iFixit Tears Down Mac Studio and Studio Display
iFixit today disassembled Apple's new M1 Max Mac Studio, giving us a first glimpse at the components inside the machine. This is not iFixit's traditional, more detailed teardown, which has not yet been published, but it does provide a few interesting details about the Mac Studio.
"If Apple squeezed a Mac Pro into a Mac mini, you'd get something that looks a lot like the new [Mac Studio]," iFixit said, describing the internals of the machine.
An earlier teardown found that the Mac Studio's SSD is not soldered and can be removed, which iFixit confirmed, but it's still not clear if upgrades are possible. iFixit found a spare slot on the logic board and attempted to put the SSD from a second Mac Studio into the empty slot, but couldn't get it working. Swapping drives of the same capacity between machines did, however, work.
Time to find out if this modular storage is actually upgradeable. After a lot of testing, some of it interrupted by Apple's server issues, we actually have some definitive answers. We popped this stick into another base model Mac Studio's empty slot, but Configurator kept giving us DFU restore errors. No matter the configuration, we haven't gotten two base model drives to boot in a single machine.
However, when we swapped the spare Studio's drive for the one in the teardown unit and used Configurator to do a DFU restore, it worked. Storage swaps are possible, at least between two drives of the same size, but jury's still out on upgrades.
Unlike storage, RAM is built-in, which means memory upgrades to the Mac Studio won't be possible after purchase.
The M1 Max Mac Studio features a massive heatsink with a dual-fan assembly, and the fans are "so much more massive than other Mac fans," according to iFixit. The site also said the heatsink "positively dwarfs the M1" with more than six times the weight.
The internals of the Mac Studio are complicated with brackets, connectors, and torx screws, which impacts repairability and user accessibility. iFixit praised the modular ports and the heat management system, but wasn't pleased with the buried fans, potentially non-upgradeable storage, and baked-in RAM. The Mac Studio earned an iFixit repairability score of 6 out of 10. It's a "worthy successor to the Mac mini, but isn't quite ready for the pros," said the site.
iFixit also took a quick look inside the Studio Display, and it turns out the internals look a whole lot like an iMac. The webcam in the Studio Display is similar to the camera in the iPhone 11, but iFixit didn't have much more to say about the Studio Display at this time as a more in-depth teardown is coming in the near future.