Category Archives: Mac mini

Apple Mac mini M4 & M4 Pro

It is possible the M3 Series Mac mini will not be released

Apple Mac mini M4 $999.00 ?? minimum as recommended below
Apple Mac mini M4 Pro $1299.00 ?? minimum as recommended below

Do not buy a computer with 8GB memory and a 256GB SSD! Why any musician or creator would buy a new system constrained like this in 2024 is beyond me. If properly configured Apple silicon is too expensive for you, buy used or refurbished.

I’m not going to play with you here, or hem and haw like many YouTubers do. 8GB of memory and a 256GB SSD are not enough for musicians and creators. Some software will not run. It’s tight now and has a negative future-proofing factor. A 16GB memory upgrade for $200 and a 512GB SSD upgrade for $200 are seriously the minimum of what you need.

My minimum Apple computer recommendation for musicians and creators is 16GB memory and 512GB SSD or more. Any less than this does not make performance or economic sense. You will regret buying an Apple M Series system with 8GB memory and a 256GB SSD.

It is starting to look like the Mac mini will be passing over the M3 Series. Mark Gurman says there will be a “A Mac mini in both M4 and M4 Pro configurations, coming between the end of 2024 and early 2025.”

When the Mac mini M3 Series didn’t materialize in March, it still seemed logical it would be announced before or at the WWDC24 Developers Conference. Now with Mark Gurman’s information, it seems less likely that Apple would release a product with less than a year’s lifespan. It has happened before so it’s not entirely out of the question, so we’ll see…

Mac mini computers are amazing machines with one caveat. Do not upgrade them too much. If you upgrade them too much, the next higher model will make more sense.

Mac mini M4

There are no expected changes to the Mac mini M4, except the M4 processor itself.

Mac mini M4 Pro

There are no expected changes to the Mac mini M4 Pro, except the M4 Pro processor itself.

Information you need to properly digest web sites & especially YouTube.
Updated frequently – Apple Technology YouTube Critique

CPU & GPU Performance Benchmarks

I would generally advise to not get too tied up in the minutiae of benchmarks, but they are useful for relative comparisons of processors. It is worth noting that no M Series processors are slouches. Some more than others, but all of them are a noticeable improvement over the Intel processors in previous generation Macs.

That said, the Mac mini M4/M4 Pro is not out yet, we do not know exactly how it will perform.

DAW Performance Benchmarks

Check software compatibilities

It should go without saying, but I’m gonna say it anyway. M Series has been out since November 2020. I think it’s crazy that any DAW or plugin should have issues or still be running on Rosetta emulation, but not everyone listens to me. Do your homework!

Furthermore, in my opinion any major software company that markets to Apple users and hasn’t updated their software to include Apple silicon compatibility deserves to lose your business. It’s been over 3 years, and at this point it’s a real screw you. They obviously don’t care about their customers and should be replaced by a company that cares more about their customers.

macOS 13 Ventura: Compatibility Guide

macOS 14 Sonoma: Compatibility Guide

My personal experience with Sonoma has been very good. Everything I use runs natively on M Series and is compatible with Sonoma. But don’t listen to me, do your homework!

Ports are important for musicians & content creators

The 2 Thunderbolt 4/USB-C ports on the Mac mini M4 are a bit tight for musicians and creators, but can also be easily expanded with a hub if you need more. The 4 Thunderbolt 4/USB-C ports on the Mac mini M4 Pro are better for musicians and creators. Also an external monitor like the Apple Studio Display has 3 more USB-C ports in addition to the Thunderbolt 3 connection port.

You will want to plug your interface directly into USB-C and find the 2 legacy USB-A ports good for USB hard drives, flash drives, cables to synths, cable to printer etc.

Obviously wise future purchases will be solidly Thunderbolt or USB-C. The HDMI will be very useful for TV, and occasionally most musicians like to plug headphones directly into the system, though most of the time it’s either through an interface or Bluetooth. You can also buy the Apple USB-C VGA Multiport Adapter for an older existing monitor if you need it. This adapter also has a USB-C and a USB-A.

