As an Amazon Associate we may earn from qualifying purchases made via links on our website.

As an Amazon Associate we may earn from qualifying purchases made via links on our website.

HomeAppleMacBook Pro vs Mac Studio: which one is worth buying

MacBook Pro vs Mac Studio: which one is worth buying

If you need a powerful and compact Mac, you’ll likely choose between the MacBook Pro (M3 Pro or M3 Max) and the Mac Studio. They offer similar performance and can handle any task you might want from your Mac. However, in its highest configuration, the Mac Studio is slightly more powerful and expensive, while the MacBook Pro is more versatile and has a better GPU.

So, which one should you pick? There’s no definite answer to this. It broadly falls into the “It depends” category. Let’s explore what each of these computers offers and their pros and cons. This way, you can better understand which one to choose for your specific needs.

Tech Specs Comparison

To start, let’s compare their technical specs and proceed from there. I’ll compare only the MacBook Pro with the M3 Pro and M3 Max chips and the Mac Studio. This is because the standard M3 significantly underperforms compared to the Mac Studio and is less expensive. These are computers from different segments.

SpecsMac StudioMacbook Pro
Chip Apple M2 Max chip or Apple M2 Ultra chipApple M3 Pro chip or
Apple M3 Max chip
CPU Up to 24-CoreUp to 16-Core
GPU Up to 76-CoreUp to 40-Core
RAMUp to 192 GBUp to 128 GB
Storage Up to 8 TBUp to 8 TB
Battery life18 Hours (14 inch) or 22 Hours (16 inch)
DisplayLiquid Retina XDR display with 3456 by 2234 pixels resolution. Size 16.2-inch or 14-inch
SizeHeight 3.7 inches (9.5 cm)
Width 7.7 inches (19.7 cm)
Depth 7.7 inches (19.7 cm)
Weight 5.9 pounds (2.7 kg) M2 Max; 7.9 pounds (3.6 kg) M2 Ultra
Height 0.66 inch (1.68 cm)
Width 14.01 inches (35.57 cm)
Depth 9.77 inches (24.81 cm)
Weight 4.7 pounds (2.14 kg) M3 Pro; 4.8 pounds (2.16 kg) M3 Max
Ports4 Thunderbolt ports (USB-C), 2 USB-A, 2 USB-C, HDMI, 10Gb Ethernet, SDXC card slot2 or 3 Thunderbolt ports (USB-C), HDMI, SDXC card slot, MagSave charging port
WirelessWi-Fi 6E (802.11ax) and Bluetooth 5.3Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax) and Bluetooth 5.3
Price (cheapest)$1,999$1,999
Price (most expensive)$8,799$7,199

Desktop or laptop?

The main difference between the MacBook Pro and Mac Studio is their form factors. The MacBook is a laptop, while the Mac Studio is a mini desktop computer. This means you’ll need to buy a monitor, keyboard, and mouse separately for the Mac Studio. On the other hand, the MacBook works right out of the box and doesn’t require additional accessories.

The Macbook comes in two variants, with a 14-inch or 16-inch screen. It is a Liquid Retina XDR screen with a native resolution of 3024×1964. It has a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio and an HDR peak brightness of 1,600 nits. This is an excellent screen for color work in photos or videos. However, you can connect an external monitor and keyboard to your MacBook and use it like a desktop computer. It’s worth noting that the MacBook Pro has fewer ports, so you can’t connect as many monitors to it as you can with the Mac Studio.

The key question is: do you work away from home?

If yes, then a MacBook is suitable for you. You can either make it your desktop computer by connecting external devices or take it with you to Starbucks. Depending on the model, it can last from 18 to 22 hours on a single charge. This offers more flexibility, but it means accepting that it will take up more space on your desk and could be slightly noisier under heavy load.

If you only work from home and don’t take your work outside, the Mac Studio is the better choice. It’s compact and fits well into any interior. Plus, it’s quieter and has more ports for peripherals. If you need a purely home-based work device, the Mac Studio is the best option.

Performance comparison

Regarding performance, the MacBook with the M3 Pro is roughly equivalent to the Mac Studio with the M2 Max, and the MacBook with the M3 Max is about as powerful as the Mac Studio with the M2 Ultra. However, it’s worth noting that the Mac Studio will still be more powerful in most scenarios. Similar configurations might even be cheaper, but remember that you’ll need to purchase a monitor for the Mac Studio.

You can buy configurations with varying numbers of cores, RAM, and storage amounts. The Mac Studio can also be upgraded to 192 GB of RAM, while the MacBook Pro maxes out at 128 GB. Both computers offer up to 8 TB of SSD storage. The technical specifications above detail the available options.

