$899 M1 Mac mini vs $2,549 iMac 5K – the smaller Mac holds its own in many tests

The new $899 M1 Mac mini with 16GB RAM was pit against an Intel 8-core $2,549 iMac with a 5K display, 64GB RAM, and a dedicated AMD 5500XT GPU. If you have been following the performance of Apple’s new M1 chip closely, the results will not surprise you at all.

$899 M1 Mac mini vs iMac 5K $2,549

YouTub channel Max Tech put an M1 Mac mini through a number of tests against the 5K iMac. These tests included Geekbench, Cinebench R23, SSD speed test, GFXBench, as well as performance in a number of apps including Logic Pro, Xcode, Lightroom, and more. One would assume that the iMac would have simply outclassed the M1 Mac mini in all tests, but that was not the case.

In Geekbench, the M1 Mac mini simply blew away the Intel CPU’s performance in single-core tests. However, in multi-core benchmarks, the 8-core Intel processor leaped ahead, which can be attributed to the fact that the M1 chip only has 4 high-performance cores (the other 4 are high-efficiency cores), while the Intel chip has 8 high-performance cores.

Here were the scores for this test:

M1 Mac mini

Single-core: 1,753

Multi-core: 7,672

2020 iMac

Single-core: 1,266

Multi-core: 8,994

In Cinebench R23, iMac easily beat the Mac mini, however, it is important to note that the mini remained completely silent during the test. Perhaps if the chip was allowed to perform faster, at the expense of faster fan speed, the Mac mini performance might have been better. Max Tech also noted that the Mac mini ran through this test at 13 Watts of power, while iMac peaked at 125 Watts. This is a huge difference and shows that the M1 chip provides extreme performance per watt when compared to the Intel chip. The M1 Mac scored 594 per watt, while the iMac provides scored 95 per watt.

In other tests where the M1 Mac mini performed better than the iMac included SSD speed, GPU performance per Watt, Safari performance, Xcode, and HEVC 4K video export. The iMac performed better than the Mac mini in Logic Pro, GFXBench, Lightroom Classic, BruceX, H.264 video export, and 8K video export. Many of these could be attributed to the fact that the iMac features a dedicated GPU, and can use almost 10-times the power than the Mac mini.

This is not really a fair comparison due to the many reasons that we have listed above, but it gives a fair idea of how powerful the new M1 chip is. Once Apple comes out with its 12-core M1X chip, we are certain that it will simply blow away competitors in any remaining benchmarks that the M1 cannot top yet.

Check out the complete video below:

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