Trying Out The New M1 Mac Mini (Spoiler: It Rocks!)

in OCD2 years ago (edited)

My Not So Impressed History With Apple Products

Truth be told, In the past I've not really been a Mac person. However, I've always owned several Apple computers and mobile devices for development and sound design purposes. I have one of the old cheese grater Mac Pros which came out in 2010 (8 core Xeon), as well as two Macbook Pros (running Windows in Bootcamp. I just liked the solid, unibody computers), one 2011 model and another late 2013. I also own a Mac Mini (2013), which recently kicked the bucket.

I originally bought the Mac Pro for use in my studio and was immediately disappointed. Coming from the perspective of someone who always custom built his own machines, this computer was completely underwhelming for the $3500 price tag. In fact, it was a complete rip-off. This so called 'pro' machine had the lamest video card I had ever seen in a high end machine. Not being part of the Apple ecosystem, I had to learn the hard way that when you buy a base Apple product, even the so called pro version, you were going to end up when a pretty low end device. The expectation is that you should spend double the price to get a normal sized hard disk, a decent video card and a reasonable amount of RAM. 10 years later, these guys are still fitting their flagship devices with 8 and 16GB of RAM. But I digress!

Apart from the wimpy specs, my specific machine had an intermittent issue with the motherboard that caused the computer to crash constantly. I chalked it up to an issue with some old audio hardware and software that I was using for a couple of years until I realized that it was definitely the computer. By that time, it was out of warranty so I was basically screwed. The bad taste in my mouth was complete.

My new M1 Mac Mini at the heart of my mini studio. Checking out the new Luna DAW by Universal Audio.

So Far Living Up to the Hype

A short while back when Apple released the new cheese graters, all I could do was shake my head. Once again, an unapologetically overpriced 'base' machine that was useless unless upgraded to over $10k in price. I was just thinking to myself, man, these guys just don't give a fuck anymore. They are only targeting rich people now.

Then November happened.

Looks just like the old one... But vastly different on the inside!

Like so many, I was intrigued by all of videos and talk about the new Apple Silicon chips released recently. I could no longer resist, so I just ordered one. I got the upgrade to 16GB RAM (max possible) and the 512GB of storage. I would have gotten more internal storage, but they really start to take the piss on the price.

As soon as I clicked by, I immediately went to OWC and ordered their new USB4/Thunderbolt hub that was still in preorder. I also bought their thunderbolt 3 NVME enclosure which I fitted with a 2TB Sabrent Rocket. I installed all of my Native Instrument Komplete plugins on it and it is performing quite nicely. I am getting right at the max speed of the enclosure at around 1500MB/s read/write using Black Magic Disk Speed Test.

Oh, and I also bought the under the desk mount that was an option when purchasing the computer. It is working out very nicely! As you can see (or not see) in the first image, the computer is invisible. I am still waiting on that pre-ordered Thunderbolt hub so that I can hook up my second UAD-2 device along with the UAD Apollo.

It just so happens that on the day that I got everything, Native Instruments posted that everything seems to be working on Big Sur except for the new Massive. That's great and all, but basically everyone who isn't Apple in the audio software/hardware industry is saying they are not ready for M1. Being the maverick that I am, I installed it all anyway. So far I've not had any issues.

Wow! Is This Really a Mac Mini??!?

This thing is friggin' amazing. It runs smooth as butter, and never makes a sound! The downside to this is that I've had to go around the studio and make everything else quiet, since the computer was no longer the loudest thing in the room.

I have to say, as far as I am concerned, Apple has redeemed itself with this new processor. And this is the bottom of the line! The new Mac Pro will likely be insanely faster and more efficient than the previous Intel model. I am sure that the price will reflect it as well. But as far as I am concerned, I'll just shrug my shoulders and keep working with the Mini. Although, perhaps all that power will just be too enticing!

I won't go into all of the other advantages (such as video encoding) of everything being integrated together with the CPU as it has all been discussed ad-nauseum on YouTube. If you are interested, just do a search. All I would like to say is, if you give any value to my opinion, go out and get one of these things now. Hell, get the base model. You won't find anything out there, PC or Mac that comes even close in this price range ($699).

Now, if I could just get a break from the baby to enjoy it!


Dang, I have an old mac mini, but I might need to look into buying a newer one for my office just so I can play around with it. I used to have a mac book pro that I absolutely loved back in the day, but then I kind of drifted away from Mac's. I don't hate them, I just find there isn't anything I can't do on a PC.

These new processors are whole different ballgame to anything that came before. Essentially, they've gone back to using RISC processors, but they are making them in house. The magic is that they integrating everything on the same chip.. GPU, RAM, CPU, and some neural engine voodoo. Being that it's all together, there is not the latency and compatibility issues that you have with separate components. I'd definitely recommend getting one, especially at 699. It's a steal! It's virtually silent, uses nearly no electricity and tiny.

Trust me dude, I would never promote a Mac with my past experiences if I didn't think this new generation was worth it. 😁

Okay, you sold me, I am going to write up the PO tomorrow! Gives me a good reason to retire the old one that has been on my desk for years...

I don't think you will regret it. Just make sure you get the new m1 version. Everything is so smooth, like web browsing etc. From what I hear you can do some good video editing even which is nuts on a cheap machine. Check out some YouTube vids.

I put in my order yesterday! :)

Nice! Let me know how you like it.

I want to wish you my friend @nuthman a wonderful day and happy new year have a wonderful day friend

Happy New Year!

Thanks friend @nuthman

I'm happy this worked for you, I'm sure that you would love more time with it.

Hello Rick, I haven't checked in for a while, glad you are back and posting. I wish I could wrap my head around all this lol. Technically, I am a babe in the woods.
I should be posting updates to my travels in 2019 like promised but not yet done so. Been months already when I posted last, but never completed, my Portugal trip postings. Since Spring, I am preoccupied with Corona, so some of my posts dealt with that - also neglecting my artistic activities. Hoping for a better year this time around.

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Happy New Year! Yes I have not been posting much myself. Between the baby and my disgust with Hive's performance during this crazy bull run.

I am hoping to get back to posting more often and reading more.