From Mac mini to MacBooks and iMac (Pro)s to Mac Pro, Apple offers a computer for every application, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. We try to navigate you through the offer and give you a decision support.
On this page, we go into detail about the Mac mini and Mac Studio desktop models (with mention of the MacBook Air as an alternative). For an overview of the different MacBook and iMac models, follow the links in the overview below.
The display is a quick decision criterion: Do you want a large display, but don’t have one yet and want a tidy desk? Then the iMac is the first choice. No desktop computer has established itself as a designer furnishing item with its beauty and good usability like the iMac.
We have also created a separate detail page for the distinctions between MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. The criteria for the mobile Macs is portable computing power, webcam quality as well as display brightness and color reproduction. We show you the best choice for your budget.
Alternative: MacBook Air and Mac mini – M1 vs. M1
Since the criteria for the iMac and the mobile MacBooks are quite clear, we refer directly to the detailed pages for these computers above. The decision between the Mac mini M1 and the MacBook Air M1 is more interesting, which we will briefly discuss here.
If you already have the peripherals such as mouse, keyboard and monitor, you are well prepared and perhaps have a Mac mini in mind – this is then a good purchase. However, it looks different when you don’t have any hardware at all. If you buy the keyboard and trackpad from Apple, you’ll have to add over 300 Euros. Together with the smallest M1 Mac mini, you’ll end up with a little over 1090 Euros – a complete MacBook Air only costs about 100 Euros more and includes screen, battery and webcam.
Both devices are almost on par in terms of performance, since they both use the M1 chip (the M2 MacBook Air is much more expensive). Of course, the Mac mini has the advantage that it still has an active fan, which ensures that the chip does not have to throttle its performance during long periods of load – but that hardly makes a difference for normal office work.
Maybe it is more attractive for you to buy a complete MacBook Air and use it with an external monitor. Keep in mind that a Mac mini has more ports on the back. The MacBook Air only has two Thunderbolt 3 ports.
The whole range of possible models and sensible equipment for the Mac mini can be found here: MacBook Air details on the MacBook details page.
When to buy a Mac mini kaufen?
The Mac mini was last updated in November 2020 with Apples M1 Chip.
- first Mac mini with Apple Silicon M1 Chip
- Keyboard with Touch ID
- max. 16 GB RAM
Which Mac mini to buy? Decision criteria.
Apple had redefined the task of the Mac mini with Intel chip. For a long time, the mini was the cheapest Mac in the portfolio and served as an entry-level computer. Now it is almost twice as expensive as it was at the beginning. Instead, it was now aimed more at professionals.
However, in addition to the model with an Intel chip, there is now also a model with Apple’s own M1 chip – and this offers excellent performance and is even cheaper. For home use as well as for professional video editing this seems to be the better choice at the moment.
The main difference is the fact that the M1 model comes with fewer interfaces and can drive one monitor less. Furthermore, there is no 10 Gbit network available. Also the Intel models with up to 64 GB memory can be ordered, with the M1 models is with 16 GB end. This does not necessarily have to be a disadvantage, depending on the application.
The processors have at least six cores in the Intel model, the M1 comes with eight cores. The smallest SSD memory size is a fair 256 GB – but we would invest some money to upgrade them.
When choosing the memory, make sure that it is still upgradeable on the Intel model, but not on the M1 model. With this model you have to decide on the right size.
What has changed?
As already mentioned, the M1 model comes with fewer interfaces: there is one Ethernet, two Thunderbolts, two USB-A ports, one HDMI 2.0 and an audio connection. The advantage of the newer model: it can drive a 6K monitor. The color of the case is silver again.
The connectors on the back of the Intel model: There are four Thunderbolt 3 ports, two USB 3.0 and one HDMI port, plus a 3.5mm jack connector. The infrared port on the front side has been eliminated. The network is connected either with 1 GBit/s or with 10, which then costs extra.
Mac mini Intel
- 3.0 GHz Intel 6-Core-Processor
- 8 GB RAM, optional up to 64 GB
- 256 GB, optional up to 2 TB
- Intel UHD Graphics 630
- four Thunderbolt 3 ports
Mac mini M1
- 3.2 GHz M1 8-Core processor
- 8 GB RAM, optional up to 16 GB
- 256 GB SSD, optional up to 2 TB
- two Thunderbolt 3 ports
The same over all models:
- audio out
- two USB 3.0 ports
- one Gigabit Ethernetport
- ac Wifi and Bluetooth 5.0
- HDMI port
Mac mini vs. iMac
The current edition of the Mac mini is no longer a beginner’s computer, but a professional one with a lot of computing power that is an alternative to the iMac.
