Apple M1 Macs and Photo / Video editing

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OK I really appreciate that link! Because I have that 2019 MBP. That would make the M1 a solid entry, and a worthy replacement for a 9 year old i5 iMac while keeping it real with the higher end models. I.e. It puts it in the class I'm looking for.

Definitely looking good... Now it's just some real life experiences...
 

Hypilein

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I wasn't really expecting anything less from them. Still good to know. For me it's now really only a question of Music Notation Software (preferably Sibelius) going native and seeing how games cope in Rosetta2.
While I game enough that a dedicated PC would probably make sense, I really prefer just having one computer that does it all and in the past years I've rarely felt that I wasn't getting what I needed from my mac. I hope we'll get some information on that aspect soon.
 

Darmok N Jalad

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Reviews are starting to appear. An interesting benchmark based on x86 gaming on the M1:
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Trails only those machines with dedicated GPUs, and this is just a mobile chip! There is a performance hit for emulating x86 code, but even then, the M1 Mac mini is still faster than the i3 mini it replaced, all while being $100 cheaper! Get into native code, and the performance is quite a bit better.
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https://www.anandtech.com/show/16252/mac-mini-apple-m1-tested
 
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Well, hmmm. I think that's good enough for me, but I went to the Apple Store, and they're saying Dec 17 before they ship, and things from the US take about a month to get here. I'm going home for Christmas this year, so guess I'll just drop by an Apple store...
 

exakta

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Upgrading PCs is a relic from a bygone age.
The inability for a user to swap out a dead bettery pack without going to a shop is my #1 complaint. Upgrading RAM or storage to allow a computer to keep running as OS and application updates require more resources is a "nice to have".

I bought a MacBook Pro in 2010, with 512GB HDD and maybe 4GB of RAM. Over the years I upgraded to 8GB of RAM, first a 512GB SSD and later a 1TB SSD. I also replaced the battery twice. The first replacement was still working but started to swell which caused the trackpad to stop working properly. The laptop still works fine (I was using it just two days ago), but I can't load new software which requires MacOS 10.12 or newer (Big Sur is OS 11).

I'd love to get 10 years out of the MacBook Air I'm typing this on (6 months old). My main concern is the battery. If it were replaceable I could always run off AC power until the new battery arrived. If it goes to the shop I have no computer for the duration. While it's faster than the 2010 laptop, what I really needed was a newer OS (OS10.14 minimum) so I can run TurboTax! Yep, one app required buying a new computer...that's what i like to call the golden handcuffs.
 

alex66

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I am tempted by either the Mini or the Air at some point in the future, though on the whole I prefer Apples OS I happily live with either and use Win 10 at the moment. I want to see how well Lightroom and PS perform once a full port is made, then at some point I will consider one. I do think that Intel has had it too easy competition wise for too long, with AMD's current chips and now this maybe they will get themselves into gear and create some better silicon. Maybe this is the beginning of the end of the i86 line of CPU's, you can already but a Surface with ARM based CPU, don't think it is anywhere near as good though.
 
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I love my iPad Pro for drawing and general use but I'm not convinced about going all in with Apple for photo and video editing. Not yet anyway. AMD's Ryzen chips are impressive and the next generation of nVidia GPUs promises better performance / VFM than the current models. Add in the the ability to upgrade / repair / change / repurpose PC hardware and my inclination is to stay with Windows 10.
 
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Just to add a bookend to this thread...

Although I question the level of hype that Apple has said so far on the M1, objectively there does not appear to be a risk of underperformance with emulation for non-native apps. Adobe, specifically, has indicated there are no to only minor issues running current versions of Lightroom CC, Lightroom Classic, and Photoshop under Rosetta 2, with native versions coming very soon, or in beta:

https://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom-cc/kb/macos-big-sur-compatibility.html
https://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom-classic/kb/macos-big-sur-compatibility.html
https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/kb/photoshop-and-macos-big-sur.html

I've read similar reports for Logos (Bible Software) which are my two must-haves. We can clearly expect that native versions will achieve better performance.

One final point (at least for now!) -- keep in mind that these are first-generation machines, and Apple seems to be off to a great start. These machines aren't intended to outperform their fastest models.

That said, I'm getting one. Apple need not prove to me quality; I never had any doubt these would be solid machines. Compatibility is there, and performance for the price seems excellent. And it's at a price point that I don't mind if I have to replace it earlier than my other Macs.
 
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slmoore

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Saw this today regarding the $40 Pixelmator Pro app. The app has machine learning (ML) super resolution function. When run on the new M1 the ML bit does not run on the CPU or GPU, but on the M1's neural engine which is separate. Pixelmator says the ML Super Resolution runs 15x faster like this than before. I believe their ML Denoise may see similar performance.

I have been primarily using the Apple Photos app due to syncing on iCloud Photo Library. Having an M1 Mac w/ Pixelmator Pro would be very appealing as you could invoke Pixelmator as an extension and be able to have nondestructive edits maintained in the Photos app.

EDIT: here's the link haha https://daringfireball.net/linked/2020/11/19/pixelmator-pro-2
 
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Based on the benchmarks above, and these articles below, It's looking like the claims are accurate. Good enough for me anyway.

https://eclecticlight.co/2020/11/11/how-unified-memory-blows-the-socs-off-the-m1-macs/
https://www.techtelegraph.co.uk/is-the-base-macbook-air-m1-8gb-powerful-enough-for-you/
You know, I found out that I can get the 8GB model from Germany probably pretty quickly, and was wondering if that was good enough. Your second article there was good reading. I found it helpful that it said for normal use the base model if fine, and specifically mentioned video editing and Adobe. Think waiting for the 16GB version will be worth it for me...
 

