Mac mini M2 vs. Mac mini M1: All New Updates

Apple entered 2023 with a bang, introducing an updated line of MacBook Pros and a new Mac mini, as well as new M2 Pro and M2 Max chips to power them.

The new 2023 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros with M2 Pro and M2 Max processors will be released on January 24, along with the new Mac mini with M2 and M2 Pro processors. While the new MacBook Pro models are certainly impressive, there’s plenty more to talk about with Apple’s 2023 update to the Mac mini line.

When Apple introduced its first M1 chip in the 2020 Mac mini with the M1, it was a small revolution in Mac computing. The M1 chip has redefined what we expect from a Mac in terms of performance and has enabled MacBooks to reach new heights of energy efficiency.

Since then, we’ve been impressed with the leaps Apple has made with its own Mac silicon, but we haven’t heard much about the next big thing to expect from Apple’s smallest PC. We now have an idea of ​​what to expect from the 2023 Mac mini, and it looks to be even cheaper and more capable than its predecessor, which was already a sweet spot in terms of price-for-performance.

To give you a clear idea of ​​what’s new, here’s a comparison of the new Mac mini M2 with the 2020 Mac mini M1.

Comparison of Mac mini M2 and Mac mini M1: Specifications

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M2 Mac mini (2023) M1 Mac mini (2020) Price $599 (starting) $699 (starting) 8-core, 8-core GPU) RAM 8-24 GB (M2), 16 -32GB (M2 Pro)8GB/16GB Storage 256GB-2TB (M2), 512GB-8TB (M2 Pro)256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB Ports 2x Thunderbolt/USB 4 (M2) or 4x (M2 Pro), HDMI, 2x USB-A, Ethernet (up to 10 GB), 3.5 mm Thunderbolt/USB 4 headphone jack (2), HDMI 2.0, USB-A (2), Ethernet, Headphone 3.5 mm jackConnectionWi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5Dimensions7.7 x 7.7 x 1.4 inches7.7 x 7.7 x 1.4 inchesWeight2.6 lbs (M2), 2.8 lbs (M2 Pro)2.6 lbs

Mac mini M2 vs Mac mini M1: Price

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

The Mac mini M2 is now available for order on the Apple website. (will open in a new tab)and will go on sale January 24th. The new Mac mini has a base price of $599 (and also £649 or AU$999 in the UK and Australia respectively), which is $100 less than the entry-level Mac mini M1 at launch.

However, unlike the 2020 Mac mini with the M1, the latest model can be upgraded with the more powerful M2 Pro chip. This is a more powerful version of the base M2 chip that offers more CPU and GPU cores (10-core CPU, 16-core GPU vs. 8-core CPU, 10-core GPU on the M2), although it costs more. An entry-level Mac mini with the M2 Pro has a starting price of $1,299, making the upgrade to the M2 Pro about $700.

Considering the 2020 Mac mini with the M1 didn’t offer an upgrade over the M1 chip and had a starting price of $699, the new 2023 Mac mini is clearly more value for money and more versatile than its predecessor.

Mac mini M2 vs. Mac mini M1: Design

For better or worse, Apple doesn’t seem to have changed much of the design of the Mac mini M2 from the Mac mini M2. Mac mini M1. If you like the design of your existing Mac mini, that’s no problem, and we certainly praised it in our review, noting that “Mac mini’s boxy shape and rounded corners are iconic, literally like a 3D-rendered icon” that sits on your table.

Apple Mac mini with M1 review

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Like its predecessors, the Mac mini M2 has a silver-painted aluminum chassis. It’s a classic and iconic look that fits neatly into all kinds of table setting thanks to its pint-sized proportions. It measures roughly 7.7 x 7.7 x 1.4 inches and weighs ~2.6 pounds, although it goes up to 2.8 pounds if you opt for the upgraded M2 Pro model.

Apple Mac mini with M1 review

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

While we’ll have to wait until we get it for testing to test ourselves, it’s likely that the new Mac mini M2 has a removable black plastic drive on the bottom that lifts it a bit off your desk, potentially improving airflow and cooling.

Mac mini M2 vs Mac mini M1: Ports

The Mac mini M1 has truly moved on from its predecessors with a redesigned set of ports, and now the Mac mini M2 has once again updated its offerings to be more in line with today’s needs.

