M2 Pro Mac Mini Review: Game Changer!

Last Updated on January 24, 2023 by Detective Dev

(logo whirring) – Hey, what's up? MKBHD here. So this little machine,
this one right here, That I can hold in my hands, Has more power than a
base Mac Pro right now, More CPU power anyway. Now, I hope that that's
not true for much longer, Because the Mac Pro is overdue For its Apple Silicon upgrade. But the fact that it's
true at all right now Is absolutely insane. This little machine is
not only super powerful, And super efficient, and super small, But it's also a really good price. So I said in my last video
about the MacBook Pros That the Mac mini is actually
the more interesting machine. And I mean it, it really is. It's just gotten a refresh From the M1 chip that it had before To now having an M2, and an M2 Pro option, Both of which are kind of game
changers in their own ways. So first, the M2 version, The base M2 Mac mini is a game changer Because it's all the benefits Of the new Apple Silicon stuff, The second-generation,
five-nanometer process, The blazing fast shared memory, All the optimizations that come with it, For a starting price of $599, US. So I mean, it's a pretty simple computer, Not even a small tower, Just an absolutely tiny computer in there. It's basically the laptop,

But without the screen and the keyboard, Only one color, silver, And then a decent selection
of ports around the back, Along with a small exhaust
vent for active cooling, And a headphone jack. And so this thing packs A surprisingly enormous
power for its size. We've seen this Apple
Silicon transition play out Over the past two years. And when the Mac mini
moved to Apple Silicon From the Intel chips, It took an absolutely hilarious
leap up in performance. Some of the numbers on
paper are just ridiculous. You have to forgive me For using Apple's stupid unlabeled charts, But like, just to give you an idea, This completely changed
the nature of the product. So this M1 Mac mini is
already dramatically better Than the Intel one for 99% of people. And now the M2 comes
along with more cores, A more powerful CPU and
GPU, more max memory, And a higher overall performance ceiling, And the price goes down from $699 to $599. Apple almost never lowers the price Of the entry level of anything, But that's exactly what's happened here. So we just got a computer
that's more powerful, And more capable, and more
efficient for less money. And so then we also have
the M2 Pro Mac mini. This is the one that I've
been testing and using. And so before, we just had The base Apple Silicon M1
Mac mini, now that's the M2, But we've also now got this Pro chip, Which raises the ceiling
for Mac mini performance,

Still on the same tiny body. Well, actually, I can't say
the exact same tiny body, Because the M2 Pro version Also does gain two more Thunderbolt ports. So now there's four Thunderbolt
four ports on the back Along with everything else still here. And that means you can now
do three external displays Instead of two, And you can still option
up to 10 gigabit ethernet If you're blessed with that
type of internet connection, Or if you're at an institution
that will take advantage Of the networking capability. And yes, that is HDMI 2.1. But the big deal here with
this new chip is the M2 Pro Is so much more performant Thanks to the updated
architecture, and the extra cores, That it's now benchmarking
actually over the M1 Pro And the M1 Max in the CPU department That was in the highest
end MacBook Pros before. I had to double take
when I first read that, Because M1 Max has been so incredible, But yet here we are, Even the incremental
improvements here are notable. And on top of that, The thermal advantage
potentially of a Mac mini With active cooling in a taller
chassis over a MacBook Pro Can also mean in the long term, you know, Sustained CPU performance over time. You may see even better results there. So this thing's performance is rock-solid. And then, of course, as you
move up in chips from base To Pro to Max, that's actually
mostly a GPU improvement. And so M2 Pro does great here, too, But as you can see, the results
fall sort of more in line.

It's improvement, of
course, over the last one, But the Max chips are still the way to go If your applications Specifically take advantage of GPU power. But then everyday performance is just, It's gonna be the same,
which is to say, great. But the sustained multi-core
performance ceiling Is just way higher. You know, especially for
things like video editing, Or app development, Things that have basically
longer compiled times Or render times That might be above what
you wanna do on the base M2, That's awesome on the M2 Pro. This model starts at $1299. Not cheap, of course, But when you consider
the M2 Pro MacBook Pro With the exact same system on a chip Starts at $1999 right now, pretty good. That's actually, that's the real reason I'm calling these Mac
minis a game changer, Or at least for being so good,
is performance per dollar. You don't usually expect
that out of a Mac, But if I were to do like, one
of those dumb Apple charts Of like, here's the laptops
performance per dollar, And then here's the Mac mini's, Which is the same performance, But for less money, it's
better, the line's higher. You know, for so long Apple's
prioritized these laptops, Which makes perfect sense, by the way. They've been great,
lots of people buy them. But some people get the laptop, And then just keep it
in one room all the time Because desktop options
aren't as appealing.

