I’m returning my M1 Mac Mini

A while back I made a post on these forums titled “I’m done with Windows”. In that forum post I discussed some of my frustrations with Windows and why I had ordered a Mac.

After five days of use I am returning it. Here are my thoughts/experiences and my hopes for the future of the PC.

Why I am returning the Mac:

– macOS Window Management is awful and despite spending money on apps to try and fix this I still didn’t like the Mac way of doing this

– Apps I use like Adobe Dimension aren’t yet available for M1, not even when using Rosetta

– The Mac app store is almost as bad as the Windows Store in terms of useful available apps. At least the Windows store has Spotify.

– The lack of configurability of the OS

– I’m not invested enough in the Apple ecosystem enough to benefit from many Mac features.

– Not Apple’s fault but OneDrive was the single biggest consumer of system resources.

– The lack of Autodesk product support on Mac.

– The inability to run legacy apps like Fireworks CS6 (not possible through Creative Cloud even with Rosetta)

– The amount of time I had to spend configuring the system to get it the way I liked

– I felt notifications were poorly implemented and more annoying than on Windows

– The app installation process was worse.

– I prefer fluent UI setting app on Windows to system control on Mac

Things I liked about macOS and Mac mini:

– Spotlight search is infinitely better than Windows search

– The lack of ads and preloaded junk

– The silence and low power consumption of Mac mini

– The fit and finish of the mini

– Previewing files with spacebar

– The god awful speaker in the Mac mini that just shouldn’t be there.

– The fact I can take it to my local Apple store if there is an issue

My hopes for Windows

– AMD and Intel start to make ARM chips for the PC. x86 is not the future, the writing is on the wall and it’s time to start making the transition

– Microsoft continues to polish the system and invest in it. Windows is still a multi-billion dollar business, Panos show it some love!

– Windows search needs to be fixed and more like Spotlight.

– Microsoft needs to make basic tasks like light photo editing better in Windows. A new Movie Maker for 2020, sometimes you just need to combine two clips together and Premier Pro is overkill.

– Improve the store, the app count doesn’t matter so please remove the spam.

– Remove the tracking, adds and junk. At some point we’ve all paid for Windows whether that is indirectly or directly. Microsoft please treat us like users not the product. Take a leaf out of Apple’s book on privacy.

My future PC plans:

I am going to soldier on with my Asus machine until the end of 2021. I will then build a new desktop (DDR5, new AMD socket and USb4 should be available by then) and buy some kind of Windows laptop. I hope in 2021 AMD continue to improve their mobile products.

Conversation 25 comments

  • longhorn

    Premium Member
    27 December, 2020 - 10:49 am

    <p>Interesting. In what way was the app installation process worse?</p><p><br></p>

    • aways987

      28 December, 2020 - 8:16 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#602929">In reply to longhorn:</a></em></blockquote><p>For some apps it was straight forward however when certain apps required permissions the installation became tedious, having to type in my Mac password multiple times to grant system permissions for the same app. (This included an app from the store) To install some apps I had to drag and icon onto a square to begin the installation process, why couldn't there just be a button instead?</p>

  • navarac

    27 December, 2020 - 11:41 am

    <p>Have you thought giving Linux a whirl? Just a suggestion as you've nothing to lose.</p>

    • wright_is

      Premium Member
      28 December, 2020 - 12:21 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#602961">In reply to navarac:</a></em></blockquote><p>If he needs Adobe and Autodesk software, Linux will be a non-starter for him. Even less of that software will run on Linux than it does on the M1 processor under macOS.</p>

    • aways987

      28 December, 2020 - 8:08 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#602961">In reply to navarac:</a></em></blockquote><p>I've tinkered with LInux over the year and have a couple of distros on USBs. As wright_is said the lack of Adobe and Autodesk software rules it out. </p>

  • rob_segal

    Premium Member
    27 December, 2020 - 3:36 pm

    <p>Very interesting perspective. Some of your reasons why you're returning the Mac are the same as mine when I jump from Mac to PC a few times. I go back and forth. The grass isn't always greener on the other side. Oftentimes, you're trading one set of frustrations for a different set of frustrations. </p><p><br></p><p>I bought a M1 MacBook Air and I'm getting it set up the way I like. BetterSnapTool helps with window management enough for me. Spotify has a Mac app. I installed the Office apps from the App Store. I like the Mac version of Outlook more than Windows. It has a few issues I think Microsoft will address. </p><p><br></p><p>One thing from Windows I miss already is Windows Terminal. I really like that app. </p>

    • Alastair Cooper

      28 December, 2020 - 5:46 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#603009">In reply to rob_segal:</a></em></blockquote><p><br></p><p>Have you tried iTerm? That's better than the bundled Terminal. I find it really annoying with Windows Terminal that it doesn't support opening new tabs/windows in the same directory.</p>