The new Mac mini M2 has two Thunderbolt 4 ports (or four if you’re willing to splurge on the M2 Pro upgrade), as well as two USB-A ports, an HDMI port, an Ethernet port (configurable from 10GB to 100GB), and a 3.5-inch port. headphone jack mm.

This is a significant upgrade from the 2020 model, which offered two Thunderbolt 3 ports, two USB-A ports, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and an HDMI port.

However, it’s important to note that the HDMI port on the 2020 Mac mini M1 was HDMI 2.0, while the new Mac mini with the M2 appears to have an HDMI 2.1 port. The difference between the two is that the new Mac mini with M2 Pro can support more external displays at higher refresh rates than its predecessor. Specifically, Mac mini with M2 Pro can support up to three displays (two via Thunderbolt at up to 6K 60Hz, one via HDMI at up to 4K 60Hz) or one display at up to 8K 60Hz (or 4K 240Hz) only via HDMI.

Most people don’t need to do a lot of computing work in 4K or 6K (let alone 8K), but it’s nice to see the new Mac mini with M2 Pro is capable of it.

Mac mini M2 vs. Mac mini M1: performance

The most exciting updates to the Mac mini with the M2 are under the aluminum shroud, where the new M2 chip and M2 Pro chip help take Mac mini to new levels of performance.

The Mac mini with the M2 is likely a fairly linear improvement over the 2020 Mac mini M1, as Apple claims the M2 offers 25% more transistors than the M1 and delivers up to 18% more multi-core performance. The company also claims that the M2’s 16-core neural engine (which helps with machine learning tasks like image processing) is capable of processing up to 40% more calculations per second than the M1, which is good news for people who love to see numbers. get up.

The M2 chip also supports up to 24GB of memory, and Apple claims it can deliver twice the performance of the M1 chip at half the power consumption. This allows you to set up a Mac mini M2 with up to 24GB of RAM, which is an improvement over the maximum 16GB allowed by the M1 chip.

And, of course, you now have the option to equip your 2023 Mac mini with the M2 Pro chip, something that wasn’t available for the 2020 Mac mini. The M2 Pro supports up to 32GB of memory and offers higher memory bandwidth than the M2, meaning you can get a Mac mini with the M2 Pro, set it up with up to 32GB of RAM, and expect apps to load faster than Mac mini entry level. with M2.

The M2 Pro chip also offers more cores than we’ve ever seen in a Mac mini, as you can set it up with a 12-core CPU (8 performance cores, 4 efficiency cores) and a 19-core GPU. Apple is touting the model as a solid workhorse for photo/video editing and even gaming, claiming the Mac mini with M2 Pro offers up to 2.5x faster graphics performance in Affinity Photo and up to 2.8x faster gaming experience in Resident. Evil Village than Mac mini. Mac mini entry-level with M1. Not surprising given the three-year gap between the two chips, but still impressive.

The Mac mini M1 can run plenty of games at decent frame rates, and the new 2023 Mac mini M2 seems to offer significantly better performance. (Image credit: Apple)

The new Mac mini M2 also offers improved wireless experiences over its predecessor, as it now supports Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3. These are the latest widely used wireless standards at the time of publication, and an upgrade from the slower versions available in the 2020 Mac mini M1.

Mac mini M2 vs. Mac mini M1: Verdict

When the Mac mini M2 hits store shelves in late January 2023, it will be a clear improvement over the old model, making your buying decision fairly easy. If you need a pint-sized desktop Mac for work or play, the Mac mini M2 is the Mac to buy. It’s cheaper and faster than its predecessor, without major compromises.

But now that you have the option to upgrade the chip inside, the question of which model of Mac mini to buy is a little more difficult than it used to be. After testing M2-equipped MacBooks such as the MacBook Air 2022 in our benchmark lab, I have no doubt that the base M2 chip is powerful enough for everyday work, light photo/video editing, and basic gaming. Based on what Apple has shown us so far, I expect the M2 Pro to make the Mac mini 2023 a more powerful workhorse, allowing you to do more (and at higher resolutions) than any Mac mini.

Is it worth $700 to upgrade a Mac mini with an M2 Pro chip? Ultimately the answer is up to you, but we’ll be posting a review shortly – along with more benchmarks – that we hope will help you make that decision.

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