And if we're being
honest, the iMac is cool, But it's not for everyone. Like even right now, It kind of feels like Apple
low-key forgot about the iMac. It's just been sitting With the unupgraded M1 chip
for a little while now, Even when M2 is out, but
then they dropped Mac Studio. And Mac Studio is excellent In the highest end configurations, And I can't wait for the M2 Ultra here. But yeah, the Mac mini now slots in Really nicely underneath all of that. And, of course, with the
modularity of a desktop That doesn't come with a monitor built in, Now you pick whatever display you want With the $700 you save. It's funny, in recent reviews, I've been trying to give
sustainability notes Where it's relevant. And so there are some neat
ones with this machine Like recycled aluminum, the
the packaging on the outside, The recycled plastics on
the inside of the Mac, All that's cool, but all of
that sort of is outweighed By the ability to continue
using your same display, And swap out displays however
you want, unlike the iMac. Call me crazy, but I think
there's a lot of people Who probably don't wanna be stuck With a non-upgradable display and webcam And white bezels forever. Plus, if you already
have a display you like, Yeah, you can just continue using that. I haven't done a video on the Mac mini Since the "Fastest Mac
Mini in the World" project That I did back in college.

Shout out to those of you
who subscribed back then. But I basically, I took the highest-end
available Mac mini in 2012, And maxed it out by
upgrading to the fastest RAM, The fastest SSD it would support, In an effort to make it like,
the most capable tiny machine For a college dorm room
where space is at a premium. Because, clearly, my
priorities at the time Were video editing over homework. Now, this M2 Pro Mac mini Has all the power that I
would've killed for back then As a fledgling creator
with not a lot of space, And it costs less. It costs less. I had to look back. I had spent in total with
the Mac and all the upgrades, $1,759 for the fastest
Mac mini in the world. This one blows it out the
water as far as performance And capability. Of course, the difference here Is no part of this
tightly-integrated machine Is upgradable at all. So now you gotta think about
spending a little bit more To account for having the
machine for a long time And not upgrading things. Maybe a little more RAM,
maybe a little more storage. Depends on what you're doing with it. But yeah, this would have
blown out the water… This can handle basically any footage That I could possibly throw at
it that I could shoot myself. Also, by the way, If you actually do happen to
be looking at one of these And you are in college
like I was back then, Don't forget about the student discount.

That's typically a hundred bucks off. And I think with these
machines it's a hundred bucks. So now that brings this down a hundred. That also brings the base M2
down to $499, which is great. So in conclusion, if you're
trying to think of… If you're trying to pick
one Mac to buy right now, Think of it this way. If you already have an Apple Silicon Mac, Like an M1 generation Mac, you're good. You don't have to buy
a new Mac every year. Those machines were a great
update over the Intel ones. You're set. Now, if you have an older machine, And you're actually looking to upgrade, I would actually default to the Mac mini, And just start with the
base M2 $599 Mac mini. And I would not buy the iMac right now, Because if you look at
the specs specifically, It's still M1, And it's $1299 for a
non-removable 24-inch display. I would just get the Mac mini instead, And get whatever $600 screen you want. You can swap that out however. So I wouldn't recommend iMac right now. And then if you know That you specifically wanna
be computing on the go, That's when you move over, okay, okay, The laptops are really good. You can get an M2-generation MacBook Pro, And those are excellent. I just reviewed them. If you wanna check it out, Link's below the like
button, that video's up, And that's how I think about the lineup.

But honestly, If you can find an M1-generation
MacBook Pro right now On a discount, that's really good, too. And then within each lineup,
of course, I keep saying this, But the big difference
between M2, M2 Pro, M2 Max, And eventually M2 Ultra when
when it comes out, is GPU. So it shouldn't be a shock That they're all sort of
similar in CPU performance. But if the applications that you use, And you know your workflow will
take advantage of GPU power, Then that's when you bump that up. Okay, yeah, that's pretty much it. Maybe a little bit shocking, but yeah, Price for performance, Mac
mini, kind of a huge winner. Mac mini might make me
miss removable memory, But it makes most massive
media machines feel pretty mid. Thanks for watching. Catch you guys the next one. Peace. (soft music)

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