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    Mac Mini M1 or 13" Macbook Pro M1
    #1
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    I've decided to purchase an M1 computer to edit on as I already know Final Cut Pro.

    I can't decide between the Mac Mini M1 or the 13" M1 MacBook Pro.

    I think either machine according to tests online are fairly similar performance wise, I just can't decide whether to go desktop or laptop.

    I know I will be mainly editing films at my desk.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks
    David
    Panasonic Lumix G85 | Lumix G7 | Canon XC10 | Lumix GH2 | HVX-200 | Final Cut Pro X | DaVinci Resolve 15


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    #2
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    Just have in mind that some major developers didn’t port their plug-ins yet ( Neat, Coremelt, ColoFinale) There’s a workaround to run FCP in Rosetta2 though. I’m pretty happy with the MBP
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    I'm just a hobbyist with a business tax number and a specialist for everything.


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    #3
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    Like lots of us, I'm also looking at the M1 Macs. Will start working with using a M1 MBP for some simple 2 or 3-cam live streams (with music through a FOH mixer) in 2-3 weeks (mainly working off a 16in MBP right now). But anyway, here's how I'm thinking about my own purchase:


    There will probably be faster/better Arm-based Macs within six months. For us, the biggest win will probably be ability to include more than 16GB RAM, more ports, and better "GPU" performance. And can the current M1 Macs handle the source material we work with (for me: probably at some level, esp with Proxy workflows)? And as Clermond says, are the core apps I need ready to run on M1 Macs, either natively or through Rosetta? FCP seems to be rolling pretty well on the M1 Macs.

    So which current M1 Mac makes "best" long-term sense?

    M1 MacBook Pro
    More expensive than the M1 Mini. Only 2 ports, so add on $150-$300 of of a doc/breakout box such as those from CalDigit and OWC. (I have a CalDigit TS3 Plus for my 16in MBP; I like it a lot though wish it has 10GigEthernet for the NAS that I'll be buying soon). https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/docks. https://www.caldigit.com/docks/
    A key advantage of the MBP is that if I buy it and decide to upgrade to something else later this year, the 13-inch MBP will become a dandy mobile producer/office-task machine, so repurposing will be easy and even practical.

    M1 Mini
    $600ish Cheaper. More ports so probably won't need an external dock. If you have an extra monitor (or a monitor that supports 2+ computers), keyboard and mouse, then your cost may be about $600 less than a M1 MBP (and I'd want to run the MBP through an external monitor for editing so even if I don't have an extra monitor, the cost savings for the Mini are still there).
    But if you want to upgrade in six(ish) months, what would you do with the Mini? Demote it to office tasks, or are those already covered by another machine? Render node, or is that not an issue for your work? Sell it? Seling could work since Macs tend to retain decent value for a while, but that's a bit of a hassle...though several friends do that regularly.


    My bottom line: I really could use a small compact "producers" laptop. So =Maybe= I'll buy a M1 MacBook Pro. But OTOH, it's not like I'm out in the field much during the pandemic. So I might just sit tight and not buy a new computer right now. But that's just me.
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    Jim Feeley
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    My favorite is the Macbook Air, which has not yet been considered herein. It was nice when it was on sale for $900. I'm unsure when that will happen again. Its advantage over the Pro laptop is that it has no fan, so it literally has zero moving parts inside to wear out. For those of you trying to stretch your dollars, you could get 10 years out this machine, considering others have gone that long with past Macs. I doubt many of us would see much of a difference in speed between the Air and the Pro.

    On the other hand, if you're tied to your desk and never will go mobile, then I see no reason to spend the extra $300. I would go with the Mini.

    Even so, if the computer you already own is serving you fine, then I would at least wait until this spring or summer, after Apple has introduced more of the line. If you feel tempted by the new Macs because of their freshness, then you're just going to feel that all over again then.


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    #5
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    For some work, but perhaps not most video editing, the MacBook Air appears to have a significant issue with thermal throttling. For example, Ecamm was saying that the Air wasn't good for streaming since performance dropped when it got too hot. So their M1 recommendations were: M1 Macs with fans are fine (ie- the M1 MBP and M1 Mini), but the Air is unlikely to be approved. Maybe that was an emulation/Rosetta issue and won't matter for a fully-native version of Ecamm Live or FCP, but I'd confirm. And like the M1 MBP, the Mi Air also has only two ports (Thunderbolt 3 / USB 4), so you're still looking at getting a doc. And the fan in the M1 MBP is pretty quiet (at least, on the one I've heard in person...though that might not have been at its loudest setting).

    I guess the bottom line, for me at least, is: Do you need a M1 Mac now or can you wait 4-6 months when faster machines might be available? If you buy a M1 Mac now, will you still be satisfied working on it in six months and/or will you be able to demote it to a another role in your studio?


    Edit:
    Here's a cheap "hack" from one M1 Air user that allegedly resolves the thermal issues. Basically, they put in a bigger/better thermal pad. Hmmm... clever but goodbye warranty, I'd think... https://www.iphoneincanada.ca/news/thermal-swap-m1/
    Last edited by Jim Feeley; 01-12-2021 at 12:24 PM.
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    #6
    Senior Member Peter C.'s Avatar
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    I had the same choice between the Mini and MacBook. I ended up getting the Mini because I like to edit with two monitors, which isn't possible with the MacBook. Macbook also only has two usb c ports, while the mini which has 4+ ports (2 USB-C, 2 USB-A, and 1 HDMI). I still get frustrated because the ports get filled up quick. (keyboard, mouse, monitor, 2nd monitor, external hard drive) Now you have no ports for any other peripherals (printer, memory card reader, usb flash drive, web cam, etc). You end up needing to get a dock and trying to use as many wireless devices as possible. My biggest gripe with these tiny computers instead of keeping all these things tucked away inside a desktop under your desk you get a mess of external docs and cables.

    With all that being said the MacBook has one distinct advantage, the portability of laptop. Need to meet with a client or get work away from home either at the job site, or while traveling at a hotel, doing streaming etc. I still opted not to get the MacBook because the screen is just too small for video editing. 15" is my limit and I need more than 2 ports.
    Last edited by Peter C.; 01-12-2021 at 02:38 PM.


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    #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter C. View Post
    You end up needing to get a dock and trying to use as many wireless devices as possible.
    With the MacBook Pro, you definitely need a dock, but that's an added expense, not a hassle, imo. As I mentioned, I have one for my 16-inch MBP which is my fastest macOS computer right now (I also have a Windows workstation). My MBP plugs into a CalDigit TS3+ dock that drives a 32-inch monitor, a Focusrite Scarlett audio interface (which in turn drives some audio monitors), some drives, and provides a wired ethernet connection. I'm currently running a Logitech MX wireless keyboard and mouse, but I could roll with wired if I have to (and I do occasionally when I recharge the keyboard or mouse. ). If I wanted, I could drive a second (and third) monitor. And when I need to tear away the MBP, I just need to unplug one Thunderbolt cable. It's all working pretty well and the cables are fairly neat and tidy.

    But that all said, I agree with you that if you don't care about portability (and don't plan to replace the computer later this year), the less-expensive M1 Mini makes sense.
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    #8
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    I would definitely wait to see what Apple releases later this year. We're only at the beginning of the M1 journey, so making an investment now would seem to store up hassle for the future, when a machine that's a no-brainer comes out.


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