The iFixit guys have finally managed to put … The screwdrivers on the brand new Mac Studio, so that everyone can find out how it is assembled – and above all how to fix it. There’s a mix of good and bad news. Let’s start with the “hottest” topic, that is the SSD: it is removable, and there is even an empty slot in the logic board. But apparently there are major limitations on the type of upgrades that can be carried out.
Effectively, it seems that you can not help but replace the original SSD with one of the same size: If you try to fill the empty slot with another Mac Mini’s SSD, it inevitably returns initialization errors and the disk remains impossible to use. No success even for attempts to upgrade to a larger size (or a smaller one, for that matter).
It is difficult at this stage to determine if it is a hardware or software problem, and if Apple will decide to intervene in some way on the matter. Another YouTuber, Luke Miani, said he spoke to some Genius Bar specialists at an Apple Store, who said they the module must be coupled with a tool accessible to technicians only in case of repair, which would mean that the upgrade is not possible – at least it is not expected. While we are on the subject: RAM is categorically impossible to increase, since it is integrated directly into the SoC.
For the rest, taking apart a Mac Studio is not very difficult. It is basically held all together by interlocking screws and connectors. Interesting to observe that all doors are modular – if they break, they can be replaced almost individually; the large heatsink is made of aluminum in the version with the M1 Max chip, while in the M1 Ultra we switch to copper, which improves the dissipation efficiency and increases the overall weight of the machine by as much as 1 kg. In support we find a double blower fan, also nice big. It’s not that easy to get to – you have to take apart a lot of other components first – and so it might be tricky to get the dust out of it.
iFixit has also begun to dismantle the Studio Display, which Apple launched at the same time as the Mac Studio; the video shows only a quick teaser, but it is interesting to observe very high similarities to an … iMac, nothing less. There are even two fans for active heat dissipation (keep in mind that the monitor is also equipped with an Apple A13 Bionic chip). The video therefore confirms what MacRumors has discovered very recently.
Overall though, Mac Studio gets a repairability score of 6 out of 10.