One of the biggest limitations of the Apple M1 used on all Apple Silicon Macs since the introduction of this fall is found on the I / O input and output page in computer text. The first chip developed by Apple for the Mac was not capable of handling more than two screens, and the computers running it had only a limited number of ports.
On the Mac Mini, the other limitation found with the new configuration was found on the Ethernet page, which was limited to gigabits when Intel models went up to 10 Gbit / s. However, this restriction is temporary because of the manufacturer Added in April 10G Ethernet option. For 115 For, you can order a small computer equipped with this ten times faster Ethernet socket, which puts the Mini M1i on par with Intel models.
A theoretical equality, in any case. In practice, Apple may have been forced to share some of the existing resources to provide this option. The manufacturer does not describe how the Apple M1 works, so we do not know the number of PCIe paths. Does the 10G Ethernet port have its own line to deliver consistent speeds, or share it with another component, i.e. compromise on its performance?
Of course, there is the YouTube Linus Technical Tip Created A test process on a Mac Mini equipped with 10G Ethernet. After testing whether the speed associated with the Mac Mini connected only by its network port is 10 Gbit / s, he added a Pro Display XTR, after which all SSTs operate at their maximum capacity. The purpose is to see if the speed is maintained in all situations, or if there is a drop in performance when all the IOs of the system are called.
The results of its tests were positive: the speed of the 10G Ethernet port never changed, regardless of the test conditions. Inserting the Pro Display XTR does not change anything, adding permanently active SSTs to the screen or carrying its maximum capacity on the Thunderbolt dock. In all situations, the network socket is at its maximum and it is completely stable, proving that it has its own dedicated connection.
This observation allows us to learn a little more about the Apple M1’s internal connections. Four PCIe paths can be identified: two for USB4 / Thunderbolt 3 ports, one for two USBA sockets and probably one dedicated for WiFi and 10G Ethernet sockets. On the Mac Mini, there is also a connection for the HDMI socket, which is replaced by the internal connection of the display on the other Mac M1, but it does not go through the PCI.
Adding to the fact that SSD does not borrow PCI taxes, Apple uses a specific home connector to connect storage with its Apple M1 and especially its hardware controller. This allows the manufacturer to design the chip for the Mac with relatively few PCI lines, much less than its Intel Mac in any case. The number of lines available in the X86 world varies from processor to processor, but there were 16 in Intel’s 13-inch MacBook Pros, for example.
However, you can see that the company had planned to have a 10G Ethernet socket on the Mac M1 from the beginning. It is not clear why the Mac Mini was initially released unintentionally, perhaps due to a marketing decision or a production delay. Either way, this is good news for those who like the high-speed network jack on the Mac Mini, no need to wait for the Apple M1 successor or its more powerful version.
We can imagine that Apple will definitely add more PCIe paths in its Apple M2 or M1X, and to add two Thunderbolt ports, there will be at least two. There will be Mac Pro, which currently has 64 PCIe paths. This computer does not have to be the last to switch from Intel to Apple Silicon …