The Apple Mac Studio has made plenty of headlines for its sheer power and performance, but it’s also made some potential buyers concerned due to its loud fan noise. After bringing its M1 chips to the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini, and iMac, the Mac Studio is the latest Mac to be graced with M1 goodness. It also stands out as one of the first new Mac categories in years. Sitting between the Mac mini and Mac Pro, the Mac Studio is a compact — yet powerful — computer that’s designed specifically with studio spaces in mind.
Along with its small body and generous port selection, the main draw to the Mac Studio is its horsepower. The computer comes with either an M1 Max or M1 Ultra chip. These are the two fastest M1 chips available today, thus making the Mac Studio one of the fastest Macs you can buy. An M1 Max Mac Studio can handle up to 9 streams of 8K ProRes video playback, has 57 billion transistors, and supports up to 11 trillion operations per second. The M1 Ultra chip doubles everything — cranking out up to 18 streams of 8K ProRes video, 114 billion transistors, and 22 trillion operations per second. In other words, these are two very powerful machines.
Related: Is The Mac Studio SSD Upgradable? Here’s Everything We Know
Those are all undoubtedly impressive numbers. But what happens when you cram so much power into a small 9.5 x 19.7 x 19.7 cm box? As you might expect, it means the Mac Studio has audible fan noise to keep the system cool. According to Apple‘s official specifications sheet, the Mac Studio emits 15dB of noise when idle and browsing the web. That’s 3x the noise of the M1 Mac mini’s 5dB noise output for the same tasks and 5x as loud as the M1 MacBook Air’s 3dB noise levels. The Mac Studio is also louder than Apple‘s 11dB rating for the Mac Pro.
The Mac Studio Is One Of The Loudest Macs Available
And the numbers become even more interesting when looking at third-party reports of Mac Studio fan noise. QuietMac claims that the Mac Studio’s fan noise reaches 25db when idle — just slightly lower than the 27dB of noise recorded from an idle Mac Pro. The Mac Studio was also recorded louder than the 24dB and 23dB ratings QuietMac got from the 2019 and 2017 versions of the 27-inch 5K iMac, respectively.
Similar reports from Mac Studio owners on the Apple Communities page reinforce the computer’s fan noise. Commenting on their M1 Max Mac Studio, user LiquidGabe said, “While much quieter than the large windows machine it is replacing I am very disappointed that the fan is always running. When I’m doing low power tasks such as browsing the web shouldn’t the system use the low-power cores and be silent? My M1 Air seems fine with that.” User Capalias said something similar, commenting, “Yes, it’s noisy. Not a lot but much than my iMac 27 5k. I’ve never heard my iMac since 2015 and the Studio is much present.”
Does the Mac Studio have loud fan noise? Relative to other M1 Macs, yes. The Mac Studio’s fan noise is constant when idle or browsing the web, and that’s also true if you’re doing more demanding tasks. But even at the loudest rating of 25dB, that means the Mac Studio’s fan is only slightly louder than leaves rustling or someone whispering from multiple feet away. It is one of the loudest Macs that Apple sells today, but it’s nothing that should seriously impede your workflow.