I’m returning my M1 Mac Mini sick

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 29 comments

  • navarac

    18 June, 2021 - 4:17 am

    <p>I’d respectfully say that even 5 days with a Mac is not giving enough time, although 6 months with as Mac was not enough time for me!</p><p><br></p><p>Unfortunately, Windows 11 appears to be much the same as Windows 10 "under the hood", but time will tell. </p><p><br></p><p>With no axe to grind, I’d give Linux a whirl. Highly configurable, but you need far more than 5 days to experiment with it. Try Linux Mint – it might get you across the initial hurdles. </p>

    • scj123

      Premium Member
      18 June, 2021 - 8:55 am

      <p>I am not sure how Linux is going to solve his problem unless Adobe is about to release Creative Cloud for Linux</p>

  • shark47

    18 June, 2021 - 7:57 am

    <p>"<span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">– 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><br></p><p>I’ve been using a Mac for 6 months now and feel the same way. I prefer Windows’ window management to that of the Mac. </p><p><br></p><p>"<span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">– Microsoft continues to polish the system and invest in it. Windows is still a multi-billion dollar business, Panos show it some love!"</span></p><p><br></p><p>I really hope so. I tend to prefer a PC to a Mac, despite some of these issues, but these inconsistencies are everywhere and make for an annoying experience. I hope Microsoft fixes them.</p><p><br></p><p>I also love the performance of the M1 MacBook Air. It’s pretty awesome. But the window management is a big deal for me and from my perspective, Windows is superior.</p><p><br></p><p><br></p>

    • bob_shutts

      18 June, 2021 - 12:29 pm

      <p>I’ve been using Mac for (basically) forever, and I also think Windows’ window management beats Apple’s, hands down.</p>

  • wright_is

    Premium Member
    18 June, 2021 - 8:09 am

    <p>You complain that the software you need doesn’t run on ARM on the Mac and then you want AMD and Intel to abandon x86/x64 and build ARM processors… So that the software you need doesn’t run on Windows either?</p><p><br></p><p><br></p>

    • james.h.robinson

      Premium Member
      21 June, 2021 - 10:47 pm

      <p>Logic is a magical thing…</p>

  • wp7mango

    Premium Member
    18 June, 2021 - 8:43 am

    <p>Nothing wrong with x86 per say and it has a place in the future. The latest AMD Ryzen processors significantly outperform the M1. Battery life on x86 is also significantly improved on the EVO certified laptops. If anything, competition is a healthy thing. </p>

    • ikjadoon

      18 June, 2021 - 9:28 am

      <p>Not a single x86 CPU in the world matches the total single-threaded performance with the perf-per-watt of the M1.</p><p><br></p><p>Ryzen is good, but it’s only superior in desktop-class multithreading. Any Ryzen laptop unfortunately heavily thermal throttle after the first intensive task or power throttle if you unplug it from the wall. In that situation, the M1 beats all Ryzen x86 CPUs in single and multithreaded performance in laptops. </p>

      • wp7mango

        Premium Member
        18 June, 2021 - 11:47 am

        <p>Performance per watt is going to be an ever changing landscape. Sure the M1 currently does well in that respect, but that doesn’t mean it will always lead.</p>

        • F4IL

          18 June, 2021 - 2:46 pm

          <p>It leads now, which is very close (about a week) to the date the OP decided to purchase the Mac Mini.</p>

        • curtisspendlove

          22 June, 2021 - 11:17 pm

          <p><em style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">Performance per watt is going to be an ever changing landscape. Sure the M1 currently does well in that respect, but that doesn’t mean it will always lead.</em></p><p><br></p><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">I’m fairly confident that Apple will always have an excellent performance per watt lead. They have baked their concept of “icestorm” and “firestorm” down to the kernel level. It predicts what can be run on efficiency cores and bumps them up to performance cores if needed. At an OS level. </span></p><p><br></p><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">With any luck Microsoft will work with Intel and AMD to do similar things. They need to with the new hot / cold architectures coming up in the pipeline. Without hardware / OS cooperation it will never be as good. </span></p>

  • scj123

    Premium Member
    18 June, 2021 - 9:11 am

    <p>AMD and Intel are heavily invested in x86. So far Apple have produced 1 good chip and the world then expects AMD/Intel to drop 35 years of x86 experience and move to a whole new chip design. Surely they have more chance of beating Apples M1 with a new x86 CPU than starting again with an ARM design.</p>

