When to Upgrade My Mac - 5 Months Later

Surprise I still haven't updated my Mac set up.

When to Upgrade My Mac - 5 Months Later
Photo by Tigran Kharatyan / Unsplash

Anyone who knows me knows that I take forever to decide on hardware upgrades that are for myself and / or my business. Scarcity mindset combined with feeling selfish while trying to feed my family combine to overthinking things to inaction.

It's Dรฉjร  Vu All Over Again

So here we are again, 5 months after my last "Should I upgrade my Mac?" post, which itself was a month after this December, 2022 post wondering what I should, and Apple has announced an upgrade M2 based Mac Studio.

The only bonus wrinkle Apple could throw into the situation is releasing a M2 or M3 iMac / Mac Studio upgrade, but that likely wonโ€™t happen until the fall of 2023.

So I was off by a few months in my Apple upgrade prediction.

What's Changed Since January, 2023?

The Mac mini I priced out in January - M2 12-core, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD - is still $2,324CAD + taxes, so that hasn't changed.

The upgraded Mac Studio is now an M2 Max 12-core, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD, for $2,949CAD + tax. So still just over $600 price difference. Despite not looking all that different spec-wise, there's a few under the hood differences worth noting with the Mac Studio:

  • Memory bandwidth: M2 Max has 400GB/s vs M2 Pro's 200GB/s
  • Two ProRes encode and decode engines, and two video encode engines vs one of each on Mac mini. Less time spent waiting for Final Cut Pro to import / export with the Studio.
  • Monitors: Mac Studio can support up to eight 4K displays, six 6K displays or three 8K displays, whereas the Mac mini support up to three displays with the M2 Pro. I doubt I'd ever have more than 2 monitors.
  • On the front, Mac Studio has 2 USB-C ports, and 1 SDXC card slot. The Mac mini has nothing on the front. Big points to the Studio for having front facing ports. I rarely have SD cards, but I suppose it's a nice option.
  • On the back, the only difference is the Mac Studio has a 10Gb Ethernet port, and the Mac mini a Gigabit Ethernet. A 10Gb Ethernet port is a $125CAD add on for the Mac mini.

Not surprisingly, the initial reviews of the Mac Studio are glowing. "It's the best Mac Studio ever made!" says reviewer given early Mac Studio hardware by Apple to review with no pressure to only say nice things, but obviously if you don't you won't get future hardware early. /cynical mode off

If you're thinking about this same comparison, MacRumors has a good Mac mini vs Mac Studio buyer's guide that may help you.

The video work I do for clients ebbs and flows between it's too much and why did I buy another external hard drive?, and so I can't completely justify it when my current machine does technically do the work.

But now that Apple's completed the transition to Apple Silicon with the Mac Pro finally getting on board with the rest of the team, Intel based Macs are clearly not long for this world. The resale value on a fairly loaded 2019 16" MacBook Pro is dropping with each new upgrade cycle.

My Ideal Mac World

I'd love to try living in a Mac Studio on the desk, iPad Air or iPad Pro for portability - especially now that Logic Pro and Final Cut Pro are out for iPadOS. But for now, I could just continue using my MacBook Pro for the few times I need to be away from my desk.

Although honestly, if I'm going anywhere for longer and I know someone there has a monitor, the Mac Studio in my backpack isn't a terrible option either.

I may have just convinced myself to pull the trigger. ๐Ÿ’ธ๐Ÿ’ธ๐Ÿ’ธ๐Ÿ’ธ

JUST KIDDING! I'll see you back here in 6 months when I'm still using the exact same set up as I am now.