Mac Mini M1
  • Ben,

    Will SecuritySpy work with the new Mac Mini's released today?


  • I would assume they will have a transition layer like Rosetta 2. Until SS and others to ports for ARM. Otherwise, who would buy it?
  • I guess the devil is going to be in the performance of the transition layer while the native ports are built. Will be curious to see the official word :)
  • We will be releasing an Apple Silicon version of SecuritySpy very soon that runs natively on the M1 chips (we have already completed this work, we're just tying up a few loose ends before release).

    Intel apps will indeed run on Apple Silicon Macs via Rosetta 2 emulation. In our testing, this is very high performant, Apple have done an excellent job here. Even so, only native code will get the best out of the new chip.

    The M1 looks phenomenal and will provide a big speed bump to apps such as SecuritySpy that can use so many of its high-performance features: CPU, GPU, AI cores, hardware video encoding/decoding etc. And it's great that there is an Apple Silicon Mac mini already, this is perfect for SecuritySpy!
  • Ben, does the M1 offer hardware HEVC support like the recent Intel procs? I've been wanting to bump up to 32 from 16 but the CPU limitation is keeping me from doing so. When I go from 16 to 17 it makes a huge diff.. I would assume hardware support is limited to 16.

  • Excited to see users Benchmarks.
  • Yes, it's virtually guaranteed that the M1 will offer high-performance H.264 and H.265 hardware-accelerated video compression and decompression. We will have to see what the real-world performance of these will be - we will get our hands on one in due course, but if any user receives delivery of one in the near future, please get in touch.

    We've been testing with the DTK. I'm not allowed to provide benchmarks, but I can tell you that the DTK performs well for both decode and encode, and it's likely that the M1 will be significantly better. So I look forward to some real M1 benchmarks when possible, and I will report back here when I have these.

    @bigpal - there isn't a hard limit of 16 streams. Rather, each Mac has a certain maximum capability for decoding a certain rate of video frames of a certain resolution. The best way to benchmark your Mac is to use our new VideoCodecTest utility. The test to run is either the H.264 Decode test or the H.265 Decode test, depending on whether your cameras supply H.264 or H.265 video. To test your Mac's internal hardware, disable the Software option and enable the Internal hardware option. The tool will then calculate the maximum rate at which your Mac is capable of decoding frames.

    So, for example, you might get a result of 200fps. Then, to calculate the maximum number of cameras that your Mac can handle, divide this number by the frame rate at which each camera is streaming. For example, this would be 20 cameras @10fps each, 25 cameras @8fps each etc. Please report back with your results!
  • That's a great tool! My mac mini can do 265 frames for h.265 at 22% CPU... (hardware only) which means I can do 16 cameras at 15 frames, which is exactly what I have them set to do. That explains the limitation. Interestingly enough, the number of frames was a bit lower for h.264.

    Personally, I will be holding off on Apple powered computers for a bit because I still depend on Windows and required dual boot with bootcamp support.... but eventually I'll upgrade my mini which has all my "server" stuff and I don't care about windows there.

    Thanks Ben
  • The future for Apple ARM looks quite good. I'm looking forward to seeing what's coming after this currently available M1.

    Native can make a huge difference. I got to run Intel & M1 versions Davinci Resolve on a M1. The Intel version about as well as on any Intel based Mac and the native version noticeably faster for several things.
  • Update: the latest version of SecuritySpy is now a Universal build that runs natively on both Intel and Apple Silicon Macs.
  • If this is helpful, I ran Ben's Video Codec Test App on a new M1 MacBook Air with 8GB RAM, 8 cores, and 8 GPU's. Its numbers were very high compared to the iMacs and MacBook Pros I have comparison. M1 MacBook Air showed a throughput of 420PFS running the Decode H.264 4K test with checkmarks next to Software CPU and Internal hardware.

    In comparison, the MBP (2018) with 2.9 GHz 6-Core Intel Core i9 and 32GB ram scored 179 FPS on the same settings.

  • @mjcmjc - yes, these are the results I'm seeing too on the M1 chip. You should see that decoding H.265 across both hardware and software is even faster - I'm seeing a throughput of 570 fps, which is fantastic (about the same performance as a 10-core iMac Pro).

    If you compare your Intel MacBook Pro against the M1, with hardware-only H.264 or H.265 decoding, I expect that the Intel will provide better performance. Its hardware decoding capabilities are provided by Intel's Quick Sync Video module build into the CPU, which is very powerful. The issue with the Intel is that adding software decoding on top of this does not increase performance further - there seems to be some interaction here between software and hardware decoding that prevents this, which is probably a limitation of the chip design.

    In comparison, the M1's hardware decoding capabilities are a bit lower than the Intel's, but its software capabilities are much higher, and in addition it doesn't have the above limitation, so when doing both hardware+software processing you get the sum of both.
  • Thanks Ben,

    Was also pleasantly surprised to see that you pushed out the native M1 SecuritySpy update. Thanks!

