Simply name it a Mac mini Professional

Because the Mac mini’s debut in 2005, it has been Apple’s inexpensive small type issue trooper. Want one thing low cost to pair with an outdated monitor? Simply get the Mac mini! Wish to begin a low-power media server, or a pc proper close to your TV? Mini, child. The road has had its share of ups and downs — the 2014 refresh was criticized for changing a quad-core mannequin with a dual-core chip, the 2018 update had notoriously weak graphics — nevertheless it made a full restoration with the M1-powered mannequin in 2021.

This yr, although, the Mac mini is completely different. The $599 mannequin stays an entry-level champ, particularly because it’s $100 lower than the M1 model (perhaps we’ll see the $499 possibility return ultimately). However you may also pay over double that — $1,299! — for a Mini with a barely stripped down M2 Professional chip and 16GB of RAM. That may have sounded loopy just a few years in the past, however now it sits neatly into Apple’s desktop ecosystem. Not all creatives want the ability of a $1,999 Mac Studio with an M1 Max, however those self same people might really feel restricted by the bottom M2 chip. Finally, there is a mighty Mini to serve them. (And no, the now-dead $1,099 Intel mannequin by no means actually crammed that function.)

Similar to with Apple’s new MacBook Execs, the Mac mini does not look any completely different than earlier than. It is nonetheless a squat little aluminum field with a ton of ports on the again, and a barely raised black base beneath to permit for airflow. The $599 mannequin options an M2 chip with eight CPU cores, 10 graphics cores, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage — that is about as primary as you may get with PC {hardware} today. The $1,299 M2 Professional Mini provides 10 CPU cores, 16 GPU cores, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. For a further $300, you may also improve to the full-powered M2 Professional chip with a 12-core CPU and 19-core GPU (however that is most likely not a sensible concept, as I will talk about later).

On the rear, the bottom Mac mini provides two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C connections, HDMI 2.0 (with 4K 240Hz and 8K 60Hz output), two USB-A ports, a headphone jack and gigabit Ethernet (upgradeable to 10 gigabit). The M2 Professional mannequin provides two extra USB-C ports, making it much more helpful for creatives with a ton of equipment.

Apple Mac Mini with M2 Pro rear ports

Apple Mac Mini with M2 Professional rear ports

Most putting concerning the Mac mini is its mixture of simplicity and performance. In contrast to the taller and extra domineering Mac Studio, the Mini is supposed to vanish into your desk, a sliver of energy that does not must be seen. That could possibly be a nasty factor if it’s essential entry its rear ports steadily, although. The Studio, compared, provides two USB-C ports and an SD card slot up entrance. You will want a separate adapter to make use of SD playing cards with the Mini — an affordable repair, however one which additionally results in extra desk litter.

Our assessment mannequin, which featured the pricier 12-core M2 Professional chip, carried out in addition to I anticipated. It is slower than the M2 Max within the 14-inch MacBook Professional in GeekBench’s CPU benchmark, nevertheless it additionally beats the M1 Max within the Mac Studio. The M1 Extremely-equipped Studio is way quicker, not surprisingly, as a result of that is basically two M1 Max chips joined collectively. What’s most necessary for some creatives although is its potential rendering efficiency. The Mac Mini scored 2,000 factors greater than the M1 Max Studio within the Cinebench R23 benchmark, and it was on-par with the MacBook Professional 14-inch with M2 Max.


Geekbench 5 CPU

Geekbench 5 Compute

Cinebench R23

3DMark Wildlife Excessive

Apple Mac Mini (Apple M2 Professional, 2022)





Apple MacBook Professional 14-inch (Apple M2 Max, 2023)




18 ,487

Apple MacBook Professional 13-inch, (Apple M2, 2022)





Apple Mac Studio (Apple M1 Max)





Apple Mac Studio (Apple M1 Extremely)





In a extra sensible take a look at, the Mac Mini transcoded a minute-long 4K clip into 1080p in 37 seconds with pure CPU energy utilizing Handbrake — the identical job took 32 seconds with the GPU. Each figures narrowly surpassed the M1 Max Studio, which took 43 seconds with a CPU encode and 34 seconds utilizing the GPU.

Past benchmarks, the Mac Mini was an absolute dream for my typical workflow (coping with dozens of browser tabs, batch picture processing, and virtually each chat app on the market). However I’d anticipate the same outcome from the $599 mannequin, as long as I lower down on demanding browsers to outlive with 8GB of RAM. The pc stays a strong entry for mainstream customers, and it’s doubtlessly an excellent dwelling theater PC should you needed one thing extra customizable than an Apple TV.

Apple Mac Mini with M2 Pro desk setup with Apple Studio Display

Apple Mac Mini with M2 Professional desk setup with Apple Studio Show

As I examined the Mac Mini, I began to surprise if it was even price having an enormous mid-tower PC as my each day driver. Realistically, although, I may by no means change into a fulltime Mac man as a result of I like video games. There are just a few trendy titles like Resident Evil Village that natively assist Macs, however there merely aren’t sufficient titles on the market. That recreation, by the way in which, simply reached 60fps whereas taking part in in 1,440p on the Mac Mini.

To reiterate, although, you’d must pay $1,599 for the upgraded M2 Professional to get the identical efficiency figures. I did not have the slower Mac Professional mannequin to match it to, however primarily based on what we’re seeing with Apple’s M2 chips, it could nonetheless be a noticeable step up from comparable M1 {hardware}. Stepping again a bit, I can’t assist however assume that the $1,299 M2 Professional Mini makes extra sense for creatives. In case you upgraded our assessment mannequin to 32GB of RAM, it could come to the identical $1,999 as the bottom Mac Studio. And provided that the Studio is sort of a yr outdated, it is due for an M2 refresh within the coming months.

Apple Mac Mini with M2 Pro

Apple Mac Mini with M2 Professional

My recommendation? Get the $1,299 Mac mini should you’re on the lookout for a beefier Mac desktop, however attempt to keep away from upgrading any {hardware} if attainable. I may see stomaching the $200 upcharge to get 1TB of storage, however spending a further $400 simply to get 32GB of RAM is not price it. Apple has all the time been infamous for costly upgrades — bear in mind the $999 monitor stand? — let’s not encourage them.

Apple would possibly as nicely have simply known as this laptop the Mac mini Professional – however I can see how that may have been complicated. Now the Mini exists in two types: An inexpensive laptop for most individuals, and a secret powerhouse for creators. It’s near being the best small-form issue PC, if solely it didn’t value a lot to get extra RAM.

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