    • F4IL

      18 June, 2021 - 3:14 pm

      <p>Even if we assume they (AMD and Intel) beat the M1 at some point in the future, both in terms of raw performance and performance per watt, what about chips <span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">succeeding the </span>M1? Apple is also invested in their CPU architecture, they are a bigger company than either AMD / Intel and have been on track for years, releasing chips that easily beat competitors on AARCH64 and now x86.</p>

  • vladimir

    18 June, 2021 - 9:25 am

    <p>I tend to agree with every point on each list but it’s a question of what you need/want. The awful search, lack of space bar preview and lack of a built-in app like preview are deal breakers for me on windows</p>

  • jt5

    Premium Member
    18 June, 2021 - 10:06 am

    <p>I use a Mac for the sole reason of developing/maintaining an App. I first purchased an I7 Macbook air for what I thought was a good price. I did not know at the time- you have to check the year- It was a 2 1/2 year old Mac. Oh well I figured – it should work fine. It did- but it felt really slow- especially considering it had an I7 in it. Fast forward a year later- I needed more disk space(Another discussion another time)- so I sold it and got an M1 Macbook Airl. Compared to the first Macbook- it is much nicer. It certainly feels "faster" although it is not significantly faster. The one thing I have had to learn how to do – is use the Mac. This has been a great exercise. I do share the view about Window Management- it is better in Windows. I asked a friend who uses a Mac and his response was- why do I need to be able to manage windows? Anyhow- I agree with the Mac store comment- with one exception. Now on the M1- you can install Apps. As Paul points out- this is not the best experience. For how I use- it is useful for testing my app- so I like having this feature. </p><p>Recently Visual Studio had an issue with Xamarin that forced me to do some work on Visual Studio on the Mac. It was an interesting exercise. I am glad i did it- but still really prefer the Windows Visual Studio. I look at it this way- it is nice that I have it for when I need it- not for everyday use. </p><p>There is a one feature I really like better. I really like their virtual desktops- I feel it is just a little better and easier than Windows. Although to be fair- Windows Virtual Desktops have improved significantly and the upcoming Windows 11 looks to have some more improvements. </p>

  • bkkcanuck

    18 June, 2021 - 11:19 am

    <p>"– The god awful speaker in the Mac mini that just shouldn’t be there."</p><p><br></p><p>I have seen this before listed as an issue…. the speaker is not there for you to use as your daily driver… never meant for that purpose…. it is diagnostic speaker… (use to be widespread built into tower enclosures early on)… there if there is an issue booting up. </p>

  • yaddamaster

    18 June, 2021 - 12:00 pm

    <p>I’ve been using a Macbook Pro at work as my primary driver for well over two years. I feel I’ve given it a fair shake.</p><p><br></p><p>And I largely agree with you. OSX window management just plain sucks. It’s not a matter of what I grew up with. It’s inferior to Windows. Yeah, some people will reply that it’s subjective. Meh. It sucks. :-)</p><p><br></p><p>Finder sucks. I know some people like it but it just plain sucks. I never thought Windows Explorer would be superior but it just works intuitively.</p><p><br></p><p>But yeah – spotlight is awesome. The power tools equivalent isn’t as good. It’s a nice try but clearly not built in to the OS.</p>

