How Well Does the M2 Pro Mac mini Handle Video?

I'm not a novice to the world of computer hardware. I've been building my own Intel-based PCs for the better part of 25 years, but the new world order of Apple Silicon has turned conventional wisdom on its head for those looking to buy a machine for multimedia work.

For starters, there's no easy way to compare Apples to oranges (or Intels, really). What is an efficiency core versus a performance core? What does the number of GPU cores mean? How does that compare to the NVIDIA setup I was running before? I thought we were just excited a couple of years ago to get a quad-core Intel processor on a base Macbook Pro. It's like becoming unmoored from everything you've ever known about computers.

So, that's why I was glad to find a video from YouTuber Michael Panetta of Apple Help Line about editing video on the M2 Pro Mac mini. On a technical level, I'm not at all unhappy with my 2013 27" iMac, which was fully loaded (for the time) with an i7, SSD, and high-end video card. It's just that Apple has deemed it end-of-the-road for updates, and I'm unfortunately forced to upgrade. In theory, even an M1 should fit the bill, right? But it's not so clear.

The M2 Pro Mac mini compares favorably to the higher-priced M1-Max/Ultra-based Mac Studio. He even notes that for this particular video, they were "damn near the same times rendering out." With the 1/2 nomenclature on the chips, it's really hard to figure that out for yourself without owning both machines, but it seems there's a definitive value case to be made for the M2 Pro as a serious chip for video editing.

While he doesn't specifically test the base M2 Mini model, the assumption is that it might be close, but perhaps that will be next on his list to test (please)?

Do you edit video on a Mac Mini? What has your experience been? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Wasim Ahmad's picture

Wasim Ahmad is an assistant teaching professor teaching journalism at Quinnipiac University. He's worked at newspapers in Minnesota, Florida and upstate New York, and has previously taught multimedia journalism at Stony Brook University and Syracuse University. He's also worked as a technical specialist at Canon USA for Still/Cinema EOS cameras.

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The video author spends far too much time talking about the fact that he started a project that on a computer that had insufficient internal storage for his needs with no external storage hooked up. If you're doing that sort of video heavy lifting then shouldn't you know what your needs are and have external storage solutions lined up?

I think it's a valid point though. What Apple charges for extra space is absurd and I'd be curious as to how it all runs off of an SSD. In 2023, releasing a machine with 256gb makes no sense other than to advertise a low price, which is what I think is happening here.

The internal SSD should only be used for the apps and sundry bits and pieces.

Any media files should always be on an external drive. (As should scratch disks for PS, cache / render files and backups).

I always edit current projects on the internal HD or SSD of whatever computer I'm on, and then move it off once it's complete. I've been doing it this way for 18 years now and my drives have been fine?