M1 Mac for Rust Development?

I am going to purchase a new laptop for personal use, mostly for development. Although I usually try to stick to Linux and avoid Apple products, It's hard to ignore the M1 Macbooks. I was thinking of getting the Macbook Air M1.

One of my most common use cases would be Rust development. How well does it work now and how well is it expected to be supported in the future?

Since the last day of the last year ARM MacOS got the Tier 2 support, same level as the MUSL Linux.

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Yep I heard

Would you personally say Tier 2 support is good enough for now and I should just go ahead and buy it? And any guesses on how long it might take to promote it to Tier 1?

I have an M1 Mac Mini and it works perfectly. The only downside is that vscode isn't native yet, but that will change soon, hopefully.

How does it run on emulation? any major issues?

The only issue I've run into so far is that launching native arm binaries from emulated binaries is very buggy. Everything else is fine.

Impressive. I guess I can go for it then.

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You could read the various blog posts, for example from HN Search powered by Algolia that discuss the viability for developers.

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Well, my business partner suggested we blow some money on hardware before the end of the year, for tax relief. The question then was, would I like a new PC or laptop or a Mac M1 or what? I could not think of anything.

Traditional PC box was out. I have some, they are nearly a decade old but work just fine. I always hated those big, ugly, noisy boxes, mostly full of air anyway.

Traditional laptops were out. I have a pile of old ones here. Always hated those as well. Terrible keyboards, small screens, clumsy format.

Microsoft Surface was out, after a bad experience with the battery exploding on mine.

Never owned or used a Mac in my life. Who would want such a closed system? But OK get me that new fangled ARM powered M1 with it's rumored performance and battery life.

I have total confidence that Rust will work fine on the M1. Even if there are issues initially.

The weird thing about my rambling story is that soon I am moving house. Likely a lot of old baggage does not move with me. Between my Raspberry Pi and Jetson Nano Xavier collection and that M1 it is likely to be an Intel free home.

Imagine, an Intel fee home, for the first time in forty years!


If I think about it, My desktop PC has been intel free for a really long time, even before the Ryzen revolution. If I replace my old laptop with this M1, and my work laptop gets replaced by an upgraded ryzen machine (in the pipeline apparently), there probably won't be intel in my home either :laughing:

It really is the HW isn't it? It'll take a good few years for Microsoft, Quallcomm, AMD and the rest to sit together and fight this thing. Until then M1 Macs might be the go to device for everyone.

One important thing if you want to get one of the mobile devices is to get the Pro variant. The Macbook Air doesn't have active cooling, which is not that great if you rely on performance (such as Rust compilation).

The RAM also is completely unupgradable (it's part of the CPU package), so whatever you pick you have to live with for the rest of the device's life. I personally chose the 8GB version for tax reasons, but 16GB is definitely more future-proof. 8GB might be fine if you don't run anything on it except Visual Studio Code and the program you're developing.

My Ryzen AM4 motherboard came with an Intel Ethernet controller and an Intel WiFi 6 card. It's really hard to escape the blue.

I just checked my Motherboard (MAG x570 tomahawk WiFi) and it too has an intel wifi 6 card :3

I was honestly talking more about CPUs but point taken.

I still haven't made a final decision on whether to get an Air or a Pro, but my preliminary research and asking a few friends has made me come to the conclusion (for now) that the Airs are also pretty good and I might just save my Money by getting an Air instead of going with the Pro.

I got Pro and I regret it.

I was worried about sustained performance, but it turns out passive cooling in Air is good enough (unlike Intel-based Air). So the Pro turned out to be a waste of money and a TouchBar I don't want.

M1 laptops support only one external display (unless you use DisplayLink adapter, which is more like a remote desktop over USB, not a real display), so get Mini if you use more than one monitor.

M1 is very fast for a 25W chip, but it's not faster than 100W+ CPUs. If you want fast compile times and don't need mobility, a Ryzen desktop may still be a better choice.

And finally, Big Sur is super buggy. I'm still using my old Intel MacBook and haven't been able to switch to M1 one. I may have an unusual situation, but my M1 MBP is stuck on 11.0.0 and is unable to install any updates. I get an error when trying to disable SIP, so I'm stuck with a broken macOS. I was unable to send it back to Apple due to covid lockdown :frowning:


My situation is like this. While my new laptop is for development it's also more for personal hobbyist use and not for anything too extreme. It should also be portable and easy to carry around, so desktop and even bulky laptops are out. With that in mind as far as I can see a Macbook air might be the best choice. It destroys many other laptops in it's price bracket and the ones it doesn't, it easily makes up for with Battery life and not needing to be plugged in for full performance.

My previous choice was this https://www.asus.com/Laptops/For-Home/ZenBook/ZenBook-14-UM425/

regarding desktops, I'm a regular PC gamer. I have a fairly decent rig now and am planning on a big upgrade sometime soon with something around a ryzen 5700 or similar. So I have that muscle available for extreme cases :sweat_smile:

So would you say I should just save the money when choosing between the 256/8 Pro and the 256/8 Air?

This is the tracking issue for more details about support - as I understand it, no guarantees or guesses can really be made right now because the big blocker to Tier 1 is running in CI, and it's not yet clear the best way to do that.