As soon as the M1 Mac mini arrived, I tore it down to confirm a few things Apple didn’t make clear. All M1 Macs come with Thunderbolt 4 ports. I prepared my Mac mini test station with three monitors: Samsung 34-in Thunderbolt 3 ultrawide QHD, LG 27-in DisplayPort UHD, and ASUS 15-in portable USB-C FHD. This setup has been working great through RX Vega 56 Nano Gaming Box with my 2018 i5 Mac mini. The Apple integrated graphics card cannot run more than two displays at once.
Taking this Late 2020 M1 Mac mini apart is very similar to the 2018 model. Flip it upside down then pry the black plastic base cover would expose six TR6 screws. The are three antennas with separate cables going to the logic board headers, one of the antennas is mounted on the bottom metal shield. The antenna connector is secured in place with a T6 screw.
Another set of four T6 screws mount the cooling fan on top logic board. Apple could have redesigned the M1 Mac mini to be much smaller. The logic board is barely twice the size an iPhone 12 mini.
Unlike the cooling system in the Intel unit, the heatsink in this M1 Mac mini is a beefy block. In my opinion, thermal dissipation with this new system is better. On the backside of the logic board is a pair of Texas Instruments USB-C controllers [CD3218B12].
I was most interested in identifying the Thunderbolt controller/s. It’s a nice surprise to see two Intel JHL8040R controllers providing dedicated connection to two Thunderbolt 4 ports. Last but not least is the power supply. Apple uses the same internal 150W (12V~12.5A) PSU as found in the 2018 Intel Mac mini.
At the moment Thunderbolt devices are working well with Apple M1 Macs. Due to no ARM drivers, Radeon graphics cards do not work and therefore eGPU is a no-go.
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