- Sep 21, 2013
- Gigabyte Z390 Designare
- RX 580
- Classic Mac
- Mobile Phone
I will seriously consider replacing my VEP7 node (Mini8,1 i7 3.2 GHz 64GB RAM, 2TB SSD, 10Gb Ethernet) with a M1X/M2 Mini with at least 32GB RAM and discrete ethernet, or if Thunderbolt networking would work. My needs are timing/latency critical audio apps. Unfortunately, so far nothing beats my 9900KS setup for the price. I'm really hoping that the next-gen SOC devices will change that. Until then, Pro Tools still requires brute-force computing.Speaking as an M1 Mac mini purchaser and having had the machine for about a month and a half, I say the following:
I too am a Hackintosher, and the Golden Build here is what I built in the beginning of 2019. I love my machine, though I don't relish the upgrade process on Hackintosh for the OS and for OpenCore. I'm comfortable with both, but there can be issues on Hackintosh that a real Mac simply won't experience for the most part.
Cost is an issue, especially now with some components having gotten more expensive like video cards. My 5700 XT was $420 when I bought it before the price hikes. Now its anywhere from $1000 on up. It's performance in all benchmarks "say" that it trounces the M1 Mac mini graphics, but in my actual use, this is not usually the case.
I have been live-streaming twice a week since the pandemic with my Hackintosh and recently tried the same setup on the Mini. The Mini is running so fast on its CPU that it actually transcodes that video from my stream faster than my Hackintosh using Compressor (or Handbrake or Final Cut Pro). Even when the Hack is faster, its no more than by about a minute or two.
I use presentation software in the live stream called Proclaim. On the hack, if I place a video (up to 5 min. in length) in Proclaim and stream that apps monitor output into the live stream, I get video playback frame drops and audio is not in sync. The same procedure on the Mini produces no drop out or audio sync issue in the live stream, even though Proclaim is not even M1 native yet!
So my little Mac mini, with 16GB RAM, and 512GB SSD is as fast as if not faster than my $3000 Hack with 64GB RAM, 2TB SSDs, i9-9900K for what I do.
The mini does require a Thunderbolt dock because of its lack of ports so I got the Caldigit T3 Plus Thunderbolt Dock (approx $269). I break the 2 monitor limitation with Startech displaylink adapters so I can use (2) 32" HD displays, and (2) 55" 4K Televisions to play my presentation in person and live stream simultaneously with Canon M50 as my camera.
The mini is also connected via a USB cable to a Pyle 6 channel Mixer (which I'm swapping out for a 12 channel model in a couple of days) that is connected to a Fender Passport PA System, at least two wireless mics, an electric keyboard, and a lapel mic which feed into the live stream (not the PA system though, its just used as speakers)
So, while I agree that the specs of the mini are a bit underspece'd (I'd like to see more RAM and a bigger internal drive, and more ports), I must say that in the real world, with a little help from a doc and some adapters, it is quite the powerful system and costs about half of what I paid for my hack even with the dock and adapters.
Currently, there is one other problem with the M1 mini that might affect your purchase decision. I think it affects probably all Macs with the M1 right now. It does not like many external thunderbolt drives, whether connected directly or to a dock. I've tried two NVMe SSDs in two different external enclosures and they won't stay connected for more than a few minutes. So until Apple fixes this issue, I probably won't be buying any more M1 based Macs. But if external storage isn't a deal breaker for you, the M1 Mini is a steal in my opinion for $1099 in my configuration.
I believe the rumored new M1x based Mac mini will be the machine that I may actually buy as I suspect it will be sub $1500, won't have the external drive issues, and should have the graphics beefed up, even in synthetic benchmarks, that will be more than fast enough to replace my Hack. We'll see!
But this would be a deal-killer for me:
"Currently, there is one other problem with the M1 mini that might affect your purchase decision. I think it affects probably all Macs with the M1 right now" (the external/Thunderbolt SSD issue...)
I've never had a better Mac than my Z390 Multitronic Unit. Never.