I just got my hands on the base model M2 Max Mac Studio, and while I haven’t had the time to do detailed noise and temperature testing yet, I want to give you my first impressions of the idle noise levels.
M1 Mac Studio Issues
When Apple released the first generation Mac Studio, it turned out to be one of the noisiest Macs at idle for 2 reasons. First, the default idle fan speeds were set to be high enough to be audible, and Apple made this clear in their official specs listing the Mac Studio idle noise at 15 decibels compared to the Mac mini’s idle noise at 5 decibels. The idle fan speed was locked at around 1300 rpm, although fan control software allows you to lower it, making it much quieter, or even shut it off entirely if you wanted.
On the M2 Max Mac Studio, Apple has addressed this issue by setting the idle fan speed to 1000 rpm by default. I noticed the difference in noise levels immediately upon booting the machine. At 1000 rpm, I can hear the Mac Studio making an extremely soft whirling noise if I put my ear up to the machine. At about 1 foot away, the noise is almost imperceptible. At around 2 feet away, I can’t hear it above the ambient noise in my room.
The other problem reported with the first-gen Mac Studio launch was a high-pitched whining noise. So does the M2 Mac Studio whine? This is more tricky to answer since not all units may experience it, and some ears may be more sensitive than others. From my unit, I can hear a very faint buzzing if I put my ear up close to it. It’s hard to tell if its coil whine or just part of the fan noise though, and I can’t hear it from 1-2 feet away.
Some users have reported getting M2 Mac Studio units with no whine as well, so we’ll see what happens as more reports come in.
So far, the idle noise of the M2 Mac Studio is far superior to the M1 Mac Studio. I’ll need to do further testing to see how it holds up under load.