2020 Mac mini (M1, 2020) Review – Apple Silicon

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The brand new Mac mini that is packing the M1 (Apple Silicon) chip has finally arrived. I have to admit, I was very skeptical about this thing’s performance before placing the order. I have only owned 2 Mac computers previously; one was an iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2013) and the other Macbook Pro (13-inch, Early 2015) with 2.7 GHz Dual-Core Intel i5 CPU. The iMac had a hybrid fusion hard drive, and man, that was slow. Reminded me of the dial-up internet days. So, when I upgraded to the MacBook Pro, I made sure it had a solid-state drive (SSD). I’m glad I paid extra for that SSD. Who knew that would be a massive difference in accessing data. Fortunately, the base model for the Mac mini includes SSD.


Mac mini Specs:
  • M1 (Apple Silicon). 
  • 8GB unified memory.
  • 256GB SSD.
  • Ethernet.
  • 2 USB-C / thunderbolt ports. 
  • 1 HDMI port.
  • 2 USB ports.
  • 3.5 headphone jack.
  • Built-in Speaker.


If you are worried if 256GB is enough like I was before placing the order, yes, it is plenty for most cases. When in doubt, external hard drives can always be utilized. I have about 159 GB free of storage after everything is set up. The 8 GB of memory seems plenty, just as my previous experience with the iMac and MacBook Pro. The built-in speaker is handy, but I wouldn’t rely on it when playing music as it does not sound good at all.  


List of my Mac mini accessories (for my curious readers)
Any issues running Intel-based software?


So far, I have not had any issues. Apple really did a great job ensuring the soon to be obsolete Intel works on the M1 chip. This may be a different story for gamers. However, for my purposes, it works beyond expectations. Microsoft Word, Android Studio, security apps, etc…


How does the M1 compare to the Intel chip?


The bootup and shutdown times are almost instant. You can think of it much like an iOS or iPad booting up. It amazes me every time. The Mac Benchmarks by GeekBench shows M1 outperforming the very expensive $5,999.00 iMac Pro and all other Mac Intel models. After owning the Mac mini for a couple of days now, I can tell you that it is definitely faster. It makes my MacBook Pro feel like an obsolete POS that keeps overheating and has battery charge issues. The Mac mini doesn’t heat up when using Xcode, Safari with several tabs open, and playing YouTube videos for hours. It also doesn’t make any noise.


Should you upgrade to a Mac powered by Apple Silicon?


After explaining the significant differences, it really is a no-brainer. I’m all into the latest tech, so you bet I can be a bit biased here. There is something that should be considered. Our Macs that run Intel could lose some value as more Apple Silicon models become available. However, this may seem obvious to some, but it is also an excellent reminder to those unaware. Upgrade and sell before the mainstream does.


If we dive deeper to compare this. Would consumers continue to buy Intel models knowing a base Mac mini using Apple Silicon is cheaper and superior? Would anyone be willing to pay a premium price for such a product?


Final thoughts


My experience with the new Mac mini has been great. I have no regrets. I love the performance this little computer has. It is definitely faster and helps me become more productive in my daily routines.

I can’t wait to see how a MacBook Pro or an iMac rocking the Apple Silicon will perform for 2021. 

What are your thoughts?