Mine (a 8GB MBA) arrived today, so I have started doing some comparisons.

For the CRAN build of R 4.0.3, §2.8 of R-admin recommends checking the installation with

pdf("tests.pdf") ## optional, but prevents flashing graphics windows
Sys.setenv(LC_COLLATE = "C", LC_TIME = "C", LANGUAGE = "en")
tools::testInstalledPackages(scope = "base")
tools::testInstalledPackages(scope = "recommended")

That took 454s (using Rosetta) against 895s for my late-2016 MBP (2.9GHz i5): happily nothing untoward was reported (some recommended packages give differences from reference output on both systems).

You need to install XQuartz to provide the X11() devices and support for package Tcl/Tk: everything I tried using that worked as expected.

Having done that post-installation check I would happily use the Intel R on an M1 machine.

We plan to check many of the Intel-compiled packages under Rosetta.

There are many hours of work ahead to build/test a native toolchain: our goal is to have a native distribution for R 4.1.0 ca April 2021.

Brian D. Ripley,                  rip...@stats.ox.ac.uk
Emeritus Professor of Applied Statistics, University of Oxford

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