THE DAILY ENCRYPT

October 4, 2022

The Apple Mac Studio might be modular after all

Apple isn’t known for making upgradeable computers, but the Mac Studio might be the exception....
photo of outer space
Photo by NASA

Apple recently announced the Mac Studio, its latest foray into making insanely powerful desktop computers aimed squarely at creatives, and it seems like users are in for a treat: upgradeable storage. 

Now, don’t get too excited if you pre-ordered a Mac Studio: Apple still officially says that the desktop doesn’t have “user-accessible storage”, so plan accordingly when you’re configuring your machine. 

But a teardown video from Max Tech shows that the Mac Studio comes with two SSD ports buried deep inside the machine, hinting at the option to upgrade.  

Mac Studio storage

There is more good news, too. In the video, the SSD ports seem relatively easy to access without having to disassemble the whole device. The ports are located beneath the power supply and seem relatively easy to access. 

The Mac Pro, the other pro desktop that Apple offers now that the iMac Pro is (hopefully temporarily) off the table, has upgradeable storage, but the Mac Studio is closely physically to the Mac mini – well, two Mac minis stacked – and so it isn’t surprising that Apple went in a non-upgradeable direction. 

Good news for pros

Apple has a somewhat complicated relationship with its most pro user base, after years of false starts and failing to listen to what users actually want (eg, ports on the front). 

The Studio is a clear commitment to change this, however, and even includes two USB-A ports (yes, not USB-C) on the back for legacy accessories, after feedback from users. 

Underpinning the Studio is the new M1 Ultra chip (or M1 Max, depending on your budget) which is essentially two M1 Max chips fused together using a process Apple calls UltraFusion. 

The M1 Ultra offers, which is only available in the Studio right now (likely due to heat displacement reasons), comes with 20 CPU cores, 48 GPU cores, and a 32-core Neural Engine. In other words, the thing is a beast and absolutely rips through most workloads. 

News that the SSDs can be swapped out will be welcome to anyone seriously considering a Studio, too, given that Apple charges between $400 and $2,200 to upgrade from 2TB to 8TB. 

These are the best workstations around – powerful PCs for professionals

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