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Apple Mac mini (M2 Pro) review: Small but mighty

By Kenny Yeo - 26 Mar 2023

Performance analysis & conclusion

Performance analysis

The unit I'm testing has an M2 Pro chip with 12 CPU cores and 19 GPU cores.

As I mentioned earlier, the unit I’m testing comes with the M2 Pro chip with 12 CPU cores, 19 GPU cores, 32GB memory, and a 2TB SSD.

I wish I had the most basic Mac mini to test but I think we can draw some good comparisons by looking at the results of the 13-inch MacBook Pro, which is also powered by an M2 chip and has active cooling. And if you want to see how the M2 chip stacks up against an M1 chip, check out my review of the M2 13-inch MacBook Pro. Interestingly, this is also the first time I'm testing a Mac with the M2 Pro chip, so now we can see how it stacks up against the other M2 and M2 Max Macs that I’ve tested previously.

As you can see from the charts below, the performance of the M2 Pro in the Mac mini is impressive. In terms of CPU performance, it’s just as fast as the 14-inch MacBook Pro with M2 Max, which is to be expected since they both have 12 CPU cores. What’s worth pointing out is how much quicker it is compared to an M1 Max. Overall, we are seeing CPU performance improvements of around 18%. 

Graphics performance is good too. A 14-inch MacBook Pro with the older M1 Max is still quicker because it has more GPU cores (32 vs the M2 Pro’s 19) but we can see that a fully spec’ed out M2 Pro leaves the regular M2 for dead. The additional 9 GPU cores really make their presence felt as it was nearly twice as fast – particularly in games. While the M2 struggled to get playable frame rates, the M2 Pro didn't have the same problems and came close to getting 60fps. If you intend to use the Mac for gaming or intensive graphics work, it might be worthwhile coughing up the extra money to get an M2 Pro for its extra GPU cores.

In the real world, unless you are going to be doing very heavy video editing or super intensive photo editing, most Macs with Apple Silicon are going to feel more or less the same. If all you are going to do is browse the web, reply emails, work on spreadsheets, and do the occasional light photo and video editing, they are going to feel super snappy, super responsive, and generally feel like they have more performance than you’d need. They are also incredibly quiet. Not once did I hear the fans spin in normal daily use.

Conclusion & buying advice

Stay light on the options and the Mac mini is excellent value.

Go light on the options and the Mac mini is remarkable value. Some will lament that 8GB of memory is too little and I’d agree. I’d recommend upgrading the memory to 16GB to future-proof your investment (memory cannot be upgraded once it leaves the factory) even if it means bumping the price up to S$1,151.80. If 256GB of storage isn’t enough, you can spend another S$300 and bump it to 512GB. This would set you back S$1,451.80, which, in my books, is still good value for money and a complete no-brainer for a desktop system for casual use and productivity work.

If you go any further, then its value proposition starts getting hazy. Because at that point, you can get into a MacBook Air. I know they are not directly comparable, but for casual users, its portability can be hugely appealing.

Professionals who work on a Mac should definitely consider the Mac mini with the M2 Pro chip. The entry-level M2 Pro spec is decent and is good value at S$1,849. A 14-inch MacBook Pro with similar specs is over a grand more. Some might be tempted by the Mac Studio, which is an excellent choice, but then it’s also over a grand more. Furthermore, it’s worth noting that a new high-end workstation-class desktop Mac is rumoured to be on its way.

If everything I’ve just said is confusing to you, then just know this: this is a more powerful Mac mini at a lower price. If you don’t care for portability and are looking for the most cost-effective way to get into the Mac ecosystem, this is it. Just remember to stay light on the options.


You can find the new Apple Mac mini on Amazon, Lazada, Shopee, and the Apple Online Store.

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  • Design 8.5
  • Features 8
  • Performance 9
  • Value 9
The Good
Well-built and extremely compact
Excellent performance
Quiet operation
Many ports (for the M2 Pro version)
Attractive starting price
The Bad
No ports on the front
No SD card slot
Base configuration is lean
Not upgradeable
Can get pricey if you go crazy on options
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