Thursday, November 19, 2020

Review: M1 Mac mini shows a bright future for Apple Silicon

Apple, Apple Silicon, Macs, M1, Mac mini, Big Sur, review

Apple’s first M1-powered Mac mini is short on flaws and big on promise, and it absolutely sells the company’s migration to its own Apple Silicon processors on its own.

What is the Mac mini?

Apple announced three Macs powered by Apple Silicon last week: the MacBook Air, 13-in. MacBook Pro and the Mac mini.

All three use an M1 chip, running an optimized operating system (Big Sur) and equipped with features such as unified memory, which helps boost and improve graphics performance.

I’ve been looking at the M1 Mac mini running macOS Big Sur 11.0.1. This is the entry-level mini. It hosts an 8-core Apple chip, 256GB SSD and holds 8GB of memory. (I smile when I look at what that memory — and Apple’s all-new unified memory architecture (UMA) — can achieve on this machine.)

It is worth noting this system is more than capable of running a Pro Display XDR — it must be, since it will run a second 4K display, as well. You can run two displays from a single entry-level Mac. (Add an iPad in Sidecar mode and you have three.)

Designed and developed by Apple, the M1 is a sophisticated System on chip (SoC) that is also the world’s first personal computer chip built using 5-nanometer (nm) process technology. It combines the CPU, GPU, security, I/O, memory and more on the chip and boasts 16 billion transistors; its UMA means it provides the world’s fastest integrated personal computer graphics.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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