  • WaltC

    18 June, 2021 - 2:39 pm

    <p>There are a lot of myths and untruths surrounding the Mac–always have been, as such is a feature of Apple marketing and always has been. Journalists frequently amuse themselves by recounting stories of Steve Jobs’ (RIP) tall tales, both about Apple products and about companies making competing products. This behavior was so widespread and common at Apple that it was termed "The Steve Jobs Reality Distortion Field"–or the "Apple RDF," an expression you may already be familiar with. As you found, most of those yarns casting dispersion on "x86" are simply false or else highly misleading. A big example is: "What software can you run on Windows that you cannot run on a Mac?"–the implication being that such programs, if they exist at all, are minor and really don’t matter because you can find a substitute that will suffice just as well that runs on OS X. You very quickly found that not to be the case at all. (That’s why the Mac supported Boot Camp, etc.) Don’t even get me started on entertainment software (games, etc.)–OS X isn’t even in the running. That isn’t surprising at all–Apple has historically invested little to nothing in gaming support, and accordingly has little to no such support to market.</p><p><br></p><p>Macs are simply not designed for people who want to learn as much as they can about their hardware and software to be able to extract the greatest value from their purchases. Macs are designed for people comfortable with Apple making their hardware and software choices for them, so that they don’t have to strain themselves in what they must find the "arduous task" of picking and choosing among products…;) Apple tells them what they can run, how they can run it, and Apple makes their hardware choices, too–and that’s the way they like it. That is Apple’s computer market as it always has been. The Windows OS, imo, is so much larger and so much more popular globally because no operating system available for sale provides the same degree of third-party hardware driver support and software application support as Windows. That’s why Windows is ~95% of the computer OS market globally today–people prefer making their own choices, and Microsoft makes that possible by spending huge sums of R&amp;D in hardware (device driver support) and third-party software support. </p><p><br></p><p>I don’t know what you mean by "the lack of ads and preloaded junk." Only ads I see in Windows come through my browser, and those are regulated by the websites I frequent. I don’t see ads from any other source–and they don’t come from Windows. I’ve been building my own systems since 1995–and got rid of the pre-installed junk you still get these days with pre-built systems. But none of that is directly because of Windows, etc.</p><p><br></p><p>I thought your comments are fine and well made! The comment about "x86 needs to transition to something newer" is common and usually the result of scuttlebutt passed around by someone who heard it from someone else, etc. The fact is that AMD’s Ryzen architectures, commercial, semi-pro, and consumer, are the most advanced CPU architectures being manufactured today globally. Intel is not that far behind, but is still in the monolithic CPU design stage and a fair bit behind in SoA processes like 7nm–employed by AMD for two years now in commercially shipping products. My GPU and CPU, both purchased in July 2019 are 7nm, for instance. But that’s not really the point. </p><p><br></p><p>"x86" refers to an old CPU instruction set first used by Intel some 45+ years ago. "x86" is *not* a CPU architecture…;) Today, for reasons of backwards compatibility, only, both Intel and AMD include some of the ancient x86 instruction set <em>compatibility</em> inside their currently selling CPUs–the CPUs themselves, the physical architectures, bear no resemblance at all to the original x86 CPUs–286/386/486, etc. Not that long ago I read a piece from Intel complaining about people calling its CPUs "x86" because Intel said it hasn’t manufactured x86 CPUs in many years…;) They were right! Neither AMD nor Intel manufacture x86 CPUs anymore and haven’t for quite some years, now. The architectures look like RISC-CISC hybrid designs to me–no "x86" circuitry present. Intel and AMD include some x86 instruction compatibility in their modern post x86 CPUs for the sake of backwards compatibility with some software and hardware still called for or in use in some areas of the world. Maintaining that compatibility is a task in itself, but the challenge is keeping the backwards compatibility for those ever-shrinking use cases while maintaining second-to-none performance. At some point in the future, the x86 compatibility will simply slough off and drop away seamlessly when it is no longer needed–it’s already been doing that, actually, but the process is slow and gradual–not dramatic. Anyway, that’s all I wanted to say about that…a lot of OS X/Mac sites talk about "x86" as it was several decades ago…;) That’s just more of that good old RDF black magic talkin’…;) </p><p><br></p><p>Only other comment I wanted to make is about the Microsoft store–people running Windows have a universe of software stores and shops available to them via the Internet that are selling both hardware and software that often isn’t available at all in the Microsoft store! So no one running Windows should tie himself down to the Microsoft store because of what he’s going to miss if he does! Just my two cents.</p><p><br></p><p>–one last thing–I don’t even run One Drive, either…;) Don’t think it’s poor, necessarily, I just have no need for it. I certainly don’t miss it.</p>

    • pecosbob04

      21 June, 2021 - 2:00 pm

      <p>"That’s why Windows is ~95% of the computer OS market globally today–people prefer making their own choices, and Microsoft makes that possible by spending huge sums of R&amp;D in hardware (device driver support) and third-party software support."</p><p><br></p><p>Even defining the computer OS market very narrowly your statement is wrong. I can assure you that Mac OS, Linux ,Unix and its many derivatives, and IBM’s mainframe operating systems (ZOS, MVS, VM370 . . . ) constitute more than ~5% of the market. If you define the market more broadly as it is in reality to include Android, IOS, and their variants the statement becomes&nbsp;ludicrous on its face.</p>

      • james.h.robinson

        Premium Member
        21 June, 2021 - 10:46 pm

        <p>I’m guessing the poster was talking about Desktop/Laptop OS market share. Last time I checked, that was where Windows still dominates.</p>

