A full-spec M2 Mac Mini costs $4,499 – but Apple already has a better desktop option for most people

Apple Mac mini m2
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple this week unveiled its brand new M2-powered Macs for 2023. First up, there's a new M2 MacBook Pro featuring the M2 Pro and M2 Max chips. But perhaps a more exciting update comes in the form of the new Mac mini, which also gets the M2 chip and a fantastic new low price point of $599. 

The M2 Mac mini comes in two configurations, M2 and M2 Pro. The former features an 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU, as well as up to 24GB of unified memory. 

The M2 Pro meanwhile comes with up to a 12-core CPU, a 19-core GPU, and up to 32GB of memory. It's this latter model where things start to get interesting, and confusing when it comes to Apple's Mac lineup. 

That's because Apple already offers a highly-capable (and pricey) desktop in the form of the Mac Studio. With a spicy new M2 Pro processor, up to 8TB of SSD storage, and a 10 Gigabit Ethernet option, the Mac mini fully spec'd out cost you an eye-watering $4,499. Yet for less money, you could get a Mac Studio with a beefier GPU and considerably more interface options, including an SDXC card and more Thunderbolt ports, for just $4,399.

Mac Studio competition

Mac Studio

(Image credit: Apple)

As This is Tech Today's Brandon Lee notes (opens in new tab), the Mac mini at $2,899 gets you an M2 Pro, 32GB of RAM, and 4TB of storage. Yet you can get the M1 Max version of the Mac Studio for just $3,199, which is more, but not much more. 

While the M2 Pro might be more advanced in terms of its core internals, the M1 Max probably takes it in terms of raw processing power, and as mentioned the Mac Studio's chassis gets you more connectivity. 

All of this is to say that if you're looking at the Mac mini, you should definitely consider your use case and how much power and performance you need. If you're a true power user looking to edit video, photos, and more, then the Mac Studio might make more sense by the time you've upgraded an M2 Mac mini to your desired spec. 

If you feel like the Mac Studio is the way to go, it's probably worth waiting a bit in case Apple decides to upgrade the Mac Studio to the M2, and whether it brings a new M2 Ultra chip with even more performance. 

Make no mistake, the new Mac mini is a tremendous machine, especially at its base-model spec and price of just $599 ($499 if you're a student), arguably one of the best Macs now on the market. However, as you start to add more performance, the power-to-cost ratio starts to make less and less sense, especially in the shadow cast by its big brother, the Mac Studio. 

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9