This can come into its own if you need a lot of computing power, but want to provide all the peripherals yourself. It is therefore the most compact version of computing power and macOS that Apple offers. But also friends of free monitor choice can now get CPU performance on the level of iMac and can freely assemble their system.
When to buy a Mac Studio?
The Mac Studio was introduced early 2022 with M1 Max and Ultra Chips.
- first Mac with Apple Silicon M1 Ultra Chip
- Keyboard with Touch ID
- max. 128 GB RAM
Which Mac Studio to buy? Decision criteria.
Apple has built several processor variants based on the M1 chip: The M1 for beginners, which is already very powerful and extremely frugal, and the M1 Pro, which is found in the MacBook Pros, for example. The latter comes with twice as powerful graphics as the base model.
The M1 Max doubles the graphics unit’s performance again: instead of up to eight or sixteen, there are 24 and a maximum of 32 computing cores as standard. In addition, there are 10 CPU cores and 16 for the Neural Engine. It is, if you look at many benchmarks, the most sensible choice for the Mac Studio.
The M1 Ultra doubles this performance again on paper, and you get 20 CPU cores and up to 64 GPU cores. However, this does not exactly double the performance in everyday use. On the one hand, this can be due to the fact that there is always a corresponding coordination overhead in parallel processes, and on the other hand, not all programs are 100% adapted to this chip architecture yet.
This does not mean that this chip is not useful for some special applications. You should take a look at the corresponding tests beforehand. However, even for extremely complex video projects, the M1 Max is an excellent choice.
What has changed?
Essentially, Mac Studio has changed Apple’s approach to design and performance somewhat. In many areas, the Mac Studio puts the Mac Pro, which is still based on Intel technology, in its pocket and looks like a big Mac mini. There are even interfaces on the front.
Technical progress that does not focus on design.
In addition, you can get the excellent performance of the M1 Max chip starting at a fair 2299 Euros – and save the significantly more expensive Mac Pro. As well as its power consumption. The Mac Studio also remains quiet (although not completely inaudible). Apple’s Silicon Architecture has led to an extreme leap in performance with very low power consumption. The Mac Studio offers the performance in the form of the M1 Max and M1 Ultra at a very fair price.
Comparison Table: Mac Studio (coming)
Technische Daten Mac Studio
Mac Studio M1 Max
- 10-core CPU with 8 performance cores and 2 efficiency cores
- 24-core GPU
- 16-core Neural Engine
- 400GB/s memory bandwidth
- 32 GB RAM, optional 64 GB
- 512 GB SSD, optional up to 8 TB
- two USB-C ports (front)
Mac Studio M1 Ultra
- 20-core CPU with 16 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores
- 48-core GPU
- 32-core Neural Engine
- 800GB/s memory bandwidth
- 64 GB RAM, optional 128 GB
- 1 GB SSD, optional up to 8 TB
- two TB4 ports (front)
Bei beiden Modellen gleich:
- four Thunderbolt 4 ports
- one audio jack
- two USB 3.0 ports
- one HDMI 2.0 port
- one 10 Gigabit Ethernetport
- ax WLAN and Bluetooth 5.0
- SDXC card reader
Mac Studio M1 Pro vs. Mac mini M1
The M1 chip is so powerful that it is perfectly adequate for everyday office work and is very energy efficient as well as capable of handling 4K and occasional 8K video projects with ease. This makes a Mac mini the logical choice for the average user.
If the M1 is not enough for you, you only have the Mac Studio with M1 Max and M1 Ultra. This is at least three times as expensive as the mini, but almost cheap for the performance shown. In addition to generally higher performance, all chips from the M1 Pro onwards come with the Media Engine. This accelerates video codecs on the hardware level. The M1 can handle H.264 and H.265 (HEVC), the larger chips for professional use also ProRes and ProRes RAW. So if you work with these, at least get an M1 Pro (in a MacBook) or an M1 Max (in a Mac Studio).
Those who would like to see the M1 Pro in a Mac mini are currently still disappointed. It can only be found in the MacBook Pros. Perhaps Apple will add a Pro chip to the Mac mini variant with the M2 chip – that would be the ideal computer for semi-professional users.