I’m struggling with an 8 GB M1 Mac Mini myself for now but will probably exchange it for the 16 GB version (got a very good deal on the 8 GB version and will not have any deal on the 16 GB version, it’s not just the book price difference).
The way I make PL5 run reasonably well on an 8GB M1 Mac Mini is to close almost all applications including browsers (or at least all windows) before opening up PhotoLab (this process is a nuisance and costs productivity). I then quit and reopen PL5 after any significant amount of work, particularly an export. Thanks to the very fast SSD speeds of an M1 Mac Mini, opening and closing PhotoLab is not that big a deal.
I’m running a utility called iStat Menus which allows me to monitor memory (system and PhotoLab) very easily. The same technique can be applied with the built-in Activity Monitor.
Keep in mind that I wrote “reasonably well”. That’s an exaggeration. The M1 Mac Mini more or less completely seizes up while exporting Nikon NEF files with DeepPrime. It’s impossible to even type. While editing, PhotoLab runs fine but I’m not astonished by its power or how agile it is. It’s possible to work, that’s all. PhotoLab 4 works much better under Mojave on my Intel Classic Mac Pro with a WX7100 and 96 GB of memory. PhotoLab 5 works much better under Big Sur on my Intel Classic Mac Pro with a WX7100 and 96 GB of memory (requires OpenCore and a fair amount of tweaking to run Big Sur on a Classic Mac Pro).
My interest in the M1 Mac Mini is it’s the first silent under load computer which I’ve had. I’ve been building “silent PC’s” and silent Macs for decades now and it’s always been a compromise. The M1 Mac Mini is really and truly silent even under load.
Otherwise, I’d go back to running PhotoLab 5 on the Intel Classic Mac Pro. Outside of silence, I’d also rather keep the CMP on Mojave which is a much more stable and reliable operating system than Big Sur.