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Why the M1 Ultra version of the Mac Studio is so heavy

The M1 Ultra Mac Studio weighs 2 pounds more than the M1 Max Mac Studio, and that’s reportedly due entirely to the extra cooling. Eagle-eyed viewers of Apple’s first event of the year noticed that the two devices shared the same housing, but the M1 Ultra variant was a whopping 2 pounds heavier.

Some thought the discrepancy may be due to the overall size difference between the SoCs. The M1 Ultra, after all, is basically two M1 Max chips glued together.

Apple Mac Studio showing the ports on back and grill.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

However, in an email to The Verge, Apple confirmed that the weight discrepancy isn’t from the chipset, but in the material used for the heatsink. According to the email, they have the same 370-watt power supply, but the additional weight in the M1 Ultra is due to a “larger copper thermal module.” The M1 Max, on the other hand, uses a lighter aluminum heatsink.

Aluminum heatsinks are popular because they are lightweight and soak up heat moderately well. Copper is better at absorbing heat, but the material is notably heavier and more expensive. That more than explains the weight difference between the two. It even helps explain some of the cost differences between the two variants.

The fans are so strong they push down on the weighing scale !

— Santiago Lema (@blackjack75) March 9, 2022

The Mac Studio — in some form or another — was one of the expected announcements from the Apple Peek Performance event. While rumors of the name and form factor didn’t appear until very recently, reporting on a “Mac Mini Pro” had been circulating for a while.

The Mac Studio comes paired with either an M1 Max or the new M1 Ultra chip. The Max variant can be configured up to 64GB of unified memory and an 8TB SSD, and it starts at $1,999. The M1 Ultra option can be configured up to 128GB of unified memory and 8TB SSD, and it starts at $3,999.

Apple also announced the new iPad Air, the new iPhone SE, as well as the new Studio Display. Apple isn’t quite finished with M1 yet, and they teased that an announcement for the Mac Pro is some time in the near future.

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Caleb Clark
Caleb Clark is a full-time writer that primarily covers consumer tech and gaming. He also writes frequently on Medium about…
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