Apple Silicon M1 Mac mini review - speed today and a promise of more later

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in Current Mac Hardware edited May 7
Apple's Apple Silicon M1 Mac mini is here, and it keeps nearly everything you liked about the last Intel Mac mini, making it an excellent machine for those new to the Mac.

Running the new Mac mini
Running the new M1 Mac mini


The Mac mini has always been used as a convenient entry into the Mac. So, mimicking a similar, but not identical, path that it took with the transition to Intel, Apple is using the existing housing to launch the Apple Silicon M1 Mac mini.

Before we go any further, the new Mac mini is still very much that Mac mini you know and love. The UI is responsive, and you get everything you got from that Mac mini purchase in November of 2018 in the November 2020 revamp. If you liked macOS Big Sur before, you'll like it here. If you didn't, there's nothing that the M1 Mac mini brings to the table other than speed to change that point of view.

Apple Silicon Mac mini - design

At first glance, there doesn't seem to be any real change in how the new Mac mini looks. From the front, sides, and top, there's no real indication that there's anything different with it at all. There's good reason for that because, as we discussed, it's the same aluminum enclosure, measuring 7.7 inches square and 1.4 inches deep.

The rear of the enclosure is different, though. Where the 2018 Intel Mac mini had four Thunderbolt 3 ports, you instead have a pair of USB4 ports which are compatible with Thunderbolt 3.

Ports on the rear of the new Mac mini
Ports on the rear of the new Mac mini


The most obvious indicator is Apple's switch from a space gray exterior back to silver. While this is still different from the previous model, you could again mistake it for the 2014 Mac mini, which used the same color -- if not for the vastly different I/O between the two models.

It is the same size that it has been since the enclosure redesign for Intel way back in 2010. It weighs roughly a third of a pound lighter than the 2018 model at 2.6 pounds, probably because the new motherboard occupies only about half of the internal volume that the 2018 model filled.

Much like the 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, Apple hasn't rocked the boat on design. It could have gone for a thinner casing if it wanted to or introduced a radical new overall design to better suit its self-designed processor, but it's kept things how they are -- for now.

We expect those changes in the next generation of Mac mini.

Apple Silicon Mac mini - Specs

The main changes, as you would expect, are internal. Gone is the Intel processor and the RAM, and in comes the M1, Apple's own system-on-chip design that introduces quite a few changes.

The Apple Silicon M1 is hard to directly compare to an Intel chip. It is a chip that considerably boosts the core count, from between four cores and six cores on the previous Intel models to eight computing cores. Apple elected to mix four high-efficiency cores with four high-performance cores, with different cores used depending on the workload to save on power and temperature generation.

This is a feature that primarily benefits portable MacBooks with more constrained internals and thermal management. In the Mac mini, it allows it to run cool and very nearly completely silent.

Of course, it can also use all eight cores together for extremely high workloads if required, and given it's a desktop Mac with better built-in cooling than a MacBook Air, it can handle those loads with a lot more grace. More on that in a bit.

Apple doesn't make a big deal about clock speed in Apple Silicon, and it probably never will. The M1 is also offered in just one variant that clocks in at 3.2GHz at most. Before, you had the choice of three 8th-generation Intel processors, consisting of a 3.6GHz quad-core Core i3, a 3.0Ghz 6-core Core i5, and a 3.2GHz 6-core Core i7.

Mac mini doesn't look much different
The new 2020 Mac mini doesn't look much different


Apple also fitted the M1 with some extra tricks that Intel's processors simply do not have. Leveraging its mobile chip know-how, Apple has included the 16-core Neural Engine, with its headline 11 trillion calculations per second performance, which will assist with tasks that could benefit from machine learning.

There's also the added eight-core GPU, again one of Apple's own design, which Apple claims is multiple times faster than previous integrated graphics systems it used in the Mac mini.

While faster, the GPU cannot handle as many monitors as its predecessor. The previous three-monitor capability has been limited down to two. Without external hardware solutions using the historically fragile DisplayMate drivers, you can connect up to a 6K screen using Thunderbolt and a single 4K screen via HDMI 2.0.

