Could this be a good time to move from Mac mini Intel 3.2 GHz 6-Core Intel Core i7 to M2 Pro?

I have been reading that M3 Pro is not a significant boost up from M2 Pro. We are considering replacing our beloved Mac mini Intel 3.2 GHz 6-Core Intel Core i7 (16 GB RAM. 1 TB) to one of the M2 Pros?

Our bimonthly video editing may be the most challenging task our Intel does which can take up to an hour sometimes. No biggie to us. The 16 GB RAM does cause the fan to come with multiple apps and tabs open. And it has always done that.

Most of the time, I know “now” is generally the best time to purchase! We are being a tad more mindful as M3 Pro Mac minis are near-ish and maybe - just maybe - the wait might be worth it. We are keen to future proof and have newer tools for our screen time.

What comments, strategies and questions to ask have you to share?


I think it’s a fine time. The M3 Pro having more efficiency cores than the M2 Pro won’t be as big a deal on a desktop as on a laptop, and the multicore scores are close. You can get the specs in your screenshot as a refurb right now, too.

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It’s always a good time to move from Intel to Apple Silicon.

Seriously, the performance difference between the last generations of Intel Macs and any Apple Silicon Mac is large enough that making the leap is going to be a big step forward regardless of whether it’s an M1, M2, or M3.


Well my rule is to upgrade if the current system isn’t doing the job (won’t run desired software or peripherals, is frustratingly slow) and a new system will.

I’m keeping my Intel iMac and MacBook Pro as they work just fine. However I did replace my server, a 2012 Intel Mac mini with an M1 Mac mini (from the refurbished store) earlier this year because I couldn’t run the latest macOS or software.

Get the refurb model! It’s the way to go. And you’ll love the upgrade.

Is this a good time to move from Intel to M-series Macs?


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Thank you all.

What wise words have you about RAM and storage size selection?
How does the investment for either (or both) help with an extended useful life and resale?

This is a perennial question that is discussed many times on this forum and one that only you can answer. It helps if you already use a Mac (or PC) and know what your needs are in this area and whether you are butting up against your current resources. Usually the advice is to get as much memory and internal SSD storage as you can afford. Commonly it is said that these specs depend on what you use your Mac for and whether you are likely to expand the suite of apps that you use in the future and need to store significantly more data.


Thank you @karlnyhus. That makes sense to me.

RAM: What and where do I look for if the current mini (intel i7 15 GB) is bumping up against resources?
SSD: We got a 1TB and are using about 50% of that.

I am curious what comments and guidance other contributors here have
@snelly @ChrisUpchurch @tomalmy @cornchip @ibuys

Thanks all!

The general recommendation that I have seen is whatever windows ram in your previous machine, make that the starting point in the Silicon machine. As far as, drive space — “it depends.” Can you offload some of your .5TB to an external? Do you accumulate large files rapidly. I have chosen to go with 1TB, then offload projects to an external drive for storage, along with access when I need it.

Check Activity Monitor to see your RAM and CPU usage.

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Check if your Mac needs more RAM in Activity Monitor - Apple Support

Green for low memory pressure and “Swap Used” always zero are signs that your Mac is handling its workload well.

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Look at current usage and expect it will be the same. I don’t buy into the “you need less RAM with Apple Silicon”. A byte of data contains the same amount of information no matter what the processor.

More of either extends the useful life if you were to run out of either. Of course you could connect an external drive for more storage. Somehow it has always been the inability to run the latest software on an old machine that has forced me to upgrade.

For resale, keep in mind that the used equipment purchaser is primarily interested in low cost, not fancy features. So the return on add-ons is negligible. These are not appreciating assets!

Correct, but it’s not quite that simple. Memory is where those bytes are stored. In any real computer, memory is more than the particular RAM chips attached to the main CPU memory bus - there may be various levels of swap memory, graphics memory and SSD storage. It also matters how software is constructed: how many bytes are processed in each “chunk” and how efficiently these are moved in and out of processing.

Apple silicon systems have their memory organised quite differently to Intel based systems and are definitely better at moving bytes around within it. It’s too early to say what impact this has on the amount of memory you need in detail. You certainly need as much as you can afford: that’s always true since you can’t upgrade later if you underspecify. You definitely need the same or bigger SSD in total as you are currently nearly filling(!) but it might be true that maxing out RAM is probably not quite as critical as it used to be. There are some studies around suggesting that 8GB RAM Apple silicon is measurably and even noticeably slower than similar 16GB RAM Apple silicon for realistic “mainstream” use, and that very memory intensive work (e.g. 3d graphics, video editing etc) slows down measurably at 16GB compared to more but a lot depends on exactly what you are doing.

My take would be that more RAM is better, that 8GB might not be ideal even for mainstream users but you are probably good to go at 16GB up. Of course, this would be less of a debate if the Apple tax on RAM and onboard SSD was less extortionate.

Even base level Apple silicon Macs are faster and better than pretty good intel macs.

I’m not sure. Obviously I’m a fan of lots of memory right now based on another thread. :slight_smile: But you are just mainly this computer to do a specific job where the resource needs are known, and you have an opportunity to get some specific sizes discounted. An Apple Silicon Mac Mini is also an easy hand-me-down to another project, rack server, donation to a school, etc.

So, I’d probably get 16GB and 512GB or 1T since it’s cheap refurbished unless you see growth in the kinds of projects it’ll be doing, or see it going to an employee who will push its limits over the next few years.

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I’d take a look at your budget first, decide independently how much you are comfortable spending, then get the best specs you can based on that number. Favor SSD over RAM, but only slightly. I normally go for the middle of the road choice of any machine.

I think any M-series Mac you get you’re going to be happy with.

I am revisiting this conversation in the light that I have been reading that the hardware which now includes M3 chips is not showing a significant boost in performance compared to the M2 set.

We push our i7 intel 2018 16GB Mac mini 2-4 hours a month to edit video and audio files. Most of the time we are using it for basic office and school administration purposes - task management, video chat, email, updating a couple of websites and doing research on the web. None of which except the video/audio project is considered to be heavy lifting.

We’re thinking that investing in a Mac mini M2 Pro in the next month or so would be a good move.

What comments do you all have with our reasoning? Would it be worth waiting a few months more for an M3 Mac mini to surface?

Thank you

According to the benchmarks, there’s a massive performance bump from Intel to Apple Silicon. Double-ish the performance. M1 to M2 is a smaller performance bump of about 15%. I would expect Apple’s M-series chips to progress similarly to what their iPhone chips have been in recent years:

Next year’s model will always be better. But I don’t think you’re going to be massively sad if you get the M2.

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To me, the biggest reason to buy or wait for the M3 is because it’s going to get macOS version updates and security patches for at least a year and maybe two longer.

I’ve been thinking about the 15” Air, but it currently uses the same chip that was introduced in the 13” M2 that was released almost two years ago, and it’s likely to get the M3 fairly soon.

I did that jump from a 2018 i7 MBP to a Mac Mini M2 Pro and yes, audio and video is dramatically faster even for casual, non pro tasks. For regular usage, you can feel it’s noticiably snappier but the i7 was not that bad. All in all, it’s an almost 6 year upgrade path with the Intel → Apple Silicon bump inside, so yes, it’s not a bad time to do it.

Pro tip: Keep an eye on refurbished M2 Pro minis…

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