Mac mini hardware upgrades

Remember no internal hardware upgrades can be performed. This is especially true with Apple silicon. SoC or System on Chip as you probably already know, cannot be upgraded. The advantages are more than worth it, but push yourself to adequately configure memory and storage for the future or get the appropriate system.

External storage alternatives

I recommend backing up all data to the cloud, and supplementing the internal Apple SSD with an external USB-C or Thunderbolt SSD/HD.

SSD speed needs for music production are similar to photography and video. This video will help you choose external SSD solutions (also in YouTube playlist below).

See Apple M Series External USB-C SSD Options for a more extensive discussion and specific product recommendations.

More soon, check back!

Thanks!
-Yehuda

Manufacturer’s website
https://www.apple.com/mac-mini/

Product support, downloads
https://support.apple.com/

Videos

Yehuda Rothschild Apple Mac mini M4 Series YouTube Playlist

Useful Links

Apple related pages
Updated periodically – Apple Silicon is the DAW standard
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Studio M1 Max & M1 Ultra
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Studio M2 Max & M2 Ultra
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Studio M3 Max & M3 Ultra
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Pro M1 Pro & M1 Max
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Pro M2 Pro & M2 Max
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Pro M3 Pro & M3 Max
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Pro M2 Ultra
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Pro M3 Ultra & M3 Extreme
Updated periodically – Apple Mac mini M1
Updated periodically – Apple Mac mini M2 & M2 Pro
Updated periodically – Apple Mac mini M3 & M3 Pro
Updated periodically – Apple Studio Display
Updated periodically – Apple M1 Processor Series
Updated periodically – Apple M2 Processor Series
Updated periodically – Apple M3 Processor Series

Follow on Mastodon – TurtleIsland.social/@Yehuda

This page is subject to content updates/additions. If you think any content should be updated or added, please leave a private comment on Mastodon – TurtleIsland.social/@Yehuda.

Apple Mac mini M3 & M3 Pro

Seems unlikely the M3 Series Mac mini will be released

Apple Mac mini M3 $999.00 ?? minimum as recommended below
Apple Mac mini M3 Pro $1299.00 ?? minimum as recommended below

Do not buy a computer with 8GB memory and a 256GB SSD! Why any musician or creator would buy a new system constrained like this in 2024 is beyond me. If properly configured Apple silicon is too expensive for you, buy used or refurbished.

I’m not going to play with you here, or hem and haw like many YouTubers do. 8GB of memory and a 256GB SSD are not enough for musicians and creators. Some software will not run. It’s tight now and has a negative future-proofing factor. A 16GB memory upgrade for $200 and a 512GB SSD upgrade for $200 are seriously the minimum of what you need.

My minimum Apple computer recommendation for musicians and creators is 16GB memory and 512GB SSD or more. Any less than this does not make performance or economic sense. You will regret buying an Apple M Series system with 8GB memory and a 256GB SSD.

Now that on May 7, 2024 Apple announced the M4 for the iPad Pro, available May 15, 2024, it looks like the Mac mini will be passing over the M3 Series. Mark Gurman says there will be a “A Mac mini in both M4 and M4 Pro configurations, coming between the end of 2024 and early 2025.”

When the Mac mini M3 Series didn’t materialize in March, it still seemed logical it would be announced before or at the WWDC24 Developers Conference. With Mark Gurman’s information and now the M4 iPad, it seems very unlikely that Apple would release a product with less than a year’s lifespan. It has happened before so it’s not entirely out of the question, so we’ll see…

Mac mini computers are amazing machines with one caveat. Do not upgrade them too much. If you upgrade them too much, the next higher model will make more sense.

Mac mini M3

There are no expected changes to the Mac mini M3, except the M3 processor itself. The M3 processor is out already, so we know exactly what to expect.

Mac mini M3 Pro

There are no expected changes to the Mac mini M3 Pro, except the M3 Pro processor itself. The M3 Pro processor is out already, so we know exactly what to expect.

Information you need to properly digest web sites & especially YouTube.
Updated frequently – Apple Technology YouTube Critique

CPU & GPU Performance Benchmarks

I would generally advise to not get too tied up in the minutiae of benchmarks, but they are useful for relative comparisons of processors. It is worth noting that no M Series processors are slouches. Some more than others, but all of them are a noticeable improvement over the Intel processors in previous generation Macs.

