M1 Mini vs 2019 MBP

Finally was able to assemble enough footage to get a real world test going with the new M1 Mac Mini ($1,100) vs my almost maxed out 2019 MBP ($4,500).

I still want to do this test with the 2018 Mac Mini to show the drastic change in performance, but that’s currently in a modded 12v build and it’s kind of a pain to be able to swap that out to regular AC power. Bonus photo of that mod!

Anyways, here are the 10 timelines that I put together to test out rendering to ProRes Proxy (what I get asked to do almost 100% of the time) and H264 because these new processors are supposedly built to handle H264 natively (more hardware less software encoding). Each timeline is the source resolution & codec of each file (OG means Open Gate and ANA means Anamorphic (and doing the desqueeze) for those wondering).

I opted to make 1 minute timelines with different resolutions as well as forcing all the debayering to the highest level upon rendering, just to stress test everything.

I used a 2TB SanDisk SSD (mainly because my GSPEED Vault XL wouldn’t mount on the M1, RIP) and also I wanted to use something that’s relatively efficient in what others might use for drives when rendering from (unless you’re using a NVME raid, might re-do this to just give that example).

So here’s the speed test from that SSD for reference.

First off, if you missed my performance test between the M1 Mini & my MBP with Geekbench, I definitely recommend checking that out first. But here are the specs for the MBP:

I’ll post my M1 Mini specs later on, forgot to grab a screenshot of it.

So first up! Here’s the MBP’s renders to ProRes Proxy.

Here’s the H264

And here’s the M1 Mini’s results

and H264.

Here’s the side by side comparison. Left is MBP, right is M1 Mini. First set is ProRes Proxy, second set is H264

Conclusion:

While the M1 Mac Mini isn’t going to replace my laptop in terms of rendering, the fact that it’s this fast is outstanding. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what apple has in store for a 16″ M1(X) MBP and believe me I’ll be buying it and testing it out. And for $1,100 it is quite a steal vs the $4,500 laptop.

Next is to test the M1 MacBook but I don’t have access to one at the moment, hopefully later next week.

Let me know what you guys think and what you’d like to see tested next.

6 thoughts on “M1 Mini vs 2019 MBP

  1. Thank you for taking the time to run these tests. I was considering the M1 Mini as an upgrade to my 2017 MacBook Pros. Looks like I’m better off sticking with Intel for the time being. It saved me a purchase.

  2. Hey Charlie, thanks for posting the results.

    Can you break down the best strategy / order of operations for offloading and transcoding multiple cards? With 1 or 2 computers at your disposal (MBP + Mac Mini or 2 MBPs), a fast personal raid and 2 slower production drives.

    Do you first do a checksum offload to the RAID, then start transcoding from that RAID, while simultaneous offloading from the Card to the slower drives using file size comparison?

    Do a file size comparison to the fast raid, start transcodes from there,
    while simultaneous offloading from the Card to the slower drives with checksums?

    or some other order of operations?

    Thank you

    1. So I’ve switched over to using silverstack primarily for transcoding now. The beauty of that is you can set it to give priority to offloading when you are transcoding also so you can set up all your transcodes and then once they are done you can then start your transcodes. I always prioritize getting footage offloaded safely then doing transcodes but in your example the best method would be to use your fast RAID, such as a RAID0 NVME via OWC 4M2, to then do your transcodes AFTER the footage has been safely copied to your RAID and to the client drives

      1. Thank you, so first a XXHash64 checksum offload from the card to the Raid.
        Then to clarify for step 2, would you setup another XXHash64 checksum offload from the cards to the slower drives (with the ubiquitous Lacie rugged spinning drives that productions love to supply this can take forever)?
        Or do a file size comparison from the cards to the slower drives?
        Or a cascade copy form the RAID to the slower drives?

        Naturally each way has pros and cons, Speed vs a unique copy from the original card.

  3. oof, I try not to use slower than 250MB/s drives because of this reason but if you’re forced into this predicament you can absolutely do the cascading copy as the 2nd option. Sometimes I find that if you’re doing a cascade copy it’s sometimes way longer than if you just did a copy to the RAID & Client drive at the same time anyways. If you’re hard pressed for time and doing transcodes then cascading copy is the way to go so you can have access to the footage on the raid faster. I should make a post testing this out actually.

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