Okay, but best for what? To be called best a computer must meet the needs of a wide range of users - creative’s, students, and everyone else. 


Best computer for photography,

Best computer for video,

Best computer for music,

Best computer for motion graphics

Best computer for graphic design,

Best computer for students,

Best computer for everyone!

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‍     The M1 Mac mini is the best computer i've owned. I replaced two fully-loaded (max RAM and SSD) Intel Mac mini's with one 256GB SSD 8GB RAM M1. The incredible performance of the M1 is what allowed me to accomplish the two-for-one swap.

The M1 Mac mini is the fastest computer, in every task, I’ve ever used. The are many technical reasons why this is so, but I’m not going into them here. It really doesn’t matter why, it just needs to be, and it is. 

    As a content creator my main uses are graphic design, web design, motion graphics, and animation design. For photography I shoot in HDR, Apple ProRes, or RAW. Video is shot in 4K 30/60 fps 10-bit HDR Dolby Vision. I also mix in HEVC when needed. So I push this M1 Mac mini very hard and it’s still the highest performing computer I’ve used! 

    In the past I used one Intel Mac mini for my content creation then had to divide video encoding/rendering between the two Intel Mac mini’s. Now I create, encode, and render on one M1 Mac mini. Amazingly, with the increase in performance, power consumption went down.

The Best Computer is the M1 Mac mini

Power consumption from the M1 Mac mini is the lowest I've ever experienced. My Intel Mac mini's used 150w each while my M1 Mac mini uses 45w. At idle the M1 Mac mini uses only 5w. This leads to tremendous thermal advantages that are partly responsible for the dramatic power at such a low cost.

Operating at such low wattage enables the dramatic power of the M1 Mac mini. The higher the wattage used by a device the higher the heat (thermal). Heat is the enemy of performance in electronic devices. 

    The thermal advantage is high-performance for low cost (power consumption). It has an internal fan that I’ve never heard run, but have felt air coming from the exhaust vent under heavy use. Quietness is a benefit previously reserved for the iPad and iPhone.

With tasks such as video and music production fan noise is a problem that can be time-consuming and expensive to mitigate. Alternately, a quiet M1 Mac mini adds to the pleasure of using the device when playing music, video, and on a phone or FaceTime call. A silent, powerful computer is made even better by its flexibility.

Flexibility is the M1 Mac Mini’s most important attribute since there are other Mac’s, and now an iPad, that have the M1. To be the “best computer for everyone” it must be configurable too many uses and workflows. The M1 Mac mini allows the user to pick from many types of keyboards, mice/trackpads, speakers, monitors, and headphones.  Everyone can find peripherals to meet their needs.

‍    Connecting wireless peripherals via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth has been flawless. The M1 Mac mini is so flexible I even use it as a W-Fi router to connect my other devices to the internet.  

Adding to this computer’s flexibility is the number of ports for wired connections.

Ethernet

HDMI - 2.0

USB-A

Thunderbolt/ USB 4

3.5 mm telephone jack

Aside from the Mac Pro the M1 Mac mini is the only Apple computer with a minimum of 7 ports. For some users, this is more than will ever be needed, but as a professional I use all the ports. To have this number of ports in a computer of this small size is amazing.

We are used to our electronic devices being small and powerful, such as our iPhone, Apple Watch, and iPad. Having this much power in such as small desktop computer has never been done before. In some use cases the M1 Mac mini is as powerful as Apple’s best MacBook Pro and Mac Pro. This is another reason I confidently say the M1 Mac mini is the best computer for everyone. It’s so small it’s even great for travelers.

Traveling with an M1 Mac mini is not something most people think about or would even do. But I do. And it’s fantastic. 

‍    I’m frequently asked why I don’t travel with an M1 MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. It’s partly due to the flexibility as mentioned above. I carry an Apple Magic keyboard and track pad and plug the M1 Mac mini into a television where I’m staying. It’s rare I am in a hotel or Airbnb that doesn’t have a television with an HDMI connection. If I’m staying somewhere that doesn’t have a television, usually a hostel, I’ve never found myself far from a coworking place that also has computer monitors to use. But what I do in most cases now is use my M1 12.9” iPad Pro as a display for the M1 Mac mini (I’ll go into greater detail in a future post). 

‍    Because of the M1 12.9” iPad Pro’s incredible HDR display, this has become my first choice. Now this might seem limiting because of the screen size, but keep in mind it is the same size as the M1 MacBook Pro and MacBook Air yet with the quality of Apple’s 32” Pro Display XDR. 

‍    The next question I get asked about traveling with the M1 Mac mini is what do I do for power when an outlet isn’t nearby. For these situations I carry a battery power bank with an outlet for the M1 Mac mini’s power plug. Even with the high-performance of this small computer, the power usage is so little I get 3-4 hours of use. I use this setup in airports, coffee shops, and outdoors. You might think this is a hassle carrying and setting up separate components such as keyboard, trackpad, and iPad display. It’s really not, especially in terms of ergonomics.

Ergonomics may not seem important until your body suffers from hunching over a laptop computer. This is a significant reason why I chose the M1 Mac mini. 

    With laptops we are forced into a hunched over, hands together position. The screen is too low and too close, the trackpad is stuck in the center and the keyboard cannot be moved. With the M1 Mac mini I use a separate Apple Magic keyboard and trackpad spread out side-by-side. Additionally, I get the benefit of the largest track pad available. My hands can spread out naturally, eliminating stress on my back, arms, wrists, neck, and shoulders. Additionally, using a television, separate monitor, or my iPad Pro as a screen, I can raise the screen to the perfect height, orient as needed (portrait versus landscape), and place it at the appropriate distance. This control, or choice, of the individual physical components adds tremendously to the value of the M1 Mac mini. 

Value as a characteristic is subjective and objective for each individual. To be able to say the M1 Mac mini is the best computer for everyone requires this essential characteristic. Value is determined by the factors of price, application power, physical size, impact on health, flexibility, power usage, and convenience/portability. Price is the only factor I have not yet discussed. 

    The M1 Mac mini is the lowest price computer made be Apple. Amazing that the lowest price computer is also the best computer for everyone, especially us minimalists. 

Minimalism is the all-encompassing characteristic of the M1 Mac mini. My fellow minimalists understand without any further explanation the incredible value the M1 Mac mini represents by just reading the first sentence of this paragraph.  

    Minimalism in context of material goods, in its simplest form, is attainment of the highest value at a specific price and maximization of value before replacement. This is in direct contrast with the off-stated concept of buying to “future proof”. 

    So, minimalism as I practice for the M1 Mac mini is to buy the configuration that will meet my needs today, not in the future. Future proofing leads people to buy what and more than they need and invariably never using what they have to its full potential. Not only is future proofing a waste of money, but a source of choice anxiety followed by buyers regret. 

    I purchased my M1 Mac mini with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB hard drive. When my use routinely exceeds the capability of the RAM and hard drive I will upgrade to a newer Mac mini. I’ll sell or trade-in my M1 Mac mini so its life span continues with another person. This is future proofing minimalist style. 

    The minimalist style of future proofing will save you significant money. I’ve done this with all my Apple products and thus have never paid full price (sometimes even free!) for an Apple device.