    • aways987

      28 December, 2020 - 8:18 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#603009">In reply to rob_segal:</a></em></blockquote><p>I know there is a Spotify Mac app but i wasn't in the store like it is in WIndows. I also wanted to try out M1 because of the iOS apps but unfortunately the ones I wanted weren't yet available. </p><p>I think in a years time the situation will be different but right now it wasn't great.</p>

  • phil_adcock

    27 December, 2020 - 4:37 pm

    <p>I prefer Mac over Windows. I have a Macbook Pro 2019 and I vastly prefer it to my HP Laptop that runs Windows 10. Personally preference but I enjoy the Mac more. I didn't think I'd like the touch bar when I purchased the computer but I've actually come to enjoy it quite a lot. Again personal preference. While it's still an Intel It's not as slow as my older Mac.</p>

  • vladimir

    Premium Member
    27 December, 2020 - 5:52 pm

    <p>Interesting perspective. Thank you for sharing the reasons in detail. I agree with you about almost everything except the installation part. On a Mac you just drop the application file in the applications folder. It’s hard to beat that.</p><p>A lot is about apps and ecosystem. I don’t use the apps you mention and I prefer macOS. The ecosystem is crucial, if you use an iPhone, iMessage and FaceTime, windows becomes difficult to bear.</p>

    • rob_segal

      Premium Member
      27 December, 2020 - 8:09 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#603027">In reply to Vladimir:</a></em></blockquote><p>Yeah, the ecosystem is important. Windows has little to offer if you want to integrate iPad, iPhone, iMessage, FaceTime, and other Apple services. I use Android and I found the integration with Google services to be okay with macOS. Missing out on some of the features of Your Phone is a little disappointing, but I installed Google Messages as an app using Edge and can access other services through other web apps. That is okay.</p>

      • Paul Thurrott

        Premium Member
        28 December, 2020 - 9:35 am

        “Windows has little to offer if you want to integrate iPad, iPhone, iMessage, FaceTime, and other Apple services.”

        To be clear, this is Apple’s fault, and it’s the type of thing that should make people think twice when they choose Apple products and services: This is the lock-in strategy in a nutshell. Not “Apple First” but “Apple Only.”

        • dstrauss

          29 December, 2020 - 10:11 am

          <blockquote><em><a href="#603171">In reply to paul-thurrott:</a></em></blockquote><p>You are correct but you're missing the point. If someone WANTS integration across all platforms (wearable, phone, tablet, PC) where is the analog in Windows-world? There isn't, not even Samsung's DEX nor YourPhone come close to integration of Apple's services across their various platforms. You can disparage it as "Apple Only" but even MS can't accomplish that with Surface (Duo and any other Surface devices).</p><p><br></p><p>Personally, I love my Spectre x360-14 with touch and pen, but it does put a kink in continuity…</p>

          • Paul Thurrott

            Premium Member
            30 December, 2020 - 9:37 am

            Most people don’t even think about such things. Maybe that is the real point.

            And for whatever it’s worth, I understand the benefits of this integration, but even I don’t want or need it. The only reason I disparage “Apple Only” is because it hurts consumers who don’t or can’t buy into Apple’s products across the board. It’s marketed as being better for people, but the reality is it hurts more people than it helps. Because Apple is a company, not a goodwill ambassador to mankind.

    • Anlong08

      Premium Member
      27 December, 2020 - 8:15 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#603027">In reply to Vladimir:</a></em></blockquote><p>While some software for the Mac does like you described, with the simple drag to the applications folder, others have a tedious set steps: unpacking, agreeing to terms, selecting a location, going into control panel to OK something if it's unsigned, are you sure you want to install this? Are you supper duper sure? Adobe stuff is like this on the Mac. I don't understand why there are 2 ways.</p><p><br></p>

    • aways987

      28 December, 2020 - 8:20 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#603027">In reply to Vladimir:</a></em></blockquote><p><br></p><p>I don't have an iPhone, don't use iMessage, Safari or iCloud so I don't benefit from the Apple ecosystem integration. </p><p>I can imagine if you are deep in the Apple world using WIndows would present a lot of difficulties. </p>

  • sevenacids

    27 December, 2020 - 8:24 pm

    <p>I hope that ARM is not the future. I'd rather see RISC-V emerging to be a replacement for x86/x64, because ARM is not a better choice than x86/x64 when it comes to licensing and openess. It's semi-open at best, and with vendor specific extensions, it's just the same closed platform and problematic when it comes to compatibility.</p><p><br></p><p>Besides being more power efficient, there's not much that is "better" in ARM than x86/x64. It's a different architecture, with some pros, but also cons. I don't know why people dive so much into the hype. The M1 is also special because it is not "pure ARM" (if there's something like that) but a CPU specialized for the tasks needed in a consumer device (with optimized video decoding in hardware, for example).</p><p><br></p><p>Intel and AMD invested a lot in x86/x64. It's an old architecture with some quirks, but I think there is still room for optimization in the implementation. I'd like to see a modern ISA as well, but to me that's RISC-V, and not ARM.</p>

