Apple today announced a major update to the Mac mini lineup, bringing new configurations with built-in M2 and M2 Pro chips. Along with these standout features, there are a few other interesting changes and tidbits in this year’s Mac mini refresh. Go below for the details.
The previous generation of Mac mini with Apple’s M1 chip was rather limited in terms of external display support. You can connect an external display up to 6K via Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C port) and another external display up to 4K via HDMI. This situation has improved somewhat with the new M2 and M2 Pro versions of Mac mini.
The Mac mini with an M2 chip inside can still power up to two external displays, but here are some changes to the details:
- A display with up to 6K resolution at 60 Hz over Thunderbolt
- A display with up to 5K resolution at 60 Hz over Thunderbolt
- OR: A display with up to 4K resolution at 60 Hz via HDMI
Meanwhile, the new Mac mini with the integrated M2 Pro chip can support up to three external displays in different configurations and resolutions:
- Up to three displays: Two displays with up to 6K resolution at 60 Hz via Thunderbolt and one display with up to 4K resolution at 60 Hz via HDMI
- Up to two displays: A display with up to 6K resolution at 60 Hz via Thunderbolt and a display with up to 4K resolution at 144 Hz via HDMI
- An ad: Up to 8K resolution at 60Hz or 4K resolution at 240Hz via HDMI
Here’s the breakdown of configuration options for the new Mac mini M2 and M2 Pro models.
M2 Mac mini:
- Up to 24GB unified storage
- Increased from the 16GB limit of the M1 Mac mini
- Up to 2TB of storage space
- Up to 8-core CPU, 10-core GPU and 16-core Neural Engine
- M1 Mac mini: 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine
M2 Pro Mac mini
- Up to 32GB unified storage
- Up to 8TB of storage
- Up to 12-core CPU, 19-core GPU and 16-core Neural Engine
A few things to note here:
- M2 and M2 Pro Mac mini feature a 3.5mm headphone jack with expanded support for high-impedance headphones
- Wi-Fi 6E support for the first time
- Bluetooth 5.3 (compared to Bluetooth 5.0 of the previous model)
The new M2 Mac mini range also supports Apple’s custom media engine features, unlike the previous generation M1 Mac mini:
- Hardware accelerated H.264, HEVC, ProRes and ProRes RAW
- Video decoding engine
- Video encoder engine
- ProRes encoding and decoding engine
Perhaps more notable than any performance or specification changes, the M2 Mac mini is also significantly cheaper than its predecessor.
The entry-level M2 Mac mini starts at $599 compared to the previous starting price of $699. For educational buyers, the starting price drops even further to $499. This is an incredible price for the M2 Mac mini’s great computer.
Meanwhile, the Mac mini with an M2 Pro chip inside starts at $1,299. This makes it a tempting alternative to the base Mac Studio, which starts at $1,999. The M2 Pro Mac mini for educational buyers starts at $1,199.
Apple doesn’t require verification for purchases through its Education Store in the United States, but there are some purchase restrictions that have become stricter over the past year:
- Desktop: One (1) may be purchased per year
- Mac mini: One (1) may be purchased per year
- Notebook: One (1) may be purchased per year
- iPad: Two (2) may be purchased per year
- Accessories: Two (2) accessories can be purchased per year at the educational price
For more information on Apple’s Education Store policies, see our coverage here.
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