Darmok N Jalad

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I don’t see the performance difference being the key, but how much RAM and storage you want. 8GB is perfectly fine for me, but if you’re editing video and large RAW files, 16GB might be better. I’ve used 8GB for years and done feel the memory pressure at all. One key is that RAM swapping to HDD is not a major performance penalty anymore, since NVME storage is so fast. When we were on spinning drives, hitting the swap file was painful.
 
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I don’t see the performance difference being the key, but how much RAM and storage you want. 8GB is perfectly fine for me, but if you’re editing video and large RAW files, 16GB might be better. I’ve used 8GB for years and done feel the memory pressure at all. One key is that RAM swapping to HDD is not a major performance penalty anymore, since NVME storage is so fast. When we were on spinning drives, hitting the swap file was painful.
Ah, OK. Well, I'll be honest I don't really want to wait, so that's tempting. I'm not concerned about 256GB of storage -- I think that's actually what all my Macs have had. I've never had a Mac with less than 16GB either, though. Hmmm....
 

Darmok N Jalad

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Another interesting blurb on the new Apple silicon:
Federighi says Windows on M1 Macs is "up to Microsoft." The core technologies exist and the Macs are capable of it, but Microsoft has to decide whether to license its Arm-based version of Windows to Mac users.

As for Windows running natively on the machine, "that's really up to Microsoft," he said. "We have the core technologies for them to do that, to run their ARM version of Windows, which in turn of course supports x86 user mode applications. But that's a decision Microsoft has to make, to bring to license that technology for users to run on these Macs. But the Macs are certainly very capable of it."
https://www.macrumors.com/2020/11/20/craig-federighi-on-windows-for-m1-macs/

That could mean that MS's version of Windows for ARM could be installed, which would also possibly pave the way for Linux support. Secure boot from the T2 chip doesn't allow booting other OSes by default, but you can go in and change it to allow other OSes. If MS makes a move, then one of the last major hurdles from the transition could be mitigated. We've definitely come a long way on software being less dependent on CPU architecture.
 

Darmok N Jalad

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I'd love to get 10 years out of the MacBook Air I'm typing this on (6 months old). My main concern is the battery. If it were replaceable I could always run off AC power until the new battery arrived. If it goes to the shop I have no computer for the duration. While it's faster than the 2010 laptop, what I really needed was a newer OS (OS10.14 minimum) so I can run TurboTax! Yep, one app required buying a new computer...that's what i like to call the golden handcuffs.
The battery in the Air is indeed replaceable. You can also pay to have Apple do it, which might be of value since you know you're getting an Apple battery and hopefully a qualified technician doing the job. With the thermal density in these batteries, you definitely want to be cautious to do it right, and not puncture the old battery, and, of course, recycle them properly.

Software is a bear. Developers of the programs try to keep pace with the modern OS, which means older OSes that are EOL aren't tested and/or supported. Windows does a better job of enabling old software, but that often comes at the cost of legacy bloat and baggage that leaves for a less streamlined OS. It works pretty well, but even then, old stuff eventually just stops working right. We have some old Access databases (circa 2001) at work that require a lot of tweaking in the program to get them to even load. The person who made them left the company 7-8 years ago. We are finally retiring that system!
 

exakta

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Yep, software sure is a funny thing. My brother works at an insurance company where they are still running COBOL programs that were coded at least six decades ago.

I spent decades as an MSEE in the computer and networking biz and have written plenty of lines of code myself. Just thinking about all the abandoned languages, data formats, processors, storage formats, hardware interconnects, etc. makes my head dizzy sometimes. I'm sitting at a laptop I bought earlier this year and am already considering it's retirement at some point in the 2030s. How weird is that?

I looked up the battery replacement steps for post 2017 MB Airs and was flabbergasted...34 steps! Not for those with ADD, that's for sure.
 
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MacBook

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Ah, OK. Well, I'll be honest I don't really want to wait, so that's tempting. I'm not concerned about 256GB of storage -- I think that's actually what all my Macs have had. I've never had a Mac with less than 16GB either, though. Hmmm....
I have the 16GB/256SSD on order, due in mid-December. I can get the 8GB delivered in a day or two, but somehow think the extra RAM is a worthwhile investment. My late-2012 Mac mini came with 8GB/1TB HDD, but I immediately upgraded to 16GB RAM and add a second drive, a 256GB SSD. It is starting to show its age a bit, and cannot run MacOS 11.

Are you holding out for the additional RAM?
 
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I have the 16GB/256SSD on order, due in mid-December. I can get the 8GB delivered in a day or two, but somehow think the extra RAM is a worthwhile investment. My late-2012 Mac mini came with 8GB/1TB HDD, but I immediately upgraded to 16GB RAM and add a second drive, a 256GB SSD. It is starting to show its age a bit, and cannot run MacOS 11.

Are you holding out for the additional RAM?
Well, interesting question - turns out the site where I thought they would send that out to me quickly decided they can't send it to my address, so the quick motivation is no longer there. Prices here in Italy are way higher than the U.S. so that's enough for me not to buy at my local Apple Store, so that means waiting either way.

Long way of saying I'll probably get the 16GB... I'm prepared to be tempted though...
 

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