    • aways987

      28 December, 2020 - 8:11 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#603045">In reply to sevenacids:</a></em></blockquote><p><br></p><p>I don't know what you mean by pure ARM, but Apple silicon uses the ARM instruction set. What Apple doesn't do is license any ARM designs in the way that say Qualcomm or MediaTek do. Windows on ARM runs on Parallels on the M1 Macs and it can only do so because Apple is using the ARM instruction set.</p><p><br></p><p>I think you underestimate how important energy efficiency is in 2020. Apple makes almost all of its money through mobile devices (including MacBooks) so it makes sense to use an architecture that is power efficient. If you are Google, Amazon or Microsoft who run the largest data centers in the world reducing your energy consumption and money spent on cooling moving to an efficient architecture is worth it. </p>

  • wright_is

    Premium Member
    28 December, 2020 - 6:50 am

    <blockquote><em><a href="#603124">In reply to bkkcanuck:</a></em></blockquote><p>ARM is also archaiac. It dates from the mid to late 80s. I had one of the original ARM machines, an Acorn Archimedes, although the OS was a little quirky, even back then – I just put the current version of RISC OS on my Pi 400, it is quaint and a throwback, but it isn't really usable for serious stuff these days.</p><p>For its ideals, RISC-V is a great idea, but it is going to take years, before it will be comparable in terms of performance and power consumption with ARM – a lot of the chipsets currently being manufactured or announced are in the high 2-digit or low 3-digit nano-metre range. That at a time, when Intel has been lampooned for its inability to get below 14nm (in volume), let alone into single-digit nano-metre area, like its competitors.</p><p>I'd like to see RISV-V win through, but I think that ARM is the pragmatic choice, at least for the short term.</p>

    • aways987

      28 December, 2020 - 8:23 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#603126">In reply to wright_is:</a></em></blockquote><p>It is crazy how badly Intel has messed up. They had such a large lead but senior management squandered it. I am impressed with AMD's Dr Su, she has transformed AMD on a shoestring budget. Hopefully she can keep the company innovating and produce something that is competitive with the M Series. I still think x86 will not be relevant to the mainstream by 2030 though.</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      28 December, 2020 - 9:30 am

      But that’s sort of like saying the Mustang Mach-E is archaic because the first Mustang came out in the mid-1960s. All of these things have evolved over long periods of time. It is not completely random that what makes ARM attractive today is its energy efficiency, but it is somewhat random in that ARM’s early designers never foresaw today’s world.

      • wright_is

        Premium Member
        28 December, 2020 - 2:01 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#603167">In reply to paul-thurrott:</a></em></blockquote><p>That's my point. People keep saying ARM is better, because the x86 architecture is archaic. But ARM's heritage is nearly the same. But it was always designed to be low power and using the benefits of RISC design to get decent performance. </p>

  • shark47

    28 December, 2020 - 8:27 am

    <p>"<span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">&nbsp;macOS Window Management is awful and despite spending money on apps to try and fix this I still didn’t like the Mac way of doing this"</span></p><p>As someone who's used to Windows, I don't really like this either.</p><p><br></p><p>"<span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">– The Mac app store is almost as bad as the Windows Store in terms of useful available apps. At least the Windows store has Spotify."</span></p><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">One example: you search for Minecraft, you end up with a lot of Minecraft clones that I wonder how they are allowed to exist in the first place or with instruction based apps.</span></p><p><br></p><p>I decided to keep my M1 Air once I get it back. (It's been shipped from the Apple store here in VA to their central repair place because they couldn't even run diagnostics.) It's hard to beat the performance and compatibility is improving every single day. What is annoying is having to pay for some apps twice. I probably won't do that.</p>

  • wright_is

    Premium Member
    29 December, 2020 - 12:50 am

    <blockquote><em><a href="#603501">In reply to bkkcanuck:</a></em></blockquote><p>I agree with that, but archaic is the wrong word.</p><p>Intel assembler is a real pain. I grew up with Z80, 6502 and later 68000 and DEC Macro Assembler on the VAX. Intel's was the worst of the lot.</p><p>Archaic means old, belonging to a previous time. ARM is just as archaic as x86. Intel's x86 comes from a different school of thought, a way to mangle larger memory models onto old principles. It was only with the 386 (486?) that a flat memory model became truly available. But there was so much legacy hardware that people kept using "standard" x86 code. It is the same problem Windows has had throughout its existence.</p>

  • ggolcher

    Premium Member
    29 December, 2020 - 2:17 am

    <p>If you want a lightweight, easy-to-use video editor for Windows, I recently tried and was very impressed by Animotica. You an find it on the Windows Store. (FYI, it costs $16 once).</p><p><br></p><p>It's what Microsoft should provide for movie editing. </p>

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