M1 Ultra Mac Studio vs. M1 Max MacBook Pro

If you've been wondering how the top-end Mac Studio compares to the highest-end MacBook Pro, look no further, because we have a real-world usage comparison that doesn't rely solely on benchmarks. Over on YouTube, MacRumors videographer Dan tested both machines with his real world workflow.


Dan has been using the M1 Max MacBook Pro to edit the MacRumors videos since it came out, and it has met and exceeded his expectations and needs. Obviously, the M1 Ultra does the same, but even for a professional video editor for a tech site, it may be a little bit too much machine for the price.

As a quick example, a standard 4K 10 minute video exported in 4 minutes and 50 seconds on the ‌M1 Max‌ MacBook Pro, and three minutes on the ‌M1 Ultra‌ ‌Mac Studio‌. An hour long podcast exported in 26 minutes on the MacBook Pro, and just over 14 minutes on the ‌M1 Ultra‌.

The ‌M1 Ultra‌ is definitely a time saver, but the ‌M1 Max‌ is already pretty good compared to prior Intel chips used in machines like the Mac Pro. In situations where money is no object, the ‌M1 Ultra‌ is a no brainer, but if budget is a concern, it's worth carefully considering the benefits you get with the ‌M1 Ultra‌ over the ‌M1 Max‌ in the MacBook Pro or the ‌Mac Studio‌.

As for form factor, the ‌Mac Studio‌ has far more ports with up to six Thunderbolt/USB-C ports and four USB-A ports, but you do get a decent number with the MacBook Pro, plus the MacBook Pro is obviously the winner when it comes to portability. Choosing between the MacBook Pro and the ‌Mac Studio‌ really comes down to your form factor needs unless you require the maximum power of the ‌M1 Ultra‌ for your workflow.

Make sure to watch Dan's full comparison to see both machines in action and to get his thoughts on how each form factor works for a videographer's workload.

Related Roundups: 14 & 16" MacBook Pro, Mac Studio
Related Forums: MacBook Pro, Mac Studio

Top Rated Comments

ThunderSkunk Avatar
9 months ago
I can't stop looking at the Gif gar on the shelf.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Bandaman Avatar
9 months ago

I can't stop looking at the Gif gar on the shelf.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
vagos Avatar
9 months ago

so for the love of god please can YouTube reviewers think outside their own world? The logic seems to be 'I make review videos, so all I need to look at is how good this hardware is for making videos'.
100% spot on.

What about 3D, image editing, coding, office work and so on and so on...
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ikramerica Avatar
9 months ago

I had no thought of going for anything other than the base model Max which arrived on Tuesday. It has exceeded my expectations compared to a gen 1 Mini M1 16 GB. Some things finish so quickly that my brain doesn't register that they are DONE for a few minutes haha

I also still happily use a 10th gen 13" i5 MBP for semi-heavier lifting and a couple of (sacrificial/sub-$300 Chromebooks for daily driver light/moderate duty).

Like you, never in 21 years of using Mac laptops has one been hot in my lap or ran with fans on for any length of time beyond when I was crushing I/O and processing to the max or during OS upgrades/updates occasionally. Also growing tired of benchmark obsessiveness along with battery runtime on laptops and mobile phones.

Didn't really need quite this much horsepower but figured that selling the M1 Mini (for what I paid it) made the step up to MiniMAXimus not so bad. Along with that came:

Huge performance gain (primarily with Docker development, Lightroom Classic and more mundane apps (no gaming here)
More PORTS and one's in front too :D
10 GB Ethernet
2x internal storage
2x RAM
Better multi-display support

The "always on" fan is hardly noticeable (my overhead LED lights make more noise in my super quiet basement office)
I do not believe you. Sorry

Had a 2 hr zoom meeting with my core i7 MBP yesterday on the desk on battery most of the way. Fans were quite loud by the end. For a zoom meeting. With no other programs running.

Intel MBPs get hot.

Which is why I love my M1 Pro 16”. It’s a paradigm shift of what a laptop can be.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HelloMikee Avatar
9 months ago

Can someone explain to me why saving 2 mins (or 10mins) in export time is a big deal? It's not like video editors export multiple times an hour (or even a day). 99% of time is spent editing. When it comes to export, does it really matter if a MacRumors (or any other) podcast or video comes out 10mins (or for that matter several hours) later?! Just seems like a meaningless benchmark. But every single review video goes (like this one) goes on endlessly about it. Is it just because it's easy to measure?

Also for the love of god please can YouTube reviewers think outside their own world? The logic seems to be 'I make review videos, so all I need to look at is how good this hardware is for making videos'. This is going to blow some people's minds but people do other things on laptops than make videos and play games.
Your field obviously doesn’t deal with deadlines. You’re asking YouTubers to think outside of their world, yet you’re not going beyond YouTubers when it comes to video export times. You do understand that more times than not, clients want it yesterday right?
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
johnsterdam Avatar
9 months ago
Can someone explain to me why saving 2 mins (or 10mins) in export time is a big deal? It's not like video editors export multiple times an hour (or even a day). 99% of time is spent editing. When it comes to export, does it really matter if a MacRumors (or any other) podcast or video comes out 10mins (or for that matter several hours) later?! Just seems like a meaningless benchmark. But every single review video goes (like this one) goes on endlessly about it. Is it just because it's easy to measure?

Also for the love of god please can YouTube reviewers think outside their own world? The logic seems to be 'I make review videos, so all I need to look at is how good this hardware is for making videos'. This is going to blow some people's minds but people do other things on laptops than make videos and play games.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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