That said, even though the Mac mini M3/M3 Pro is not out yet, we know exactly how it will perform.

DAW Performance Benchmarks

M2/M2 Pro

M3/M3 Pro

M3 DAW performance has improved decently over the M2. M3 Pro DAW performance is pretty much a wash over the M2 Pro. The M3 Pro 11 core CPU is actually a slight downgrade in DAW performance compared to the M2 Pro 10 core CPU. The M3 Pro 12 core CPU is improved compared to the M2 Pro CPU, but only very slightly.

The M3 Pro is a great system for DAWs, I highly recommend it. However, I would not upgrade an M2 Pro for DAW performance alone. Maybe if you wanted more cores, memory or SSD capacity, but also be mindful of the price point it makes more sense to upgrade to the Mac Studio M3 Max, which is a serious DAW performance upgrade.

Of course, realistically the mass majority of musicians are going to use less than 100 tracks. If you need more, I’d wait for the Mac Studio M3 Max to come out which you can see makes quite a jump up in DAW performance.

Check software compatibilities

It should go without saying, but I’m gonna say it anyway. M Series has been out since November 2020. I think it’s crazy that any DAW or plugin should have issues or still be running on Rosetta emulation, but not everyone listens to me. Do your homework!

Furthermore, in my opinion any major software company that markets to Apple users and hasn’t updated their software to include Apple silicon compatibility deserves to lose your business. It’s been over 3 years, and at this point it’s a real screw you. They obviously don’t care about their customers and should be replaced by a company that cares more about their customers.

macOS 13 Ventura: Compatibility Guide

macOS 14 Sonoma: Compatibility Guide

My personal experience with Sonoma has been very good. Everything I use runs natively on M Series and is compatible with Sonoma. But don’t listen to me, do your homework!

Ports are important for musicians & content creators

The 2 Thunderbolt 4/USB-C ports on the Mac mini M3 are a bit tight for musicians and creators, but can also be easily expanded with a hub if you need more. The 4 Thunderbolt 4/USB-C ports on the Mac mini M3 Pro are better for musicians and creators. Also an external monitor like the Apple Studio Display has 3 more USB-C ports in addition to the Thunderbolt 3 connection port.

You will want to plug your interface directly into USB-C and find the 2 legacy USB-A ports good for USB hard drives, flash drives, cables to synths, cable to printer etc.

Obviously wise future purchases will be solidly Thunderbolt or USB-C. The HDMI will be very useful for TV, and occasionally most musicians like to plug headphones directly into the system, though most of the time it’s either through an interface or Bluetooth. You can also buy the Apple USB-C VGA Multiport Adapter for an older existing monitor if you need it. This adapter also has a USB-C and a USB-A.

Mac mini hardware upgrades

Remember no internal hardware upgrades can be performed. This is especially true with Apple silicon. SoC or System on Chip as you probably already know, cannot be upgraded. The advantages are more than worth it, but push yourself to adequately configure memory and storage for the future or get the appropriate system.

External storage alternatives

I recommend backing up all data to the cloud, and supplementing the internal Apple SSD with an external USB-C or Thunderbolt SSD/HD.

SSD speed needs for music production are similar to photography and video. This video will help you choose external SSD solutions (also in YouTube playlist below).

See Apple M Series External USB-C SSD Options for a more extensive discussion and specific product recommendations.

More soon, check back!

Thanks!
-Yehuda

Manufacturer’s website
https://www.apple.com/mac-mini/

Product support, downloads
https://support.apple.com/

Videos

Yehuda Rothschild Apple Mac mini M2 Series YouTube Playlist

Yehuda Rothschild Apple Mac M Series Music Production YouTube Playlist

Useful Links

Apple related pages
Updated periodically – Apple Silicon is the DAW standard
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Studio M1 Max & M1 Ultra
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Studio M2 Max & M2 Ultra
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Studio M3 Max & M3 Ultra
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Pro M1 Pro & M1 Max
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Pro M2 Pro & M2 Max
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Pro M3 Pro & M3 Max
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Pro M2 Ultra
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Pro M3 Ultra & M3 Extreme
Updated periodically – Apple Mac mini M1
Updated periodically – Apple Mac mini M2 & M2 Pro
Updated periodically – Apple Mac mini M3 & M3 Pro
Updated periodically – Apple Studio Display
Updated periodically – Apple M1 Processor Series
Updated periodically – Apple M2 Processor Series
Updated periodically – Apple M3 Processor Series