It’s important to note that the M2 Ultra chip is currently the most powerful in the Mac lineup. The M3 Max is slightly less powerful. For instance, the maximum memory bandwidth of the M2 Ultra is 800GB/s, while the M3 Max only reaches up to 400GB/s. Even the top configurations have fewer cores than the M2 Ultra. However, the real-world performance difference between them is about 10% in favor of the Mac Studio. Below, you will find several benchmarks.

BenchmarkMacbook Pro M3 Max 16CPU / 40GPU / 128GB / 8TB 128GB / 8TB
Mac Studio (M2 Ultra)
Geekbench 6 CPU Multi2124021397
Geekbench 6 CPU Single31802633
Geekbench 6 GPU Open CL91480129340
Geekbench 6 CPU Metal156095224120
XCode Benchmark70 sec61 sec
PugetBench for Premiere Pro890960
4K export (Premiere Pro)1 min 30 sec1 min

The MacBook Pro supports hardware ray tracing with its M3 Max or M3 Pro. This can be useful for graphics and gaming. You’re unlikely to push these computers to their limits in everyday tasks, so know that they are roughly equally powerful and complete similar tasks with only a few seconds difference.

Connectivity comparison

Another essential aspect to consider when choosing a Mac is connectivity options. Both the Mac Studio and MacBook Pro have Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3. However, things are a bit different when it comes to wired connections. Since the MacBook Pro is a thin ultrabook, it has fewer ports. On it, you’ll find a MagSafe charging port, an HDMI port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, an SDXC card slot, and 2 or 3 (depending on size) Thunderbolt / USB 4 (USB-C) ports. So, you’ll likely need adapters to connect multiple accessories with the MacBook.

On the other hand, the Mac Studio offers an abundance of ports. You will find: Four Thunderbolt 4 ports (M2 Max) or six Thunderbolt 4 ports (M2 Ultra), two USB-A ports, two USB-C ports, an HDMI port, a 10Gb Ethernet port, and an SDXC card slot. Therefore, the Mac Studio is a better fit if you want to set up a home system with multiple monitors, wired internet, and an external keyboard and mouse. You won’t need to buy additional adapters for it.


The Mac Studio and MacBook Pro basic models are priced similarly, but configurations with additional features can differ by several hundred dollars. In this case, the Mac Studio tends to be more expensive. On Apple’s website, you’ll see that the basic version of the Mac Studio with the M2 Max is priced at $1,999, the same as the basic 14-inch MacBook Pro with the M3 Pro.

Meanwhile, the basic 16-inch MacBook Pro with the M3 Pro is $2,499. Remember that the Mac Studio doesn’t come with any accessories. You’ll spend the difference on a keyboard, mouse, and monitor. If you buy a monitor of the same quality as the MacBook Pro, the entire Mac Studio setup will be much more expensive.

The situation changes a bit with the MacBook Pro with M3 Max. Its price starts at $3,199 for the 14-inch version. In contrast, the Mac Studio with M2 Ultra starts at $3,999. It’s important to note that the Mac Studio offers more RAM (64 GB vs. 36 GB) and a more powerful processor for this price. However, to get 64 GB of RAM in a 16-inch MacBook Pro, you’ll have to pay around $4,100.

You can’t compare prices directly as everything is dependent on configuration. Mac Studio or MacBook Pro price depends greatly on your internal specifications. For instance, you can increase storage or RAM, and each upgrade will cost a few more hundred dollars. You can go to Apple’s website and find the configuration that best suits your needs. You will also have to pay extra for additional cores in the CPU and GPU. The most expensive Mac Studio can cost up to $8,799, while the highest-end MacBook Pro can reach $7,199. So, the more influential the computer, the more expensive it will be.

Which one you need?

As I mentioned at the beginning, “It depends.” Whether you need a Mac Studio or MacBook Pro primarily hinges on how you use your computer. If you want maximum power, are going to use external monitors, and don’t plan to move your Mac around, then the Mac Studio is your choice. It’s one of the best computers you can buy for demanding tasks. However, it will cost more than the MacBook Pro, and you’ll need to purchase external accessories.

If you’re looking for a cheaper option that is still powerful enough and mobile (or if you don’t plan to set up a “desktop setup”), then the MacBook Pro is for you. In terms of performance, it will likely suffice, as it remains one of the highest-end computers on the market. Additionally, you have the advantage of portability and the ability to work without being plugged in. The downside is that you must purchase various adapters and additional cables.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related articles