There's been some screaming about this already. While it is a step-down from Intel models, the Mac mini is mostly going to be used by folks with one monitor, with two being the exception. Multiple-external monitor support we expect in a future M-series Apple Silicon chip, so we don't think it's an inherent limitation to the entire chip family, but rather, just the M1.

If you really want a third monitor, you can work around the limitation with Sidecar.

Lastly, there's the introduction of unified memory, which embeds the Mac mini's RAM within the design of the chip itself. On the performance side of things, this enables Apple to use one single pool of memory for its various SoC elements to access, without needing to waste resources by duplicating data to separate discrete pools. This comes at the cost of the return of slotted RAM to the 2018 Mac mini after a four-year absence from the line.

Upgradeability may be dealt with later on in an Apple Silicon Mac Pro or similar, but for the latter, you're limited to either 8GB of memory or 16GB. Buy what you need for the lifetime of the machine at purchase.

This is also something that's induced some Internet drama. We admit that this may be an issue for power users who say that they need the 32GB or 64GB of memory supported in the Intel Mac mini. The target market will find 16GB to be more than enough for the lifetime of this machine. Said power users might want to wait for further developments.

Storage options remain unchanged from the previous model, with users able to equip the Mac mini with a 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or a 2TB SSD.

Apple Silicon - Impacts on Apps

Obviously, making such a significant change to the processor will force further changes on the software side. For Apple, this has led to it making macOS Big Sur into an operating system that can handle both Intel and Apple Silicon, and that forces developers to make some choices.

Developers can create their apps in three ways: for Intel-based Macs, for Apple Silicon, or as a Universal app that holds binaries for both. For apps made for Intel Macs, they are still usable in the M1 Mac mini, but using Rosetta 2, the macOS Big Sur translator that interprets the app in a way that will work with Apple Silicon.

This will impact any Intel-only apps with a bit of a performance hit compared to their Apple Silicon-based counterparts, which users will notice. Until developers create Universal apps or Apple Silicon-only versions, the offerings will be subjected to Rosetta 2's translation.

And, like in the last two transitions, there are some growing pains with un-updated software. During the course of this review, we discovered that Adobe Acrobat DC, Box Drive, the current version of Microsoft Edge, and others just don't work under Rosetta. But, no pun intended, the failures are the edge cases, and compatibility is the norm.

Regarding running that iPad or iPhone software on your Mac, this still needs to shake out a bit. Since we started looking at the Mac mini, we've had software fall off the "can run on Mac" compatibility list, and some get added. This is a decision that's up to the developer, and we don't begrudge them that choice -- but today, don't count on what you have just working while they figure things out from a marketing, financial, and execution standpoint.

Apple Silicon M1 performance

Apple claims vast improvements in the M1 versus Intel, and they aren't wrong about it. These improvements have clearly already manifested itself when you look at earlier attempts to benchmark the M1 against everything else.

Geekbench single-core benchmark


For GeekBench, our single-core result of 1688 is far and away higher than the 1100 that the fastest 2018 Intel Mac Mini can produce under the same test. It's the same story when you look at the multi-core result of 7361, which again dwarfs the 5470 achieved by the Intel Core i7 counterpart.

Geekbench multi-core benchmark


Geekbench is a good indicator of general computing loads, and the M1 Mac mini edges out the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro that were released in parallel.

It isn't just about CPU performance, though, and those eight GPU cores in the M1 apply across native and M1-native software. Using the GFXBench 5.0 benchmark, we ran a series of the "Aztec Ruins" benchmark at 1080p, with offscreen rendering not limiting results to a monitor sync. Where our 2018 Mac mini with i7 processor delivered 29.5 frames per second in the test, the 2020 Apple Silicon M1 Mac mini delivered 204.5 in both Rosetta and natively. The proportionality remained the same between the benchmarks as the resolution increased.

GFXBench Aztec Ruins benchmark


While this isn't a direct comparison, the M1 GPU in the Mac mini is roughly equivalent to a Radeon 570 in an eGPU enclosure across all the testing we performed.

