Apple Mac Mini with M2 Pro

Mac mini (M2 Pro, 2023) review: Just call it a Mac mini Pro | Engadget

Since the debut of the Mac mini in 2005, it’s been Apple’s affordable small form factor. Need something cheap to pair with an older monitor? Just get the Mac mini! Want to start a low-power media server or computer right next to your TV? Mini, baby. The line has had its share of ups and downs – the 2014 refresh was criticized for replacing a quad-core model with a dual-core chip, the 2018 update had notoriously weak graphics – but it made a full recovery with the M1 powered model in 2021.

Gallery: Apple Mac Mini (M2 Pro, 2023) | 8 Pictures

This year, however, the Mac mini is different. The $599 model remains an entry-level champion, especially since it costs $100 less than the M1 version (perhaps we’ll see the return of the $499 option eventually). But you can also pay more than double – $1,299! – for a Mini with a slightly stripped-down M2 Pro chip and 16GB of RAM. It might have sounded crazy a few years ago, but now it fits perfectly into Apple’s desktop ecosystem. Not all creatives need the power of a $1,999 Mac Studio with an M1 Max, but those same people may feel limited by the base M2 chip. Finally, there’s a mighty Mini to serve them up. (And no, the now-dead $1,099 Intel model never really served that purpose.)


  • Excellent performance
  • Elegant design
  • Tons of usable ports
  • Almost silent under load

The inconvenients

  • The upgraded M2 Pro model is too expensive
  • Updates are too expensive
  • No front-facing ports

Just like with Apple’s new MacBook Pros, the Mac mini looks no different than before. It’s still a chunky little aluminum box with a ton of ports on the back and a slightly raised black base underneath to allow airflow. The $599 model features an M2 chip with eight CPU cores, 10 graphics cores, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage – that’s about as basic as you can get with PC hardware these days. The $1,299 M2 Pro Mini offers 10 CPU cores, 16 GPU cores, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. For an additional $300, you can also upgrade to the full-powered M2 Pro chip with a CPU. with 12 cores and a 19-core GPU (but that’s probably not a good idea, as I’ll talk about later).

On the back, the base Mac mini offers two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C connections, HDMI 2.0 (with 4K 240Hz and 8K 60Hz output), two USB-A ports, a headphone jack, and gigabit Ethernet (expandable to 10 gigabit) . The M2 Pro model adds two additional USB-C ports, making it even more useful for creatives with a ton of accessories.

Apple Mac Mini with M2 Pro rear ports

Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

What’s most striking about the Mac mini is its combination of simplicity and functionality. Unlike the larger, more authoritative Mac Studio, the Mini is meant to disappear into your desk, a burst of power that doesn’t need to be seen. This could be a bad thing if you need to access its rear ports frequently. The Studio, by comparison, offers two USB-C ports and an SD card slot on the front. You’ll need a separate adapter to use SD cards with the Mini – a cheap solution, but also leads to more desk clutter.

Our review model, which featured the more expensive 12-core M2 Pro chip, performed as well as expected. It’s slower than the 14-inch MacBook Pro’s M2 Max in GeekBench’s CPU benchmark, but it also beats the M1 Max in Mac Studio. The M1 Ultra-powered Studio is much faster, unsurprisingly, since it’s essentially two M1 Max chips together. However, what is most important for some creations is its potential rendering performance. The Mac Mini scored 2,000 points higher than the M1 Max Studio in the Cinebench R23 benchmark, and it tied with the 14-inch MacBook Pro with M2 Max.


Geekbench 5 processor

Geekbench 5 Calculation

Cinebench R23

3DMark Wildlife Extreme

Apple Mac Mini (Apple M2 Pro, 2022)





Apple 14-inch MacBook Pro (Apple M2 Max, 2023)





Apple MacBook Pro 13 inch, (Apple M2, 2022)





Apple Mac Studio (Apple M1 Max)





Apple Mac Studio (Apple M1 Ultra)





In a more hands-on test, the Mac Mini transcoded a one-minute 4K clip to 1080p in 37 seconds with pure CPU power using Handbrake – the same job took 32 seconds with the GPU. Both figures narrowly surpassed the M1 Max Studio, which took 43 seconds with CPU encoding and 34 seconds with GPU.

Benchmarks aside, the Mac Mini was an absolute dream for my typical workflow (dealing with dozens of browser tabs, batch image processing, and pretty much every chat application available). But I would expect a similar result from the $599 model, as long as I scaled back demanding browsers to survive on 8GB of RAM. The computer remains a solid entry for mainstream users, and it’s potentially a great home theater PC if you wanted something more customizable than an Apple TV.

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