        • bkkcanuck

          22 June, 2021 - 6:21 am

          <p>Windows has not had that large a market-share in 20 or 30 years (pre-OS X). </p><p>The market-share for 2020 and 2019 (according to IDC):</p><ul><li>Windows 80.5% / 85.4% (and a portion of those are sold with Windows, but run Linux)</li><li>Chrome OS 10.8% / 6.4%</li><li>macOS 7.5% / 6.7%</li></ul><p>Of that 80.5%, some of those sold would be people who bought the machine and were forced to buy Windows as well, but replaced it with Linux. Also potentially included in that number are computers that use Windows but are not desktops (i.e. ATM, manufacturing PCs)</p><p>Living in SE Asia, I would argue this distinction of laptop/desktop OS market-share is long obsolete — as the majority of people that have laptops and desktops only use it for browsing the web, email, Facebook and other social media. Those that grew up after the hay-day of PCs and laptops though use other devices primarily for the same functions. When judging the health or vitality of home computers – all devices should be factored in … that includes tablets and smart phones (which may actually cost more than the ‘PCs’ in some cases. There are two metrics that determine a health of a device marketplace…. is there enough of a market that you can use that device for what you want (minimum), and if you are a software developer – where is the most money to be made. </p><p>Apple I think realizes this, which is why so much effort has been put into unifying the development of applications between iPadOS and macOS (Catalyst for quick porting to macOS, SwiftUI for unified development going forward)… since iPadOS devices outsell macOS devices 2 to 1. </p><p>I actually find the Windows marketplace for new software development to be stagnant at best (I use both macOS and Windows computers at home – depending on contract or personal – whatever fits best into customers development environment).. </p>

          • curtisspendlove

            22 June, 2021 - 11:11 pm

            <p><em style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">I actually find the Windows marketplace for new software development to be stagnant at best (I use both macOS and Windows computers at home – depending on contract or personal – whatever fits best into customers development environment)..</em></p><p><br></p><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">There is very little money to be made in the consumer space for Windows and Android. It’s weaning significantly on iOS and macOS as well. And it is damn near impossible to get anyone using desktop Linux to pay anything up-front for software (though, to be fair with the Linux community they are often quite generous in donations to software they like…just don’t try to chart upfront if you haven’t contributed to the community—which is fine). </span></p><p><br></p><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">Enterprise / business software is, of course, a different animal. </span></p>

        • pecosbob04

          22 June, 2021 - 9:34 am

          <p>Dominates but not by a factor of 19 to 1.</p>

    • curtisspendlove

      22 June, 2021 - 11:04 pm

      <p><em style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">Apple tells them what they can run, how they can run it, and Apple makes their hardware choices, too–and that’s the way they like it.</em></p><p><br></p><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">That’s an interesting claim, since I tweak my macOS and Linux installs far more than I tweak my Windows install. </span></p><p><br></p><p>I’ve tried to get my Windows install as good as any of my other OSs for my main productivity tasks and it requires Docker and WSL to even get anywhere close. </p>

  • Alastair Cooper

    18 June, 2021 - 9:46 pm

    <p>I don’t think AM5 etc will be available this year. More like the middle of next I would think – at least in terms of actually being able to get hold of it.</p>

  • erichk

    Premium Member
    23 June, 2021 - 7:14 pm

    <p>I just came back from Best Buy with an open box Mac Mini M1! Saved almost $60, and it said it was in excellent condition. Haven’t opened it up yet. I wonder how my experience will be this time — I’ve owned a couple of Mac Minis before during the Intel era.</p>

    • bkkcanuck

      24 June, 2021 - 12:52 am

      <p>If I were to buy a refurb, I would always buy it from the Apple store online… discounts look like they start at $110 for the $699 price model. </p>

      • erichk

        Premium Member
        24 June, 2021 - 8:59 am

        <p>Yes, I purchased my iPad as a refurb from the Apple store. Great experience.</p><p><br></p><p>So far, not so much with Best Buy. Didn’t even come with a power cable.</p><p><br></p><p>I’ll be going over there later today to straighten it out.</p>

  • curtisspendlove

    27 June, 2021 - 3:44 am

    <p>I’m curious for those complaining about Mac’s window management; what in particular did you not like about it?</p><p><br></p><p>And what in Windows do you love. I feel like I’m missing something here. </p><p><br></p><p>In Windows I use Fancy Zones (ugh—that name) and I think it is awesome they are enhancing it. </p><p><br></p><p>On Mac I use Moom and it replicates the majority of the similar functionality. You can even bind keys to preferred layouts. </p>


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