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.

Related Roundup: Mac Studio
Tag: iFixit
Buyer's Guide: Mac Studio (Neutral)
Related Forum: Mac Studio

Top Rated Comments

Abazigal Avatar
9 months ago
M1 chips have never been upgradable, and people buy into them knowing that this is the price for the superior performance they receive as a result of its integrated design.

Till now, I still fail to see what all the uproar is about. It’s more like a “Okay, duly noted” and I feel it’s going to have absolutely zero impact on one’s purchasing decision.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GMShadow Avatar
9 months ago

but isn't quite ready for the pros
Pros don't work on their own machines. They use them, and replace when the time comes. Any issues are handled under warranty.

iFixit needs to adjust their definitions.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Crowbot Avatar
9 months ago
It looks to me that the entire chassis has to be removed to get to the fans for cleaning. This could be a serious maintenance issue.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jiminycricket Avatar
9 months ago

Pros don't work on their own machines. They use them, and replace when the time comes. Any issues are handled under warranty.

iFixit needs to adjust their definitions.
Most of the audio engineers I know don't replace their equipment until they absolutely have to, and they do upgrade them before they are likely to buy replacements. That's mainly because the majority of audio engineering work is no longer done in major studios, and instead is done in smaller 1-4 person operations where they are very cost conscious.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Danfango Avatar
9 months ago

The more I think about the Studio Display, the more I am disappointed in Apple. Typical Apple crappy software quality aside, it's a cheap move to capitalize on their years of ignored customer demand.

Is this the device Apple employees would want to buy in 2022 for $1,600, or would they want something different? Once upon a time, Apple made the products they wanted to use, not the ones the MBA product marketing people think they can get away with.
Um I bought one. I’d probably buy another one if I had enough room on my desk. It’s a really nice monitor.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BWhaler Avatar
9 months ago
The more I think about the Studio Display, the more I am disappointed in Apple. Typical Apple crappy software quality aside, it's a cheap move to capitalize on their years of ignored customer demand by offering dated technology.

Is this the device Apple employees would want to buy in 2022 for $1,600, or would they want something different? Once upon a time, Apple made the products they wanted to use, not the ones the MBA product marketing people think they can get away with.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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