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Question to Apple M1 owners

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I'm in need for a new computer for a second office, I don't have much room in that place, that's why I cant go with a full desktop. I rather spend the least amount of money I can that allows me to do high-res photo editing (files around ~250mb) in Affinity Photo. I'm not an Apple user but the Mac Mini m1 seem to fill my needs, my only question is if the 8gb model would be enough, can any of you m1/8gb owners tell me how is the performance of AP in your computer? If I have to spend extra for the 16gb; I'd rather go with a Thinkpad T14 AMD Ryzen 7 16gb for better specs (and gain portability if I ever need it).

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currently not an M1 owner, but others explained that the Apple M1 shares its RAM with the GPU, leaving far too little for RAM hungry apps like Photo. For serious work, you will definitely need more RAM.

Another factor is an unsolved issue that M1 with only 8 GB RAM will exessivly use the SSD for swap / paging which could lead to premature SSD wear and potentially a financial write-off as the SSD is not replacable - except with the rest of the M1.

I bought my current PC in 2018 with 32 GB RAM, so in 2021 everything below 16 GB is a no-go.

Edited by NotMyFault

Mac mini M1 A2348

LG34WK950U-W, calibrated to DCI-P3 with LG Calibration Studio / Spider 5

iPad Air Gen 5 (2022) A2589

Special interest into procedural texture filter, edit alpha channel, RGB/16 and RGB/32 color formats, stacking, finding root causes for misbehaving files, finding creative solutions for unsolvable tasks, finding bugs in Apps.


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Hi @Arceom, I’ve been using a Mac Mini M1 for almost a month now so I’ve given it a fair test (but not exhaustive).

I would definitely go for the 16GB model—the swap memory is very efficient with these new Apple chips, but even so, it’s better to have the headroom especially as it’s now shared memory. Depending on the complexity of your editing, the GPU can easily vacuum up 8GB of that memory alone (from profiling, there seems to be a cap that prevents GPU memory usage from increasing beyond this. I’m not sure if this is OS-mandated or something we do within the apps).

The good news is that 16GB is sufficient for most of my more esoteric editing, including most 32-bit work, astrophotography, HDR workflows, compositions etc. I rarely miss having more RAM day to day.

Now that’s out of the way, I can move on to performance: it’s pretty exceptional! I was very skeptical about M1, but I was fed up with the fan noise from my MPB (especially for tutorials) and just wanted a quiet home machine that was reasonably powerful but not overkill, so I decided to give it a try. It’s snappy and fast, especially in the Affinity apps. RAW files load almost instantly, selections and other raster tool tasks feel instant (as opposed to slight hitching even with a fully specced i9 MacBook), it just feels and performs faster in day to day use. The upcoming 1.9.2 release, currently in beta, has some further optimisations that increase performance as well.

Basically, I’m very impressed with it, and it’s now replaced my top end MPB for work as well, where I’m using the apps intensively all day. Not bad for a machine 1/4 of the price!

I appreciate portability is attractive (regarding the Thinkpad you mentioned) but I would definitely recommend trying M1, even if it’s in MacBook form which I gather gives you basically the same performance as the Mac Mini. It’s not easy for me to recommend, as I’ve always thought of Apple’s Intel offerings as overpriced, but the M1 models have gone some way to changing my opinion on that... (you could always wait to see what they do for the higher end ARM models too)

Product Expert (Affinity Photo) & Product Expert Team Leader

@JamesR_Affinity for tutorial sneak peeks and more

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  • 2 months later...

Arceom did you get a Mac Mini M1 16GB in the end and are you happy with your transition to Mac?

I'm in a similar situation right now. I need a new computer to replace an aging laptop that's become slow and cranky. I have an iPad, but have always used Windows PC's except iMac G4's when at Uni.


Designer | Photo | Publisher | Mac mini (M1, 2020) | Ventura v13.0.1 

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  • 4 months later...

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