Follow on Mastodon – TurtleIsland.social/@Yehuda

This page is subject to content updates/additions. If you think any content should be updated or added, please leave a private comment on Mastodon – TurtleIsland.social/@Yehuda.

Apple Mac mini M1

Lowest cost desktop option for musicians and creators

Apple Mac mini M1 $1099.00 minimum as recommended below

Do not buy a computer with 8GB memory and a 256GB SSD! Why any musician or creator would buy a new system constrained like this in 2024 is beyond me. If properly configured Apple silicon is too expensive for you, buy used or refurbished.

I’m not going to play with you here, or hem and haw like many YouTubers do. 8GB of memory and a 256GB SSD are not enough for musicians and creators. Some software will not run. It’s tight now and has a negative future-proofing factor. A 16GB memory upgrade for $200 and a 512GB SSD upgrade for $200 are seriously the minimum of what you need.

My minimum Apple computer recommendation for musicians and creators is 16GB memory and 512GB SSD or more. Any less than this does not make performance or economic sense. You will regret buying an Apple M Series system with 8GB memory and a 256GB SSD.

With the above caveats, the Mac mini M1 and its siblings, the MacBook Air M1 and the 24″ iMac M1 make good low cost options for musicians and creators. For some the 13″ MacBook Pro M1 would also be a viable option, but I personally hate the touch bar and find the design/features dated, so they are not for me (or the majority of others).

CPU & GPU Performance Benchmarks

I would generally advise to not get too tied up in the minutiae of benchmarks, but they are useful for relative comparisons of processors. It is worth noting that no M Series processors are slouches. Some more than others, but all of them are a noticeable improvement over the Intel processors in previous generation Macs.

CPU single-core performance of the M1 processors in the Mac mini are very similar to all other M1 Series processors, because of course they all share the same CPU single-core.

CPU and GPU multi-core performance is where the differences become more apparent because of the different number of cores.

DAW Benchmarks

To give you a rough idea of DAW performance, these Logic Pro benchmarks come from the ‘Mac Studio vs M1 Mac Mini after 2 Weeks! Real-World Results..’ video located in the YouTube section farther down this page. These are base models. The Mac mini M1 8GB has 8 CPU cores and 8 GPU cores. The Mac Studio M1 Max 32GB has 10 CPU cores and 24 GPU cores.

Note the tracks in this benchmark are not necessarily real world loaded but I think you can see both of these systems will satisfy average DAW performance needs. Real world loaded I would feel very comfortable throwing 60 tracks at the Mac mini M1 8GB model or 115 tracks at the Mac Studio M1 Max 32GB model. No need to completely dog out the CPU, ha! The numbers would be comparable for Ableton Live or other DAWs as well.

DAWs will run on an 8GB Mac mini but you will hit the memory ceiling and feel it. Your call but I recommend 16GB. 256GB is a pointless SSD capacity as well. You will be on external storage very quickly.

Check software compatibilities

It should go without saying, but I’m gonna say it anyway. M1 series has been out since November 2020 and macOS Monterey since October 2021. I think it’s crazy that any DAW or plugin should have issues or still be running on Rosetta emulation, but not everyone listens to me. Do your homework!

macOS 12 Monterey: Compatibility Guide

Furthermore, in my opinion any major software company that markets to Apple users and hasn’t updated their software to include Apple silicon compatibility deserves to lose your business. It’s been a year and a half, and at this point it’s a real screw you. They obviously don’t care about their customers and should be replaced by a company that cares more about their customers.

All that said, my personal experience has been very good. Everything I use runs natively on M Series and is compatible with Monterey. But don’t listen to me, do your homework!

macOS 13 Ventura: Compatibility Guide

My personal experience with Ventura has also been very good. Everything I use runs natively on M Series and is compatible with Ventura. But don’t listen to me, do your homework!

