Unboxing Apple Sillicon Mac Mini (M1) & Pro Display

Date: Dec 5, 2020

We received the new Mac Mini with Apple silicon M1 chip on Dec 2. The delivery was early by 1-2 weeks. This is the final piece of device to build my first ever Mac Mini computer. I have generations of iMac computing devices thru out the years.

The monitor in every iMac is fantastic. So, if I attached this new Mac Mini with the LG 5K monitor, I still thing there is a difference. Although I think iMac also uses LG screen. So, I decided to hook this Mac Mini to the best monitor available from Apple. The Pro Display with the Pro Stand.

In this blog post, I just want to express my feeling of unboxing it and using it. I am not intend to give a full review, as there are many available on the Internet/Google. I just tell you what I think about it. Tell you what works what does not work!

Let’s unbox the Pro Stand first. What is it? it is a “Stand” for the monitor. A very solid stand. With a simple magnetic head for the Pro Display to magnetically attached to it.

The box is so nice. The surface of the box is very nice. even the inner box is very nice. See, this one comes with a handle too. How can we throw away such a nice box.

This is the Pro Stand. Nicely sitting inside the box. Apple packaging is really good!

This is the Pro Stand. That round round thing is the magnetic head. It can rotate. The whole finishing is so good.

What do I mean by “rotate”? After you attached your Pro Display, you can turn your monitor either landscape or potrait. Later I have a picture showing that.

It is a stand. So no electronics on it. All mechanics and magnetic.

Next, we unbox the Pro Display. It is a 32″ monitor. It is larger than my 27″ iMac monitor.

You know my son is big size, see how he compared to the Pro Display box.

Yup, the pro display is very big. Again, the box is so nice. Inside, it is the Pro Display panel.

This is how you attach the monitor. It is that simple. One it is attached, it will not fall down. Wahahahahaha. To detech it, you simply pull it up to an angle.

It is so elegant!!

Look at the back. The other side of the magnetic round round thingy (it is called Magnetic Connector). Oh, forgot to take out the sticker beside the word ProDisplay XDR. It is just an very shinny black Apple logo underneath.

It comes with thunderbolt display port and USB-C ports.

Oh ya, there is NO speaker on the monitor.

Also, there is NO camera/Video cam on the monitor.

It is easy to “snap” the monitor panel of the Pro Display XDR onto the magnetic connector on the Pro Stand. Very easy. As you can see, I missed the first time, as I didn’t know where exactly the magnetic circle is.

You can slide the Pro Display up or down as there is a mechanical arm there for.

Hmm… I wonder what is that “Lock” there for.

So, when you are in a high position for the landscape mode, you are able to flip this “lock” switch, and then, it will “unlock” and allow the rotation. As soon as it detected that you wanted to switch between landscape and potrait positon for the Pro Display XDR, it will lock it once again.

This is the landscape mode.

And this is the Potrait mode.

Potrait mode with with the Mac Mini turn on.

So, now you can read any legal document with lesser page flip. wahahaha

Now, it is time to unblock the Mac Mini.

This is the spec I bought. 16GB Ram & 2TB SSD & 1Gb Ethernet port.

Here is the Mac Mini.

Let’s see what it has behind. 2x Thunderbold, 1x HDMI, 1x Network port, 2x USB port and 1 speaker port.

OK, this is how it looks put under the Pro Display XDR.

The Mac Mini has its onboard speaker. But it is soft, and feels like ordinary PC speaker. This is where you need to have a BEATSpill bluetooth Speaker. I can connect with Bluetooth or using the usual headphone jack port.

Remember, the monitor does not come with Video Cam. So, I used a Logitec cam for the Pro Display. Yup, it is a 4K Pro Magnetic Web Cam that can attached magnetically onto the Pro Display XDR. Either in Potrait or Landscape mode.

This web cam is specially made for Pro Display XDR.

Let’s power on the Mac Mini.

I have chosen to launch this Mac Mini as a “New Machinese”. So that I do not have any legacy bagage bring over from the old machine. That means, the next thing to do is to configure the iCloud account and redownload every thing, including the original photos. All the software will need to be re-download and re-install on the new Mac Mini.