    Continue to be very happy with SecuritySpy - running 19 cameras on the M1 with H.265 decoding and the AI motion detection. Only other thing I run on this Mini is Indigo, and it runs headless, but when I screen share into it, its typically 80% idle on the CPU. This is the lowest priced M1, so I'm pretty happy with it, too. Might need to start using more of SS's features. ;)
  • Ben what is the impact of 8GB versus 16Gb in the new M1? And does SS have a setting to tell the M1 to use Software CPU and not hardware? (sorry if this is a dumb question!)
  • Hi @gpsbrad - for more than 8 cameras or so, I would suggest going for the 16GB model to be safe. We are still investigating this and running tests and will update our system requirements calculator, which is designed for Intel Macs, and probably overstates the RAM requirement.

    Yes, when running on any Mac, including the M1 models, you can set SecuritySpy to assign cameras to hardware or software video decoding, as described in this FAQ: I'm getting a "decoder overload" warning, what does this mean?
  • Ben, since S/spy is running in native, you should have added to this list:
  • Hi @DsrtRngr - thanks, this looks like a useful resource. I have now submitted SecuritySpy to this list.
  • All,

    New member here.

    Long, long time Mac user. Wanting to replace our Blueiris system, so I am trying SS out at our office building on an M1 Mac mini 8GB / 512 SSD that I just bought yesterday, and the performance is incredible.

    I am pushing 28 Mobotix cameras at full speed (10 fps limited on the camera end), and H264 qual. set at 100% just for giggles.

    CPU average is hovering @10%, and RAM @60%. I have ordered a 16GB model which will not arrive until Jan 4th, so I bought this one to see what the impact would be with the smaller 8GB RAM configuration and so far so good.

    Having two more cameras installed today by my Mobotix installer, but with this performance it will not be an issue.

    This is just mind blowing!!!

    Not a fair comparison, but I’m currently running the same cameras in Blueiris (which only runs on Windows), on an Intel i7 6700 / 8GB RAM machine, and it’s sitting at 80-100% CPU all day long.

    And forget about viewing all the cameras at once on it, it will def peg it at 100% and render Blueiris unusable.

    Very exciting times we’re living in.

    Cheers everyone,
  • Thanks @Neurobit for reporting your experiences. This is very impressive performance, the new M1 Macs are exceeding all expectations! It sounds like you will run out of RAM before CPU here - the reverse of what would normally be the situation with Intel Macs. Still, you have plenty of headroom even with this 8 GB model.

    For anyone wanting a technical (but easy to read) explainer on why the M1 is so good, I'd recommend this article: Why Is Apple’s M1 Chip So Fast? I believe the M1 is hugely significant for Apple, and will lead to a big increase the popularity of Macs over the coming years.
  • Thanks. Yeah, that's the reason I have a 16GB on the way (to have enough breathing room in case we add a few more cameras in the future), but for now, the 8GB is working out great.

    Even had to turn on recompress a short while back to be able to view the HQ clips via browser, and it only raised the CPU by about 1-2%.

    Super excited about this.

  • Hi everyone, my first post here.

    I have been using an M1 Mac mini with 16 GB RAM for 4 days and I wanted to share my findings. This machine replaced the 2018 Mac mini with 3.2 GHz 5-Core Intel i7 with 32 GB RAM (that is the top of the line Intel Mac mini).

    Long story short, M1 is far superior to the Intel machine. Don't think for a second about buying the Intel if you are going to use it for SecuritySpy.

    I was using the Intel with 8 cameras, 2 of them 4K and 6, 1080p, all with human detection with one also having vehicle detection. While I was in the process of replacing the 1080p cameras with other 4K cameras, the M1 mini arrived.

    The Intel had been running fairly hot, around 55-56 degrees Celsius at the CPU with that configuration. I changed 2 cameras to 4K, resulting in 4 4K and 4 1080p cameras. It started running at around 60-65 degrees.

    When the M1 arrived, I tried using it in trial mode so that I could see the performance of both machines side by side. But I exported the configuration of the Intel machine and imported it to the M1 resulting in the expiration of the trial period. I did not want to start over, so I stopped the Intel and continued with the M1.

    While testing I added 2 more 4K cameras. Currently I am running 6 4K cameras and 2 1080p cameras. I'll replace the remaining 2 when the weather gets better. The cameras use around 80 to 100 Mbits/s of bandwidth in total using VBR.

    I am using iStat Menus to check the performance and temperature of the devices, though the software does not currently show the temperature of the CPU on the M1, it only shows the SSD temperature.