Another good measure of system "grunt" and heat offload are Handbrake renders. Version 1.4 of Handbrake contains beta support for the M1 processor natively and will fully utilize all of the hardware acceleration that the new processor can bring to bear.

This is where the thermal environment of the Mac mini versus the MacBook Air really makes a difference. Our test video that we've used before is a 4 minute and 12 second long 1.49GB master file, with a resolution of 3840x2160, and a color profile of 1-1-1, with a two-channel stereo mix. We've selected an encoder using Apple's VideoToolkit, and upped the bitrate to 18,000 kilobits per second. No other transformations are being performed on the video, and resolution is maintained.

The 2018 Mac mini with i3 processor took 3 minutes and 32 seconds to transcode. The MacBook Air with M1 and 7 GPU cores took 2 minutes and 16 seconds -- with the same video on the 2019 entry-level MacBook Air taking 8 minutes and 4 seconds.

Handbrake transcode benchmarks


The 2020 Mac mini beat them all and took 1 minute and 16 seconds. While some of this speed difference between the M1 Mac mini and the M1 MacBook Air is because that Air at the low-end has seven GPU cores versus the eight in the Mac mini, most of it is from the improved thermal environment in the Mac mini, given that the same video processed on the eight GPU core version took 2 minutes and 1 second to transcode.

In regards to SSD speed, the 2020 M1 Apple Silicon Mac mini handily beats the 2018 models with the equivalent SSD size, and is about the same as the larger capacities of the older model. In testing performed on a newly Apple Silicon-native version of BlackMagic's Disk Speed Test on November 29, well after this review was originally published, The 256GB storage model delivered 2300 megabytes per second write speed, and 2900 megabytes per second write.

Connectivity Options

One of the few externally-visible changes for the model are the ports on the rear, with Apple changing not only the number available but also their specifications.

Returning from the previous model are the HDMI 2.0 port and the pair of USB-A ports and the power connection, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a power button. These are identical to the last Intel generation of the model, with no improvements.

The chief change on the back are the Thunderbolt 3 ports, with Apple pruning the number from four to two. Also, these two ports are USB4 connections that have support for Thunderbolt 3, as well as USB 3.1 Gen 2, DisplayPort, and earlier Thunderbolt connections via adapters. The ports are as speedy as they were in the 2018 Mac mini.

The standard 2018 Mac mini has a Gigabit Ethernet port, which this certainly matches. Absent from the 2020 model is an option to upgrade to a 10Gb Ethernet port. There are rumors that the M1 Mac mini may gain 10 Gigabit Ethernet in the future, but at launch it just doesn't have it.

No Upgrades

One of the big problem areas for the Mac mini is that it is not possible to upgrade the components inside it at all.

For previous models, it was possible to change some elements inside of the Mac mini to improve its performance. For the 2018 Mac mini, you could carefully extract the components and replace the RAM but not the internal drive, while the 2014 Mac mini offered the chance to replace the hard drive with a new SSD -- but not the RAM.

In 2020, the Mac mini doesn't give either option. The RAM and SSD are part of the M1 system-on-chip, which means they cannot be replaced by users at all, with upgrades effectively requiring a wholesale exchange of the Mac mini to get a better SoC configuration.

The inability to upgrade the parts means it is more important to consider what options to have for each at the time of purchase, since they cannot be adjusted down the line. There's no option to avoid Apple's notoriously high-priced RAM options here by buying upgrades separately.

Nearly every end user of the Mac mini doesn't care about this now, and won't care about this going forward at all.

The M1 Mac mini is powerful
The M1 Mac mini is powerful


Short of buying a new Mac mini outright, the only other way for users to "upgrade" it is through USB of some flavor, or more likely using Thunderbolt 3 for speed. But even so, like we said, an eGPU isn't an option -- but again, that's not something that most care about.

The move from being an upgradable device to one that cannot has been a shift Apple has been making for quite a few years, with the assorted Mac portable lines having gone down that route ages ago. Logically, the Mac mini would go down the same route. Still, anyone wanting to change components now has to look towards the more expensive end of the Mac spectrum and will have to wait for a future Apple Silicon machine that may never arrive.

