These machines don't seem to run nearly as cool as reviewers make them out to be, but they run much cooler in comparison, and make what we had before seem like stone age tech.
I am stunned by how much less power they use, and how much less heat they output versus Intel counterparts.
The Apple Silicon machines actually are that impressive. It would be so hard to go back to Intel at this point.
Simple fact - if anything happens to your machine's logic board, the internal drive goes with it.
For storage, I recommend getting a 256 GB or 512 GB internal drive, skipping the 1 TB and 2 TB upgrades, and instead buying a good external drive (with an SSD in it).
The M1 Mac mini is certainly useful, but the iMac comes with everything you need out of the box. And the Mac studio is just a tad bit too expensive and overkill for most (see which chip to buy above). The Mac Pro is still on Intel.
At the end of the Intel Mac-era, the only desktop I would recommend would have been the Mac mini. At this point in time, I can only recommend the M1 iMac.
The clock speed isn't any faster in the Pro/Max/Ultra chips, so those upgrades feel like a waste to me. Or put it another way, the M1/M2 chips are really great because they aren't artificially hobbled to create product differentiation.
Unless you need multi-monitor support, or are rendering massive videos, you should buy the cheapest chip possible, which seems to be the baseline M1/M2 processors.
What is the optimal Mac configuration in 2022? It's quite flipped from what it used to be IMO.
Laptops are my new primary choices, and should include active cooling and at least 16 GB of RAM (preferably 24 GB RAM if that's in your budget).
The fact that the clockspeed on the Pro/Max/Ultra chips isn't any faster than the baseline chip means that unless you have highly parallel workloads, you should be targeting the cheapest Mac that suits your needs.
If you can manage to get your hands on an iPad running iOS 6 or earlier, you can really see the difference in terms of the kinds of applications the iPad was supposed to be running.