Apple M1 Mac Mini Review – I’m NOT Impressed – SLOW as Molasses Compared to My Old MacBook Pro

I bought a Mac Mini M1 with 8GB of RAM and 512GB SSD. My expectations were that this thing would smoke my 2017 15″ MacBook Pro (2.9 GHz Quad Core Intel i7, 16GB RAM, Radeon Pro 560).

I was WRONG.

This thing is taking much longer to render 4K60 and 4K30 videos that are 1 hour or more in duration. It’s only using around 8% of the CPU while saving a video in Final Cut Pro, and is often giving the old Share Failure warning to where I’ve got to start over. I can’t figure it out.

The RAM is max’d out if you open one tab in Google Chrome while Final Cut Pro is open. So, when working in Final Cut Pro, I can’t have any other apps running. Sure, the 16GB would have been better. That’s obvious. But, the problem is that the CPU won’t work at, or even near full strength. It must belong to a damn union.

Any fixes or suggestions would be appreciated, my friends. If I can’t whip this thing into shape, it’s back to the drawing board. Maybe I’ll pick up an Intel MacBook Pro and max out the RAM. At least I know it will do the job.

Every darn YouTube video on M1 Macs claim these things are like magic. So far, I’m not seeing the performance jump. Maybe it’s just my bad luck kicking in.


So, here’s more of what I’ve learned about this M1.

  1. If you are saving a long video in 4K (over 20 minutes or so), or, if you have footage from two different cameras regardless of the duration, the processor will only run at roughly 8% the entire time. This is with only Final Cut Pro and Activity Monitor open. It takes FOREVER to save a video (if it succeeds). The computer will use approximately 1.81 MB of Swap memory. This will often result in a Share Failed error to where I have to start over. If you are saving a shorter 4K video with footage from only 1 camera, the processor will run up to 80% or so during the save and is usually successful. To make things short, this damn thing won’t reliably save a 4K 60 FPS video. I usually have to drop it down to 1080P to get it to save.
  2. If I do a re-start of the computer immediately prior to opening Final Cut Pro (no apps opened other than Final Cut Pro and Activity Monitor), the computer will not use any Swap memory while saving a video. It will use around 7.5 GB of RAM and the usual 8% of the processor. The Swap will stay at 0.
  3. These quirks are regardless of ambient temperature. I first thought the issues were caused by the room being too hot. I moved the computer into a small room with air-con on full blast. You can hang meat in here it’s so cold. I get the same results it seems. It’s not the outside temp throttling the CPU.
  4. Obviously I should have went with the 16GB version. However, I don’t think that’s the Holy Grail or that it should be the excuse. I’ve been accomplishing these same tasks on a daily basis (and much faster) with a machine from 2017. If the 8GB of unified memory (which is supposedly magic) can’t handle 4K video, or if it does, it’s much slower, then why didn’t I just buy any older MAC with 16GB of RAM and call it a day? Again, I’m just not impressed with this M1. It’s better for me to go back to editing on this old MacBook Pro from 2017.
  5. I’m at a crossroads. It’s either wait for the MacBook Pro with the M1X, or grab an older 16″ MacBook Pro with the i9 and max out the RAM. To be honest, I’m leaning toward the old i9. This M1 Mac Mini will be a toy for the kids to play with.
  6. Another reason I’m pissed is that a lot of my footage is shot on an iPhone 12 Mini. I can edit this same footage on the iPhone in iMovie or LumaFusion and it’s NO problem. I can edit the same footage on an iPad Pro in LumaFusion and it’s NO problem. Try to edit the same 4K footage on the latest and greatest M1 Mac Mini and it’s a BIG FUCKING PROBLEM. How the hell does that work?

You know the saying about how if you try to get good at everything, you end up good at nothing? You can’t be an expert on everything. Maybe Apple should have left Intel in charge of processors and focused on something else? Ah, what the hell do I know about computers. Not much. I’m a pirate looking at 50. All I give a damn about is when I hit save in Final Cut Pro, that the video will successfully export while I’m drinking my fucking beer. So far, the M1 can’t seem to handle that simple task.