Mini monster

What a difference nine years can make. Just look at this incredible evolution:

2011 Mac mini on top of 2020 Mac mini 2011 Mac mini on top of 2020 Mac mini

Well, okay. I admit all the exciting stuff is on the inside.

(Yes, I do currently keep both on my desk like that. For some reason I just like how they look.)

A lot has been written about the new M1-based Macs already, and I have done my fair share of talking about them as well. I ordered mine hours after the keynote, surprising myself by going for the mini option rather than the obvious-seeming Air. I call it obvious because it is such a natural evolution and enormous improvement over the 12-inch Macbook I have been using and greatly enjoying for the past five(!) years. But these are currently not times of travel. Both my home and work computers spend the vast majority of their time in active use connected to a monitor, keyboard, and pointing device. There may well be at least one more round of M1 machines released before I truly feel the need for a portable home machine again. So, I decided to go with the purest, most pared-down M1 option: a box of compute power with no additional batteries, screens or other random parts.

I have not regretted this decision for even a second. I have been using this machine for what, about a week now? And everything has been a pleasure. Everything I want and need runs great already. I downloaded Sensei to see the internal temperature and fan speed, but like everyone else I wonder if Sensei is actually lying and just displays a gently fluctuating number because I have never, ever heard any fan noise.

Yes, the thing is fast. Fast at everything. It does not feel speedy as much as just … snappy. Things are just there, everything responds right away, and usually finishes long before I expect them to. It feels … understated. Cool and self-assured.

Bring everything you have, I can deal with it. And I do not need to make a show out if it.

I am just this little aluminium box on your desk, here to do your work and make you wonder precisely how the rest of the computer world plans to catch up to this experience.

Running my little script to build this website is between 7 and 16 times faster.

Photos running on a library on my NAS feels like it was all local. It was too slow to be usable when ran the same way on the Macbook.

Hindenburg is many minutes faster exporting final mp3:s, and it is neither M1-native nor a good utilizer of more than one core.

I am pretty sure I will start really wishing for a laptop (or Ipad, possibly) again at some point. But until then, I will enjoy sitting here in the corner with this magical little box.

Now, what more can I try throwing at it?