I think I’ve made a mistake.

I’ve bought the wrong Mac.

It hasn’t arrived yet, either. That’s how confident I am that I’ve chosen the wrong computer. I even had the feeling rumbling away in the back of my mind while I was heading through the checkout process.

The good news is that this error has given me a cunning idea and a new direction for my music studio, which is all rather exciting.

Unfortunately, it has also placed a huge question mark over another purchase I’ve made – the M2 Max 14-inch MacBook Pro.

I’ve got myself into a right ol’ pickle here, haven’t I?

Let’s unpick it.

What I ordered and why it’s wrong

Winging its way to my house next week is an M2 Mac mini with 16GB of unified memory and a 512GB SSD.

This is the exact spec, pound-for-pound, as the M1 Mac mini it was destined to replace. My plan was simple – I wanted to find out how much of an improvement the M2 offered for my workflow.

Is this next generation of Apple silicon for the Mac mini a leap or a moderate step forward? If I’d built my business with the M2 Mac mini rather than the M1 version, could I have rendered and exported my videos quicker?

I still want to see the result of the M1 vs M2 Mac mini battle, and I will run some tests and reveal the results as part of a review. But the more I think about it, the less excited I am by the prospect of this M2 Mac mini (and, let’s be honest, we probably all know what the result is going to be – there’ll be marginal gains, nothing more).

Sure, there’s always the chance of a surprise, but I remain less convinced by the day while I wait for that package to arrive.

The allure of the M2 Pro Mac mini

The embargo reviews for the M2 Pro Mac mini are slowly dropping (I have to wait like every other normal person for mine, I’m afraid) and early indications suggest that Apple has a winner on its hands here.

That tiny powerhouse is punching well above its weight class for a price that still defies its capabilities. More importantly, it is, clearly, a massively more capable computer than its M1 predecessor.

Early benchmarks have revealed that the M2 Pro-powered Mac mini scores a single-core performance of 1,952 and a multi-core tally of 15,013. The previous M1 Mac mini scored 1,715 and 7,422, respectively.

This makes the leap from M1 to M2 for Apple’s cheapest desktop Mac one of the most impressive Apple silicon upgrades so far – but only if you go for the M2 Pro version. It’s also why I’m suddenly yearning for that machine rather than the standard M2.

More impressively, the same benchmarks reveal that the M2 Pro is (on paper, at least) a far more capable chip than the M1 Pro and even the M1 Max.

To have all of that power in a Mac mini is mouth-watering.

To this day, a 16GB M1 Mac mini remains a stupidly capable Mac. Bearing that in mind, imagine what one could achieve with the M2 Pro version. The more I think about the prospect, the more excited I get about what I could do with it.

What this means for the music studio build

Regular followers of this blog will know that I’m currently in the process of planning a mini music studio in my YouTube studio.

The original idea was to use my trusty M1 Mac mini as the centrepiece. I wanted to put that machine back into action and push it in the music realm to see what it could do, and to answer the requests I often get to delve into that side of production.

The plan was simple – I’d run that setup for three months or so before replacing it with an M2 Mac mini. It’s important to note at this juncture that the latter device was still nothing more than a rumour when I began planning my music studio build.

Then, Apple completely screwed up everything.

A surprise January Mac announcement left us with two brand-new chips and a living, breathing M2 Mac mini. Suddenly, I needed to account for the early arrival of a new Mac mini.

This brings me to an absolutely obvious conclusion, which you probably drew yourself several paragraphs ago.

My inevitable conclusion

The M2 Mac mini I really need and the one you’re most interested in me reviewing is the M2 Pro Mac mini.

So, this is my new plan; I’m going to accept delivery of the M2 Mac mini. I’ll run my non-patented Mark Ellis Review Crap Benchmark Test between that machine and the M1 Mac mini before returning the new one.

Then, I’ll get an M2 Pro Mac mini and spec it up as much as I feel appropriate. This new super-powered miniature beast will become the centrepiece of my music studio build and, I think, a potential candidate for a video production machine when I’m working from the studio.

The only other question left is whether or not I’ve ordered the right M2 MacBook Pro, or, indeed, whether I need to bother switching from the 16-inch to the 14-inch at this moment in time, given my new Mac mini plans. That doesn’t feel like a financially sound plan, to me.

What a mess. I’ll figure it all out – I promise.

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