Mac mini vs. Mac Studio — Here Are Three Things to Consider

Both computers offer different components and features that have users making thoughtful choices.
Mac Mini versus Mac Studio Credit: Jack Skeens / Shutterstock
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Apple offers a variety of different Mac computers that can fit everyone’s needs. Whether you want to binge-watch Netflix and browse the web or get some serious work done, there’s a Mac that fits all your needs and your budget. 

And with so many Macs, there’s bound to be a couple of them that look and feel similar. For instance, the iMac and the iMac Pro both looked similar on the outside. But on the inside, there were a lot of differences that would make you choose one over the other. 

A similar thing’s happening with the Mac mini and the Mac Studio. While they’re not so similar on the outside, at first glance, you might not be sure which is which. On the inside, though, both computers offer different components and processors that’ll make you go for one or the other. Not only that, but some of the features might work for some of us but not for others. 

Still, if you’re looking for a portable Mac computer with no extra accessories, the Mac mini and the Mac Studio are your only choices. But which one should you go for? Here’s everything you need to know. 

Mac mini vs. Mac Studio – Design

At first glance, they might look the same, but the Mac mini and Mac Studio feature a lot of differences. 

The Mac Studio is a bit bigger and bulkier than the Mac mini, for starters. The Mac mini is so thin and light that it’s easier to carry around with you than the Mac Studio. Not only that but there have been rumors that Apple might make the Mac mini even smaller and lighter when the next generation comes. If you’re looking for something really portable, the Mac mini should be your go-to option. 

Other key differences are connectivity and compatibility. While both Macs have an HDMI port that supports multichannel audio output, two USB-A ports, and a headphone jack—albeit the Mac Studio’s headphone jack is the only one that supports high—impedance headphones— he Mac Studio beats the Mac mini by a landslide. 

The Studio can have up to six Thunderbolt 4 ports, whereas the Mac mini can only have two. 

The Mac Studio also comes with a 10GB Ethernet port right off the bat. On the other hand, the Mac mini doesn’t have one in the base model. To be fair, you can upgrade it to have an Ethernet port, but that’s going to cost you extra. 

On top of that, the Mac Studio also comes with other ports like an SD card slot, which is perfect if you take a lot of pictures or videos. 

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The Mac mini has a decent amount of connectivity and compatibility features, but the Mac Studio is clearly the winner when it comes to ports and connectivity. If that’s what you’re looking for, the Mac Studio will be your best option.

Mac mini vs. Mac Studio—Internals

The biggest difference between the Mac mini and the Mac Studio comes from the inside. 

While it’s true that both computers have an Apple Silicon processor, making them one of the most powerful, energy-efficient computers in the world, the Mac Studio has the best internals of the two—by a landslide.

The base model of the Mac Studio features the M1 Max chip, which is already powerful enough to carry your workflow no matter how many depending apps you need. But if you want to take it to the next level, you can upgrade it and get the M1 Ultra chip, which is literally two M1 Max chips into one. 

On the other hand, the Mac mini only comes with the M1 chip. While this chip is powerful enough to handle even the really demanding tasks, it doesn’t have nearly enough power compared to the other two chips. 

Additionally, the Mac mini comes with only an 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU, whereas the Mac Studio can go up to 20-core CPU and 64-core GPU for an extra price. On top of that, if you need a lot of storage, the Mac Studio will be your best choice again since it can have up to 8GB of storage. The Mac mini, on the other hand, can only support up to 2TB of storage. 

Both Mac Studio models can outperform the Mac mini in a heartbeat, so if you’re looking for power and storage, there’s no doubt that you’ll need the Mac Studio. 

Mac mini Vs. Mac Studio—Price

If you’re on a budget, there’s no doubt that the Mac mini will be your best friend on this one. 

The starting price for the Mac mini is $699, while the Mac Studio starts at $1,999, which is a huge price difference for most of us. 

Not only that, but if you buy the highest-end Mac mini Apple offers, with extra storage, GPU and CPU performance, and even the extra Ethernet port, you’ll still only have to pay $1,799, which is still cheaper than the most basic Mac Studio. 

Sure, it’s possible that the M1 Max chip on the base Mac studio will still outperform the Mac mini, but the difference wouldn’t be that big anymore. Plus, you’d get to save $200.

And why do you need to save 200 bucks? Well, because none of these computers come with accessories. That means you don’t get a keyboard, a mouse, or even a display. You’ll need to buy all of that separately, or you won’t be able to use any of these computers. 

With that in mind, having a bit of extra cash to buy accessories wouldn’t be that bad of an idea, especially if you don’t have a lot of money, to begin with. 

Mac mini Vs. Mac Studio—Which One Should You Go For?

There’s no doubt that both of these computers are powerful and versatile enough to help you out in your everyday life. 

However, if you’re a pro that needs power, storage, and efficiency, the Mac Studio should be your only option. You can get up to 8GB of storage, a lot of ports to connect all your tools for work, and the M1 MAx or M1 Ultra chip will make your working life a breeze. 

On the other hand, if your work doesn’t demand a lot of power from your computer, you’re a student, or you’re on a budget, the Mac mini will be your best option. You can get your work or homework done without any issues, and you can then use it to binge-watch Stranger Things on Netflix all weekend long. 

Not only will you get a powerful processor, decent storage, and a lot of compatibilities to connect most of your devices, but you’ll only spend less than half of what you’d have to pay for the base Mac Studio. For most of us, this is more than enough reason to go for the mini. Plus, it’s perfect if you still need to get a keyboard and a display. 

Overall, both computers will get the job done; it’s just a matter of choosing which one will fit all your needs and your budget. 

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