Big power, little case

As the 2018 Mac mini was before it, the 2020 Apple Silicon M1 Mac mini is an impressively powerful machine. It will only get more powerful as software is optimized for the new architecture.

As we've said a few times lately, and a few more times across the last few years, Apple Silicon will roll out at the lower end first. Those machines don't always appeal to the "Pro" user, nor a good portion of the main AppleInsider audience because of real or perceived limitations.

This time around, for that "Pro" user, there are some tangible and limiting points -- reduced monitor support and limited RAM being the main ones. Couple that with most verticals not having full M1 compatibility yet in late November 2020 as we write this, and this may be a year to skip this Mac mini.

Tim Cook said at the Apple Silicon hardware debut event that 50% of the Mac sales in the last year at least were new to Mac. The Mac mini is a perfect desktop for the "iPhone inspires Mac sales" crowd and a bit less so for the Intel Mac-primary folks.

Ready to rock -- the Mac mini (2020) is one of the first with Apple silicon
Ready to rock -- the Mac mini (2020) is one of the first with Apple silicon


For those "Pro" folks driving a 2018 Mac mini, we say wait. Unless you're running nearly everything from Apple software-wise, wait until the first inevitable chassis redesign in a year or two to buy, and you'll get a bit more maturity in the hardware. Wait for your software to get M1-native versions, and like the last two times this happened, you won't be disappointed.

If you've had an iPhone for years and have decided that it's time to get a Mac, or if your Mac is older and you aren't reliant on really old software, you won't be disappointed now. Buy without fear, run a lot of your existing iOS software on the Mac, and enjoy the speed.

Score: 4 out of 5.

M1 Mac mini deals

Readers looking to pick up Apple's Late 2020 Mac mini with the M1 chip can save on every configuration with exclusive coupon discounts.

The deals and latest prices can be found in the AppleInsider Mac mini Price Guide, with savings at press time offering up to $87 off the M1 Mac.

Those wanting to stick with the Intel Mac mini can also grab discounts on the Space Gray models in the AI Mac Price Guide.

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dewmeAlex1N
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 53
    The 16GB of RAM is a deal breaker for me.
    My 2020 iMac has 64GB of RAM which I figure will last for 5+ years.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 2 of 53
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,272administrator
    The 16GB of RAM is a deal breaker for me.
    My 2020 iMac has 64GB of RAM which I figure will last for 5+ years.
    RAM handling is a bit different with Apple Silicon. While if you're hitting swap space on that 64GB often now, it won't help you, how the M1 is handling RAM basically leads to a "8GB is the new 16, and 16 is the new 32" situation.

    We'll see more with time. I don't expect the 16GB limit to remain on whatever comes after the M1.
    tmayJWSCcornchipAlex1NboboliciousTheObannonFilewatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 53
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,889member
    Very nice comparison. The percentage improvement for the new Mac mini over its predecessor is impressive. The Handbrake test clearly shows the benefits of having a fan in the mini versus the fanless M1 Air. However, you still have to admire how much better the M1 Air is compared to its predecessor. It's 4X faster on the Handbrake test while the M1 mini is "only" 2.8X faster, which is still impressive. Anyone using a mini for run of the mill purposes is going to be thrilled with the new mini, but Air users are going to be blown away.

