Mac mini overview (M2 Professional, 2023): 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 previous 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 — however it made a full restoration with the M1-powered mannequin in 2021.

Gallery: Apple Mac Mini (M2 Professional, 2023) | 8 Images


This yr, although, the Mac mini is totally different. The $599 mannequin stays an entry-level champ, particularly because it’s $100 lower than the M1 model (possibly we’ll see the $499 possibility return finally). However you can even pay over double that — $1,299! — for a Mini with a barely stripped down M2 Professional chip and 16GB of RAM. Which 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 facility of a $1,999 Mac Studio with an M1 Max, however those self same of us might really feel restricted by the bottom M2 chip. Ultimately, there is a mighty Mini to serve them. (And no, the now-dead $1,099 Intel mannequin by no means actually stuffed that function.)

Professionals

  • Glorious efficiency
  • Modern design
  • Tons of usable ports
  • Close to-silent underneath load

Cons

  • Upgraded M2 Professional mannequin prices an excessive amount of
  • Upgrades are too costly
  • No front-facing ports

Identical to with Apple’s new MacBook Professionals, the Mac mini would not look any totally 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 fundamental as you may get with PC {hardware} nowadays. The $1,299 M2 Professional Mini gives 10 CPU cores, 16 GPU cores, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. For an extra $300, you can even improve to the full-powered M2 Professional chip with a 12-core CPU and 19-core GPU (however that is in all probability not a clever thought, as I will talk about later).

On the rear, the bottom Mac mini gives 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 further USB-C ports, making it much more helpful for creatives with a ton of equipment.

Apple Mac Mini with M2 Pro rear ports

Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

Most placing in regards to the Mac mini is its mixture of simplicity and performance. Not like 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 may very well be a nasty factor if you want to entry its rear ports ceaselessly, although. The Studio, compared, gives two USB-C ports and an SD card slot up entrance. You may want a separate adapter to make use of SD playing cards with the Mini — an inexpensive repair, however one which additionally results in extra desk litter.

Our overview 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, however it additionally beats the M1 Max within the Mac Studio. The M1 Extremely-equipped Studio is much quicker, not surprisingly, as a result of that is primarily two M1 Max chips joined collectively. What’s most essential for some creatives although is its potential rendering efficiency. The Mac Mini scored 2,000 factors larger than the M1 Max Studio within the Cinebench R23 benchmark, and it was on-par with the MacBook Professional 14-inch with M2 Max.

None

Geekbench 5 CPU

Geekbench 5 Compute

Cinebench R23

3DMark Wildlife Excessive

Apple Mac Mini (Apple M2 Professional, 2022)

1,826/13,155

43,241

1,647/14,598

12,769

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

1,970/15,338

71,583

1,603/14,725

18 ,487

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

1,938/8,984

27,304

1,583/8,719

6,767

Apple Mac Studio (Apple M1 Max)

1,715/12,642

61,412

1,534/12,314

10,017

Apple Mac Studio (Apple M1 Extremely)

1,785/23,942

85,800

1,537/24,078

10,020

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 minimize down on demanding browsers to outlive with 8GB of RAM. The pc stays a stable entry for mainstream customers, and it’s probably an ideal dwelling theater PC in the event you needed one thing extra customizable than an Apple TV.

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