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joshallegro

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 19, 2008
41
2
The new M1 Mac Mini comes with max. 16GB of “Unified Memory”. Is 16GB of Unified memory the equivalent to or faster than 16GB of DDR RAM. And if so, by how much?

I currently have a 2019 MacMini with 32GB RAM and want to make sure that if I buy the new machine, I will not be getting any less RAM performance in particular for running applications like After Effects which (currently) reply on a lot on RAM.
 

aednichols

macrumors 6502
Jun 9, 2010
377
300
There's no way for RAM speed to substitute for RAM quantity.

The unified memory appears to be very fast because it is very close (physically and logically) to the CPU. That said, if your pro app demands 20 GB of RAM, then the current M1 mini is not for you.

Wait for the M1X or whatever, which will support more RAM and more displays.
 

joshallegro

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 19, 2008
41
2
There's no way for RAM speed to substitute for RAM quantity.

The unified memory appears to be very fast because it is very close (physically and logically) to the CPU. That said, if your pro app demands 20 GB of RAM, then the current M1 mini is not for you.

Wait for the M1X or whatever, which will support more RAM and more displays.

How long would I have I wait for the M1X in a Mac Mini? I wouldn’t by buying a MacPro likely because of the £5k price tag.
At this point Im mainly just trying to make sure the A1 MacMini’s 16GB or unified memory will produce the same if not more performance as my current MacMini 2019 which has 32GB DDR RAM. Could you hedge a guess that this would be the case?

Also I found this benchmark somewhere. I’m not sure how they have benchmarked the M1 yet as the product haven’t yet been released. Haven’t trouble deciphering the RAM comparison on this though;

 

Machspeed007

macrumors member
Nov 8, 2018
44
50
Romania
Maybe is better to think of these 16GB as GPU memory...
Machine code usually takes very little space, most of the memory is usually used by textures, graphics, video.
Maybe databases or datasets to eat a lot of memory as well but if they employ compression, there's a lot of this type of data that can be stored using compression (video and graphics much less as it's already compressed).
 

exmophie

macrumors newbie
Oct 23, 2019
17
93
Unifed memory will be shared by the GPU & CPU, so something GPU intensive may consume half the RAM leaving the other half for the CPU's operations.

It appears the SoC package limit for the M1 die size is 16GB, which is still 2-4 times the capacity attached to an A-series chipset.
 
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joshallegro

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 19, 2008
41
2
Maybe is better to think of these 16GB as GPU memory...
Machine code usually takes very little space, most of the memory is usually used by textures, graphics, video.
Maybe databases or datasets to eat a lot of memory as well but if they employ compression, there's a lot of this type of data that can be stored using compression (video and graphics much less as it's already compressed).

So from a performance perspective, will running After Affects on the new 16GB M1 Mac Mini provide compatible or better performance than my 2019 MacMini i7 2019 32GB DDR RAM?
 

Machspeed007

macrumors member
Nov 8, 2018
44
50
Romania
I don't know about performance, but here's what happening when working with graphics in the two cases:

A. MacMini 2019:
1. load the video/graphic file from the disk in the system RAM
2. apply changes to the video/graphic data in RAM
3. copy video/graphic data from RAM to Video GPU RAM
4. apply final gpu accelerated changes to the video/graphic data in GPU RAM and display on screen
5. repeat 2-4

B. ARM MacMini
1. load the video/graphic file from the disk in the unified RAM
2. apply changes to the video/graphic data in the unified RAM
3. apply final gpu accelerated changes to the video/graphic data in unified RAM and display on screen
5. repeat 2-3

You need more RAM on the 2019 MacMini because you are basicaly working with 2 identical graphics data sets that need to be stored in both RAM (to apply changes) and GPU (to be displayed on-screen). The GPU memory is not intended to do interactive changes like you do in the system RAM. On the ARM MacMini you always have 1 data set in system RAM which basically acts as GPU RAM as well..
At least that's what I understood.
 
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joshallegro

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 19, 2008
41
2
Thanks but I can’t generally decifer whether this means 32GB DDR RAM in the old MacMini is equivalent to 16GB in the new M1 MacMini?
 

revs

macrumors 6502
Jun 2, 2008
286
151
UK
Faster, yes. But more RAM is more RAM, speed can't make up for that. If you genuinely need 32GB (and I mean genuinely, not just think you do) then 16 won't cut it.

Sounds like you need the RAM
 

Yebubbleman

macrumors 601
May 20, 2010
4,432
1,206
Los Angeles, CA
The new M1 Mac Mini comes with max. 16GB of “Unified Memory”. Is 16GB of Unified memory the equivalent to or faster than 16GB of DDR RAM. And if so, by how much?