    Still, we have to keep reminding ourselves that these are all "Release 1.0" products. The bar has been forever raised.
    williamlondonJWSCScot1MisterKitseanjAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 53
    Because of the differences in RAM handling, I would very much like to see a test that compares how well the new model does as a render node, a common use of the prior Mac mini. I don’t imagine I am the only person who is wondering whether or not the 16 GB maximum renders the M1 variant less useful as a render node, or of the new architecture means that 16GB will do just fine when rendering in C4D & other 3D graphics apps.
    cornchip
  • Reply 5 of 53
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,272administrator
    longpath said:
    Because of the differences in RAM handling, I would very much like to see a test that compares how well the new model does as a render node, a common use of the prior Mac mini. I don’t imagine I am the only person who is wondering whether or not the 16 GB maximum renders the M1 variant less useful as a render node, or of the new architecture means that 16GB will do just fine when rendering in C4D & other 3D graphics apps.
    From the folks I've spoken to so far, they're waiting on M1-native render hosts to do any real testing in this regard. That said, performance will depend, I suspect, on the size of the data that's getting shunted to the minis for rendering. I'm hoping to have more info on this relatively soon, but I'm not expecting any until mid-December at the earliest.
    edited November 2020 cornchipAlex1NLoby01rundhvid
  • Reply 6 of 53
    Is it possible to use this Mac mini with a 2017 27 inch iMac as a monitor?
  • Reply 7 of 53
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,272administrator
    tenchi211 said:
    Is it possible to use this Mac mini with a 2017 27 inch iMac as a monitor?
    There are software solutions to do that, but nothing native. Target Display Mode ended with the 2014 iMac.
    muthuk_vanalingamdewmecornchiptenchi211Alex1N
  • Reply 8 of 53
    'One of the big problem areas for the Mac mini is that it is not possible to upgrade the components inside it at all.'

    Indeed a deal breaker for me too. 32GB is my minimum and expected to increase over time. 2011 mini still gets my vote for the most versatile mini ever offered, and still using it to this day. Hmmm 2011. Again.

    I can't understand the mac customer downsides to slotted ram and at least one extra internal storage slot, especially considering Apple's supposed environmental zeitgeist? I understand there might be a slight penalty in ram tuning speed and a few extra dollars for slots vs future expansion and upgrades ? I'd ask if a BTO option for an internal Time Machine backup drive might be compelling for even the most retail users, and in keeping with both performance and a minimalist design aesthetic ?

    Let the flames begin! :)

    ps. I applaud the return to clear anodized (more aesthetically consistent, durable and biodegradable/recyclable) for what that may be worth...
    pps. I'd appreciate too with the extra rear port space another pre 2011 design return of a Kensington lock slot - a true case of less being more...?
    edited November 2020
  • Reply 9 of 53
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,471member
    tenchi211 said:
    Is it possible to use this Mac mini with a 2017 27 inch iMac as a monitor?

    As was previously mentioned, Target Display Mode does not work on iMacs released after 2014.

    You can use "Screen Sharing" over Thunderbolt. It's not perfect, but it works. But requires a tiny bit of work to set up.
    edited November 2020 tenchi211
  • Reply 10 of 53
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,779member
    The 16GB of RAM is a deal breaker for me.
    My 2020 iMac has 64GB of RAM which I figure will last for 5+ years.

    That's like complaining that seating for 5 in a new car is a deal breaker because it doesn't carry as many passengers as a school bus. Different animals.
    williamlondonMisterKitFidonet127cornchipdewmemarcotor949uraharaJWSCseanjAlex1N
  • Reply 11 of 53
    But, no pun intended, the failures are the edge cases, and compatibility is the norm.

    Yeah, no, that is not true at all. As predicted, lots of major apps are either running very slowly, frequently crashing or not running at all. 

    https://news.softpedia.com/news/it-s-not-only-milk-and-honey-terrible-app-experience-on-apple-silicon-531592.shtml

    https://www.extremetech.com/computing/317715-early-adopters-of-apple-m1-macs-should-be-cautious-about-compatibility

    https://mspoweruser.com/too-good-to-be-true-plenty-of-software-not-compatible-with-apple-m1-laptops/

    The initial reviewers were mostly "journalists who write about tech" types - including one who literally stated "who cares about Linux ... it is hard and practically nobody uses it" - who mostly rely on first party Apple software, browser stuff as well as software that Apple "helpfully" recommended. None of them applied a QA testing "let's see what works and what breaks" type of rigorous approach because that wasn't their background.

