M2 Mac mini (2023): Everything you need to know
Apple’s mini desktop computer gets dragged into the M2 silicon age.
Apple's stunning new Mac mini is here. While it may look the same as its old M1 predecessor, the new Mac mini sports powerful M2 Apple silicon, and an even spicier M2 Pro option under the hood.
The new M2 Mac mini can now be decked out with a massive amount of memory and storage to turn it into a desktop powerhouse. Yet thanks to the option of a standard M2 chip, it's also got a $599 budget option that blows the competition out of the water. In iMore's review of the new M2 Mac mini, Editor in chief Gerald Lynch called it "a genuine option not just for those on a tight budget, but anyone looking for a powerful and capable macOS machine." Here's everything you need to know about the new M2 Mac mini.
- Apple M2 Pro and M2 Max chips: all the details on Apple's latest silicon
M2 Mac mini: Specs
|Unified Memory||Up to 24||Up to 32|
|Memory speed||100GB/s||Up to 200GB/s|
|SSD Storage||256GB 512GB 1TB 2TB||512GB 1TB 2TB 4TB 8TB|
|Audio||Built-in speaker, 3.5mm headphone jack||Built-in speaker, 3.5mm headphone jack|
|Thunderbolt 4 ports||2x||4x|
|Ethernet||Gigabit or up to 10Gb||Gigabit or up to 10Gb|
M2 Mac mini: Design
The new M2 Mac mini comes in the same housing as the previous M1 version. As such, it measures 7.75 inches by 7.75 inches, keeping the same low-profile. It's also very short at just 1.41 inches tall. The machine is a little over 2.5 pounds, although that shouldn't matter too much given this isn't a portable machine. Like the old M1 version, the M2 Mac mini has a very small footprint. It also comes with the same cooling as the M1 version. This boasted a reasonable advantage over the MacBook models sporting M1 thanks to improved thermals which is again replicated here.
M2 Mac mini: Connectivity
It’s only around the back where you’ll find the M2 Mac Mini’s ports and air intake cooling vent. The M2 model features two Thunderbolt 4 ports, an HDMI port and two USB-A ports, alongside a Gigabit Ethernet port (with optional 10GB support), a headphone jack capable of driving high-impedance headphones (much like what was seen with the Mac Studio), as well as a power socket and power button.
The M2 Mac Mini can support streams to two separate displays at once, while also packing in speedy Wi-Fi 6E (twice as fast as previous generations) and Bluetooth 5.3.
M2 Mac mini: Processor
It's the M2 chip inside that’s the real upgrade though. Building on the success of the M1 line-up, it’s not a transformational leap in power over the older model, but a worthy one. The Mac Mini with M2 features an 8-core CPU (four high performance, four efficiency) and a 10-core GPU allowing up to 24GB of unified memory and 100GB/s of bandwidth. By Apple’s reckoning, it’s up to 50 percent faster than the M1 chip in certain scenarios, and ‘5x faster’ than the best-selling Windows alternative, which it pits as a machine with Intel Core i5-CPU and Intel UHD Graphics 730. Compared to the M1, Apple says you can expect:
- Up to 2.4x faster ProRes transcode in Final Cut Pro.
- Up to 50 percent faster filter and function performance in Adobe Photoshop.
- Up to 35 percent faster gameplay in Resident Evil Village.
However, this year the new Mac mini also comes with a spicy M2 Pro option.
Alongside the new 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pros for 2023, this variant of the Mac Mini marks the debut of the M2 Pro chip. It’s a 12-core CPU (eight high performance, four high efficiency) alongside a 16-core GPU (or an optional killer 19-core GPU), with support for up to 32GB of memory and 200GB/s of memory bandwidth. That’s potentially twice as much as you’d get from the standard M2 chip, and an overall jump of 14x faster processing power than Apple’s last Intel Mac Mini, according to the company’s press release. That’s good for five streams of 8K ProRes 422 video at 30 fps, or up to 23 streams of 4K ProRes 422 video at 30 fps, playing simultaneously.
Compared with the M1 Mac Mini, the M2 Pro offers:
- Up to 2.5x faster graphics performance in Affinity Photo.
- Up to 4.2x faster ProRes transcode in Final Cut Pro.
- Up to 2.8x faster gameplay in Resident Evil Village.
That gaming stat is an interesting one – Apple claims that you’re getting 15x faster gaming performance than compared with its old Intel Mac Mini, leveraging the Metal API and Apple silicon’s efficient performance when working in harmony.
M2 Mac mini: Configuration options, RAM, SSD storage, more
As for configuration options, the M2 Mac Mini starts at $599 for 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage. Add another $200 dollars for 16GB of RAM, or $400 for 24GB of RAM.
For more storage, you’re looking at an additional $200 to upgrade to 512GB of storage, $400 for 1TB, and $800 for 2TB.
It’s another $100 to jump to 10 Gigabit Ethernet too, making the grand total for a fully-specced M2 Mac Mini $1,899.
We’d imagine however the sweet spot will be a 16GB / 1TB option, which will set you back $1,199. Keep in mind you may need to factor in the price of a mouse, keyboard, and monitor, too.
That entry model however represents a tidy price cut compared to the M1 Mac Mini, which started at $699. So it's a sizeable $100 saving jumping into this generation.
The M2 Pro Mac Mini starts at $1,299 – that’s for a 10-core CPU / 16-core GPU / 16GB memory / 512GB SSD storage / Gigabit Ethernet configuration. If you want to upgrade to the 19-core GPU, factor in an additional $300. If you want 32GB of RAM that’ll be another $400. Storage jumps will cost $200 for 1TB, $600 for 2TB, $1,200 for 4TB, and a crazy $2,400 for 8TB. Add in 10 Gigabit Ethernet as an option and that’s another $100 on top too. So, a fully spec’d M2 Pro Mac Mini would set you back a giant $4,499.
M2 Mac mini: Release date and price
Following a pre-order period (of course), the new Mac mini is officially on sale and can be bought in-store as of its release date, January 24.
Prices start at $599 for the M2, and $1,299 for the M2 Pro.
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Gerald Lynch is the Editor-in-Chief of iMore, keeping careful watch over the site's editorial output and commercial campaigns, ensuring iMore delivers the in-depth, accurate and timely Apple content its readership deservedly expects. You'll never see him without his iPad Pro, and he loves gaming sessions with his buddies via Apple Arcade on his iPhone 14 Pro, but don't expect him to play with you at home unless your Apple TV is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system.
Living in London in the UK, Gerald was previously Editor of Gizmodo UK, and Executive Editor of TechRadar, and has covered international trade shows including Apple's WWDC, MWC, CES and IFA. If it has an acronym and an app, he's probably been there, on the front lines reporting on the latest tech innovations. Gerald is also a contributing tech pundit for BBC Radio and has written for various other publications, including T3 magazine, GamesRadar, Space.com, Real Homes, MacFormat, music bible DIY, Tech Digest, TopTenReviews, Mirror.co.uk, Brandish, Kotaku, Shiny Shiny and Lifehacker. Gerald is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press, and also holds a Guinness world record on Tetris. For real.
- Stephen WarwickNews Editor