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ciarals

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 26, 2010
86
10
Italy
Hello guys. So, it's time for me to upgrade from my "old" iMac to the new Mac Mini. Here's my actual Mac:

Retina 4K 21.5" Mid 2017
3,6 GHz Intel Core i7 quad-core
Radeon Pro 560 4GB
16GB 2400 MHz DDR4 RAM

What I do on the Mac? Mostly browsing, Office and other "standard user" stuff. In addition to this, I use Final Cut Pro as a hobby to edit some videos during the year (let's say 3-5 videos a year). No games. No Parallels. No Photoshop.

Also, I already have some sure things: 16GB RAM is a must and 512 GB SSD is a must. No less and no more: I already have an external Samsung SSD that is good for the rest of the space.

So, the only question is: considering that the RAM will be the same, should I go with the M2 or the M2 Pro? Do I really need the extra power of the M2 Pro or should I be safe with the standard M2 and spare some money? Will I notice the difference from my actual iMac to the new Mac Mini with M2 or M2 Pro?

Please help me guys, I really don't know what to buy.
 
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KeepCalmPeople

macrumors 65816
Sep 5, 2012
1,457
659
Los Angeles, California
It sounds like the M2 will work just fine for you, unless you value the extra ports that the M2 Pro offers.

I'd be curious for somebody more knowledgeable to answer this question: Do more cores consume more memory? Do the 26 cores of the M2 Pro use more memory than the 18 cores of the M2?
 
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Basic75

macrumors 68000
May 17, 2011
1,921
2,224
Europe
I'd be curious for somebody more knowledgeable to answer this question: Do more cores consume more memory? Do the 26 cores of the M2 Pro use more memory than the 18 cores of the M2?
Where do these numbers come from? The M2 Pro has 10 or 12 CPU cores, the M2 has 8. Anyhow, the kernel keeps some per-core data structures, but it's not enough to have any negative impact, my assumption being that it's less than 1MB per core.
 

KeepCalmPeople

macrumors 65816
Sep 5, 2012
1,457
659
Los Angeles, California
Where do these numbers come from? The M2 Pro has 10 or 12 CPU cores, the M2 has 8. Anyhow, the kernel keeps some per-core data structures, but it's not enough to have any negative impact, my assumption being that it's less than 1MB per core.
I was just adding the CPU and GPU cores for each chip. M2 = 8 CPU + 10 GPU = 18, M2 Pro has 10 CPU + 16 GPU = 26.
 
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Basic75

macrumors 68000
May 17, 2011
1,921
2,224
Europe
I was just adding the CPU and GPU cores for each chip. M2 = 8 CPU + 10 GPU = 18, M2 Pro has 10 CPU + 16 GPU = 26.
Yeah, that's not how it works. In particular because "core" is not actually a very meaningful term for GPUs. Take an AMD 7900XT. It has 5376 "stream processors" that are divided into 84 "compute units". What you count as "core" is pretty arbitrary.
 
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ciarals

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 26, 2010
86
10
Italy
Thank you for the comments. I was forgetting also to provide you my actual monitor (that I won't change). Here it is:

LG 27UP600
Ultra HD 4K (3840x2160) 60Hz
HDR 10, VESA DisplayHDR™ 400
DisplayPort 1.4 (HDCP 2.2)
HDMI 2.0 (HDCP 2.2)

I think I will connect to the monitor using a USBC - DisplayPort cable. The question is: will both Mac Mini (M2 and M2 Pro) will be fine with this monitor or the M2 Pro is "useless" with this monitor? Will I have problems?

Thank you!
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
28,308
12,433
m2pro.
Start with "the base model" and "bump up" the drive size to 1tb.

If you don't mind waiting another month or two, I'm expecting Apple-refurbished units to start showing up by then, at a discount.
 
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CausticPuppy

macrumors 68000
May 1, 2012
1,536
68
m2pro.
Start with "the base model" and "bump up" the drive size to 1tb.

If you don't mind waiting another month or two, I'm expecting Apple-refurbished units to start showing up by then, at a discount.
Just in time to be tempted by a M3 Air!
 
