Today I want to share my opinion about 2(3) new pieces of hardware that I got for myself as an early expensive Christmas present.
Initially I hesitated to jump on the M1 Pro/Max train. My 13” Intel MacBook Pro worked, I don’t have any projects that have compile times where I have to wait minutes for them to complete so no real need to upgrade.
I started configuring a MacBook 14” the day the preorders started. I use the 2nd tier M1 Pro, 512GB Storage and 32GB RAM and ended up with ~2700€.
My first reaction: Phew, that is really expensive. I have no real need, let’s wait.
Then the internet filled with reviews, articles and other videos that all had one thing in common: What a beast of a machine.
Additionally the order date for the MacBook 14” started moving towards December (I think currently they are somewhere in January) so I felt a little bit under stress 😨
The M1 topic sticked with me as I already plan how Flutter could potentially be used at work and in that scenario having an ARM based docker environment that is performant would be a real advantage.
So I did some research to find out if the M1 already has similar performance (or even better performance) than the Intel I have and as it turned out even those are faster. So I almost ordered an M1 MacBook Air or Pro 13”.
In the end I convinced myself that it would be much better to have the even more performant hardware platform and the crazy fast SSD storage. I found a store that was able to immediately ship the 14” MacBook Pro so I ordered it. I ordered the super basic entry model (8 cores, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD) because I still think the upgrade price is just crazy. This machine did cost ~2200€ which is still very expensive (at least in my terms) and as the current machine was sufficient upgrading it would even be more crazy than ordering it has been in the first place 😉
This machine is a beast 🤯. Everything is really snappy, Android Studio opens almost instantly (the splash screen is only visible for a fraction of a second), Building Android Apps is crazy fast.
Rosetta is doing an amazing job so I basically can run any Mac Software that was able to run on my old machine and it does that even faster.
It is even possible to run Windows 11 ARM inside a Parallels VM and use the “Windows Rosetta” to run Intel based Windows software inside. The performance in that environment is bad but this is ideal for that 1-2 Windows programs that you need from time to time.
I almost never hear any fan. This is crazy. Now the fan in the Dell docking station on my desk is the noisiest thing in my office (besides the Synology Diskstation in my shelf).
The display is amazing. The Dell monitor I have looks washed out next to it. Watching HDR content is mind blowing (Some sunrise scenes in Foundation for example are almost blinding)
The battery is just amazing. I never experiences the M1 MacBook Air (which just has an insane runtime) but compared to my Intel 13” it is ~2-3 times the runtime (depending on what I do with it)
Of course it is not free from problems. The most annoying thing for me is that the CalDigit dock I use in combination with my Dell monitor sometimes lead to the Mac coming from standby not waking up the monitor. The Dell docking station has no problems in the same setup so it has to be some combination M1 Pro and CalDigit. Hopefully an update for MacOS or the docking station will fix that.
The SD card reader has severe problems with my Lexar SD card which will hopefully also be fixed with an update.
Besides that I didn’t find any other real downsides. 🤞
In my performance frenzy from the 14” I could not resist to order a M1 MacBook Air for my wife to replace that 2014 11” MacBook Air so that she also is able to feel that performance 😉
And seeing the M1 MacBook Air performance I also wanted to have that power in my shelf to replace the Mac VM running on Ubuntu on an Intel i3 based NUC so now I have a Mac Mini base configuration as well. I did not measure it but it wouldn’t surprise me if the new Mac Mini beast even draws less power than the Intel i3 NUC.
So now we have 3 Apple Silicon devices here (not counting the iPhones of my family members)
Quite a big junk of money 💰 went towards Apple this year but from a Nerd perspective I couldn’t be happier 🤓. It was the right decision.
The jump that Intel now has to make in order to catch up is really huge. That will be tough but also will push Intel to go forward which is a good thing overall.
The problem I now have is where to sell my 13” MacBook Pro? The market is currently flooded with those MacBooks. Presumably from M1 buyers… I will wait a bit and hope that the market settles a bit. But before I undersell that machine I would rather pass it to one of my children.