Apple M1 Macs and Photo / Video editing

Biro

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I am placing the order for mine today , I have 0 computer knowledge but some of the reviews were indicating that if all I am doing is photo processing the 8GB is more than enough.I did go with 512 memory but should I kerplunk on the 16GB?

The old axiom of the 90's really still applies: "Buy as much memory and speed as you can afford." If you can swing 16gb of RAM, then do it - at least if you plan on keeping the computer more than a couple of years.

8gb may be enough right now - and it probably is - but software, the internet and leaps in technology tend to use up whatever capabilities computers offer over time. You want to "futureproof" your purchase if you can. The same with drive capacity - especially now that all Macs are coming with SSD's.

I'm looking at either a MacBook Air or a 13-inch MacBook Pro. I'll be going with 16gb of RAM and a 1tb SSD. But that's me. Good luck with your choice.
 
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MacBook

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I ordered the 16GB RAM/256 combination for the Mac mini. The option of fast external drives makes this very feasible.

I have a question about migrating applications. Can a few specific applications be migrated -- either through Migration Assistant or simply by dragging from a Carbon Copy Cloner backup? My late-2012 Mac mini has a lot of old applications that are either not usable in anything later than Mojave or simply no longer necessary. I have done some cleaning up, but also I want to keep some of them on the old machine, but not move them to the M1.
 

Biro

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I ordered the 16GB RAM/256 combination for the Mac mini. The option of fast external drives makes this very feasible.

I have a question about migrating applications. Can a few specific applications be migrated -- either through Migration Assistant or simply by dragging from a Carbon Copy Cloner backup? My late-2012 Mac mini has a lot of old applications that are either not usable in anything later than Mojave or simply no longer necessary. I have done some cleaning up, but also I want to keep some of them on the old machine, but not move them to the M1.

I want to say the answer to your question is "yes." But I've never tried it. Another option would be to copy over all of your applications and then send to trash what you don't want on the new device.
 

Bob in Pittsburgh

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I want to say the answer to your question is "yes." But I've never tried it. Another option would be to copy over all of your applications and then send to trash what you don't want on the new device.

I have not actually done it, but this should be super-easy if you start the new machine by installing from a Time Machine backup.
 

Darmok N Jalad

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I am placing the order for mine today , I have 0 computer knowledge but some of the reviews were indicating that if all I am doing is photo processing the 8GB is more than enough.I did go with 512 memory but should I kerplunk on the 16GB?
I have an 8GB Intel Air, and it's more than good enough for my photo editing needs. A good indicator is to see just how much memory your current workflow requires. In Windows, open Task Manager and see how much RAM your editors use while you're working in them. For me (on MacOS), I cap out at just under 2GB. I bet my open browser windows use more RAM than ON1, Affinity, or Photos. If you edit video or use VMs, 16GB is a must, but mostly you just need to see how your daily use actually plays out.
 
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I have an 8GB Intel Air, and it's more than good enough for my photo editing needs. A good indicator is to see just how much memory your current workflow requires. In Windows, open Task Manager and see how much RAM your editors use while you're working in them. For me (on MacOS), I cap out at just under 2GB. I bet my open browser windows use more RAM than ON1, Affinity, or Photos. If you edit video or use VMs, 16GB is a must, but mostly you just need to see how your daily use actually plays out.
I currently have a 2015 13" MBP W/121 GB storage of which it says I am using 11GB apps, 2GB music,11GB system and 54 GB other. Funny thing is I have NO music on here and just a few apps chess websites, craigslist, etc. I have Adobe LR,PS and all my photo's on a hard drive.
I had originally thought I should get 16 but like I said in the post above it seemed that 8 should be sufficient from what I could understand, my other concern is, if I do understand correctly you cannot upgrade the ram. Then after Steve brought up the point of can never enough speed etc I changed again. But it may be moot as I asked my wife to order it for me and I think she already has.
Edit: She just came home and said B&H has no ship date on the16GB w/512 ssd but Apple can ship on the 30th. B&H has the (either)12 months same as cash or no tax.
 

