$899 M1 Mac mini vs. $10,000 Intel Mac Pro: Which is faster?

M1 chip is the first generation Apple Silicon for Mac which has not only enhanced user experience on new M1 Mac models but also beat Intel processors by a mile in performance and efficiency. To test the new M1 Mac mini performance against a professional Intel-based Mac Pro, YouTubers @MaxTech put both machines under various tests to find out which one is faster.

M1 Mac mini

M1 Mac mini Vs. Intel Mac Pro

In this Intel Apple vs M1 Apple test, the machines used are a Mac mini and a Mac Pro. However, the Mac Pro went under a few modifications like reduction in storage and RAM for a slightly fair assessment. YouTuber ran various tasks for Pro-level production and editing apps like Xcode, Logic Pro X, Lightroom, and games, to test out the Macs.

Here are the specs of both Macs:

M1 Mac mini (2020)

Intel Mac Pro (2019)

  • 3.2 GHz 8core CPU M1
  • M1 8-core GPU
  • 16GB unified RAM
  • 256GB SSD
  • $899
  • 3.3GHz 12-core Xeon
  • Radeon Pro Vega II 32GB
  • 48GB DDR4 ECC RAM
  • 256GB SSD
  • $10,000

Beginning with processors, @MaxTech put Apple Silicon Mac mini with an 8-core CPU (4 high-performance and 4 high-efficiency cores) up against Mac Pro 3.3GHz 12-core Intel Xeon W. The scores for the single-core performance were surprisingly higher on the M1 Mac mini but in multi-core performance, Mac Pro was ahead by 63% in Geekbench and 83% in Cinebench scores.

Processor

Geekbench 5 Single-Core scores

Geekbench 5 Multi-Core scores

Cinebench R23 CPU stress test scores 

M1 8-Core Mac mini

1,753

7,672

7,717

12- Core Mac Pro

1,119

12,518

14,103

Although Mac Pro’s multi-core scores were impressive, the tester was expecting more due to the higher 193 watts consumption of the bigger machine. The M1 Mac mini just consumed 13 watts this is mind-blowingly low consumption partially due to its 5nm architecture against Intel chip’s 14nm.

Processor

CPU Max Sustained Wattage in CBR23

(Low is better)

CPU Score Per Watt in CBR23

(PPW – higher is better)

M1 8-Core Mac mini

13

594
12- Core Mac Pro 193

73

Because of lower power consumption, the M1 Mac mini stays cooler than its predecessor. The thermal test revealed that even at full load, it was still less hot than Mac Pro.

 

Work Load

CPU Temps in Cinebench R23

(Celcius- lower is better)

M1 8-Core Mac mini

12- Core Mac Pro

Idle

35

40
Full Load

72

85

Moving on to graphics, the Intel Mac Pro on Vega II 32GB had four times better performance than the Apple silicon Mac mini on 16GB.

Processor

Geekbench 5 Metal GPU

(score- higher is better)

M1 8-Core Mac mini

22,718

12- Core Mac Pro

98,456

With the aforementioned graphics, the 2016 Mac Pro gave 2 times better performance than the 2020 Mac mini in the gaming test.

Processor

GFXBench 5.0 Metal GPR

(Frames Per Second- higher is better)

M1 8-Core Mac mini

81

12- Core Mac Pro

205

Having said that, the Youtuber was impressed with the super low power consumption by the 2020 Mac mini.

 Processor

GPU Max Sustained Wattage in GFXbench

(Watts- lower is better)

M1 8-Core Mac mini

5.6

12- Core Mac Pro

200-205

Comparing the SSD storage, Apple Silicon Mac mini’s Blackmagic SSD test (read and write) scores were slightly behind the 12-core Mac Pro. However, it was 72% faster in web browsing tests on Speedometer 2.0 in Safari. Completely optimized for M1, Xcode ran faster on the Apple Silicon Mac mini and completed the test 5 seconds earlier than Intel Mac Pro.

M1 Mac mini

However, in the audio production test on Logic Pro X, the 2020 Mac mini crashed after 90 tracks while Mac Pro ran 227 tracks. Although the number of tracks is far less, for a machine its size, the M1 Mac mini performed wonderfully.

The YouTuber used Lightroom Classic for photos editing test which has not yet been optimized for the M1 chip and ran through Rosetta 2 translation. Even on Rosetta 2, the photos editing experience like moving sliders and making adjustments was just the same on Mac mini as on the Mac Pro. In a few tests, the 2020 Mac mini was slightly more responsive than the 2019 Mac Pro. However, Mac Pro exported 50 42MP images in half the time taken by Mac mini.

M1 Mac mini

Tested in Final Cut, video editing on Mac Pro was 2x faster but M1 Mac mini was 2x faster in completing 1 min HEVC Stabilization. In addition, 4K H.264 video editing was the same on both machines and in exporting 5 min 4K H.264 file, Pro was slightly faster by 34 seconds.

R5 10 BIT playback was smooth on Mac mini and the export was faster by 5 minutes 21 seconds. When transcoding an HEVC 10-BIT file, the Mac Mini was smoked by the Mac Pro by completing the task 17 minutes after. However 4K & 8K RED RAW playback and export were not that great.

M1 Mac mini

The Verdict 

Although there is a big difference in the CPU of both the machines, the M1 Mac mini did a fine job. It beat the Intel Mac Pro in coding, while photos and video editing performance was the same on both. For light music production needs as well, the mini did a decent job. The YouTuber’s final words are “overall it’s just crazy how good it performs.”

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