Ports are important for musicians & content creators

I am especially glad Mac mini M1s have an Ethernet RJ-45, 2 Thunderbolt/USB-C ports, 2 legacy USB-A ports, and an HDMI port. The Thunderbolt/USB-C and the USB-A ports can also be easily expanded with a hub if you need more. Also an external monitor like the Apple Studio Display has 3 more USB-C ports in addition to the Thunderbolt 3 connection port if you go that route.

You will want to plug your interface directly into USB-C or if you can’t do that, USB-A. The USB-A ports will be useful for legacy hard drives, flash drives, cables to synths, cable to printer etc.

Obviously wise future purchases will be solidly Thunderbolt or USB-C. The HDMI will be very useful for TV, and occasionally most musicians like to plug headphones directly into the system, though most of the time it’s either through an interface or Bluetooth. You can also buy the Apple USB-C VGA Multiport Adapter for an older existing monitor if you need it. This adapter also has a USB-C and a USB-A.

Mac mini hardware upgrades

Remember no internal hardware upgrades can be performed. This is especially true with Apple silicon. SoC or System on Chip as you probably already know, cannot be upgraded. The advantages are more than worth it, but push yourself to adequately configure memory and storage for the future.

External storage alternatives

I recommend backing up all data to the cloud, and supplementing the internal Apple SSD.

See Apple M Series External USB-C SSD Options for a more extensive discussion and specific product recommendations.

The Mac mini M1 has what it takes to last 5+ years

This is why you buy Apple. Realistically with the cost of computers these days, a 1-3 year refresh cycle is not practical for most people. Unlike the majority if not all PC systems, Apple computers are built to last and Apple silicon is state of the art enough to start you at the head of the pack.

Keep coming back

What will be different about this site compared to many Apple sites is over time we will be sharing configuration and electronic music/video recording pertinent information. More soon.

Thanks!
-Yehuda

Manufacturer’s website
https://www.apple.com/mac-mini/

Product support, downloads
https://support.apple.com/

Videos

Yehuda Rothschild Apple Mac mini M1 Series YouTube Playlist

Yehuda Rothschild Apple Mac M Series Music Production YouTube Playlist

Useful Links

Apple related pages
Updated periodically – Apple Silicon is the DAW standard
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Studio M1 Max & M1 Ultra
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Studio M2 Max & M2 Ultra
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Studio M3 Max & M3 Ultra
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Pro M1 Pro & M1 Max
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Pro M2 Pro & M2 Max
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Pro M3 Pro & M3 Max
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Pro M2 Ultra
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Pro M3 Ultra & M3 Extreme
Updated periodically – Apple Mac mini M1
Updated periodically – Apple Mac mini M2 & M2 Pro
Updated periodically – Apple Mac mini M3 & M3 Pro
Updated periodically – Apple Studio Display
Updated periodically – Apple M1 Processor Series
Updated periodically – Apple M2 Processor Series
Updated periodically – Apple M3 Processor Series

Follow on Mastodon – TurtleIsland.social/@Yehuda

This page is subject to content updates/additions. If you think any content should be updated or added, please leave a private comment on Mastodon – TurtleIsland.social/@Yehuda.

Apple Mac mini M2 & M2 Pro

Lowest cost desktop option for musicians and creators

Apple Mac mini M2 $999.00 minimum as recommended below
Apple Mac mini M2 Pro $1299.00 minimum as recommended below

Do not buy a computer with 8GB memory and a 256GB SSD! Why any musician or creator would buy a new system constrained like this in 2024 is beyond me. If properly configured Apple silicon is too expensive for you, buy used or refurbished.

I’m not going to play with you here, or hem and haw like many YouTubers do. 8GB of memory and a 256GB SSD are not enough for musicians and creators. Some software will not run. It’s tight now and has a negative future-proofing factor. A 16GB memory upgrade for $200 and a 512GB SSD upgrade for $200 are seriously the minimum of what you need.

