‘Mac Studio has extra SSD slot, but is not upgradable’ – update

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Apple’s Mac Studio desktop has an additional SSD slot, but users cannot replace the SSD themselves or add additional storage to their system. That’s what a youtuber notices. This may change at a later date, but that has not been confirmed.

Recently it appeared a teardown video from Max Tech that the Mac Studio does not have a soldered SSD, unlike other Mac systems with an Apple M1 soc. Instead, the desktop has two slots in which SSDs can be placed, although these are difficult to reach.

Youtuber Luke Mianic tried to remove the ssd in his Mac Studio, format it and then put it in the second ssd slot of another Mac Studio. The Mac seemed to recognize the SSD, but the status LED flashed an emergency Morse code and the system wouldn’t boot. Then Miani tried to move the original SSD from that Mac Studio to the second SSD slot, but that didn’t work either. In that case, the system did not seem to recognize the SSD at all. This shows that the Mac Studio cannot boot from the second SSD slot and that users cannot install an additional SSD in it, even if it comes from another Mac Studio.

The notification on the Apple website and the ssd of the Mac Studio. Images: Apple, Luke Mianic

Not surprisingly, the Mac Studio isn’t upgradable. Apple writes on its website that users “cannot access the storage area of ​​the Mac Studio.” Asahi Linux Developer Hector Martin writes on Twitter that the SSD controller is still incorporated in the M1 soc, despite the fact that the flash memory modules are now interchangeable. Presumably, the SSD is therefore not replaceable by users.

Presumably, Apple has made the SSDs mainly interchangeable to simplify repairs compared to soldered storage. Apple repairers will presumably have software that allows them to make a new SSD suitable for use in a Mac Studio. It is also possible that Apple later gives users the option to add their own SSDs to their Mac Studio, by selling suitable SSD modules themselves. The company previously did this with the Mac Pro from 2019. Initially, it was not possible to install your own SSD in that system, but Apple started later. SSD kits of up to 8TB that were compatible with the Mac Pro and its T2 security chip.

Apple announced the Mac Studio in early March. It is a desktop PC that can be equipped with an M1 Max or M1 Ultra soc. In addition, users can provide the system with a maximum of 64 or 128 GB of RAM, depending on the chosen soc. In terms of storage, Apple offers a maximum of an 8TB SSD with speeds of up to 7.4GB/s. The Mac Studio was released on March 18 and costs 2329 to 9229 euros.

Update, 1:54 PM: Asahi Linux developer Hector Martin notes that the SSD controller is still embedded in the M1 soc, despite the flash memory modules now being interchangeable. Presumably, the SSD is therefore not replaceable by users. This has been added to the article.

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