So, below are a list of things I have done and felt amaze with.

  • Usually, all the original photos stored on the iClould will take roughly 1 week time to download onto the new machine. I did that last year at this house. And my old iMac take about 1 week to download entire photo collections from the iCloud. So, I installed this on Dec 2 night, and the photo started to sync from 8pm on Dec 2. By Dec 4, 11am, the syncing is almost done. And I am using the same Internet enviroment at this home. So, I am impressed with the photo syncing. All 127k photos are sync in less than 2 days.
  • After that I attached a new Seagate 4TB hard disk and start backing up the Mac Mini after I sync all pohotos and installed all the applications. And guess what, the backup is so fast. It completed within 30min for the initial 30GB backup. In fact, I started the work, Jay went into the toilet and come back, it has done 6GB data backup thru Time Machine.
  • I started to launch all the stock applications. And all feels very fast.
  • The Google Earth going into 3D mode is very fast.
  • I installed Microsoft Office, Bit Defender, Photoshop, Bridge, Lightroom and Lightroom CC. I was impressed with the speed. I had never have such a smooth speed running these applications with my previous iMac. Well, my previous iMac is quite powerful, but when I upgraded to that iMac from the previous one, I didn’t find the speed has increased too much. But now, when I used this Mac Mini and compare side by side with my iMac, well, I noticed the huge difference. Be it surfing the web, be it editing my photos, running Google Earth, etc.
  • I even installed the transmission for my torrent file sharing. I installed the Air Video Server HD, Google Drive, Dropbox. And all these apps I mentioned including the lightroom are still Intel based application. So far I can launched all these Intel App without any problem, so the Rossetta works very well in gelling the Intel apps on a M1 based Mac Mini.
  • The more I played on this Mac Mini, I gain much more confident that Apple Sillicon is the right choice for Apple. That is why I also bought the M1 based MacBook Pro for Jay. At first, he was very skeptical about it. He does not want to upgrade and claimed that things will break especially those applications used by the school.

This is the new MacBook Pro.

So elegant and nice. His last Macbook pro was silver color. So, this time he asked for a gray color.

After he saw my Mac Mini running so well, he then also gain confident that he started to install everything onto the new Macbook Pro. And guess what? He also said, every thing from school run well, and every runs very fast. He used the iMovie a lot. And this M1 chip will make editing movie very fast.

One thing more worth to mentioned. When I said my old iMac is very powerful. I am not kidding. It has 64GB memory, and running 3.6Ghz 8-Core Intel Core i9 chip with SSD.

But when I am using my new M1 based Mac Mini. with only 16GB ram. Well, it is FASTER. and SMOOTHER.

So far, I have been using it for a few days. It has no problem. Except for one incident. Where I run out of application memory. So, I guess I cannot run multiple memory hungry program over night. hahaha. This happened when I was running Yahoo Finance stocks charts in Safari, running Transmission to download some stuffs, running Photo to sync all my photos from iCloud, and my Mail is syncing all hundreds thousands of emails from 6-7 mail servers, and Notes is syncing my Notes from iCloud. I think it is a small issue. I faced no such problem previously as I had 64GB ram in my old iMac.

In future, Apple is going to come up with all sort of iMac, Macbook and Mac Mini using Apple own Sillicon chip – the M1 chip. So, I am not sure if they will come up with models that will allow Memory upgrades or not. But for now, both my Mac Mini and Jay’s Macbook Pro is running super lightning fast and without any problem running the Intel based app. More apps will be upgraded to M1 chip based.

And furthurmore, I have not try running the Applie IOS app onto the Mac Mini yet. Will try it soon. I also will try to run native Games on it too. Just have to find what games I want to play on it.

So, if you asked me if worth while to buy the new M1 chip based Mac Mini or Macbook, I will have to say yes. It is fast, it is smooth and it is safe. πŸ™‚ And I am totally impressed.

Oh, I am super impressed with Apple’s Pro Display XDR too. It is so nice. The color. So precise. Let’s go out to take more photos. My next gadget has just arrived too. Fujinon 50mm f1.0 lens. πŸ™‚

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