Ableton on Mac M1

Hi all,

I just got my desktop parts. Looking to build a PC… But my buddy just got the Mac mini M1 and it’s just so freaking compact.

I was wondering if people can weigh in on PC vs Mac. I’ve never used Mac products that much due to price but this one is pretty well priced.

Mainly looking at issues with plugins or compatibity. Stuff has to go via Rosetta it seems.

My PC would have a Ryzen 5 5600G
16 gigs ram and 500 gigs ssd, the latter 2 being double of the mac’s.

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Do you like playing games? If this is a priority: PC … else Mac.

Other question: Do you own an iPad / iPhone? If yes: Mac.

I am thinking about building a desktop myself (for years…) but RTX cards never were affordable/in stock … but I’d only use that one because NViDIA GPUs are not supported on Macs (but still needed for lots of 3D stuff).

In my opinion: Get a n M1 macMini (and wait for the macMini Pro with M1x/M2 CPU)

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For me, the decision on whether to stay with Windows or get a Mac was decided by what software I wanted to run.

So take a look at the list of plugins and other software that are most important to you. Some run only on Windows, some only on Mac

Plenty of stuff is native. Bitwig is.

ableton in rosetta doesnt take any performance hit really. it unnoticable.
i havent found any audio software that takes a hit.
video software on the other hand…best wait until your software is m1 native

I’ve read that October might be when they launch the new iteration of the Mac mini, which is the one I’m considering.

Until then I’m truly wondering wether to go ahead and build a PC now… If I risk selling it at a loss.

I got no video card, but the Ryzen with integrated graphics.

No games and no iOS Systems yet.

My desktop PC is 16gb ram. My laptop Mac is 16gb too. Neither seem to use more than 8gb any time I look at ram consumption, and the Mac caches a lot of files (right now out of 8gb used, 4gb are file caches on my machine !). I don’t think ram is an issue.

(I have a Desktop PC because games. I have a Mac laptop because all the other laptops are shit).

Yeah RAM is not an issue anymore… the SSDs are so fast nowadays. Have a 32 GB Macbook and it was was the worst upgrade I ever made (should have upgraded the CPU instead so Ableton can run more than one instance of heavy Serum patch e.g.)

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My bad. I assumed that if you went this route you would be running Windows.

What OS would you install if you build a PC? Windows, Linus, or Hackintosh

Are you going to try to make this a Hackintosh?

No I meant that I’ve got the parts here. Windows pc. But then seeing the Mac mini M1 from my roommate, with approx the same price… I’m getting second thoughts. Its the size of an audio interface while the PC is an absolute behemoth that I have to make space for.

So I would prefer Mac, seeing that the M1 performs really well, but then I’m also seeing stuff about plugins not working well etc.

List the software you want, check compat.

Personaly I have Renoise on Rosetta running perfect as always, Bitwig native, Surge native, Noise Engineering native, Valhalla native, InearDisplay native. No problems.


The one thing that would mess up your Windows PC idea is if you have a plugin that runs only on Mac

I have a desktop DAW from Sweetwater which is nice, but I have to say since I got my Mac M1 Air that is what I use 90 percent of the time. It is just so small and light and easy to carry around. When I need to I can plug in a UA Apollo but most of the time I leave it stripped for ease on taking outside on the porch or composing in the recliner. I never thought I would use it this much for music because of the small screen, but I do. I did order the 16/512 version and happy that I did upgrade.

A pc with a Windows / Linux dual boot …
More open, more compatible, less expensive (the machine itself and the peripherals), self-repairable, much more reliable if you use it reasonably and above all better ethically.
More software and peripheral choices at much more affordable prices.
Never understood why so many mac here let alone in graphic circles.

The lack of a fan on my M1 air was the thing that sold it to me. it’s so f***ing fast I struggle to make it glitch with audio, and there’s never a horrible fan noise. My pal has the Mac mini M1 and it’s the same spec essentially, but more ports which would be useful. The Mac mini has a fan but it’s dead quiet even at full pelt apparently.

Edit; ethics is the only problem I have with macs.


its not only apple with ethics issues


I’ve just gone back to using a Desktop PC for one or two specific use cases after switching to Mac 16 years ago…and while Windows has come a long way, I just can’t believe how convoluted and less polished the experience still is compared to MacOS.

If you can afford it and don’t want to game (although not impossible on a mac but better on pc), I’d say def go with the Mac mini, the M1 devices are spectacular in price, size and performance.


another good thing about Macs is the trade in factor

The experience is not complicated, it is complete and very little is hidden from the user, it is much more open and powerful.