Darmok N Jalad

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macmeanoffer.com is another place to trade in your old Mac for cash. Last I checked, they offered slightly more than Apple's trade-in on what I have. I've used them more than once, and they seem to honor their pricing as long as you honor your description. You can get the most selling an Apple product yourself. They hold value really well and sell pretty fast on eBay, but I've about had it with eBay and their fees and the lousy buyers I've dealt with lately.
 

SpecFoto

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I am placing the order for mine today , I have 0 computer knowledge but some of the reviews were indicating that if all I am doing is photo processing the 8GB is more than enough.I did go with 512 memory but should I kerplunk on the 16GB?

I feel going with a 512GB internal SSD is important if you are using Lightroom or a similar DB program that needs a large cache file to work quickly and efficiently with the photo files. In my 2019 iMac I have a 12 TB RAID storage where about 4 TB of photo files are stored. But by seperating the lr.data and lr.cat files from the photos and putting them on the internal 512GB SSD, working with larger amounts of photos goes very quickly. Almost everything about LR is quicker when the data and catalog files are on the internal SSD. That is because the internal SSD is about 4 to 5 times faster than a external SSD you hook up via USB3. In my case the internal SSD has about 50GB of system files and about 275GB of LR cache and data catalog files, leaving about 175GB free. This extra space on the SSD can also be your Photoshop cache file or for working with video files, which will really help with the speed.

Re the internal memory, yes I have seen many reports saying that 8GB of internal memory on the M1 Macs is better than previous Macs (or windows machines) and many can get by with only 8GB. But what about 3 years or more down the road, there could be all kinds of new apps or programs that can use the M1 chip better and they might need 16GB. To me, it is a cheap insurance policy to add the 16GB of memory now, as you cannot add it later. These new M1 Macs run very cool compared to past Macs and may last 10 years or more. I have a 2012 MacMini with 16GB that I use as a iTunes server for our house and it is still going strong, though I did put a 2TB SSD in it.
 
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MacBook

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I want to say the answer to your question is "yes." But I've never tried it. Another option would be to copy over all of your applications and then send to trash what you don't want on the new device.

I decided to just install programs from downloads or saved files. It actually showed me how many legacy programs are sitting on my late-2012 Mac mini that I really never use.
 
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I like my computers to be fanless. I have used a Zotac Zbox CI549 for the past 3 years, but the display port broke last weekend, making it pretty much unusable. I guess the port got fried by the high temperatures, after a year of doing multiple Zoom calls a week...

So when I saw that the new MacBook Air M1 is fanless, and it operates at low temperatures for most tasks, and it performs very well, I felt like it was the best option for me. I have just ordered a MacBook Air M1, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD. I have never really used a Mac; I have been a Linux guy for the past ~20 years. We'll see how it goes...
 

John King

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I like my computers to be fanless. I have used a Zotac Zbox CI549 for the past 3 years, but the display port broke last weekend, making it pretty much unusable. I guess the port got fried by the high temperatures, after a year of doing multiple Zoom calls a week...

So when I saw that the new MacBook Air M1 is fanless, and it operates at low temperatures for most tasks, and it performs very well, I felt like it was the best option for me. I have just ordered a MacBook Air M1, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD. I have never really used a Mac; I have been a Linux guy for the past ~20 years. We'll see how it goes...
Frank, I like nice big tower cases with lots of intelligent, big, silent fans. Centurion Coolermaster II boxes are perfect for me. Lots of drive bays, lots of 120mm fans.
 

Darmok N Jalad

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I like my computers to be fanless. I have used a Zotac Zbox CI549 for the past 3 years, but the display port broke last weekend, making it pretty much unusable. I guess the port got fried by the high temperatures, after a year of doing multiple Zoom calls a week...

So when I saw that the new MacBook Air M1 is fanless, and it operates at low temperatures for most tasks, and it performs very well, I felt like it was the best option for me. I have just ordered a MacBook Air M1, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD. I have never really used a Mac; I have been a Linux guy for the past ~20 years. We'll see how it goes...
A notable dev is looking to get linux going on the M1 Macs, though you will be in for a bit of a wait. They brought Linux to game consoles, so it's probably just a matter of time. For the flack Apple gets (perhaps rightfully) on locking down iOS and iPadOS devices, they have long left MacOS devices open to other options. Based on what they've said about getting ARM Windows on the M1 Macs, it seems like they are keeping the platform open to other OSes, you just have to disable SecureBoot functions.