    Of course, I wouldn't expect Apple Insider to do such a thing ... but a lot of the folks at the alleged "independent tech-oriented sites" have egg on their faces right now. I have noted for years that when you read those sites, their "tests" of computing devices include video/photo editing (which virtually no one in the workforce outside of a few jobs/industries does) and they always compare everything to their MacBook Air/iMac/iPad/iPhone. But the first person to get the ball rolling was Patrick Moorhead. The guy doesn't like Apple much - so sue and boo him - but he is a tech consultant who regularly uses Macs for his job. He states:

     I have experienced application crashes in Microsoft Edge, Outlook, WinZip and Logitech Camera Control. I got installation errors with Adobe Reader XI, Adobe Acrobat Reader DC, a Samsung SSD backup application, and Xbox 360 Controller for Mac. I couldn’t even install Adobe Reader XI 11.0.10. The installer just sat there, and I had to hard reboot the entire system. Acrobat DC would not install either. Given how many incompatibilities the M1 chip is having, a samaritan has created a site called “Is Apple Silicon Ready” documenting incompatible apps."

    https://isapplesiliconready.com/

    Granted, this is to be expected. We are basically a week into the launch of both a new hardware stack and a new operating system version. However, I felt that I had to reply to the "the failures are the edge cases and compatibility is the norm" when major applications like the entire Intellij suite - used heavily for programmers/developers - and Adobe applications aren't working and Outlook is unreliable. No one should buy M1 Macs as their primary work machines right now, but as secondary machines for specific applications. 


    zonetuke
  • Reply 12 of 53
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,272administrator
    cloudguy said:
    But, no pun intended, the failures are the edge cases, and compatibility is the norm.

    Yeah, no, that is not true at all. As predicted, lots of major apps are either running very slowly, frequently crashing or not running at all. 

    https://news.softpedia.com/news/it-s-not-only-milk-and-honey-terrible-app-experience-on-apple-silicon-531592.shtml

    https://www.extremetech.com/computing/317715-early-adopters-of-apple-m1-macs-should-be-cautious-about-compatibility

    https://mspoweruser.com/too-good-to-be-true-plenty-of-software-not-compatible-with-apple-m1-laptops/

    The initial reviewers were mostly "journalists who write about tech" types - including one who literally stated "who cares about Linux ... it is hard and practically nobody uses it" - who mostly rely on first party Apple software, browser stuff as well as software that Apple "helpfully" recommended. None of them applied a QA testing "let's see what works and what breaks" type of rigorous approach because that wasn't their background.

    Of course, I wouldn't expect Apple Insider to do such a thing ... but a lot of the folks at the alleged "independent tech-oriented sites" have egg on their faces right now. I have noted for years that when you read those sites, their "tests" of computing devices include video/photo editing (which virtually no one in the workforce outside of a few jobs/industries does) and they always compare everything to their MacBook Air/iMac/iPad/iPhone. But the first person to get the ball rolling was Patrick Moorhead. The guy doesn't like Apple much - so sue and boo him - but he is a tech consultant who regularly uses Macs for his job. He states:

     I have experienced application crashes in Microsoft Edge, Outlook, WinZip and Logitech Camera Control. I got installation errors with Adobe Reader XI, Adobe Acrobat Reader DC, a Samsung SSD backup application, and Xbox 360 Controller for Mac. I couldn’t even install Adobe Reader XI 11.0.10. The installer just sat there, and I had to hard reboot the entire system. Acrobat DC would not install either. Given how many incompatibilities the M1 chip is having, a samaritan has created a site called “Is Apple Silicon Ready” documenting incompatible apps."

    https://isapplesiliconready.com/

    Granted, this is to be expected. We are basically a week into the launch of both a new hardware stack and a new operating system version. However, I felt that I had to reply to the "the failures are the edge cases and compatibility is the norm" when major applications like the entire Intellij suite - used heavily for programmers/developers - and Adobe applications aren't working and Outlook is unreliable. No one should buy M1 Macs as their primary work machines right now, but as secondary machines for specific applications. 


    There were always going to be failures, and they were always going to come from the regular sources who have played fast and loose with Apple programming guidelines for all three hardware transitions -- Adobe, Microsoft, and et cetera. We've mentioned that we were expecting problems from them before, given history.

    We've thrown a LOT of software at Rosetta, including the four that I mentioned in the story, plus a really ancient one-trick pony photo cropping app that I think I'm the only licensed user of. It sucks if your app doesn't work, but nearly everything works, and works well, so I stick with my statement.

