M1 Mac Mini connected to an LG 5K display
New 2020 M1 Mac Mini connected to a LG 5K display.
Magic Keyboard, and Magic Mouse 2 sitting below.

Several times in my experience I’ve felt dramatic improvements with computers I’ve purchased.

  • The first time I got a 3D graphics card (VooDoo Banshee) on a 1990s Windows computer.
  • The first time I installed a SSD (Solid State Drive) into a computer and experienced the before/after effects.
  • The most recent time I built a PC from scratch with some of the top end components.
  • Now with the new M1 processor on the Mac Mini.

After a few days with the new Mac Mini I’m thrilled to report that at $699 it’s a killer deal, very fast, and very quiet.

All the new M1 systems that Apple recently released have been getting rave reviews for their speed, battery life, and near silence. I can attest to that for the new Mac Mini.

Comparing the system to a new-ish MacBook Air from 2020 was eye-opening. Running Big Sur (Mac OS 11) the MacBook Air had a hard time keeping various apps open without blazing its’ fan. Driving a large 5k display as shown in the photo seemed to tax the system a fair amount when running Zoom or FaceTime. Good luck using resource-intense websites like Facebook or Nextdoor without the system slowing down.

Gone are the days of fans buzzing, slow app response, laggy video playback in Zoom, and being forced to quit things when they’re not in use.

Some of my pain came from Mac OS Catalina and Big Sur as both upgrades slowed the system down. Every few revisions of the new system software will slow devices down, and then one will come out that will speed things back up again — Catalina and Big Sur are the ones that slow things down a bit and add new features.

One very unique feature of the new M1 computers is that they allow you to run various iPhone and iPad applications! So for those of you who have a favorite game or application on your iPad that is not available on the Mac App Store — with the newest systems that’s no longer a problem.

One minor limitation is the new M1 computers will not allow Parallels/VMWare or Windows to run. Microsoft may choose to license and sell a ARM based version of Windows in the next few years and once that is offered we will have a official method of using Windows on the Mac.

One minor bug on the new Mac Mini that I’m using that may be resolved in the future is the bluetooth cuts out on rare occasion. My suggestion is if you plan to get the Mac Mini you may want to use a Wired keyboard and Mouse, or a Logitech mouse that works off of a USB wireless dongle until Apple resolves the bluetooth quirk.

Expect new iMacs, Mac Pros, and MacBook Pros in early 2021 or some time next year. For now if you are on the budget end of the spectrum, now is a fantastic time to upgrade.

Overall – color me impressed! $699 for a system that blew me away with its’ great performance and ultra quiet nature.