Macs in Chemistry

Insanely Great Science

Mac Studio

Which Mac to buy June 2023?

I’m looking to upgrade my old cylindrical MacPro and I was waiting for WWDC23 to see what the Pro line might have to offer and the new lineup of desktop Macs is interesting.

Since I already have a monitor etc. I’m not interested in the iMac so it is a choice between Mac mini, MacPro or Mac Studio there is a nice comparison tool on the Apple website. All are available with different versions of the new M2 chip.


Whilst the Mac mini only has the M2 or M2 Pro, the Mac Studio and MacPro have the M2 Ultra or M2 max (Mac Studio only).

Looking at the maxed out configurations, the Mac Studio and the MacPro offer the same configurations.


Both have 24-core CPU with 16 performance cores and 8 efficiency cores, up to 76-core GPU, a 32-core Neural Engine, and 800GB/s memory bandwidth. They both offer up to 192 GB of unified memory and 8TB of storage.

The Mac Studio weighs in at 3.6 kg whilst the MacPro is 16.9 Kg. The MacPro does also come in a rack mounted option.

The MacPro does come with double the connectivity options Dual 10GB ethernet, Eight Thunderbolt 4 (USB‑C) ports and 2 HDMI ports, and of course the MacPro has seven PCI Express expansion slots (six available slots; one slot with Apple I/O card installed).

In the UK the maxed out Mac Studio costs just under £9,000 the MacPro £12,000. Much as I love the look of the MacPro I don’t need the extra connectivity and expansion slots so I think I’ll be getting a Mac Studio.

It will be interesting to compare performance with other Apple silicon machines.


Mac Studio


So the Apple event revealed the new Apple Mac Studio, a double hight Mac mini, when combined with the new M1 Ultra chip this small enclosure appears to deliver really impressive performance.


The M1 Ultra is an evolution of the M1max chip that uses "UltraFusion" technology to fuse two M1 Max chips together, resulting in a huge processor that offers 16 high-performance CPU cores, 4 efficiency cores, a 48- or 64-core integrated GPU, and support for up to 128GB of RAM, 800GB/s of memory bandwidth and a 32-core Neural Engine.

Whilst Apple gave the usual performance tests based on video editing I'm not sure they give a realistic measure of performance for scientific applications.

I've been looking at a variety of different application/toolkits/python scripts etc. on my MacBook Pro M1 max here , and if anyone has a chance to test scientific software on the M1Ultra I'd be happy to include the results.