The Mac Mini remains an affordable alternative for users who want Mac’s performance but with a price tag that rivals budget-friendly PCs. As 2023 began, Apple announced its much-awaited revamp of this compact unit that now comes with the latest Apple silicon chips – the M2 and the M2 Pro.
For potential buyers, the question remains whether the upgraded SoC (System on a Chip) is worth the purchase or does buying your own peripherals takes away the reduced price’s advantage.
Also, is the M2’s performance good enough to handle heavy tasks like video editing? Or will you need the M2 Pro’s added GPU power?
Here are the answers to all those questions and the lowdown on which Mini Mac will serve you better as a user.
The M2 and M2 Pro will take most productivity tasks in their stride and won’t stagger for a second.
The M2 alone will easily handle multiple browser tabs, several apps in the background, and a primary media window. And this use-case won’t even rattle the performance capabilities the M2 can deliver, with 8GB of Ram and the basic 256GB SSD.
However, if you’re transferring heavy files across the USB port, the 8GB 256SSD base model may take longer. That’s when users may consider upgrading to a more capable 512SSD and 16GB RAM.
Also, switching between programs and apps remains super smooth and lightning-fast. So, simultaneously running 15-20 apps will still be a snappy experience for the average user.
The M2 Pro will get all these tasks done without batting an eyelid. Everyday tasks of this nature will utilize less than the 40 billion transistors that the M2 Pro packs in its gut. And the M2’s respectable 20 billion transistors remain more than capable of dispatching these tasks at will and with ease!
With programs like Excel, you can have tens of thousands of data lines, and the M2 will remain incredibly responsive and seamless. Opening and editing PPT files over 100MB in size is a walk in the park too.
The M2 will show signs of slowing down if you’re editing Excel files with more than 200,000 lines of data.
Graphics and GPU
Both the M2 chips score perform way better than their M1 predecessor when it comes to the average clock speeds of your CPU. And the newer chips are miles ahead of the dated Intel chips that came with older Mac Minis.
For instance, the Mac Mini with M2 will run Photoshop filters 3.5x faster compared to its Intel variant. And with programs like Final Cut Pro, the M2 will deliver almost 10x faster rendering when working on video files.
On the other hand, the M2 Pro will deliver blazing speeds that make video rendering 18x faster and Photoshop performance 4.7x quicker. However, if you simply want to edit a 10-minute 60fps footage with a few layers of video/audio for YouTube, the M2 should do the trick just as well. But there’s no doubt the M2 Pro will crank up high-quality visuals without lagging better than the M2.
If you’re working with more graphics-intensive files like 8K footages that require many layers, the M2 may stagger on slightly, while the M2 Pro will remain smooth and sublime.
These numbers show that the M2 is remarkable, but the M2 Pro is clearly superior for these graphics-intensive tasks.
Where The M2 Chip Shines
The Mini Mac with M2 leaves most of its competitors in the dust when it comes to everyday tasks and mainstream productivity. We’re talking about daily use cases like surfing the web, streaming video, and listening to a podcast while having a game minimized and a dozen other apps on the taskbar.
That’s only the minimum list of tasks it’ll handle seamlessly. You can pile on a handful of additional programs and commands without noticing any lag or slowdown from the M2.
And with the lowered price tag, the Mini Mac M2 may throw a few Windows models out the window. We’ve already seen how it can take Intel processors to the cleaners. And it’ll beat any other chips in terms of mid-level image editing and video manipulation.
The M2 remains perfect for the student, the businessman, the casual user, and even the amateur content creator.
Why throw thousands of dollars on expensive MacBooks when you can grab the same basic productivity for a fraction of the price?
Who Should Use The M2 Pro
If the M2 sounds like it can handle almost any basic computing task, why splurge on the M2 Pro?
The answer is enhanced GPU.
The added 12 GPU cores on the M2 Pro take it well beyond the M2’s capabilities. If you’re a content creator who churns out quality visual content, the M2 Pro may serve you better.
This next-generation chip will handle 8K footage with tasks like stabilization and 3D tracking without any signs of slowing down. It will also run your graphics-intensive games without discernible lag or heating up excessively. But let’s be honest. Gaming isn’t the reason why you’re reading about a Mini Mac.
Apple also claims that the enhanced Neural Engine in the M2 Pro makes it up to 40% faster than the M2. This difference may not be noticeable in everyday tasks. But the distinction will be starkly in favor of the M2 Pro when you’re editing heavy files on programs like Final Cut Pro.
The M2 Pro’s performance will also impress coders who work on programs like Xcode. Tests reveal that you’ll experience 3.2x faster build-on projects than older Mac Minis. That’s a massive boost for professionals who charge by the hour and seek to get things done with minimum time wasted.
A head-to-head take of the M2 and the M2 Pro reveals equally impressive performance for general computing tasks. However, the M2 Pro exhibits obvious superiority when your programs demand more GPU resources.
The verdict remains as expected. The M2 manages everyday tasks efficiently and will offer you resources to spare. However, professional content creators may find the M2 Pro more adept at handling heavy visuals and intensive loads.
Either way, the new Mac Mini stands to change the landscape of budget-friendly computers that offer performance without compromising on price.
Let us know which next-gen chip you prefer in the comments!