Should You Upgrade to the Mac mini With the M2 Pro Chip?
The Mac mini has been the most affordable Mac you can buy, and it can deliver impressive performance for most users, thanks to Apple silicon. However, professional users who wanted extra oomph for demanding workflows had to resort to more expensive offerings, like the Mac Studio.
In January 2023, Apple refreshed the Mac mini with the M2 chip. But this time, it also released a supercharged version of the Mac mini featuring the M2 Pro chip, which might be the perfect middle ground between the base Mac mini and the Mac Studio. So, should you buy it? Let’s find out.
Apple Brings the M2 Pro to the Mac mini
Apple announced the 2023 Mac mini models in a press release rather than holding a special event. Alongside the standard M2 chip-equipped variant, Apple is also offering the Mac mini with the supercharged M2 Pro, the same chip in the 2023 MacBook Pro models. The M2 Pro features up to a 12-core CPU and a 19-core GPU, which is plenty of power for most users.
In an Apple Newsroom post, the company stated:
“With M2 Pro, Mac mini users can run high-performance workflows that were previously inconceivable in such a compact form factor. Musicians can produce music with incredibly powerful plug-ins and effects without missing a beat, while photographers can adjust huge images in an instant. Creators can seamlessly work in multicam with multiple cameras formats, including ProRes video, and gamers can play demanding titles in console quality. Gaming performance is up to 15x faster than the fastest Intel-based Mac mini.”
Besides the CPU and GPU improvements, the M2 Pro chip allows prospective buyers to configure the system with up to 32GB of unified memory, which wasn’t possible with its predecessor. The M2 Pro also features a 40% faster Neural Engine that helps accelerate machine learning tasks. In terms of wireless updates, the Mac mini now includes the new Wi-Fi 6E standard for faster speeds and Bluetooth 5.3.
The M2 Pro also enables Apple to expand the Mac mini’s port selection, featuring up to four Thunderbolt 4-enabled ports. The 2023 Mac mini also features a 3.5mm headphone jack that supports high-impedance headphones, just like other recently updated Macs. Lastly, the Mac mini with M2 Pro can now support one 8K display through its HDMI port.
Why the M2 Pro Mac mini Is Practical for Most Users
The main selling point of the Mac mini has been its price for what you get. The M2 Pro version starts at $1,299, the lowest price we’ve seen for a computer with a high-end Apple silicon chip. That base configuration also comes with 16GB of unified memory and 512GB of SSD storage. Potential buyers should seriously factor in the price-to-performance of this machine before considering the Mac Studio.
It’s also important to point out that the M2 Pro chip can include more CPU cores than the first-gen M1 Max chip in the Mac Studio. The extra two CPU cores mean you can get even better multi-core CPU performance with the Mac mini. The only way to get more CPU cores on the Mac Studio is by configuring it with the M1 Ultra chip, which costs another $1,400.
In addition to that, since the Mac mini features the M2 Pro, it can support up to three displays, allowing you to expand your workspace. Overall, the Mac mini is a much more capable machine that can be compelling for people who want more performance than the regular M2 chip but don’t want to spend more than $2,000 on a desktop computer.
When Can You Buy the Mac mini?
Thankfully, you won’t have to wait long for Apple’s new desktop. The Mac mini is already available for order from Apple Store Online and will start shipping on January 24th.
You also have the option to pick up the Mac mini from Apple’s retail stores and Apple-authorized resellers starting from January 24th.
Should You Buy the Supercharged Mac mini?
We’re glad that Apple beefed up the Mac mini with a higher-end chip; it’s something fans have been waiting for. Thanks to the M2 Pro chip in the Mac mini, professionals can now get a workstation Mac without breaking the bank.
If you previously purchased an M1 Mac mini or M1 MacBook Air and felt the performance wasn’t good enough for your use case, the M2 Pro Mac mini will meet your expectations. It’s also a huge upgrade if you still use an Intel Mac mini.
Overall, the supercharged Mac mini is a worthwhile upgrade from the previous generation, unlike the 2023 MacBook Pros.