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macman4789

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 12, 2007
303
13
Hi,

I wondered what you guys thought to the potentially recent release of the new M3 Pro Mac mini and its performance against the current M2 Pro and whether buying the M2 Pro now will be wise?

Apart from the built in ray tracing which I’m not too sure makes that much difference, would we really notice a difference in performance? The new M3 has less performance cores and so in some scenarios seems like a less powerful GPU.

Thanks
 

EdwardC

macrumors 6502a
Jun 3, 2012
506
420
Georgia
I guess it depends on your use? I have a M1 Mini and a M2 Pro Mini and for every day office type work / email's / document creation and some 2D CAD work I couldn't say I could tell much of a difference. They both drive the same 4K display so I can switch back and forth to try to see any notable difference. I use this comparison because I suspect the same would apply going from M2 to M3.
 

Chuckeee

macrumors 65816
Aug 18, 2023
1,432
2,779
Southern California
In general M3Pro has some slight performance advantage over the M2Pro but they are not significant unless you can take advantage of ray tracing or AV1 video decoding, if you do then the M3Pro is significantly better.

The major M3 pro advantage appears to be power consumption, which is irrelevant in a Mac mini.

Other than that, most of the difference are a draw between the M3Pro and the M2Pro. The M3Pro has few performance scores, but it runs them slightly faster. Same for GPU cores. The M3Pro has slightly more memory, but slightly slower memory bandwidth.
 
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Ben J.

macrumors 6502a
Aug 29, 2019
564
276
Oslo
In december, after reading the rumors on a coming M3 Mini, I dropped my original plan of making a M3 my next big mac investment, and bought a M2 Pro. I'm confident it was a good decision. I had already had a 16/256 M2 for a year, and the extra cores and memory on the new one makes it a dream machine for me.
 

macman4789

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 12, 2007
303
13
Yes I’ve heard great things about the base model M2 Pro. Thanks for all your replies. From the videos and discussions I’ve read, there doesn’t seem to be any real discernible difference in performance with some stating performance slightly reduced in certain tasks due to reduced memory bandwidth to 150 GB/s.
 

picpicmac

macrumors 6502a
Aug 10, 2023
895
1,169
due to reduced memory bandwidth to 150 GB/s.
A claim often made without any real evidence.

I seriously doubt if the typical user will notice any difference between 150GB/s and 200GB/s memory bandwidth.

Mostly because the M series have internal caches, like other modern processors. One will have to process a very large amount of data, continually, to notice a difference in memory bandwidth.

So regardless of buying an M2 Pro or M3 Pro Mac Mini, the real decision is whether one only needs the base Mac Mini, or an upgraded Mac Mini.
 

macman4789

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 12, 2007
303
13
A claim often made without any real evidence.

I seriously doubt if the typical user will notice any difference between 150GB/s and 200GB/s memory bandwidth.

Mostly because the M series have internal caches, like other modern processors. One will have to process a very large amount of data, continually, to notice a difference in memory bandwidth.

So regardless of buying an M2 Pro or M3 Pro Mac Mini, the real decision is whether one only needs the base Mac Mini, or an upgraded Mac Mini.
Yes, I take your point. It was a video I saw which I think showed the the reduced memory bandwidth causing the a video render/export to be slower on the M3 Pro. He mentioned memory pressure was fine 🤷‍♂️. I don’t claim to fully understand why this is but I thought it was an interesting point.
 

picpicmac

macrumors 6502a
Aug 10, 2023
895
1,169
I saw which I think showed the the reduced memory bandwidth causing the a video render/export to be slower on the M3 Pro.
Art (of ArtIsRight Youtube channel) has shown the M3Pro is very slightly slower than the M2Pro for some stuff, but he also makes the point that memory bandwidth is unlikely the cause.

The M-series uses three levels of caches, in order keep the bit flipping ALU/GPUs fed.

One has to move, continually, very large files in and out of the SoC in order to tax the memory bandwidth.



Much software is written to simply work with the least amount of engineering development before it's shipped out the door. Many programs you use from third parties are likely not optimized for the M3.
 

icemantx

macrumors 6502a
Mar 16, 2009
504
502
As an owner of an M2 Pro Mac mini, I can’t see upgrading to the M3 Pro. Maybe I would upgrade if they offered the M3 Max in the mini, but I highly doubt they will do that. More than likely the M2 Pro Mac mini will last me until the M5 or M6 series come out (assuming the mini sticks around)
 

macman4789

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 12, 2007
303
13
As an owner of an M2 Pro Mac mini, I can’t see upgrading to the M3 Pro. Maybe I would upgrade if they offered the M3 Max in the mini, but I highly doubt they will do that. More than likely the M2 Pro Mac mini will last me until the M5 or M6 series come out (assuming the mini sticks around)
I doubt they would offer the max because of the affect it would have on the studio but we can dream ha. Do you use your mini for taxing uses?
 

macman4789

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 12, 2007
303
13
Art (of ArtIsRight Youtube channel) has shown the M3Pro is very slightly slower than the M2Pro for some stuff, but he also makes the point that memory bandwidth is unlikely the cause.

The M-series uses three levels of caches, in order keep the bit flipping ALU/GPUs fed.

One has to move, continually, very large files in and out of the SoC in order to tax the memory bandwidth.



Much software is written to simply work with the least amount of engineering development before it's shipped out the door. Many programs you use from third parties are likely not optimized for the M3.
Yes, I’ve seen some of his videos, very thorough. I think for photo editing the difference between these generations is going to be minimal.
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
28,129
12,289
There's no way to realistically "compare" an m2pro Mini vis-a-vis a currently non-existent m3pro Mini.

I'm waiting for the m3pro Mini myself -- but will just wait and see what it's like, when it gets here.
 

macman4789

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 12, 2007
303
13
There's no way to realistically "compare" an m2pro Mini vis-a-vis a currently non-existent m3pro Mini.

I'm waiting for the m3pro Mini myself -- but will just wait and see what it's like, when it gets here.
Not exactly, but we have a fair idea based on the M3 Pro in the 16 inch MacBook Pro as the chips shouldn’t behave dramatically different from being in the Mac mini.
 
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icemantx

macrumors 6502a
Mar 16, 2009
504
502
I doubt they would offer the max because of the affect it would have on the studio but we can dream ha. Do you use your mini for taxing uses?
Nothing that maxes out my M2 Pro Mac mini at the moment. Another reason why I will likely be sticking with my M2 Pro for a while. Only real reason I would upgrade right now is because I wanted the latest and greatest (which I will likely not do).
 

picpicmac

macrumors 6502a
Aug 10, 2023
895
1,169
I doubt they would offer the max because of the affect it would have on the studio but we can dream ha
Not the way Apple structures their products.

For example, the 14" MBP upgrade price from the M3 Pro to the M3 Max (binned versions of both) is $600.

Take the Mini w/ M2 Pro at $1299. Add $600. You get $1899. While that is $100 less than the M2 Max Mac Studio price, the Studio includes additional ports, 10GBe, and a bigger box.

The Max chip could be put into a Mini box, but there will not be much room for a heat sink compared the Studio box.
 

macman4789

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 12, 2007
303
13
Not the way Apple structures their products.

For example, the 14" MBP upgrade price from the M3 Pro to the M3 Max (binned versions of both) is $600.

Take the Mini w/ M2 Pro at $1299. Add $600. You get $1899. While that is $100 less than the M2 Max Mac Studio price, the Studio includes additional ports, 10GBe, and a bigger box.

The Max chip could be put into a Mini box, but there will not be much room for a heat sink compared the Studio box.
Yes, completely agree. The cooling solution is a big reason like you said.
 
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