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What to buy? Help me out Ken!


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What to buy? Help me out Ken!
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2023-11-05, 17:21

I need help figuring out what I want to buy. I’m pretty sure I have it nailed down now but want other’s perspectives on it. It is my money anyway… so what say you?

I am currently running a 2016 MBP 15” i7 16GB 500GB. I’ve had the battery swell two or three times now and have had to have to topcase replaced as a battery swap. It sits on my desk 99% of the time with an occasional break to roam around the house when I need to keep at something while not sitting at my desk.

My mobile computer has been (and still is) a 3rd Gen iPad Pro 12.9” with a keyboard folio case. With this keyboard it seems to do just about everything I need with some exceptions and this is when the MBP actually goes mobile.

Both devices are old but functional. My MBP is vintage and doesn’t get updates at all anymore. I actually used OpenCore patcher and installed Ventura on it. Last night I did normal updates and it broke the OS. I’m currently running in Target disk mode and pulling my files off of it that aren’t synced to my NAS or iCloud using Mrs T’s MBP and Thunderbolt. Once I finish I’m going to install the previous version that is still supported on the MBP so I don’t have this happen again while I’m needing it for my day job.

My thoughts are to buy a high end Mac mini with M2 Pro, 16GB and 512GB storage. Of course the mini updated in January this year and the M3 just came out so it seems like only a matter of time and I should see the M3 Pro in the mini. Eventually I’ll upgrade my iPad to the modern version with Mx in it and stick with the 12.9” size.

I do some video and audio editing but not enough in my mind to justify going to a Studio. I have a CalDigit TB3 dock for my MBP that I’m going to use with the new Mac, whichever version it is since I won’t gain anything making it jump to TB4. Most of my day to day is running “office” type apps and Remote Desktop connections into a work “PC” that is a VM on and Intel mini and SSH functions that actually go through a jump box I have for that purpose, though the SSH chain starts from my Mac I’m sitting at.

So I guess the real question here is what would make the Studio worth it with my usecase?

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
Visit our archived Minecraft world! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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chucker
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: near Bremen, Germany
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2023-11-05, 18:28

Given how much of your stuff doesn’t run locally anyway, I’m not sure there’s a flaw in your plan.

I will say if you do upgrade that mini further, you quickly come into Studio territory, which gains you a faster SoC, better cooling, more ports.
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kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
 
2023-11-05, 18:51

Well, the Studio is an M2 Max that has 2 additional CPU cores and double the memory bandwidth over the Mac mini's base M2 Pro. You're also getting twice the RAM, more USB ports, more TB ports, and significantly better cooling for sustained workflows. And, there's that extra support for more displays with the Studio. Considering the number of VM's you seem to tinker with, all of these things combined might come in handy.

Now, is it worth the additional $700? Yes, of course it is.

BUT! The mini M2 Pro will also be the fastest computer you've had. It's a smart, well-placed machine in the lineup and provides incredible bang for the buck. Still, it's a very hard choice. I suspect the M3 versions of both systems are six months away at most (March, or maybe June at WWDC at the longest). So, then, you have the next question: Is it worth waiting? And the answer is always, "yes" — if you can. The M3 seems to give an overall 20% performance increase — which is sizable — and with its recent release in the MacBook Pro the mini and Studio are clearly next in line and not terribly far off. Hell, at this point I wouldn't be surprised if Apple sneaks them in sometime in November.

Personally, I think you're a very good candidate for the Studio just because of all the tinkering/VM/etc. work that you do, and the Studio will make more long-term sense. Knowing what you do and what you're wanting to do, even if you get the mini I would recommend taking it to 32GB, but that's a $400 upgrade and immediately puts it solidly into Studio price territory at $1700. Then, the extra $300 is automatically worth it and you would be silly not to spend it.

So, it really gets down to a budget thing. If you have the extra $700, there's no way I could recommend you save it and go the mini route. I would urge you to get the Studio. The only reason to get the mini, instead, would be because you just haven't got that extra $700.

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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2023-11-05, 22:17

You both are spot on I think. I’m trying to be cheap but it doesn’t seem like I should. I also get the military/verteran’s discount so it would be $1800 for the base Studio. I would throw in the Magic Keyboard with TouchID too because I really like having it on the MBP.

I know I can get by with the mini, but I do think it wouldn’t be long and I would feel how restricted I am on it compared to the Studio. There are times where I crunch a massive block of videos to convert or even do stuff in Final Cut Pro. I do appreciate that the upgrades of the mini make the Studio a no brainer…. I was really just trying to be cheap.

Nice to know y’all know me well enough to be able to help me put real logic into what I’m going to do. I’m going to try to hold out until the M3 version comes I think. I managed to recover my MBP tonight (still running Ventura via OpenCore) by using internet Repair booting with Option-Command-R. It recognized that I needed to decrypt my drive, had me enter the password and reboot! Fixed, minus File Vault. Of course this means I’m in less of a rush to replace the machine now.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
Visit our archived Minecraft world! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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PB PM
Sneaky Punk
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Vancouver, BC
Send a message via Skype™ to PB PM 
2023-11-06, 00:02

Good choice, if you are doing a lot of heavy lifting the cooling of the mini is a hindrance. I used to use my Mini for a lot of video editing, it really bogs down when it hits the thermal limits from the tiny fan!
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2023-11-06, 09:35

Quote:
Originally Posted by PB PM View Post
Good choice, if you are doing a lot of heavy lifting the cooling of the mini is a hindrance. I used to use my Mini for a lot of video editing, it really bogs down when it hits the thermal limits from the tiny fan!
That is the practical details I needed to solidify my choice. Thanks. I assumed it would be "ok" but I grow impatient quickly.

Who am I kidding? I'm going to end up getting the base Studio and then lamenting that I didn't put an Ultra in it the first video I process.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
Visit our archived Minecraft world! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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chucker
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: near Bremen, Germany
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2023-11-06, 11:39

I don't think you need the Ultra, but I do think you want to upgrade the mini to the point where you might as well get the Ultra.

A mini with M2 Pro, 32 GiB RAM, 512 GB SSD is $1,699. That's just $300 short of the entry-level Studio, which gives you the same specs, but with more ports, better cooling and all that.

It's looking like Apple aims to upgrade Macs every 12-18 months (although they're about to miss that window for the 13-inch Air, which OTOH is weird because it's by far the biggest seller, but OTOH, it's probably explained by TSMC's yield issues). So, a new mini (last updated this January) might arrive in spring 2024, and a new Studio (last updated this June) in summer 2024. The Studio would probably feature the M3 Max, and that's quite an upgrade from the M2 Max, to the point where it almost reaches M2 Ultra scores.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2023-11-06, 13:56

Grrrr.... can I wait until June for a new Studio...

Yes.... I can....

Maybe.

I didn't realize it wasn't until this past June that the Studio was updated. It makes sense though because they want the Ultra ready and that needs to hit full production.

Well, if my MBP dies I'm going to order the Studio and pick it up at the local store so I'm down the least amount of time. I'm also going to prep this MBP to sync all data off of it in case the hack breaks something else and I'm stuck trying to make target disk mode work for it again.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
Visit our archived Minecraft world! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
  quote
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