For a long time, my main development machine was a decked out 2014 27" iMac 5k with 32gb of RAM and the upgraded 4.0 ghz processor. I couldn’t really see much reason to upgrade to a new machine since, especially doing a lot of development in Xojo, single core performance is very important (for saving, building, etc). That iMac is 7 years old but still one of the faster machines at 1030 on Geekbench.
But, it got ruled out for macOS Monterey, even though it’s perfectly capable. Apple has many ways of getting our money.
So obviously the next move is to M1. There’s no 27" iMac M1 and no 15+" MacBook Pro M1 yet. So in June my plan was to get an interim M1 Mac Mini, and sell it when the new M1 MBP 15"/iMac 27" eventually come out later this year or early next year.
There was a great deal on the base M1 mini but with only 8GB of RAM. I remember years ago how horrible it felt when a machine would grind to a halt and basically stop working if you didn’t have sufficient RAM, and I’m pretty sure that has happened to me on machines that at the time had around 8gb. But after a decent amount of research, and everyone saying these new M1 machines could work just fine with that little RAM, I figured it was worth a shot. Living with 8gb instead of paying several hundred more for the 16 shouldn’t be too bad because I’d be upgrading machines in a few months anyway.
Well it’s a few months later now and my plans have changed. This little M1 is a monster, and it’s remarkable what it can do with so little. Most likely I can wait a while before upgrading to the next machine. It’s in every way faster than the old machine (which was to be expected) and it can handle my same workflow as before without even stuttering. I’ll have multiple versions of Xojo open with all the MBS plugins and huge projects and a bunch of Safari tabs with Mail/Music and everything else open in the background and there’s no issue at all.
A lot of this is obviously because of the advancements to operating system, memory management, and the SSD being able to step in if RAM is at capacity. But holy crap am I surprised by how capable this little $700 machine is. Compared to spending over $3k on the iMac, it’s remarkable whats possible with the base models today.