When it comes to the Mac mini, one of the things that has impressed me the most is the amount of power packed into its small form factor. But with Apple throwing its M2 and new M2 Pro chip into the mix, the 2023 model looks set to take performance to a whole new level.
Announced last week, I had a few days to put the new Mac mini (M2 Pro, 2023) through its paces, and the first results are very, very impressive. There’s no doubt that it will remain in our top spot for best computers for graphic design, but let’s take a closer look at what I’ve found so far…
Mac mini (M2, 2023) review: Price
get ready. We’re about to say something you probably don’t hear a lot when it comes to Apple products. The Mac mini (M2, 2023) is actually cheaper than its predecessor, coming in at just $599 / £649 for the model with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. So you get newer hardware for less. Yes, you read that right. This is a move we can’t help but be impressed with by Apple (particularly after the recent iPad price hikes).
The new mini follows in the footsteps of its predecessors, with a model pre-configured with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage (and the same M2 chip) for $799 / £849, which is, again, less than the M1 version. Unlike its big brother, however, which can have up to 16GB of RAM, the M2 mini can be configured with 24GB of unified memory.
The new M2 Pro device starts at $1,299 / £1,399 for the 10-core CPU, 16-core GPU, 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD model. That’s the same price in the US and just £50 more in the UK than a 13-inch MacBook Pro with a smaller CPU and half the RAM and storage.
Mac mini (M2, 2023) review: Design
The dimensions and overall look of the Mac mini remain unchanged with this new iteration, which I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed with. I know PCs are small. really small. However, I would love if the design of the 2023 model had further embodied its name. That said, connectivity has been a big focus, certainly for the M2 Pro, and I can see how making it smaller would have presented issues from that standpoint.
I have to admit, I was also hoping Apple would continue its more vibrant color schemes with the M2 mini and offer something flashier than the M1’s silver. I had visions of a beautiful matte black or glossy sky blue mini sitting on my desk, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Maybe I’m missing the point of the mini so as not to be seen or heard?
Mac mini (M2, 2023) review: Performance
I’m testing the Mac mini M2 Pro with a 12-core CPU, 19-core GPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD model. In terms of specs, this is one of the highest you can get, and to buy with this configuration would cost $1,799 / £1,899.
So what does that price get you, I hear you cry? I just got my hands on it, I have yet to test the Mac mini to its full capacity. With a CPU and a GPU, it is designed to be able to handle complex and time-consuming tasks with ease. And I can confirm that it does just that. At one point, he was editing 8K video footage in Premiere Pro, while simultaneously running Photoshop, Freeform, and an obscene number of browser tabs and not even flinching. No lag, lag, jitter, or noise to speak of.
Points of reference
Here’s how the Mac mini (M2 Pro, 2023) performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
Cinebench R23 CPU: Single Core: 1,646; multicore: 14,768
geekbench 5: single core: 1,958; multicore: 15,198
Given the power under the hood of this particular M2 Pro model, I didn’t expect it to, however the benchmark tests I ran came up with results that were even better than I imagined. For context, these numbers (right) show that the new Mac mini (M2 Pro, 2023) is much more powerful than the M2 Macbook Air and almost 10% faster than the MacBook Air with M2 Max technology. It’s a cheaper alternative to Mac Studio, although not as fast as the Mac Studio M1 Ultra chip (23,300 Geekbench points), but faster than the Mac Studio with the M1 Max chip (12,500).
But this model will be overkill for many, both from a price and performance standpoint. The entry-level M2 mini features an 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU, which Apple used as a demo model in a briefing last week. On it, the system ran multiple applications including streaming video games with ease. It looked massively impressive for a PC at such a low price, and we hope to put that particular model through its paces soon.
As it is, the entry-level M2 mini is less than half the price of a MacBook Pro, but has the exact same chip, RAM, and SSD. Obviously, the mini requires other accessories to use, plus it’s not portable in the same way as a laptop, but the mini now, incredibly, offers an even more affordable way for creatives to get their hands on top-level performance. professional.
Simply put, the Mac mini (M2, 2023) is very, very fast and fully viable as a professional creator’s primary workstation. As I experienced, it will run several very demanding applications, including Cinema 4D, After Effects, 3DS Max, Premiere Pro, etc., simultaneously with ease, making it fully viable as a professional creator’s primary workstation.
Mac mini (M2, 2023) review: Connectivity
The Mac mini follows the same design as previous models with its array of ports (Ethernet LAN, two Thunderbolt ports, HDMI, two USB, and an audio jack). The M2 Pro model, however, takes this a step further, adding two additional Thunderbolt ports and support for up to three displays. This is also the first Mac to offer support for an 8K display.
If you’re a digital content creator who requires a high-resolution multi-display setup, you can be sure the M2 Pro model will deliver.
Should you buy the Mac mini (M2 Pro, 2023)?
If you’re looking for a small PC that packs a big punch, our first verdict is a resounding yes. The base model offers an impressive amount of power and excellent value for money, and the same can be said for the M2 Pro version if you need that extra level of performance. Yes, it’s more expensive, but so far I’ve yet to find anything that your seemingly unassuming little machine can’t handle.
Which model you choose will depend on how much you need it for work and what your desk space and system setup looks like, but both the M2 and M2 Pro minis are really solid investments for digital content in my opinion. creators