My minimum Apple computer recommendation for musicians and creators is 16GB memory and 512GB SSD or more. Any less than this does not make performance or economic sense. You will regret buying an Apple M Series system with 8GB memory and a 256GB SSD.

Mac mini M2

With the above caveats, the Mac mini M2 and its sibling, the MacBook Air M2, make amazing low cost options for musicians and creators. For some the 13″ MacBook Pro M2 would also be a viable option, but I personally hate the touch bar and find the design/features dated, so they are not for me (or the majority of others).

A Mac mini M2 with 16GB memory and 512GB SSD is $999.00. Leave it at that. If you want more than that, move up to the Mac mini M2 Pro, ok?

P.S. The 256GB SSD is slow, much slower than the 512GB SSD.

The Mac mini M2 has HDMI 2.0, WiFi 6E, and Bluetooth 5.3. Otherwise it has the same ports and same number of ports that the Mac mini M1 has (notably 2 Thunderbolt 4/USB-C ports). Note the Mac mini M2 supports 2 displays, one up to 6K over Thunderbolt, and one up to 5K over Thunderbolt or 4K over HDMI.

Mac mini M2 Pro

Many people feel the Mac mini M2 Pro is one of the best and most important systems Apple has released lately. The Mac mini M2 Pro is really the star of this release. If you are in the $1299.00-$2199.00 budget range, give it serious consideration. Yes it costs more than a Mac mini M2, but you get a lot of bang for your buck.

I will also mention that if you would add more than two options of CPU/GPU cores, memory, or SSD to the $1299.00 Mac mini M2 Pro, you might consider jumping to the Mac Studio M1 Max. Personally, for a primary system I would take the Mac mini M2 Pro in its $1299.00 configuration or bump it up to 32GB memory and a 1TB SSD, making it $1899.00 and that is probably it. Any more upgrades than that and you are firmly in Mac Studio territory. $1299.00 to $1899.00 is the sweet spot for the Mac mini M2 Pro.

If you add the 12 CPU cores, 19 GPU cores option to that, it is $2199.00, the same as a Mac Studio M1 Max with 10 CPU cores, 24 GPU cores and 1TB SSD. The Mac Studio M1 Max also has 10 Gigabit Ethernet, the 2 front USB-C ports, a front SD card slot and more GPU power, but the Mac mini M2 Pro has more CPU power. Better CPU power or better GPU power and form factor, it’s a difficult choice for a DAW user…

Keep in mind, that just like the MacBook Pro M2 Pro, the 512GB SSD on the Mac mini M2/M2 Pro is not slow, it is fast, but the 1TB SSD is as much as twice as fast.

The Mac mini M2 Pro has HDMI 2.1, WiFi 6E, and Bluetooth 5.3. It has 4 Thunderbolt 4/USB-C ports. Otherwise it has the same ports and same number of ports that the Mac mini M1 has. Note the Mac mini M2 Pro supports up to 3 displays, two up to 6K 60Hz over Thunderbolt, and one up to 4K 60Hz over HDMI, OR one up to 6K 60Hz over Thunderbolt and one up to 4K 144Hz over HDMI, OR one up to 8K 60Hz OR one 4K 240Hz. Whew! Read the specs for details.

Information you need to properly digest web sites & especially YouTube.
Updated frequently – Apple Technology YouTube Critique

CPU & GPU Performance Benchmarks

I would generally advise to not get too tied up in the minutiae of benchmarks, but they are useful for relative comparisons of processors. It is worth noting that no M Series processors are slouches. Some more than others, but all of them are a noticeable improvement over the Intel processors in previous generation Macs.

CPU single-core performance of the M2 and M2 Pro processors in the Mac mini are very similar to all other M2 Series processors, because of course they all share the same CPU single-core.

CPU and GPU multi-core performance is where the differences become more apparent because of the different number of cores.

DAW Performance Benchmarks

The M2 will handle 70+ tracks. Both versions of the M2 Pro are going to be able to handle double that at 150+ tracks. DAWs are heavy on CPU use, with very little GPU load. This Logic Pro benchmark comes from ‘The TRUTH about New Mac Mini after 1 Month – M2 vs M2 Pro!‘ video located in the YouTube section farther down this page.

