Apple’s Mac Mini Is Getting Its New Processor, Too

Apple’s new M1 processor just got revealed today. And along with the new MacBook Air, the company is also bringing the M1 processor to the Mac Mini.

Apple is promising a lot of things with the new octa-core M1 processor. Apple says the new M1 will enable the Mac Mini to offer 3x faster CPU performance than its previous generation, and 6x performance gains for the graphics thanks to the integrated graphics unit on the M1.

Apple has been making a lot of comparisons with Windows laptops at the event today, as you may have already noticed. For the Mac Mini, Apple says it offers 5x faster performance than the top-selling PC desktop, whatever that is. More importantly, though, the new Mac Mini is $100 cheaper now, starting at $699.

Disclosure: I worked as a software engineering intern with the Windows on Snapdragon (ARM) team at Qualcomm in Summer 2020. Any opinions or comments expressed in this article do not represent my past or future employer. 

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Conversation 11 comments

  • basic sandbox

    10 November, 2020 - 4:41 pm

    <p>I bought a i5 NUC a few years ago and have been disappointed with the integrated graphics.</p><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">I am most interested in the new Mini's M1 graphics performance. I want to know what "Up to 6X faster" means. </span></p>

    • lvthunder

      Premium Member
      10 November, 2020 - 5:19 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#592030">In reply to basic sandbox:</a></em></blockquote><p>I'd have to watch the video again, but I think it means 6x faster then the last Mac Mini.</p>

    • MikeCerm

      11 November, 2020 - 1:20 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#592030">In reply to basic sandbox:</a></em></blockquote><p>Intel's integrated graphics for the last 5 years have been great for video playback, but they're not for gaming. You might be able to play older games at 720p and mobile games, but that's literally it. Even AMD's best integrated GPUs struggle to hit 30 FPS on modern AAA games, even with low settings. Apple's GPU will perform very well for the sorts of games that you can play on them — games ported over from iPad.</p>

      • waethorn

        11 November, 2020 - 3:42 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#592129">In reply to MikeCerm:</a></em></blockquote><p>Don't be facetious. A Ryzen 7 4750G in the Asrock Deskmini can play GTA5 and Doom Eternal at 1080p on low settings at well over 60fps.</p><p><br></p><p></p>

    • spiderman2

      11 November, 2020 - 5:25 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#592030">In reply to basic sandbox:</a></em></blockquote><p>get ready to be disappointed… or buy a ryzen 4xxxg</p>

      • MikeCerm

        11 November, 2020 - 11:20 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#592168">In reply to spiderman2:</a></em></blockquote><p>Even the very best Ryzen integrated graphics are basically incapable of hitting frame rates over 30 FPS at 1080p with modern games.</p>

        • spiderman2

          11 November, 2020 - 2:28 pm

          <blockquote><em><a href="#592263">In reply to MikeCerm:</a></em></blockquote><p>Sure, let's check the same games on this apple arm cpu</p>

          • Alastair Cooper

            12 November, 2020 - 6:34 pm

            <blockquote><em><a href="#592303">In reply to spiderman2:</a></em></blockquote><p><br></p><p>If they aren't native ARM then it's possible they'll be bottlenecked by the emulation.</p>

            • bkkcanuck

              13 November, 2020 - 5:18 pm

              <blockquote><em><a href="#592600">In reply to Alastair_Cooper:</a></em></blockquote><p>It is not really emulation though, when you install an application the system translates the x86 binary instructions into equivalent ARM instructions ahead of time (sort of a macro translator). It also does JIT translation (which would be translated once at that time when required). At that point it is running basically inefficient ARM binary application. The system calls to the OS will be effectively the same. When you run an x86 application on an Intel chip it does something similar. This was implemented when the CPUs started to go multi-core since CISC instructions by their very nature take from 1 or 2 clock cycles to many many clock cycles. If left as CISC instructions it becomes much more difficult to do things like parallel pipelines etc. Effectively the CISC instructions are translated at a hardware level to micro ops (which is more RISC in nature) before they get executed. There are of course potentials in specialized code that this might not work as expected, but I think they have an a good idea of which applications may be problematic (you had quite a few developers using the DTK so I expect that some of them would have provided feedback. The risk of course is that because the beta would be more limited that there could be some initial additional issues… If they had released one that I could have 64GB and 4 TB ports I would have seriously considered ordering it. Probably for the best that they did not have that… as I am hoping the Mac Pro Mini turns out to be a real product in my range.</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      11 November, 2020 - 8:47 am

      It means nothing.

    • bkkcanuck

      13 November, 2020 - 12:37 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#592030">In reply to basic sandbox:</a></em></blockquote><p>Doesn't everyone want to know… I certainly do… though I am waiting until they start announcing the mid-range and maybe the 'pro' range (this was the low end only). I currently average using around 50GB of RAM on my Mac Mini and definitely use more than 2 TB ports… Hopefully it only gets better from here.</p>


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