Which Is Right for You?
Word on the street is that Apple’s 2023 Mac mini models with the M2 and M2 Pro chips are quite the catch, and we’re here to set the record straight.
You may be overloaded with many new performance metrics and specifications about the two new chips. But if you’re struggling to choose between the two, we’ll help you make an informed decision as we discuss everything you need to know about the M2 and M2 Pro Mac Mini variants.
Good news, folks. The new M2 Mac mini is actually cheaper than its predecessor. The M1 Mac mini launched at $699 in 2020, which was still a bargain. The M2 Mac mini, on the other hand, costs just $599, so if you want the cheapest Mac you can get, this is your winner. Plus, if you know how to get Apple’s student discount, you can snag it for $499!
The M2 Pro Mac mini retails at $1,299, which is $700 more than the base M2 variant at $599. With that big of a margin, it’s a huge decision. You can always customize your Mac mini and configure the specs, but the prices go higher with every spec bump. For instance, you’ll have to pay an extra $300 to get the fully unlocked M2 Pro chip.
If you already have an M1 Mac mini, we’ll help you decide if you should upgrade to the M2 Pro Mac mini instead.
The M2 Mac mini offers an 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU, while the M2 Pro gives you a 10-core CPU and 16-core GPU at $1,299. If you pay an extra $300, you can get the full-fledged M2 Pro with a 12-core CPU and 19-core GPU instead.
You may be reading all these numbers and thinking, what exactly does it mean? Simply put, the basic—and quite obvious—overview would entail that the M2 Pro model is far stronger and much more efficient when measuring performance. The higher the numbers go, the better it gets.
What’s better, Apple gave us some other valuable comparisons to help us further. In an Apple Newsroom post, the company claims the M2 Pro model can deliver 4.2x faster ProRes transcoding in Final Cut Pro than the M1 Mac mini. In contrast, the M2 offers a 2.4x increase over the previous generation.
However, remember that Final Cut Pro is a video-editing software; it only makes sense to opt for the M2 Pro Mac mini and pay tons more if you’re a producer, content creator, or hobbyist who regularly uses such software. For the average customer, though, the M2 Mac mini goes above and beyond to give an amazing performance at a much lower price.
Connectivity and Ports
There’s not much to discuss in this section, as there’s only one difference between these models. The M2 has two Thunderbolt 4-enabled USB-C ports, while the M2 Pro has four of them. Apart from that, both the models have two USB-A ports, an HDMI port, Gigabit Ethernet, and a headphone jack.
That said, Apple allows you to configure either of these models with a 10 Gigabit Ethernet port for high-speed internet connectivity; that costs $100 extra.
Now, let’s discuss the RAM and SSD storage of both models. The base Mac mini with the M2 chip packs 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD, but you can configure it with a maximum of 24GB RAM and 2TB SSD.
On the other hand, the M2 Pro Mac mini starts with 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD but can be configured with a whopping 32GB RAM and 8TB SSD. Pretty big difference, isn’t it?
Sure, it makes sense for the M2 Pro model to have such large RAM and storage options, as that variant targets creators who would benefit from higher-end hardware. But the 24GB RAM cap on the M2 Mac mini is more than enough—and often overkill—for the average customer who doesn’t have professional needs.
Which Mac Mini Do You Like Better?
Safe to say, Apple targets two different markets with the M2 and M2 Pro Mac mini models. If you’re a creative professional who makes a living with your Mac, you might want to pay the extra money for the M2 Pro model, as it provides better performance and higher configurations.
However, if you don’t think you’ll be doing graphically intensive tasks on your Mac or you just want a desktop for school or college work, the M2 Mac mini at $599 is hard to beat in terms of sheer value.