A YouTube video shows how a tough attempt to add a water cooling system to the Mac Studio ultimately doesn’t bring much of a performance boost.
Experienced PC builders know the benefits of water cooling, including the ability to provide better thermal conditions than air-based methods, the ability to improve chip performance, and noise reduction. In a video published on Monday, we find a similar process on Apple’s latest Mac Studio with an M1 Max processor.
Important work on the Mac Studio
The objective of Linus Tech Tips was to remove the existing cooling system from a Mac Studio, replace it with a water-cooled version, and thus obtain a more efficient computer. The channel had two identical Mac Studios, which allowed for a more direct and accurate comparison.
Replacing the Mac Studio’s cooling system seemed relatively straightforward, since the existing system consists of a heatsink and a large blower section taking up half the internal volume of the case. Removing the component was not difficult, but required disconnecting a proprietary connection that provided power.
After removing the heatsink and fans from a large section that contacts the M1 chip using tools ranging from heat guns to milling machines, a block of water was attached to the remaining plate.
To pump water around the system, numerous holes had to be drilled in the top of the Mac Studio’s aluminum casing, in order to route the cables and pipes. Due to the lack of space inside, most of the water cooling loop had to be placed outside the Mac Studio itself. The set is very unattractive, we grant you.
Since the channel mainly deals with gaming-oriented videos, RGB lighting has been incorporated into the water cooling system. The components Corsair were chosen for this because they have a control app that works on macOS.
After several days, including repeated disassembly and reassembly, the water-cooled Mac Studio finally worked. It was positioned next to a stock Mac Studio with the same specs.
© Linus Tech Tips
The results are mixed
On the plus side, the Mac Studio has been cooled by 30 degrees compared to the original. However, in Cinebench R23the water-cooled Mac Studio scored 12,056 while the standard model scored 12,016. is well below the margin of error of each benchmark.
The small change in performance was cited as being because the M1’s “turbo” is “really terrible”, but that ultimately doesn’t matter “because they are powerful and well cooled”.
Obviously, the process of adding a water cooling system is expensive and difficult, and issues generated by this process will not be covered by Apple’s warranty or AppleCare extension. Imagine the face of a Genius in the Apple Store…
Of course, even if the result had been more interesting, we do not recommend that you embark on such an adventure. Anyway, here’s the video: