New M2 Pro Mac mini closes the gap to the Mac Studio

We’ve been waiting for this release and ordered three Mac Minis yesterday. Some excited staff will finally get a well deserved upgrade.


Indeed. Metal benchmarks just in. M2 Pro/Max are a massive upgrade over M1 Pro/Max for graphics (~34%).

Interestingly, these numbers also show that in terms of GPU performance the Max has so much going for it over the Pro (higher clock, twice the mem b/w and twice the no. of graphics cores), that an M1 Max Mac Studio will easily outperform an M2 Pro Mac mini in graphics related tasks (+23%).

I was assuming Apple will update the Mac Studio within few months to M2 Max/Ultra, and I still hope they do so. But if it ends up taking them longer (or perhaps they choose to reserve the few early M2 Ultras for the new Mac Pro), these benchmarks would indicate they’d indeed have some wiggle room.


Nice analysis @Simon

This is the breakdown in top to bottom prices (and guessed prices for a coming Mac Pro). It’s very obvious their prices literally run right into each other to make ‘bumping-up’ your purchase decisions tighter, in US$:

  • 0.5 - 1.9k - Mini (Standard) — 500: students price/600: everyone else
  • 1.3 - 4.5k - Mini (Pro)
  • 2 - 5k - Studio (Max)
  • 4 - 8k - Studio (Ultra)
  • 7 - 15k - Pro (Ultra Duo?)
  • 12 - 60k - Pro (Ultra Quad?)

[obviously the Mac Pro are guesstimates.]

Mac Studio is here to stay for sure. They wouldn’t have gone to all that trouble of extra ports and special fans design etc. just to phase it out after one generation, with the chips being aimed at each machine (Mini: standard+pro / Studio: max+ultra / Mac Pro: ultra duo+ultra quad – or whatever they choose to name those in the Mac Pro!).

It’s the Mini Pro to Studio Max where there’s this large cross-over, that causes confusion on what to go for value-for-money wise. Mainly the storage upgrades cause this, but even at middle 1TB or 2TB options, the pricing on the Mini Pro is not worth it IMO, as the M1 Studio Max is almost the same price (100-300 difference, depending on precise options), at around the same CPU cores, but more GPU cores, and more ports (two extra front ones+SD), and more displays (the Mini offers a solitary 8K60 HDMI with no other displays, but the M2 Max Studio will have better than that if you wait for it).

re. new Mac timings:
IMO the M2 Studio Max is also highly likely to be released in autumn, as they’ll almost certainly have to update them to M2 Max (& Ultra) for probably the same price (recessionary times we’re in), given Apple surely realise that most people know Apple clearly have the whole M2-series chips ready to go given the MBP’s have at least the M2 Max chips, and buyers will potentially be holding off buying until the Studio is bumped.

The Mac Pro I think they’ll have to finally ship in between (c. WWDC) for the handfuls of buyers who can afford them (min. $7k, up to $60k!) with maybe an M2 Duo/Quad Ultra, as that two year ‘transition period’ is well overdue by now. Hence why they’re chucking stuff like the Mini’s and HomePod 2 out so early in the year, to give a space for everything throughout the year.

[EDITS: Ultimate → Ultra, + extras]


Presumably the comparisons with the later 27" iMacs ( i9s in 2019+ ) aren’t as favorable?


It really is … surprising … how the price structure has played out. I wouldn’t call it a good strategy. I realise this isn’t rational, but the base Studio has coloured my perception of the Pro Mini. If you factor in the 10 Gb ethernet, there is not even enough of a difference to merit a storage upgrade.

But there again, as things stand right now, the top M2 Air is exactly the same price as the bottom M2 Pro. So, perhaps Apple would rather these BTO configurations were on-ramps to higher tiers rather than cost-effective options as such; they can rely on people like me who prefer the top-end configuration over the bottom-end, if it means gaining a different form factor (fans or not, ports or not, etc). I still think it’s mean.

Concrete CPU benchmarks. This basically confirms that the Mini is geared for number crunching, and the Studio for graphics. I do think Apple needs to rethink the pricing and I expect the new Studio will open things up again, but this is easier to swallow.

On further consideration, given the tight pricing cross-over on the Mini Pro to Studio Max, unless Apple feel the macro-economic situation makes doing so unviable, IMO the Studio Max M2 is likely to see a price increase rather than stay the same, in order to make the delineation and differentiation clearer between the two.

So if wanting a desktop machine now or near future that is in the 2k to 4k pricing area, the question is whether you buy a Studio Max M1 now at known prices, or wait until the Studio Max M2 arrives at unknown prices – whenever that may be. But as said, if the MBPs have the Max M2 chip now, surely Apple must realise buyers know it already exists, and will be wondering why the Studio hasn’t got one in it, thus delaying their purchases, and making the need of adding it to the Studio sooner rather than later accordingly.

…but this is Apple, who do funny things like leave updates for over a year for no reason other than it suits them. So as ever; who knows when. :upside_down_face:

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Anything is possible, but they didn’t raise the prices of the 14” and 16” MBP, right? And actually cut the price of the cheapest Apple Silicon Mac Mini, so my thought is they try to keep it the same.

I really don’t understand this desire to see a “proper” gap in pricing.


Maybe, although the prices in UK/Europe did increase, though due to exchange rates –so can’t blame Apple for that– which is a bit strange for us here in UK, as the GB£-US$ has recovered somewhat from the lows of Autumn last year, so presumably Apple are hedging themselves here in case £/€ rates lower again over next year or so during an uncertain macro-economic period.

The pricing gap is more physiological, but maybe it works for Apple to perhaps keep it tight as possible to get those buyers to spend an extra small (or large!) amount extra on a Studio?

The trouble is, for me, Apple’s close pricing killed the whole purchase. I was adamant I was going to upgrade my maxed-out 2018 Mini for a high level Mini Pro M2, but given the price is almost the same as the Studio’s, I’m highly likely just going to wait for the Studio Max M2’s to arrive instead, given the chips are already in the MBP.

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I’m conflicted about that one. :nerd_face:

Usually, I’d assume keeping the gap tight is good because it encourages upsell and that’s certainly in Apple’s interest.

However, the gap between Mac lines usually becomes really tight when you configure the lower end system for more RAM and larger flash to match the config of the higher end system. And there I would assume the profit margins are gargantuan (I mean $400 for +16GB RAM or +1TB flash, c’mon! :flushed:). So I wouldn’t be so sure Apple couldn’t make more profit by selling people grossly overpriced memory and flash upgrades. And thus, making the gap a bit larger could be better for Apple – more profit whatever the customer chooses.


Yes that’s the quandary. Apple may keep headline prices the same on the next Studio ($2k Max & $4k Ultra), until it comes to upgrades, where they slip extra hundreds on most of them. So the press report they’re the same prices, but in reality they’re not when you add your likely memory+storage upgrades to make a Studio worth the bother for you.

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I haven’t checked; did they do that this year with the MBP? With the M2 mini? (I mean compared with the last models’ they replaced and their upgrade pricing.)

16MBP 2021 M1 Pro/Max comparisons: Compare Macs, Compare iPods, iPhones & iPads @

AFAICT, the upgrades prices remain the same. The only thing I think they’ve done this year, is add an extra step: to get 96GB memory (+$400), you have to also get the larger M2 Max chip 38core GPU (+$200). Last year, either of the two M1 Max chip options gave you the maximum 64GB memory upgrade option (+$400).

Mini 2018 Intel (+2020 M1) comparisons: Compare Macs, Compare iPods, iPhones & iPads @

Starting prices: i5 3.0GHz ($1100) / i7 3.2GHz ($1300) vs. M2 Pro 3.5GHz ($1300).
AFAICT from an internet search, the ram/ssd upgrade prices remain the same here too, between an i7 and M2 Pro.
eg. base i7 8GB 512GB… ram: 16GB (+$200), 32GB (+$400), 64GB (+$400) / storage: 1TB (+$200), 2TB (+$400) / +10GbE (+$100). But the M2 Pro has an additional chip upgrade 12/19/16 (+$300) that pushes it into the Studio’s pricing, especially in non-US countries (UK/Euro)!

[NB: doesn’t list the 2023 models yet.]

So if past performance is anything to go by, Apple may stick to the same upgrade pricing later in the year on the M2 Studio prices? Hence why I’m taking a punt and waiting for that machine. ;-)

M-series past release schedule:

2020.11 - Mini (M1) + MBA (M1).

2021.04 - 24iMac (M1).
2021.10 - MBP (M1 Pro/Max).

2022.03 - Studio (M1 Max/Ultra).
2022.06 - MBA (M2).

2023.01 - Mini (M2/M2 Pro) + MBP (M2 Pro/Max).

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Crazy thing is… our base level M1 mini hasn’t broken a sweat yet. And my M1 Max MBPro hasn’t ever been warm.

The M2 is incremental really. I can’t see myself upgrading for a long long time.


Indeed; the specific reason I wanted a new Mini was simply more RAM, so I could run VMs more comfortably.

I put in my order. If I really want to cancel badly enough, I have until at least next month to do that. :-)

I’m hanging onto my $1500 2018 i5/1TB/32gb mini for another year or 2. It still serves me well. After that, I’ll look at a mid level mini or studio with 1tb/32gb. With apple, it seems you gain lots of performance with a 1tb ssd. I might be able to get away with 16gb ram if the gpu is better. Intel’s GPU is horrible (but usable for me at 32gb).

General experience so far has been that RAM requirements have been lowered with Apple Silicon compared to Intel. These days, for ‘regular’ users it appears large RAM is required primarily if you plan on using multiple VMs.

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4 posts were split to a new topic: Apple assembling Macs in Malaysia?

Or have a ton of browser tabs & windows open. I had 32GB Intel MBP and got a 64GB M1 Max. I was consistently close to the 32GB limit before. I’m running with ~40GB used currently. And I keep closing tabs & windows. At least now my system is running cool.


Count me among those who were a bit surprised that a high-end Mac mini Pro costs just about the same as (or even more than) a lower-end Mac Studio Max. Which one is better will likely depend on one’s particular needs (e.g., how much the Studio’s better GPU or greater number of ports matters). However, when the M2 Mac Studio comes out (and assuming pricing stays the same), the Studio should be the clear winner (compared to a similarly configured Mac mini Pro). It will likely divide out as: Get the Mac mini (not the Pro) to save money (assuming it meets you needs) or go for the Studio instead. I don’t see a big carve-out for the Mac mini Pro.