What Specs Do I Need for an M1 Mac Mini?

yomark

Registered
I am a retired Graphic Designer, but now I want to re-start a freelance career/business. My present equipment is so old, and the operating system is so out-of-date that I find I need to start over.


I’d like your advice on my tentative plans to purchase a new M1 Mac Mini, (with a new keyboard and mouse, of course; my monitor is still fine for now).


As long as I’m up-grading, I’d also like to take full advantage of my smart TV (an Insignia [model: NS-50D510NA17], which I purchased from Best Buy about 3 years ago or more, and with a Sony Blu-Ray player connected [model: BDP-S3700]. I’d like to be able to browse the web on my smart TV also.


Of course, I plan to sign-on to “lease” the Adobe Creative Cloud suite, hoping they still offer access to the entire suite at a reasonable price.


Besides graphic design for print and web, I’d like to be able to do the following also:


1) Create and Edit Motion Graphics

2) Create and Edit Tutorial YouTube videos (for which I realize I will need to acquire more professional web-camera, green-screen, microphone and lighting equipment)

3) Create and Edit Drawing and Illustration “demo” videos for my YouTube channel


My question to the Community here is:
What specific specifications do I need to ask for when shopping for the M1 Mac Mini (such as Ram and HDMI) to be able to do all that?
 
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bbloke

Registered
Personally, I'd say go for as much RAM as you can afford, particularly with M1 systems. The RAM is now part of the chip and so it not something that can be upgraded later, as used to be the case. So if in doubt about this, max out. ;)

Although not an expert, I've learned a little about hardware and software for creating videos in recent years. I'm happy to discuss these if it might be useful? One thing I would say is that I found Reincubate Camo (https://reincubate.com/camo/) to be tremendously useful because it lets you use your iPhone camera as a high resolution webcam, which is much better than buying new hardware! Of course, some professionals use DSLR cameras as webcams, but... that's expensive and probably a lot more than what most people would need.
 

yomark

Registered
Personally, I'd say go for as much RAM as you can afford, particularly with M1 systems. The RAM is now part of the chip and so it not something that can be upgraded later, as used to be the case. So if in doubt about this, max out. ;)
Thanks for reminding me about the need to configure the M1 with as much ram as I can. I HAD seen a YouTube video that mentioned that same fact. I suppose, then, that I'm asking what would the minimum amount of ram be to run (at least) the Adobe graphic design suite. The video production stuff is more of an ideal wish-list at this point, as I will have plenty of work getting up-to-speed on the latest versions of Illustrator, Photoshop and so forth.
 

DeltaMac

Tech
Adobe continues to state that 8GB RAM is the minimum, and 16GB or more is recommended.
Not that it matters much on the current M1 Macs, you have only two choices, 8GB or 16GB -- at least until the M1x or M2 are released. The rumors seem to point to 32GB availability coming. Maybe there will be some news on that sometime this month.
While we wait on that announcement - if you need to get a new Mac, and you want to use Adobe for more than a hobby, then get the most RAM you can, which presently remains at 16GB.
 

bbloke

Registered
I think DeltaMac has put it nicely. In terms of what you might be able to scrape by with, 8 GB may be OK according to some reports. For example, I remember some videos comparing 16 GB and 8 GB versions of the new M1 laptops, some months ago. Here's one example:


Personally, I'd be uneasy about going for the minimum you can get away with because if you later want to do anything more demanding, or if the OS or your software tools increase their requirements, then there is no wriggle room when the RAM is part of the chipset and you'd be stuck or else looking for another machine.

If it was up to me and I absolutely had to choose, I'd go for the maximum amount of RAM, even at the expense of sacrificing CPU clock speed (where applicable) or storage (you can always get an external SSD, for example).
 

mdnky

[Bobs/Prog/Design:~] mod%
Staff member
Mod
I'd agree 100% on the RAM maxing, that's the main reason I hadn't upgraded my laptop yet. Waiting for a month or two, but I plan on a new MBP soon.

A side suggestion: Might be a good time to look into the Affinity Creative Suite (Designer/Photo/Publisher) as a replacement for Adobe. Did that years ago (from CS5), very happy with the choice. No subscription nonsense and the programs are pretty easy to jump into if you're familiar with older versions of the Adobe CS. You could use Final Cut + Motion / Resolve + Fusion / Blender, etc. for the video side.
 

AlanG

Registered
Definitely go for 16G! I have an 8G PC and if I use PS plus plugins (eg. DxO Nik collection) it crawls but my 16G box works OK.
But for future proofing I'd go for 32G if they ever offer it.

PS I'm in the same boat, just psyching myself up to hit the $$$$ button on the Apple web site....
 

mdnky

[Bobs/Prog/Design:~] mod%
Staff member
Mod
To expand/update on this a bit...I was forced to replace my MBP in late November with no notice, so I had to settle on what Best Buy had in stock. I almost replaced it with an iPad Pro, but decided the M1 Air was a better option for my use. Ended up with an M1 Air with 8GB RAM and 512GB hard drive. Definitely would have like to find the 16GB version, but I needed it immediately for a project I was working on at an offsite location. The plan is to take advantage of the portability (love this compared to the 15.4" MBP) and grab a Mac Pro or iMac for daily usage later this year. Still a bit ticked about the single external monitor limit, but oh well.

Having lived with it for a few months, it is usable most of the time for light to moderate workloads. With lighter everyday usage (attachment: Safari with Notes, Affinity Publisher & Photo open in background) it sits around 70% utilization. Most of the time it stays in that area, or close to it. The only time I've noticed an issue usually occurs when too many apps are left open. So I try to limit myself to about 3 or 4 max if possible. While annoying, it can easily be solved by closing those you aren't using. Surprisingly, Safari is a big fat memory pig...Opera, Chrome and Firefox aren't any better.

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