Apple has finally updated its Mac mini line with new M2 processors and removed the extremely outdated Intel model from the store. This means there are now two Apple Silicon models to choose from, a base model with an M2 chip and a higher-end variant with an M2 Pro processor. Here is a comparison of the two models.
M2 Mac mini vs M2 Pro Mac mini: Specs
|Mac mini (M2)||Mac mini (M2 Pro)|
|CPU||8-core CPU, 10-core GPU||10-core or 12-core CPU, 16-core or 19-core GPU|
|display||Dual display support||Triple display support|
|Audio||Speaker, 3.5mm headphone jack with extended support for high impedance headphones||Speaker, 3.5mm headphone jack with extended support for high impedance headphones|
|Keyboard||Not included||Not included|
|Trackpad/mouse||Not included||Not included|
|Wi-Fi||Wi-Fi 6E||Wi-Fi 6E|
|Ports||Two Thunderbolt 4 ports, two USB‑A ports, HDMI 2.0 port, Gigabit or 10Gb Ethernet||Four Thunderbolt 4 ports, two USB‑A ports, HDMI 2.0 port, Gigabit or 10Gb Ethernet|
|Dimensions||197mm x 197mm x 36mm||197mm x 197mm x 36mm|
|Weight||2.6 lbs||2.8 lbs|
M2 Mac mini vs M2 Pro Mac mini: Design
On the other hand, Apple hasn’t broken the winning formula that has kept the Mac mini in such good shape for so long. If you have already seen one of them, then you will immediately recognize the new models, although it may be difficult for you to distinguish them from each other. The dimensions of both models are identical: the aluminum chassis with silver livery measures 197mm x 197mm x 36mm, although the Pro version is slightly heavier, you won’t be carrying any mini around.
Flipping the machines over will reveal the ports section on the back, where you can see the first differences between the two, but we’ll go into more detail about that below. Of course, since these are miniatures, you won’t find a display, keyboard, or mouse/trackpad in the box, so you’ll need to provide your own.
M2 Mac mini vs M2 Pro Mac mini: Processor
Naturally, as the names of the devices suggest, the main difference between the two M2 Mac minis is that they are silicon driven. We had already seen the M2 in the MacBook Air M2 and the 13-inch MacBook Pro M2, so it was inevitable that it would appear on the Mac mini platform. But the M2 Pro is a new chip introduced by Apple alongside the M2 Max found in more expensive MacBook Pros.
The M2 itself is equipped with an 8-core processor divided into four performance cores and four efficiency cores. There is also a 10-core GPU, a 16-core neural engine, and 100 GB/s memory bandwidth. The media engine is the same as in the M1 Pro, with hardware acceleration for H.264, HEVC, ProRes and ProRes Raw, as well as a ProRes encoding and decoding engine.
With the M2 Pro, you get up to 10 or 12 CPU cores (six or eight performance and eight efficiency), 16-core or 19-core GPU, 16-core neural engine, and 200 GB/s memory bandwidth, double that of the previous model. standard M2. In our testing, the M2 chip is about 20 percent faster than the M1, and the M2 Pro is about 20 percent faster than the M1 Pro, so the differences between the chips are about the same as the previous generation. In terms of graphics, both chips are about 30 percent faster than their predecessors.
M2 Mac mini vs M2 Pro Mac mini: Memory and storage
In base models, the M2 mini comes with 8GB of storage and 256GB of onboard storage. The standard configuration of the M2 Pro starts with double the M2: 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. These can be upgraded at the point of sale, with the M2 having up to 24GB of storage and 2TB of storage, while the M2 Pro has a higher max configuration with 32GB of RAM and up to 8TB of storage. Obviously they all come with serious prices – the M2 Pro can cost up to $4,000 – but you’ll need to make a decision when buying your mini as it can’t be upgraded.
M2 Mac mini vs M2 Pro Mac mini: Ports and connectivity
The Mac mini M2 has two Thunderbolt 4/USB 4 ports, while the M2 Pro has four Thunderbolt 4/USB 4 ports. In addition, they both have two USB-A, HDMI, and Gigabit Ethernet ports. You’ll also find a built-in speaker and 3.5mm headphone jack with expanded support for high-impedance headphones, as well as Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax) and Bluetooth 5.3.
However, it is worth noting that both devices support simultaneous use of multiple monitors: M2 can work with two displays (6K at 60 Hz and 5K at 60 Hz via Thunderbolt), and M2 Pro with three (two 6K at 60 Hz via Thunderbolt and one) . 4K @ 60Hz via HDMI). The HDMI 21 port on the M2 Pro Mac mini can also drive a single display up to 8K at 60Hz or 4K at 240Hz.
M2 Mac mini vs M2 Pro Mac mini: Price and availability
The new Mac mini is available at the following prices:
- Mac mini M2 (8GB / 256GB) – $599 / £649
- Mac mini M2 (8GB / 512GB) – $799 / £849
- Mac mini M2 Pro (16GB / 512GB) – $1,299 / £1,399
If you count, then for the M2 Pro Mac mini, this is more than twice as much. And build-to-order options add up quickly: the higher-end M2 Pro costs $400//£400, with each 8GB memory upgrade costing you $200/£200, with additional storage costing $200/ £200 for 512GB.
M2 Mac mini vs M2 Pro Mac mini: our recommendation
It’s a pretty easy choice between these two powerful new additions to the mini platform. If you want a simple desktop Mac for home or casual computing, then the $599 M2 Mac mini is the perfect machine. The M2 chip is powerful enough for most people and even for some professionals. But if you want a higher-end chip that isn’t the fastest, the entry-level M2 Pro Mac mini is a powerful machine. Just be careful with upgrades, as it may be more economical to get a Mac Studio or MacBook Pro if you’re upgrading more than storage.