Apple Mac Mini M1 Review: Incredible Power In A Mini Machine

The Mac Mini did not get much of attention at its launch event. It’s indeed a great Apple computer that comes with impressive performance boost and small lovely design that was once a fan-favorite. However, there are a few compromises that you may not like. Here is our Apple Mac Mini M1 review.

One Chip To Rule Them All

In Apple’s own words, the M1 is a system on a chip. Before the release of the M1, Apple Macs had to use a separate chip for everything from processors and RAM, to controllers and graphics. This has all changed with the M1 chip in the Apple Mac Mini. It does it all. 

The M1 is based on the same design as the iPhone 12, which uses a A14, only in the new Mac Mini it is ramped up to scale for use in a laptop, with six high efficiency cores and two high performance cores, as opposed to the A14’s four high-performance cores, and two high efficiency cores. 

As far as CPU goes, Apple has increased the four cores seen in the A14, to eight in the M1. Apple claims that it delivers the fastest integrated graphics in a laptop, ever. In fact, Apple has also said that the M1 chip is ninety-eight percent faster than any other PC laptop on the market, which is a bold claim. After spending some quality time with the Apple Mac Mini M1 for ourselves, it seems that the M1 puts the money where its mouth is, and not only meets but exceeds our expectations.

Apple Mac mini

A huge benefit of having the new M1 chip in the Apple Mac Mini (2020) is that the system logic board is able to be much smaller in size than the previous model. This in turn means that the product itself is able to be smaller, it is able to stay cooler much more efficiently, and lastly, it is able to have a battery life that far outweighs any other. 

A downside to having everything on one chip, however, is that you will no longer be able to utilize expandable memory or most other types of upgrades. At the time of writing, Apple’s new M1 chip comes with two options: either 8GB or 16GB. 

A 16 core neural engine means you get 11 teraflops of machine learning acceleration, which is big news for ML app developers. 

System Performance

When it comes to performance, Apple has even bigger claims about their latest machine. The Apple Mac Mini with the M1 chip delivers 3.5 times the CPU performance and 5 times the graphics performance when compared to the previous Mac Mini model.

Looking at the Geekbench 5 scores for Apple’s latest M1 Mac Mini in comparison to the previous intel model, the numbers speak for themselves. The M1 almost doubles the score of the i3 on the single-core test (1524 vs 948), and more than doubled  the score of the i3 on the multi-core test (7827 vs 3679). 

This goes to show that the new Apple Mac Mini M1 is more than fast. From opening new windows and closing them, to waking it up from sleep, it takes no longer than a click of your fingers. 

Safari has also improved a lot thanks to the macOS Big Sur and the M1 upgrade, as even with several tabs open at a time, rendering and scrolling is much faster. 

Apple Mac Mini M1 Graphics Performance 

If you’ve owned an Apple Mac Mini before, you will already be aware of the fact that the graphics performance tends to be somewhat lackluster, with updates to the Mac Mini coming few and far between (with the last one being in 2018, and the one before that in 2014). The intel integrated graphics just weren’t up to the task of anything more than usual everyday usage.

The Apple Mac Mini M1 outclasses the intel machines in this class, too, as even on non-native applications, it manages to provide impressive frame rates and scores. 

To put it into numbers lets take a look at some test results from Rise Of The Tomb Raider, which ran on both the Mac Mini M1 and the Mac Mini i3.

Mac Mini M1 1920×1200 high: 29fps
Mac Mini M1 1280×720 medium: 73fps

M1 Mac Mini 3.6GHz quad-core Core i3 1920×1200 high: 7fps
M1 Mac Mini 3.6GHz quad-core Core i3 1280×720 medium:11fps

Apple Mac Mini M1 Display Support And Ports

The Apple Mac Mini M1 is the same design and size as the previous Intel model: 7.7 x 7.7 x 1.4. The newer M1 model is only available in silver, whereas the Intel model is space grey. 

When it comes to ports, it is perhaps surprising that it is the older Intel model that comes out on top, with three Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports. The M1 comes with just two Thunderbolt USB/4 ports. Both models have two USB-A ports, an HDMI 2.0 port, a headphone jack, and a gigabit ethernet jack.

The Apple Mac Mini M1 can only support two displays (6K 60Hz via Thunderbolt and a 4K 60Hz via HDMI 2.0). The Intel Mac Mini is able to support three displays at any one time.

It is also worth noting that we were a little disappointed with the speaker in the new Apple Mac Mini. It suffers the same poor sound issues as its larger brother, the MacBook Air. Of course, this can be remedied easily by using headphones when you are playing a game or listening to music.

Apple Mac Mini M1 Review

Apple Mac Mini M1 Price And Availability

The standard Apple Mac Mini with M1 chip will cost you $699. This model comes with 8GB of Ram and 256GB SSD. Overall, this is incredible value for money, as it far outclasses the previous Intel models in all of the areas that count. 

For $1299, you can get the Apple Mac Mini with the M1 chip with 16GB of RAM and 1TB SSD.

Also read: Apple M1 Chip Performance

That’s our Apple Mac Mini M1 review. Both are available for purchase right now. If you were on the fence about purchasing the new Apple Mac Mini M1 before reading this article, we hope it has helped you to reach an informed decision as to whether to part with your hard-earned cash. If you do, you won’t regret it!

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