    A major app not working, doesn't make the statement not true. What bothers me more are some inconsistencies in the lists. For example, the Samsung SSD app was broken under Big Sur's release (not M1) for some, with the M1 taking it the rest of the way, and Outlook works fine here.

    In regards to the "
    No one should buy M1 Macs as their primary work machines right now," I'm not sure this is the case universally, and I did talk about this in the end of the review a bit. I am a strong proponent of letting other folks get flaming data for you, but the less you rely on Microsoft and Adobe, the less true this is.
    edited November 2020 WgkruegerwilliamlondonchiajimmydeanseanjJWSCAlex1Nbageljoeymuthuk_vanalingamRayz2016
  • Reply 13 of 53
    The 16GB of RAM is a deal breaker for me.
    My 2020 iMac has 64GB of RAM which I figure will last for 5+ years.
    64GB isn’t entry level, as these machines are, but that hasn’t stopped people from criticising these great first machines for lacking more advanced features.
    edited November 2020 mjtomlinseanjAlex1Nroundaboutnow
  • Reply 14 of 53
    GG1GG1 Posts: 458member
    'One of the big problem areas for the Mac mini is that it is not possible to upgrade the components inside it at all.'

    Indeed a deal breaker for me too. 32GB is my minimum and expected to increase over time. 2011 mini still gets my vote for the most versatile mini ever offered, and still using it to this day. Hmmm 2011. Again.

    I can't understand the mac customer downsides to slotted ram and at least one extra internal storage slot, especially considering Apple's supposed environmental zeitgeist? I understand there might be a slight penalty in ram tuning speed and a few extra dollars for slots vs future expansion and upgrades ? I'd ask if a BTO option for an internal Time Machine backup drive might be compelling for even the most retail users, and in keeping with both performance and a minimalist design aesthetic ?

    Let the flames begin! :)

    ps. I applaud the return to clear anodized (more aesthetically consistent, durable and biodegradable/recyclable) for what that may be worth...
    pps. I'd appreciate too with the extra rear port space a Kensington lock slot - a true case of less being more...?
    I'm still using a 2012 Mini with 32GB RAM and was about to get a 2018 Mini, but I held off after seeing the initial M1 reviews. But I think this new Mx family will make us rethink RAM. Perhaps 16GB in Mx is roughly the same as 32GB DDR4, as someone said above.

    I'm no chip designer, but I wonder if the industry is moving to the same unified memory or at least memory-on-chip for vastly better performance (like High Bandwidth Memory technology), thus making "external" DDR4 or DDR5 the future dinosaur. The downside is HBM is not upgradable, as far as I understand (I've only seen HBM for GPUs; the Mx may be the first to use HBM for both CPU and GPU).

    I hope someone can chime in and add to this or correct me.
    williamlondonAlex1N
  • Reply 15 of 53
    cloudguy said:
    But, no pun intended, the failures are the edge cases, and compatibility is the norm.

    Yeah, no, that is not true at all. As predicted, lots of major apps are either running very slowly, frequently crashing or not running at all. 

    https://news.softpedia.com/news/it-s-not-only-milk-and-honey-terrible-app-experience-on-apple-silicon-531592.shtml

    https://www.extremetech.com/computing/317715-early-adopters-of-apple-m1-macs-should-be-cautious-about-compatibility

    https://mspoweruser.com/too-good-to-be-true-plenty-of-software-not-compatible-with-apple-m1-laptops/

    The initial reviewers were mostly "journalists who write about tech" types - including one who literally stated "who cares about Linux ... it is hard and practically nobody uses it" - who mostly rely on first party Apple software, browser stuff as well as software that Apple "helpfully" recommended. None of them applied a QA testing "let's see what works and what breaks" type of rigorous approach because that wasn't their background.