I currently have a 2019 MacMini with 32GB RAM and want to make sure that if I buy the new machine, I will not be getting any less RAM performance in particular for running applications like After Effects which (currently) reply on a lot on RAM.
What necessitates you upgrading from a powerful Mac mini that is only a year old? This processor architecture change doesn't suddenly mean your current Mac mini is worthless. And seeing as eGPU support on the M1 Macs is nil, you're better off not even upgrading now anyway, especially if you're serious about your After Effects work.
 

bobmans

macrumors 6502a
Feb 7, 2020
510
1,326
Wait until the high end Mac Mini gets replaced if you want an Apple Silicon Mac Mini.
You’re not in the market for Apple’s low-end chip as an After Effects user, wait for their midrange offerings (M10 chipset or w/e they’ll call it).
 

Machspeed007

macrumors member
Nov 8, 2018
44
50
Romania
Thanks but I can’t generally decifer whether this means 32GB DDR RAM in the old MacMini is equivalent to 16GB in the new M1 MacMini?
I would guesstimate that 16GB on ARM Mac is equivalent to a 16gb 16"macbook pro + 8 gb graphics card (or more if such option existed) in terms of memory.
So it's better than 16gb macmini 2018, equivalent to a 16gb macmini with a 8gb egpu, worse than a 32gb macmini with a 8gb egpu.
 

joshallegro

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 19, 2008
41
2
What necessitates you upgrading from a powerful Mac mini that is only a year old? This processor architecture change doesn't suddenly mean your current Mac mini is worthless. And seeing as eGPU support on the M1 Macs is nil, you're better off not even upgrading now anyway, especially if you're serious about your After Effects work.

I also use Logic a lot and from what I gather Logic + large track counts WILL definitely be significantly faster on the new M1 Mini. My After Effects is secondary at the moment but sometimes by work changes and I need AE which needs lots of RAM. I'm wondering if AE will be optimising for the the M1 chips though and moving more towards CPU support rather than being so RAM dependant.
 

Slash-2CPU

macrumors 6502
Dec 14, 2016
402
263
If your current Mini is acceptably fast, I wouldn’t touch the M1. 1st gen Apple stuff always has a shelf life similar to sushi.

M2 will assuredly also correct any as-yet-unseen missteps in M1 design/performance.

Think iPhone 1 vs iPhone 3g.

Add to that to if you use it for work, you need it to work. 1st gen tech from any manufacturer is always an unknown quantity. Don’t ever use 1st gen stuff unless you have a specific need to.
 
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Yebubbleman

macrumors 601
May 20, 2010
4,432
1,206
Los Angeles, CA
I also use Logic a lot and from what I gather Logic + large track counts WILL definitely be significantly faster on the new M1 Mini. My After Effects is secondary at the moment but sometimes by work changes and I need AE which needs lots of RAM. I'm wondering if AE will be optimising for the the M1 chips though and moving more towards CPU support rather than being so RAM dependant.
After Effects will still need RAM. The Unified Memory Architecture doesn't mean you need less RAM; it's just faster and more efficient throughput between the RAM and the devices that need to use and access it.
 

Frixos

macrumors regular
Nov 17, 2020
144
126
How long would I have I wait for the M1X in a Mac Mini? I wouldn’t by buying a MacPro likely because of the £5k price tag.
At this point Im mainly just trying to make sure the A1 MacMini’s 16GB or unified memory will produce the same if not more performance as my current MacMini 2019 which has 32GB DDR RAM. Could you hedge a guess that this would be the case?

Also I found this benchmark somewhere. I’m not sure how they have benchmarked the M1 yet as the product haven’t yet been released. Haven’t trouble deciphering the RAM comparison on this though;

It seems like the higher end MBP 13" will come out in the summer, possibly with this M1X chip. If they decide to put an M1X in the Mac Mini, it'd make sense to release it then.
If they're not planning to put M1X in Mac Mini, then you may have to wait until M2, which could be 3-4Q in 2021. But hopefully Apple is wise enough to put M1X in the higher end Mac Mini.
 

tipoo

macrumors 6502
Jan 5, 2017
387
484
The unified memory IS DDR. LPDDR4X specifically.

You save some back and forth from transferring CPU data to GPU memory and vice versa, but a file is a file, a workload is a workload, a 6GB Xcode compile or Photoshop compilation is not going to use less memory than what it is.


All of the reviews that are surprised by the 8GB performance share a few things in common. For one, they make the comment and never follow up on trying to understand why it is the case, and two, they almost never try the same thing side by side with an Intel mac and see if M1 is in fact using less RAM somehow.

macOS already had reference counting instead of GC, it already had memory compression, it already had 3GB/s SSDs (except in the Air which got that now), what people are really feeling is that it's just plain faster, at everything. Unified memory isn't the new thing (every APU has it, every recent IGP has it).


If you thought you needed 16GB before M1, you probably still do now. If you were just doing the regular stuff, browsing, most office (Excel can get as heavy as anything if you do massive datasets), etc, the 8GB will probably feel plenty fast. Basically if you have a single need that needs lots of RAM, like a single big file, render, compile etc, you will need the RAM, if not it can swap and you may not notice.
 
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