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NeonNights

macrumors 6502
Jul 22, 2022
486
602
m2pro.
Start with "the base model" and "bump up" the drive size to 1tb.

If you don't mind waiting another month or two, I'm expecting Apple-refurbished units to start showing up by then, at a discount.
OP already determined they don't need more than 512GB.

My M1 MBA with 16/512 currently handles software development tools, VMs, Docker containers, and some hobbyist photo/video editing, and does all of it extremely well. Based on OP's relatively light needs, the regular M2 16/512 configuration should be way more than adequate. The M2 should also be able to drive the 4K 60Hz LG monitor just fine over HDMI without needing a DisplayPort adapter.
 
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Cham2000

macrumors 6502
Mar 11, 2022
423
215
What I do on the Mac? Mostly browsing, Office and other "standard user" stuff. In addition to this, I use Final Cut Pro as a hobby to edit some videos during the year (let's say 3-5 videos a year). No games. No Parallels. No Photoshop.

Also, I already have some sure things: 16GB RAM is a must and 512 GB SSD is a must. No less and no more: I already have an external Samsung SSD that is good for the rest of the space.

So, the only question is: considering that the RAM will be the same, should I go with the M2 or the M2 Pro? Do I really need the extra power of the M2 Pro or should I be safe with the standard M2 and spare some money? Will I notice the difference from my actual iMac to the new Mac Mini with M2 or M2 Pro?
In my opinion (for what it's worth), you should go to the mini M2 non-Pro. I was also considering this option, but I selected the pro for some other reasons. Without games and Parallels and heavy video editing, you won't need the Pro.
 

m1maverick

macrumors 65816
Nov 22, 2020
1,298
1,216
My recommendation is to go with the base model. Apple silicon is so amazing that spending more money on anything else is overkill. No one needs anything more. The only reason Apple even offers higher tier models is because it's a price grab for them.
 

4wheelcycle

macrumors newbie
Aug 30, 2014
21
19
My use is similar to yours (OP's). I just bought the M2 Pro, 16GB, 512GB. I definitely only need 16/512. I bought the M2 Pro because I figured "more is better". For my wife, I bought the regular M2, 16/1TB. She wanted the 1TB for storage space, not speed.

I set up both Mac minis and used Migration Assistant to transfer files from our old iMacs, which we have been waiting to replace. During setup and a month of day to day use since then, I have not seen any "real life use" difference between the two Mac minis. In hindsight, I don't think I needed to buy the M2 Pro.
 

George Dawes

Suspended
Jul 17, 2014
2,980
4,331
=VH=
I’m in a similar boat, my late 2015 iMac is having display issues and as I had two iMacs previously where the display went kaput I think it’s time to upgrade to a mini with a separate display

Having had an m1 mini and being very impressed with it I’d go for the base m2 too just add lots of ram and ssd

From what I’ve read the pro gets very hot and it’s a lot noisier than the standard m2 while not being noticeably faster in real world tasks
 

4wheelcycle

macrumors newbie
Aug 30, 2014
21
19
My M2 Pro is absolutely quiet and gets no hotter than warm to the touch. My wife's regular M2 is the same. Except, once I poked a CNN news video and all of a sudden my M2 Pro's fans went crazy - very loud. I don't know if the video somehow required a lot of processing or if the M2 Pro's fans just got a system command to go crazy. I immediately turned off Safari and restarted my M2 Pro. The M2 Pro restarted quietly and has been quiet ever since.
 

JTK Awesome

macrumors regular
Jun 26, 2022
246
288
Boston, MA, USA
If you need to ask the answer is most probably that the regular M2 is good enough.
The loss of 2 ports kills it though. Too bad there are no* Thunderbolt hubs that are just ports (instead of kitchen sinks that add Ethernet, HDMI, etc.) like some USB hubs. And most USB hubs also duplicate the Mini's built-in functionality.

* at least as far as I've been able to find - I have the same question as the OP and haven't decided either.
 

George Dawes

Suspended
Jul 17, 2014
2,980
4,331
=VH=
Ignore my previous post , from reading up seems the m2 pro mini is quiet as the m1 so I’m getting one to replace my aging 2015 iMac , it’s also very fast and has a very impressive 4 thunderbolt / usb c rear ports !

