I’m going to let you into a little secret: I’ve ordered a new computer.
But, first, let’s add some context.
I’m a long-term 16” MacBook Pro user. It has been my daily driver for some time and is a video and audio production powerhouse.
Then, I bought an M1 MacBook Air – the base spec (you know, the one with ‘just’ 8GB of RAM), and it beat my 16” MacBook Pro in a Final Cut Pro rendering test.
The Air has also replaced my iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard setup as my portable device of choice and it has completely changed the way I think about computing.
In particular, it has demonstrated that the RAM conversation has totally changed.
It still matters – don’t get me wrong. If you undertake 4K video editing, audio production or intensive coding, 8GB is probably still going to be the limiting factor in terms of your productivity on an M1 Mac, but that’s why the 16GB version exists.
Which brings me onto my new purchase. It’s arriving later this week, and it will replace my 16” MacBook Pro as my daily driver.
But, “why?” you might ask.
It all started with the MacBook Air
During my first week with the M1 MacBook Air, two things leapt out at me:
- the completely pain-free transition during which all of my apps just… worked; and
- the absolutely effortless performance of the M1 chip.
I knew the M1 was going to be impressive, but like so many reviewers, I didn’t realise quite how impressive it would be. The aforementioned rendering test genuinely knocked me sideways, and it set my mind alight with ideas of what my next M1 Mac would be.
At this juncture, I must make a confession. I jumped the gun a bit. You see, after that initial experience with the M1 MacBook Air, I got ridiculously excited about the prospect of an M1 iMac. So excited, in fact, that I wrote this.
As it turns out, my next M1 Mac wouldn’t be an iMac. I can’t wait that long. So, instead, I decided to invest in a brand-new video editing and music production rig which would centre around… an M1 Mac mini.
The M1 Mac mini spec I chose
When my M1 Mac mini arrives later this week, it’ll come complete with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD.
The RAM was a simple choice. I already have an 8GB M1 machine, and the most consistent topic of conversation within the comment threads on my YouTube channel centre around the big RAM debate.
This Mac mini will therefore complete my M1 collection and enable me to conduct far more meaningful real-world tests between the two configurations, not to mention comparing aspects like passive versus active cooling.
But I haven’t really explained why this Mac mini will be replacing my £3,500 16” MacBook Pro, have I?
So, let’s get into it.
The price was too tempting
My Mac mini set me back £915.84 (ex VAT – it’s a business purchase). My 16” MacBook Pro was over £3,500. And yes, I know I need to add a monitor (more on that later), but the total price when I do is still nowhere near the 16” MacBook’s.
Yes, you’ll pay ‘Apple Tax’ on everything they sell, but I have always offset that against the longevity, build quality and resale value offered by these machines.
Regardless, these M1 Mac minis represent incredible value for money. They out-benchmark the base level Mac Pro in single core performance, and the 16” MacBook Pro in multi-core performance.
When it comes to pounds-per-grunt, the M1 Mac mini is unbeatable in the current Mac lineup. Waiting for a super-powered M1 iMac therefore just didn’t make sense from my perspective. Why not just benefit from all of that raw power now?
I want to see how far I can push the M1
My M1 MacBook Air is, to all intents and purposes, a writing and admin workhorse. Although I’ve edited video on it, that was never the reason for purchasing the Air; I wanted it to be my go-to Mac when out and about and while undertaking my early morning productivity routine on the sofa.
That means I’m yet to push it to its fullest, and while I’ll be doing that to a degree for my audience, the M1 Mac mini will give me the chance to do so day-in, day-out for my business.
I want to know if it will ever slow down, crash or frustrate me. If you’ve read or watched my reviews before, you’ll know I’m not a fan of benchmark scores (although they’re occasionally useful for reference, as noted above). I’m far more interested in how devices feel on a day-to-day basis.
What will it take for the M1 mini to frustrate me?
What if it simply doesn’t frustrate me at all and breezes through each day without breaking a sweat?
I can’t wait to find out how this thing performs within a busy, content-based business.
I want to enter the world of ultra widescreen monitors
This isn’t really a reason to buy another M1-powered Mac, but it’s something that has been on my mind for a while.
My desktop of choice for the last few years has been a 27” iMac. I absolutely love it. But it’s ageing now, and I no longer use it for video editing or music production.
It also doesn’t feature an ultra widescreen display.
I’ve made it clear in the past just how much I love that gorgeous 5K display on Apple’s iMacs. I’m yet to see any other computer monitor that’s as sharp or bright. But I need to broaden my horizons, and the M1 Mac mini will enable me to try out something rather different.
That’s why I’m pairing the Mac mini with a 34” MSi widescreen monitor. You can expect plenty of thoughts on that and its ability to compete with the iMac’s 5K screen in future articles and videos – stay tuned!
I want a better idea of where the M1 will head next
Just how comparable is this Mac mini going to be to a computer which is around three times its price? If it turns out to be on a level pegging with my 16” MacBook Pro (or beats it), that’s incredibly exciting for what’s to come.
If, on the other hand, it struggles, that will put things into context a little more and add some balance to the M1 hype. I love my 16” MacBook Pro, therefore I’m quietly hopeful that that the M1 Mac mini doesn’t wipe the floor with it. That might be a rather pessimistic outlook, but it’s for the sake of my (and others’) sanity when trying to come to terms with the price difference between the two systems.
Whatever happens, it’s going to be an exciting few weeks and months. I’ll keep you posted!