Mac mini

Now with Apple's M2 and M2 Pro chips for faster performance.

By MacRumors Staff
Mac mini

Should You Buy the Mac mini?

The Mac mini features the same M2 and M2 Pro chips as devices like the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, and serves as Apple's low-cost standalone desktop computer. Announced in January 2023, the Mac mini is among the newest Macs in Apple's lineup. Apple usually refreshes the Mac mini every few years and there are no rumors of a new model arriving anytime soon. As such, prospective buyers should not wait for a new model to be released.

The M2 and M2 Pro Mac mini

Apple in January 2023 introduced two new Mac mini models to replace the previous-generation models with M1 and Intel chips. The new Mac mini models use M2 and M2 Pro chips, with Apple eliminating Intel processors from the Mac mini lineup.

This is the first notable update Apple has made to the Mac mini since the 2020 launch of the M1 model, but there have been no major external design changes to the machine. Everything new is internal, and primarily the result of the M2 chip update.

The M2 and M2 Pro chips in the Mac mini integrate the GPU, CPU, RAM, and other components. The M2 chip in the Mac mini has an 8-core CPU with four high-efficiency cores and four high-performance cores along with an integrated GPU that has 10 cores.

The M2 Pro chip has up to a 12-core CPU with four high-performance cores and eight high-efficiency cores, plus up to a 19-core GPU. Compared to the M1, the M2 is up to 1.4x faster, and it features 24GB of unified memory and 100GB/s memory bandwidth.

The M2 Pro offers up to 32GB of unified memory and 200GB/s memory bandwidth, and both chips are equipped with a next-generation 16-core Neural Engine that's 40 percent faster than the Neural Engine in the M1.

There are no notable design changes to the Mac mini, and it continues to feature a flat, square-shaped 1.41-inch thick, 7.75-inch wide aluminum unibody enclosure. The new Mac mini is the same size and weight as the prior version, but it is just a tiny bit taller at 1.41 inches vs. 1.40 inches. The M2 Mac mini models are available only in silver, with Apple no longer offering a space gray model.

The thermal design of the M2 Mac mini offers sustained performance while the machine remains cool and quiet. It is configurable with up to an 8TB SSD, but default models have either a 256GB SSD or a 512GB SSD.

The M2 Mac mini supports two displays, one with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz and one at up to 5K resolution with 60Hz. The M2 Pro Mac mini supports three displays, two with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz and one with up to 4K resolution at 60Hz. Alternatively, it supports two displays at 6K 60Hz/4K 144Hz, one 8K resolution display at up to 60Hz, or one 4K display at up to 240Hz.

The M2 Mac mini features two Thunderbolt 4 ports with transfer speeds up to 40Gb/s, while the M2 Pro Mac mini offers four Thunderbolt 4 ports. Both models include an HDMI 2.1 port, two USB-A ports, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and an Ethernet port, plus a spot for a power cord to plug in.

Other features include Wi-Fi 6E support for use with routers that support the 6GHz network, and Bluetooth 5.3.

Pricing on the M2 Mac mini starts at $599 for 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD, while a model with a 512GB SSD is available for $799. The higher-end M2 Pro version with 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD is priced at $1,299, and there are build-to-order upgrade options available.

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How to Buy

The M2 Mac mini models can be ordered from the online Apple Store, with prices starting at $599. The Mac mini launched on January 24 in over two dozen countries, with available in several other countries in Asia-Pacific region seeing a February 3 launch.

Reviews

Though the new Mac mini models do not feature notable design updates, reviewers were largely happy with the machines, with the M2 Pro model referred to as a "Mac Studio Junior."

Six Colors said that even the higher-end M2 Pro was super quiet, and inaudible even when under a high load. The Verge said that the M2 and M2 Pro chip options make the Mac mini a solid compromise between an iMac and the Mac Studio.

Ars Technica was unhappy that there were no ports on the front of the machine, and noted that pricing at the high end can compare to the Mac Studio. TechCrunch, though, said the performance was able to hold up to everything that was thrown at it in terms of a daily workload of media encoding and photo editing.

For more reviews, we have a dedicated Mac mini review roundup.

Design

With the 2023 M2 update, Apple did not change the design of the Mac mini, though it is just slightly thicker and lighter. The thickness change will not be noticeable. The Mac mini only comes in silver, with the space gray color discontinued.

m1 mac mini

The Mac mini has always been Apple's smallest, most portable desktop machine and that hasn't changed. The Mac mini continues to feature a small, square-shaped enclosure that measures in at 7.75 inches (19.70 cm) on each side and 1.41 inches (3.58 cm) thick.

mac mini desktop setup

Apple's Mac mini weighs in at 2.6 pounds (1.18kg), so it's small enough to take from place to place if desired, plugging into available peripherals and displays. The Mac mini, unlike Apple's other Macs, does not ship with a display, keyboard, or mouse, so it is ideal for those who want to supply their own accessories.

One side of the Mac mini features a host of ports, while the other features an LED that lets you know when it's on. There's an Apple logo at the top of the device, and other than the Apple logo and port labels, there are no other markings on the visible portion of the machine.

Ports

Apple has outfitted the Mac mini with multiple ports, allowing it to be used with several peripherals at once. The M2 Mac mini incudes two Thunderbolt 4/USB-C 4 ports at the back of the device, which support USB-C accessories and displays. The M2 Pro Mac mini has the same design, but it includes four Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports.

m2 pro mac mini

Both Mac mini models include an HDMI 2.1 port, a Gigabit Ethernet port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, two USB-A ports, and a spot for the power cord to plug in.

m2 mac mini

Thunderbolt 4 offers data transfer speeds of up to 40Gb/s. The M2 Mac mini supports one display at up to 6K resolution at 60Hz and one display up to 5K resolution at 60Hz.