Someday I'll likely make the jump to ARM Mac. The limited stock has really helped save my wallet, though my local Microcenter apparently has some in stock as I type this!
 

Biro

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So when I saw that the new MacBook Air M1 is fanless, and it operates at low temperatures for most tasks, and it performs very well, I felt like it was the best option for me. I have just ordered a MacBook Air M1, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD. I have never really used a Mac; I have been a Linux guy for the past ~20 years. We'll see how it goes...

Frank, make sure you let us know in this thread how your new MacBook Air works out. I am looking at exactly that build - or the same specification in a 13-inch MacBook Pro. Theoretically the Pro is better. But I'm trying to figure out if the extra expense is worth it.
 

Darmok N Jalad

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Frank, make sure you let us know in this thread how your new MacBook Air works out. I am looking at exactly that build - or the same specification in a 13-inch MacBook Pro. Theoretically the Pro is better. But I'm trying to figure out if the extra expense is worth it.
Yeah, I've searched for reviews that compare the performance of the three M1 Mac models to see if any of them actually perform better. I'd assume the models with fans (MBP, mini) would be able to sustain their performance over a longer intense tasks (like video encoding or gaming), but you'd be hard-pressed to notice any difference if all you do are brief moments of intensive work (like photo editing). But, there aren't any reviews covering this yet, but maybe that is due to supply issues. I'd really like to know! I think next year they will announce ARM-based iMacs and Mac Pros, so we'll really see if they have a higher-level chip that passes what looks like the M1's current 20W thermal limit.
 

Biro

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I'd assume the models with fans (MBP, mini) would be able to sustain their performance over a longer intense tasks (like video encoding or gaming), but you'd be hard-pressed to notice any difference if all you do are brief moments of intensive work (like photo editing).

The other question that comes into my head is whether the fan cooling in the MacBook Pro will mean a longer life for the computer overall.
 

slmoore

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The other question that comes into my head is whether the fan cooling in the MacBook Pro will mean a longer life for the computer overall.
I get your point, but I think the overall goal would be to run cool. If the MBA is running cool but doesn't have a fan, I would think it would be fine. iPads don't have a fan and believe their longevity is determined mainly by their battery and CPU speed. I would expect the same from the M1 MBA.
 
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I have seen that. I hope he will succeed. It is always good to have choice.

Frank, make sure you let us know in this thread how your new MacBook Air works out.
I will! It will take a while before it ships though.

Yeah, I've searched for reviews that compare the performance of the three M1 Mac models to see if any of them actually perform better. I'd assume the models with fans (MBP, mini) would be able to sustain their performance over a longer intense tasks (like video encoding or gaming), but you'd be hard-pressed to notice any difference if all you do are brief moments of intensive work (like photo editing). But, there aren't any reviews covering this yet, but maybe that is due to supply issues.
I have seen multiple reviews on this. The M1 SoC is very thermally efficient, and in practice it does not heat up much, even when you put it under quite some load. This means that:
  • the MacBook Air M1 can perform difficult tasks without throttling (unless you do stuff like video editing for longer periods of time, like you said; although even rendering video for 10+ minutes doesn't cause throttling)
  • the MacBook Pro M1 can perform difficult tasks without even turning the fan on (and then it won't have to throttle if it does get hot, because it has a fan)
The Mac Mini M1 also has a fan, but unlike the MBP it never turns off. It always runs (albeit at a relatively low speed).

According to the reviews, the MacBook Pro M1 performs a bit better than the Air (roughly 10%), but the performance of the Air gets surprisingly close. It is mainly when you do computationally intensive tasks over longer periods of time that you will benefit from having the Pro. (In terms of performance, that is. There are other differences between the Air and the Pro, like the screen and the touch bar etc.)

If the MBA is running cool but doesn't have a fan,
That was the main reason why I was confident in getting the Air: it doesn't really get hot even if you put it under a lot of load. I am assuming that this will mean that it will last for years. I can only tell you for sure after ~5 years though. ;)
 
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