fan

As you can see I have a lot of devices plugged in,
2 monitors, Black Magic Keyboard and Mini Color panel
For video storage I use the Sandisk Extreme 4 TB NVME SSD
The internal drive is very fast, with speeds of around 5000 MB / sec read and write

This machine is a video editing beast
Apple claim you edit up to 9 streams of 8K pro res , Which is believable

I can easily create a 4K timeline in Davinci Resolve 18
Add 4 streams of 4K video on the timeline with animated fusion titles and the playback is smooth, no beach ball of doom.
Davinci Resolve feels fast and responsive
Color grading is the same

Exporting a video for Youtube is rapid, I’ve seen a 7 minute video export in 1min 30 seconds and start uploading
Lightroom photos import extremely fast, previews are rapid
And again exports are super quick.
Final Cut Pro is similar, everything feels fast
For creators this is an incredible piece of hardware
It leaves my old intel iMac in the dust

With the extra budget saved by the M1max I bought
A 42” 4K HDR OLED ASUS Rog Strix, 120Hz gaming monitor
Its connected to Mac via a Thunderbolt to Display port cable
This allows it to run 4K HDR at 120hz, in DCI P3 Color gamut
Its basically an LG C2 panel tweaked by ASUS

OLED colours totally pop, with a super fast 0.1 millisecond response time

For screen recordings you just can’t beat the Studio display, 5k looks way sharper than 4K.
I found screen recordings from the larger panel looked way softer as the pixels per inch is much lower,
105 ppi Vs 218 ppi on the Mac
So its a clear win for the Studio display if you do screen recording tutorials.

I game on the 42”
Metro Exodus makes use of Metal 3 graphics and the HDR looks stunning, gameplay is smooth, no stutters, I have everything on the highest settings

A few issues I have gaming.
Controllers, there’s only a few approved controllers
There’s a link to the controllers in the description
I bought an Xbox Elite Series 2,
In the settings Mac Game controllers see it, Metro
Exodus can use it.
Older games like Call of duty black ops 3 just won’t work with it
Been into Steam settings and nothing seems to solve it.
Hopefully they will fix this in future updates

Which Mac Should you go for ?
Video and Photo editors
Save your money, go for the M1Max, 64GB

If your Disney Pixar, do 3D modelling, intensive visual fx or have loads of extra cash then go for the M1 Ultra.

GPU cores
from what I’ve seen in benchmarks adding more GPU cores doesn’t really make a big difference right now.
This may change as software gets optimised

1TB storage should be the bare minimum, add external drives if you need more space
If I could go back in time id order the 2TB
Once you start installing lots of applications and games, they eat through the storage.
Metro Exodus was around 86 GB, Call of Duty Black Ops3 112GB!
If your last computer was 1TB double the storage and get 2TB
There are plenty of ports for extra storage, the 4TB Samsung SSD is worth it for video and photo editing

Let me know in the comments which one your thinking of buying

Overall its a fantastic machine for content creators, im planning to keep mine for 2-3 years then upgrade to a newer model like an M3Max or M4Max
Will buy more storage next time too.
This machine has reduced editing time, speeds up day to day tasks.
I do get more done in less time so its totally worth buying a Mac Studio