I would strongly recommend the M2 Pro 10 core CPU, 16 core GPU or the M2 Pro 12 core CPU, 19 core GPU as perfect processors for the majority of musicians. Not only is your DAW gonna hum like never before, but you will experience great video and graphics processing with the 16 or 19 core GPU.

If you need more CPU horsepower for a DAW, you will need to move into a desktop Mac Studio M1 Ultra. The extra GPU cores of an M1 or M2 Max won’t help a DAW. Video and graphics processing are different issues of course.

Check software compatibilities

It should go without saying, but I’m gonna say it anyway. M Series has been out since November 2020. I think it’s crazy that any DAW or plugin should have issues or still be running on Rosetta emulation, but not everyone listens to me. Do your homework!

Furthermore, in my opinion any major software company that markets to Apple users and hasn’t updated their software to include Apple silicon compatibility deserves to lose your business. It’s been over 2 years, and at this point it’s a real screw you. They obviously don’t care about their customers and should be replaced by a company that cares more about their customers.

macOS 13 Ventura: Compatibility Guide

My personal experience with Ventura has been very good. Everything I use runs natively on M Series and is compatible with Ventura. But don’t listen to me, do your homework!

Ports are important for musicians & content creators

The 2 Thunderbolt 4/USB-C ports on the Mac mini M2 are a bit tight for musicians and creators, but can also be easily expanded with a hub if you need more. The 4 Thunderbolt 4/USB-C ports on the Mac mini M2 Pro are better for musicians and creators. Also an external monitor like the Apple Studio Display has 3 more USB-C ports in addition to the Thunderbolt 3 connection port.

You will want to plug your interface directly into USB-C and find the 2 legacy USB-A ports good for USB hard drives, flash drives, cables to synths, cable to printer etc.

Obviously wise future purchases will be solidly Thunderbolt or USB-C. The HDMI will be very useful for TV, and occasionally most musicians like to plug headphones directly into the system, though most of the time it’s either through an interface or Bluetooth. You can also buy the Apple USB-C VGA Multiport Adapter for an older existing monitor if you need it. This adapter also has a USB-C and a USB-A.

Mac mini hardware upgrades

Remember no internal hardware upgrades can be performed. This is especially true with Apple silicon. SoC or System on Chip as you probably already know, cannot be upgraded. The advantages are more than worth it, but push yourself to adequately configure memory and storage for the future or get the appropriate system.

External storage alternatives

I recommend backing up all data to the cloud, and supplementing the internal Apple SSD with an external USB-C or Thunderbolt SSD/HD.

SSD speed needs for music production are similar to photography and video. This video will help you choose external SSD solutions (also in YouTube playlist below).

See Apple M Series External USB-C SSD Options for a more extensive discussion and specific product recommendations.

More soon, check back!

Thanks!
-Yehuda

Manufacturer’s website
https://www.apple.com/mac-mini/

Product support, downloads
https://support.apple.com/

Videos

Yehuda Rothschild Apple Mac mini M2 Series YouTube Playlist

Yehuda Rothschild Apple Mac M Series Music Production YouTube Playlist

Useful Links

Apple related pages
Updated periodically – Apple Silicon is the DAW standard
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Studio M1 Max & M1 Ultra
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Studio M2 Max & M2 Ultra
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Studio M3 Max & M3 Ultra
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Pro M1 Pro & M1 Max
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Pro M2 Pro & M2 Max
Updated periodically – Apple MacBook Pro M3 Pro & M3 Max
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Pro M2 Ultra
Updated periodically – Apple Mac Pro M3 Ultra & M3 Extreme
Updated periodically – Apple Mac mini M1
Updated periodically – Apple Mac mini M2 & M2 Pro
Updated periodically – Apple Mac mini M3 & M3 Pro
Updated periodically – Apple Studio Display
Updated periodically – Apple M1 Processor Series
Updated periodically – Apple M2 Processor Series
Updated periodically – Apple M3 Processor Series

Follow on Mastodon – TurtleIsland.social/@Yehuda

This page is subject to content updates/additions. If you think any content should be updated or added, please leave a private comment on Mastodon – TurtleIsland.social/@Yehuda.