The new Mac mini with M2 Pro chip fills a gap between the Mac Mini with M1 and the Mac Studio with M1 Max in desktop Macs with Apple Silicon. But the newcomer is so powerful that it doesn’t even have to shy away from a comparison with Apple’s current Mac Pro. The last Intel Mac was released in 2019 and Apple’s announced move to a new Mac Pro with Apple Silicon is long overdue. Nevertheless, the professional machine can still be considered powerful even in 2023. And with a starting price of 6499 euros, it costs a multiple of the Mac mini, which is available from 1549 euros.
The base Mac Pro comes with an 8-core Intel Xeon W processor. With the cores alone, the Mac mini with M2 Pro can already score, since it is delivered with at least 10 cores. In terms of memory, the Mac Pro packs a minimum of 32GB of DDR4 RAM, while the Mac mini is sold with 16GB of shared memory. When it comes to memory bandwidth, the M2 Pro at 200 GB/s is ahead of DDR4 ECC memory, which reaches up to 140 GB/s. However, the shared memory of the M2 Pro is also attributable to the GPU, while the Mac Pro has its own Radeon Pro W5500X graphics card with 8 GB of GDDR6 graphics memory. When it comes to storage space, both computers start with a 512 GB SSD.
When it comes to upgrading, the Mac Pro is ahead
When it comes to upgradeability, the Mac Pro quickly outperforms the Mac mini – albeit at a massive premium. A 28-core processor can optionally be installed for the CPU (+ 8,050 euros). Up to 1.5 TB of RAM are possible (+ 28,750 euros). Two Radeon Pro graphics cards, each with 64 GB of graphics memory, can also be ordered for a surcharge (+ 10,810 euros). With the SSD, on the other hand, as with the Mac mini, the limit is 8 TB (+ 2,760 euros). For better video performance, an Apple Afterburner card can be installed for 2,300 euros – additional performance that Apple’s media engine already has on board in the M2 Pro. A maximum upgraded Mac Pro comes to 59,169 euros. If you want to have wheels under the housing, you can add another 500 euros.
The new Mac mini, on the other hand, can be expanded with a 12-core CPU and a 19-core GPU for an additional charge of 345 euros. There is 32 GB of shared RAM for 460 euros more and the 8 TB SSD for 2,760 euros. There are several intermediate stages in between. A fully equipped Mac mini M2 Pro with 10 Gigabit Ethernet is available for 5,229 euros.
M2 Pro outshines Intel Macs
In the Geekbench benchmarks, the M2 Pro with 12 cores in the single-core comparison with 1,950 points leaves all the Intel processors of the Mac Pro – even the expensive 28-core one – far behind. The Intel Xeon W with 8 cores only gets 1019 points, the 28 core 1152. In the multi-core benchmarks, the M2 Pro is in the middle with around 15,000 points. It clearly beats the Xeon with 8 cores (8038 points), but is behind the Xeon with 28 cores (20035 points). However, this is at a disadvantage compared to the M1 Ultra in the Mac Studio (23,325 points).
So a Mac mini M2 Pro with upgraded RAM (32 GB) for 2,124 euros can in many respects match or even surpass the basic configuration of the current Mac Pro – and for a significantly lower price. If you are in this performance category, you will get a small Mac Pro with the new Mac Mini. The unique selling point of the Mac Pro, however, remains the immense possibilities to upgrade it, as well as the – at least for the moment – modular design, which allows the replacement of components on your own. With the launch of a new Mac Pro, the current tie will probably be a thing of the past – at least that’s what current rumors suggest.
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