New M1 Mac as Filemaker Server/Filemaker Development Station: which one?

I do have a few questions before deciding which Mac I will use as Filemaker Server.
And same question for a new developing machine

  • Database size >4GB
  • Lots of external docs (>10.000)
  • Number of concurrent users: 30 max, 20 avg

• Is the difference between M1, M1 Pro, M1 Max, M1 Ultra important for FM Server/FM Pro or is this just for certain demanding graphics like video editing etc.?
• How important is RAM size? The more the better? Is 64 GB overkill?
• 8 CPU cores (Mac Mini) is enough or here also the more the better?

I've heard that for single-core actions, the M1 versions are all mostly the same.
Does Filemaker Pro used for development use multiple cores? (The server does)

How should we help?

Take a Mac you have, setup it and look how much load your users cause.
If you see slowdowns, upgrade the server. And that is the reason servers usually run today in a VM. That makes it easier to move it from one physical machine to another.

So you can start with a M1 with 16 GB RAM and see. If Gigabit Ethernet is a problem, upgrade to one with 10 Gbit. If memory is tight, get one with more memory.
Maybe later this year there are even new models...

(That's why i ask before buying. You can't upgrade M1 Macs...)

• Maybe someone has already experience with the different M1 versions and can share his/her information...
• Maybe there is no difference with "old" Intel Macs when deciding...

Don't want to start a long thread about what is the best server. Just want to know if the difference between the M1 versions is a big deal for Filemaker (Server as well as Development)

The difference between the M1, M1 Pro and M1 Max are Memory and embedded SSD bandwidth.
The new Mac Studio is overkill as a Server system, and is expensive

What is unfortunate is that the Mac Mini does not provide any unit with a M1 Pro chip. But don't forget that a Mac Mini with a M1 is quite a powerful computer compared to the Intel Mac Mini. SSD access is so fast that swapping is almost unnoticed. Regarding RAM and disk size, search Thesoup - the search engine is very competent - this has already been discussed.

Regarding a development machine, a MacBook Pro with M1 Pro is very fast, going out of sleep mode is one in about a second ! Have at least 16 G RAM if you run many programs at once.


Depending on your load, a 5 year old PC or Mac may do it.
64 GB RAM may be overkill, if you your database isn't that big. Eventually you may get all of the database in file cache within RAM and have FileMaker cache all tables in RAM.

The upgrade for M1 computer is to get another one.
it may be more worth to make sure the SSD is big enough. At least double of what you have currently on data, so it can grow.

Several folks have done benchmarking tests suggesting the M1 macs are 2x to 3x as fast as the older Intel macs. See Performance benchmarking FM18 Intel to FM19 on M1 - #15 by xochi

Since the single-core performance for all the M1 chips is fairly similar, it's likely that spending the extra $ for M1 Pro or Max wouldn't help much.

As for RAM, I think you would want at a minimum 2x the size of your database, e.g. for a 4GB database file I would want no less than 8GB of RAM. I think 64 is overkill, but 16 or 32 would be sensible.

Installed a Mac Mini M1 16GB.
Without benchmarking, just the (very subjective) feeling: it runs very well, even under serious load (20 simultaneous users).
Thanks for the replies.

1 Like

Last year we moved a 65 user 7GB database solution from an i7 Mac Mini with 16GB to a new M1 Mini with 16GB. The users have reported that the their experience is very significantly improved and the M1 Mini rarely uses more than 10% cpu.

Everyone is happy and the M1 Mini cost pretty much the same as Mac it replaced.