    On the Intel, my earlier setup I mentioned above (2 4K and 6 1080p) resulted in around 4% CPU and 20% GPU usage. When I replaced the 2 1080p cameras with 4K ones, the GPU usage jumped to 25%. On the M1, I am seeing 6-7% CPU and 32-35% GPU usage. Bear in mind that it is processing 2 more 4K cameras now. Around 8 GB of RAM is used and 1.5 GB of this is SecuritySpy. I also changed the streams from H264 to H265 without any noticeable difference in CPU or GPU usage. Intel was using less GPU with H264 than H265, so I was using H264 for all cameras on Intel.

    The fascinating thing is, the M1 is incredibly cool to the touch. The SSD shows 32 degrees Celsius currently and its case is definitely at ambient temperature. It is processing around 100 Mbits of video per second with 6 of them being 4K streams, and it is nearly at room temperature! This is really a next generation machine. The Intel machine is definitely warmer to the touch, it is nearly idle at the moment and the CPU temperature is 41 degrees Celsius. When I add the last remaining 4K cameras, I expect only a slight jump in usage or temperature. I am pretty sure this machine can easily handle 16 4K streams.

    Forget the Intel machine, definitely get the M1. 16 GB RAM is a must if you'll be using a lot of cameras.

    If their first SoC is this incredible, I have no idea about what we'll be able to get on iMacs.
  • Thank you @keremerkan for the detailed report, this is great to hear. I agree with your assessment about the M1 Macs, they are incredible!
  • Agreed! I’m up to 30 Mobotix cameras now. A few of them 6MP. Avg. CPU is 15%, which is incredible.

    This is on a mini with 8GB RAM, with about 65% load. Just got the 16GB model a few days ago which will replace the 8GB model to give me some headroom in case my load increases (and to future-proof as long as possible).

  • Ben,

    One thing I cannot get the M1 to do is the auto-login into SS after a reboot/power outage. Assuming the script needs to be modified for BigSur?
  • Hi @Neurobit there is no script required for auto-login: you simply need to enable auto login under System Preferences > Users & Groups, and set SecuritySpy as a login item under System Preferences > Users & Groups > User > Login Items.

    Are you referring to the "Go To Login Window" script that can subsequently be used to lock the screen? This has now been updated for macOS 11 - see Can SecuritySpy run behind the login screen?
  • Ben,
    Yes, correct. The script that is used to lock the screen (which wasn’t locking it).
    I’ll try the new one and post back. Was the new one just released? I ask because the one I’m using I downloaded last week.

  • Yes, I just posted a new one today. The old one didn't work in Big Sur. Please report back when you've had a chance to test it. Thanks.
  • Super!
    I will test install the new one and post back once I get to the office.
  • Ben,

    Just tested. Same as before. It just shows the terminal window but does not lock the screen after it comes back up.

    Documents/Go\ To\ Login\ Window.command ; exit;
    Saving session...
    ...copying shared history...
    ...saving history...truncating history files...

    [Process completed]

  • Downloaded from the link on this page, unless it's located elsewhere?

  • That should be the correct download link. To check if you have the correct version, if you Get Info on the script in the Finder, you should see that it is 291 bytes in size - is this what you see?

    If you go to the Apple menu, do you see the option to "Lock Screen" available, and can you confirm that it shows the default keyboard shortcut of ⌃⌘Q?
  • Yes, 291 bytes and shortcut to lock the screen is the same.
  • @Neurobit - strange, I'm not sure why this didn't work.

    We have done more work on this, and now switched to a standalone utility app called Lock Screen to do the locking, rather than a shell script. This gives us more flexibility over implementation, and avoids the need for the ugly Terminal window. New info can be found in the FAQ Can SecuritySpy run behind the lock/login screen?

    Please report back and let me know if this now works correctly for you.
  • Thanks Ben! You guys are awesome!
    I’ll give this a try tonight and post back.

  • Update: after some more testing, this only seems to work if there is actually a keyboard attached to the Mac. This is because the tool achieves screen lock using the ⌃⌘Q keystroke, and it seems that under Big Sur, all keyboard shortcuts are disabled if there is no keyboard attached!

    A workaround is to enable the Accessibility keyboard is turned on (System Preferences > Accessibility > Accessibility Keyboard). We're hoping to update the tool to avoid the need for this workaround. Stay tuned...
  • Thanks again. I’m currently traveling so hot able to test this yet.
    Assuming that this behavior is for both the terminal window and the Lock Screen app, correct?
  • (yes, I’m running the mini headless btw).
  • Update 2: I think we now have overcome this limitation. Please download a fresh copy of the Lock Screen applet via the link in the FAQ (Can SecuritySpy run behind the lock/login screen? - if you Get Info on the Lock Screen applet in the Finder you should see that it is version 1.0.1).

    Please report back once you've had a chance to test.
  • Genius!!! Works great!
    Thank you!
  • Great! Thanks for your help with this.
  • You bet. And thanks for the prompt resolution!

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