The M2 Pro Mac mini supports up to two external displays 6K resolution at 60Hz and one display at 4K resolution at 60Hz. Alternatively, it supports one display with 6K resolution at 60Hz and one display with 4K resolution at 144Hz, or one display with up to 8K resolution at 60Hz or 4K resolution at 240Hz.

M2 and M2 Pro Apple Silicon Chips

The Mac mini uses M2 and M2 Pro chips, successors to the M1 chip that was used in the first Apple silicon version of the machine. The M2 and M2 Pro are built using 5-nanometer technology, much like the M1 chips, but there are still speed and efficiency improvements.

m2 m2 pro chips

The M2 features an 8-core GPU and a 10-core GPU, up from the 8-core GPU in the prior-generation version. Compared to the M1, the M2 has an 18 percent faster CPU, a 35 percent more powerful GPU, and a 40 percent faster Neural Engine.

Apple says that compared to the M1, the M2 is up to 2.4x faster transcoding ProRes in Final Cut Pro, and offers up to 50 percent faster performance in Adobe Photoshop. It also has up to 35 percent faster gameplay with Resident Evil Village.

The M2 Pro features up to a 12-core CPU and 19-core GPU, with the CPU featuring eight high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores.

mac mini with display

Compared to the M1, the M2 Pro Mac mini offers up to 2.5x faster performance in Affinity Photo, up to 4.2x faster ProRes transcoding in Final Cut Pro, and up to 2.8x faster gameplay in Resident Evil Village.

Geekbench scores for the M2 Pro in the Mac mini suggest that the chip introduces notable multi-core performance improvements compared to the M1 in the prior-generation model, which is not a surprise given the increase in CPU cores.

The M2 Pro chip earned a single-core score of 1,952 and a multi-core score of 15,013. The M1 had a single-core score of 1,715 and a multi-core score of 7,442.

Media Engine

Apple added a media engine to the two Apple silicon chips to speed up video processing while preserving battery life. The M2 Pro offers dedicated acceleration for the ProRes video codec, along with video encode/decode engines and hardware accelerated support for H.264, HEVC, ProRes, and ProRes Raw.

Memory and Storage

The M2 Mac mini supports up to 24GB unified memory and up to 2TB of SSD storage. The base model ships with 8GB memory and 256GB storage, offering 100Gb/s memory bandwidth.

The M2 Pro Mac mini supports up to 32GB unified memory and up to 8TB of SD storage. It ships with 16GB memory and a 512GB SSD, plus if offers 200Gb/s memory bandwidth.

Other Features

SSD

The Mac mini supports up to 2TB of solid state storage. The 256GB SSD in the Mac mini is slower than the SSD in the prior-generation model because Apple is using a single 256GB NAND chip rather than two 128GB NAND chips, which results in slower benchmark speeds.

Customers looking for the fastest SSD speeds should opt for at least 512GB of storage.

Connectivity

The M2 Mac mini supports 802.11ax WiFi, or Wi-Fi 6E, which is able to connect to routers and modems that use the 6GHz band for improved performance and lower latency. It also includes Bluetooth 5.3.

Bluetooth 5.3 offers less interference, lower power consumption, improved encryption, a better experience for those who use Bluetooth for connecting things like hearing aids, and improved throughput.

Available Models

Base Models

There are three stock Mac mini configurations available from Apple. Two feature the M2 chip, while the most expensive has an M2 Pro chip.

  • $599 - M2 chip with 8-core CPU, 10-core GPU, 8GB memory, 256GB SSD.

  • $799 - M2 chip with 8-core CPU, 10-core GPU, 8GB memory, 512GB SSD.

  • $1,299 - M2 Pro with 10-core CPU, 16-core GPU, 16GB memory, 512GB SSD.

Build-to-Order Options

Entry-level Mac mini upgrade options:

  • 16GB memory - +$200
  • 24GB memory - +$400
  • 512GB SSD - +$200
  • 1TB SSD - +$400
  • 2TB SSD - +$800
  • 10 Gigabit Ethernet - +$100

Middle-tier Mac mini upgrade options:

  • 16GB memory - +$200
  • 24GB memory - +$400
  • 1TB SSD - +$200
  • 2TB SSD - +$600
  • 10 Gigabit Ethernet - +$100

Higher-end Mac mini upgrade options

  • M2 Pro Chip with 12-core CPU and 19-core GPU - +$300
  • 32GB RAM - +$400
  • 1TB SSD - +$200
  • 2TB SSD - +$600
  • 4TB SSD - +$1,200
  • 8TB SSD - +$2,400
  • 10 Gigabit Ethernet - +$100
Best Prices
amazon
b&h photo
adorama
best buy
apple store
Mac mini (Early 2020): 3.0 GHz 6-Core, 512 GB
N/A
$1099.00
Mac mini (Early 2023): M2 Chip, 256 GB
$599.00
Mac mini (Early 2023): M2 Chip, 512 GB
$799.00
Mac mini (Early 2023): M2 Pro Chip, 512 GB
$1299.00
Mac mini (Late 2020): M1 Chip, 256 GB
$699.00
Mac mini (Late 2020): M1 Chip, 512 GB
$899.00

Mac mini Timeline