A best buy imo
 
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CalMin

Contributor
Nov 8, 2007
1,658
2,825
I have a 16GB M1Pro MacBook Pro and an 8GB M2 MacBook Air.

For your described tasks there is no discernible difference in performance between my two machines. That's quite the feat because I thought the 16GB would be noticeably faster than the 8GB alone - especially when doing some pretty serious multitasking. Although my life is mostly MS Office, I use it heavily with large Word documents, Excel Spreadsheet and PowerPoint files. This along with gigabytes of email and a million browser tabs. Apple silicon is extraordinary.

When I'm pushing 'super hard' (i.e. trying to break stuff) I have seen the M2 get a little choppy with its animations. BUT it never feels slow or unresponsive. I don't get beachballs or delays no matter what I do. I can't get the M1 Pro to get choppy no matter what I do - I suspect the 16GB RAM has more to do with that than the 'Pro' of the M1 chip.

The M1Pro is much more than I need. I do some light video editing too, and an 8GB M2 crushes my 5-15min project. If there is a difference with the M1Pro, I'm not pushing on it hard enough to tell. Other than benchmarks and people who get paid to edit video, who really cares if something takes 15-30 seconds longer anyway!

These chips are really quite a step up. I think that's why M2 was only a slight step from M1. No typical user really needs more power with today's software. I mean, sure, if you're editing 50GB photoshops, multiple 8K video streams, or anything else you get paid by the hour to do, then yes more memory and CPU is better. For the rest of us a base M1 or M2 will do nicely - and will be ample computer for years to come.
 

coricelesti

macrumors newbie
Dec 14, 2022
2
0
Kingdom of Fife
The loss of 2 ports kills it though. Too bad there are no* Thunderbolt hubs that are just ports (instead of kitchen sinks that add Ethernet, HDMI, etc.) like some USB hubs. And most USB hubs also duplicate the Mini's built-in functionality.

* at least as far as I've been able to find - I have the same question as the OP and haven't decided either.

Have a look at the OWC Thunderbolt Hub: 4x Thunderbolt, 1x USB, under 150 quid.
 

Mardiel8128

macrumors member
Feb 27, 2023
72
9
It sounds like the M2 will work just fine for you, unless you value the extra ports that the M2 Pro offers.

I'd be curious for somebody more knowledgeable to answer this question: Do more cores consume more memory? Do the 26 cores of the M2 Pro use more memory than the 18 cores of the M2?
can the extraports can be covered with a hub? or better go for the m2 pro?
 

Mardiel8128

macrumors member
Feb 27, 2023
72
9
OP already determined they don't need more than 512GB.

My M1 MBA with 16/512 currently handles software development tools, VMs, Docker containers, and some hobbyist photo/video editing, and does all of it extremely well. Based on OP's relatively light needs, the regular M2 16/512 configuration should be way more than adequate. The M2 should also be able to drive the 4K 60Hz LG monitor just fine over HDMI without needing a DisplayPort adapter.
why use 512 gb and not 1tb ?
does it affect the speed?
 

Mardiel8128

macrumors member
Feb 27, 2023
72
9
My use is similar to yours (OP's). I just bought the M2 Pro, 16GB, 512GB. I definitely only need 16/512. I bought the M2 Pro because I figured "more is better". For my wife, I bought the regular M2, 16/1TB. She wanted the 1TB for storage space, not speed.

I set up both Mac minis and used Migration Assistant to transfer files from our old iMacs, which we have been waiting to replace. During setup and a month of day to day use since then, I have not seen any "real life use" difference between the two Mac minis. In hindsight, I don't think I needed to buy the M2 Pro.
does 1tb or 512 affect the speed?
 

NeonNights

macrumors 6502
Jul 22, 2022
486
602
why use 512 gb and not 1tb ?
does it affect the speed?
In synthetic benchmarks M2 with 1TB is technically faster read/write speeds than 512GB but you're unlikely to notice it in everyday real-life scenarios, especially with OP's typical workload. OP already stipulated they have plenty of external storage so no need to spend more for 1TB.
 
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