[Official] Apple M1 Mac mini - experience thread

Unboxing

Tucked nicely under my 55" LG B8 OLED, doing some final setup…

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Testing some iPad and iPhone apps

iPad/iPhone versions of Plex Dash and Plex Amp work flawlessly. Awesome!
Screen Shot 2020-11-18 at 3.25.51 PM

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Plex Media Server (v 1.21.0.3608)

This information may change as Plex receives updates, but these are my experiences with the current Plex Pass version. Plex is not yet optimized or built natively for M1, so this is the current MacOS build using the Rosetta interpretation layer.

Again, this information is relevant to the current state of PMS, and is not an indication of performance with a native build of PMS for M1, should one ever exist.

Here I’m using all default settings on the most recent Plex Pass version of PMS for MacOS. I simply enabled Hardware Acceleration in the Transcoder settings.

Initial findings

It seems some files support both HW encode and decode, while others only decode.
CPU usage does not show correctly, as Plex labels its transcoding task as System CPU usage (red line), not Plex.

Plex Transcoder also seems to use a lot more CPU than on Intel QSV transcoding systems.

Turns out, it doesn’t matter what the source file is - it matters what quality you are transcoding to. If you transcode down to SD, HW encoding does not work (red line). If you transcode to a HD resolution such as 1080p or 720p, it works fine (green line).

Quality looks good too. This is a Blu-Ray rip fully HW transcoded to 4 Mbps 720p, playback is through Plex Web.

Here is the direct play source, for reference.

Maximum simultaneous transcodes

Looks like 8GB of RAM will be the constraint before CPU or iGPU usage will. I’m estimating that with no other applications running, the upper limit will be around 15-20 full HW transcodes. Less if you’re transcoding audio or subtitles.

HEVC 10 bit support

HEVC 10 bit :arrow_right: H.264 HW transcoding works just fine as well.
Same issue as before, though. If you transcode to SD, encoding only takes place via software.

Apple M1 vs 8th gen Intel speed test

Converting media through Plex’s download & sync feature for mobile shows slightly slower speeds compared to an 8th gen Intel G5400T CPU (also using HW transcoding, of course). This is the same Bluray file as above, using the “medium” preset.

Apple M1 - 4.2x speed

Intel G5400T - 4.6x speed

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Interesting bit of “news” for those of you that are interested in 10GbE.

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Cool, so this emulates fast after all.

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JDM long time lurker, first time poster. I see it’s been a while since the last post and wanted to follow up and see how you were liking it as a server.

If you had to choose between an M1 Mini or an 8th gen (or later) NUC, which would you go with? Do you think it’s worth waiting a little bit longer to see how Plex optimizes for the M1?

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