    Of course, I wouldn't expect Apple Insider to do such a thing ... but a lot of the folks at the alleged "independent tech-oriented sites" have egg on their faces right now. I have noted for years that when you read those sites, their "tests" of computing devices include video/photo editing (which virtually no one in the workforce outside of a few jobs/industries does) and they always compare everything to their MacBook Air/iMac/iPad/iPhone. But the first person to get the ball rolling was Patrick Moorhead. The guy doesn't like Apple much - so sue and boo him - but he is a tech consultant who regularly uses Macs for his job. He states:

     I have experienced application crashes in Microsoft Edge, Outlook, WinZip and Logitech Camera Control. I got installation errors with Adobe Reader XI, Adobe Acrobat Reader DC, a Samsung SSD backup application, and Xbox 360 Controller for Mac. I couldn’t even install Adobe Reader XI 11.0.10. The installer just sat there, and I had to hard reboot the entire system. Acrobat DC would not install either. Given how many incompatibilities the M1 chip is having, a samaritan has created a site called “Is Apple Silicon Ready” documenting incompatible apps."

    https://isapplesiliconready.com/

    Granted, this is to be expected. We are basically a week into the launch of both a new hardware stack and a new operating system version. However, I felt that I had to reply to the "the failures are the edge cases and compatibility is the norm" when major applications like the entire Intellij suite - used heavily for programmers/developers - and Adobe applications aren't working and Outlook is unreliable. No one should buy M1 Macs as their primary work machines right now, but as secondary machines for specific applications. 


    Pretty absurd statement “no one should buy ... as a primary work machine”. In fact the great majority are not affected by edge cases, and it’s likely those edge cases will be made compatible by their developers within a very short time by going apple silicon native or by the 11.1 Big Sur update which has some rosetta2 fixes. Seems like a lot of sour grapes commentary in the PC/Intel world.
    williamlondonmarcotor949chiaseanjAlex1NtmayRayz2016jdb8167
  • Reply 16 of 53
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,357member
    mike1 said:
    The 16GB of RAM is a deal breaker for me.
    My 2020 iMac has 64GB of RAM which I figure will last for 5+ years.

    That's like complaining that seating for 5 in a new car is a deal breaker because it doesn't carry as many passengers as a school bus. Different animals.
    And your analogy is like saying you don't like steak because alligators eat turtles. If you're going to make an analogy, make it appropriate.

    16 GB is low for a desktop machine these days. We still don't know how Apple Si machines will handle and utilize memory but the lack of any upgradability is definitely a potential issue for many people. I'm interested in replacing my 2016 MBP but am waiting for the next generation with more memory for just this reason.
    williamlondonmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 17 of 53
    Mike Wuerthele,

    As an admin I am really disappointed in the one glaring omission from this review you folks did, not a single darn word was payed to the speed of the SSD in the M1 Mini, it is supposed to be twice as fast at over 3GBps vs the old one being in the 1500Gbps range, what you should at bare minimum have done was run Black Magic Speetest to let us ignorant folks taste your prowess... pffft. I suggest someone get right on that and update the review! Truly a bad omission on your teams part!
    williamlondonLoby01
  • Reply 18 of 53
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,272administrator
    jimmydean said:
    Mike Wuerthele,

    As an admin I am really disappointed in the one glaring omission from this review you folks did, not a single darn word was payed to the speed of the SSD in the M1 Mini, it is supposed to be twice as fast at over 3GBps vs the old one being in the 1500Gbps range, what you should at bare minimum have done was run Black Magic Speetest to let us ignorant folks taste your prowess... pffft. I suggest someone get right on that and update the review! Truly a bad omission on your teams part!
    Blackmagic isn't native yet. It will be added when it is. What I can say for sure is that the 256GB in the M1 mini is at least as fast as the 512GB Intel one is.
    edited November 2020 jimmydeandewmeJWSCAlex1Nroundaboutnow
  • Reply 19 of 53
    Mike Wuerthele  said...

    We've thrown a LOT of software at Rosetta, including the four that I mentioned in the story, plus a really ancient one-trick pony photo cropping app that I think I'm the only licensed user of. It sucks if your app doesn't work, but nearly everything works, and works well, so I stick with my statement.

    FYI Mike,

    Their are a lot of registered users of Pixelmater Pro, and just because you don't know how to use it, properly, does not mean you should throw it under the bus here, not very professional.

  • Reply 20 of 53
    Mike,

    2 points, but a simple timed test using a 40 GB file using the copy command in terminal could have shed light, and pipe the time to result at finish, no excuse!
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