Apple’s newest silicon improvements shine within the Mac Mini. The tiny desktop pc is the newest Apple pc fitted with the M2 chipset. For $599, patrons can go for the M2 or spend $1299 for the spectacular M2 Professional, which options distinctive advantages.
For the final a number of days, my M1 Mac Mini sat on the sidelines whereas the brand new Mac Mini used the courtroom. This machine soars. As anticipated, the brand new SoC lets the machine simply leap by purposes and duties. That stated, the M1 Mac Mini launched in 2020 has all the time labored high quality. I’ve used one since launch and nonetheless discover it satisfactory. It’s not new-phone quick anymore, although. With this M2 Professional, I really feel like an F1 driver with a brand new set of tires and a tank stuffed with fuel. I’m able to go for one more hundred laps.
I threw every thing in my day by day rotation on the M2 Professional, and it by no means blinked. It zoomed by media encoding and heavy photograph enhancing. It conquered benchmarks and put up with Chrome’s unending quest for system reminiscence. It’s been a pleasure to make use of.
The Mac Mini has lengthy been Apple’s most reasonably priced pc. However, sometimes, it was omitted of Intel CPU updates through the years, making the pc look unloved and forgotten. Now that Apple is making its chips, the Mac Mini is again in rotation. In 2020, the Mac Mini helped debut the M1 chip. Now in 2023, the Mac Mini, alongside the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Professional is debuting the M2 Professional.
Patrons have a few choices with the M2 Mac Mini. For $599, they’ll choose the bottom mannequin that options the M2 CPU, 8GB of reminiscence, and 256GB of storage. Spend $799 to improve the SSD to 512GB. The M2 Professional is on the market for $1,299, and for that worth, patrons get 16GB of reminiscence, and 512GB of SSD storage. Spend extra to improve the variety of cores within the CPU, and get extra system reminiscence and as much as 8TB of native storage.
The variations between the M2 and M2 Professional are minor however consequential. The M2 Professional provides important benefits for some makes use of. The M2 Professional has double the quantity of transistors over the M2 and has twice the reminiscence bandwidth. The M2 has an 8-core CPU with a 10-core GPU. The M2 Professional has as much as a 12-core CPU and as much as a 19-core GPU. The M2 Professional additionally has a further Thunderbolt controller, permitting it to be outfitted with 4 Thunderbolt ports as an alternative of the 2 on the usual M2 Mac Mini. This additionally permits the M2 Professional Mac Mini to assist up-to-three displays as an alternative of the 2 from the usual M2.
The M2 Professional in my tester set unimaginable benchmarks. For instance, in Geekbench 5, the multi-core benchmark clocked in at 14,991. That’s a number of clicks over the efficiency of the M1 Max within the Mac Studio (12,336) and Intel Xeon W-3245 from late 2019 (14,674). The one-core benchmark was much more telling: the M2 Professional scored 1,932, topping the earlier document of 1,900 set by the 13-inch M2-powered MacBook Professional. The M1 Mac Mini scored 1,715.
Benchmarks solely inform a part of the story.
Let’s take a look at the putting of the $2,099 M2 Professional towards the inventory $1,999 Studio M1 Max. Consider the Studio line like tremendous Mac Minis. The Mac Studio with the M1 Professional and Max was launched almost a 12 months in the past, within the Winter of 2022. Apple will probably refresh it will definitely, however because it sits, it provides distinct benefits over the brand new M2 Professional Mac Mini despite the fact that the benchmarks place the Studio behind the newer computer systems. The distinction comes right down to the beefy M1 Max. The Max designation alerts the chip has further CPU cores, video decoding pipelines, and Thunderbolt controllers. The $1,999 Studio additionally ships with 32GB of RAM, whereby it’s a further $199 surcharge within the Mac Mini. The Mac Studio has a front-facing SD card slot, which I’d like to have on the Mac Mini.
Apple is eager to level out that the Mac Mini can play video video games. However this isn’t a gaming pc. For the Mac Mini to carry out effectively as a gaming pc, the video games should use Steel, which implies it’s coded straight for Mac OS. Sadly, there are only a few video games available on the market on this format. Apple supplied me with a replica of Resident Evil Village, and the graphics are the perfect I’ve ever seen on a Mac. They appear nice, and the sport is clean and responsive, however I extremely doubt anybody is purchasing for a Mac Mini with the first goal of enjoying video games.
Gaming has by no means been a Mac promoting level. Sadly, the M2 doesn’t change that, although it’s pretty to see Apple’s strides on this space.
The M2 chip brings the Mac Mini into a brand new world of efficiency. The benchmarks present a pc able to maintaining with the quickest computer systems Apple has ever made — and now the efficiency is on the market at comparatively low costs.
However do you want the M2 Professional? That’s my lingering query. The M1 chips can deal with most day by day duties, and the M2 is constructed from the identical secret sauce. So would I discover the M2 Professional essential improve if it was my cash? I don’t assume so.
I doubt most customers would see a distinction between an M2 and M2 Professional exterior of resource-heavy media enhancing software program. The usual M2 is suited ideally for shopping the Web and utilizing Apple’s built-in apps. And the usual M2 would nonetheless be a powerful improve over present techniques. The $599 M2 Mac Mini, even with its restricted native storage, looks like a killer deal.
With the M2 and M2, the Mac Mini sits among the many strongest computer systems Apple provides at any worth level. And let’s keep in mind one of many Mac Mini’s principal promoting factors: it’s mini. The Mac Min is a tiny bundle that gives quite a lot of flexibility. Bundle it with considered one of Apple’s Studio Shows for a terrific iMac various, or use it with an affordable monitor for a low-cost workstation. As all the time, the Mac Mini is a worth proposition, and it’s by no means seemed higher than it does now with the M2 and M2 Professional.