Tested the new Mac Studio: ‘It makes a kind of whistling sound’ | Tech

Apple’s new Mac Studio is an old-fashioned computer that you connect to a monitor, mouse, and keyboard. We’ve already tested it and listed five things that stood out.

Mac Studio is a surprisingly traditional computer for Apple. Where in the past desktop Macs were often a monitor and PC in one, this is ‘just’ a computer that you can connect to a monitor, mouse and keyboard.

This makes it easier to fit into the average home office. You can just connect it to the ergonomically set screen you already had and everything will work with your current mouse and keyboard.

Everything starts right away

Mac Studio runs on the M1 Max, a composite version of Apple’s first proprietary computer chip. Until 2020, the company used processors from the manufacturer Intel, but with the M1 series, the company has taken a completely different direction.

The difference is immediately apparent when you switch from an old Intel Mac to the new Mac Studio. Everything starts almost immediately: the login screen appears within a second, after which you are in your desktop environment with no appreciable waiting time. Almost every app starts there without you blinking your eyes.

At most, you will sometimes have to wait a while for heavy tasks, but they are also faster on the Mac Studio we tested than on an old Intel version of the MacBook.

Both new Apple products close by. © Apple

2. He always makes a little noise

Inside Mac Studio, there are fans that always blow the hot air out of the computer – even when no heavy processes are running. As a result, the computer constantly makes a small amount of noise, even though it is only noticeable in a dead quiet room. This is more often the case with desktops, although Windows PCs with the same compact form factor sometimes turn off the fan when the computer does not have to do anything heavy.

In addition, we have the idea that Mac Studio is also taller than, for example, a MacBook Pro. The shape of the case makes the acoustics look different from previous Macs, and sometimes it almost sounds like the computer is whistling very softly. Not a big deal, but good to know in advance.

It’s basically a MacBook Pro for a thousand dollars less

The cheapest models of Mac Studio have an M1 Max chip on the inside, which has also been previously added in the MacBook Pros. But if you try to buy a MacBook Pro with the same configuration, you will lose a good thousand euros more. With its price tag of 2329 euros, Mac Studio is not yet a budget machine, but it is a cheaper alternative for those who want Apple’s powerful processor.

The company also sells a Mac Studio with the new M1 Ultra – which actually consists of double the M1 Max glued together. For 4629 euros, a computer with that chip is many times more expensive, but in our opinion it is only relevant for professionals who have to perform insanely heavy work. The M1 Max is more than fast enough for most people.

4. The monitor also works with Windows computers

In addition to Mac Studio, Apple also sells Studio Display, a 27-inch screen with 5K resolution. In our test, it only worked in combination with Mac Studio, but according to the tech giant, an update is coming so that it can also be connected to other Macs.

And perhaps even more interesting: the screen will also work in combination with Windows computers. It was doubtful if that would be the case, because the screen with its built-in hardware and software seemed to be specific to the Mac. But a machine with Windows and probably even Linux can be connected, even if it depends on your hardware whether the 5K resolution can be used.

5. Center Stage is great for video calling, but not all apps work

Special software in the webcam ensures that the image is always correctly adjusted, so that you as a video call are always in the middle of the image. It works surprisingly well: Even if you go left or right, the webcam moves with you as if you had a personal cameraman.

But then your video calling software must support Center Stage. This is the case in, for example, Apple’s own FaceTime, but during conversations in Google Meet, the webcam remains motionless. And just then, the webcam is somewhat awkwardly adjusted: With us, there is a lot of space overhead, unless we maneuver the screen at an uncomfortable angle.

A video call with Center Stage (top) versus a call without (bottom).
A video call with Center Stage (top) versus a call without (bottom). © Bastiaan Vroegop

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