Mac Mini upgrade on a budget

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Tom_N Forum Pro • Posts: 18,524
Re: More info please.

rb61 wrote:

I am open to either used or new.

I currently have a standard 1TB external drive in addition to the original interior drive.

I use Affinity Photo for RAW files.

That might make you a good candidate for a M1-based Mini.  Affinity's site claims that version 1.86 is native on M1-based Macs.

https://forum.affinity.serif.com/index.php?/topic/127202-affinity-suite-for-macos-186-release-notes/

With respect to speed …

The M1 is very fast when running native code, for tasks that don't require more than 16 GB of RAM.  On the Geekbench 5 single-core speed charts, a M1-based Mini had a score of 1705.  A Late 2018 Core-i7-based Mini scored 1100.  A Mid-2011 Mini which had a 2.3 GHz Core i5 scored 501.  So the new Intel-based Mini was twice as fast as your Mini, but the M1-based Mini was three times as fast.  (Keep in mind that this refers only to CPU speed, not to overall system speed, or perceived system speed.)

Budget - approximately $600-1000

A new M1-based Mini with 16 GB of RAM (custom-order– this can't be upgraded after the fact) and a 256 GB SSD costs $900. You might need to keep some files on external drives, but it sounds as if you are doing that already.

Note that if you are using older, 32-bit applications now, these will not run under Big Sur.  So you might need to upgrade your copy of Microsoft Office (if you use Office), and you might find that some applications have not been updated and thus are not available.

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