Might have to buy a new Mini, but which one?

Even though my Mini is only 2 years old and I have invested heavily in it, I may be in a position to replace it because one of our work machines is getting crotchety and that creates an opportunity for me to move the Mini on. I’ll most likely get another one, but am not sure whether I’d be better off waiting a bit for the inevitable high end AS version, which could be here in a month or so, or going for a better specced Intel model like the current one. I already have the 3.2Ghz i7, but I’d probably get more RAM and storage if I get another.

One part of the question then, is which machine is likely to run 2 4K screens better? If I go for an M1 Pro or Max, are they likely to be able to outperform the Radeon Pro 580 8 GB that’s in my eGPU? I realise it’s only possible to speculate given that nothing is known for sure about the new Minis, but guessing that the MBPs should give some indication regarding graphics performance. I have benchmarks for them but don’t know how to compare them to an RX580 on a Mini.

I’m also a bit torn about maybe sticking with the past given that my average Mac lifespan is around 10 years. I’m kinda keen to move forward with AS but don’t want to go backwards in graphics performance.

What do people reckon? Would I be better off with an M1 Max? Anything else I should be considering with this change?

What do you do with them? I think the M1 Max should be able to give a 580 a run for its money, especially on Apple Silicon-optimised workflows like ProRes video encode/decode, but the comparison may not be so favourable otherwise.

Lightroom and a couple of games - Starcraft 2 & Warcraft 3 - are the most computationally challenging things I do at home. Lightroom on the 4K screens was effectively unusable before I got the eGPU.

I might be able to give you a bit of insight. I just bought a second hand M1 Mac mini. I was previously using a 2010 Mac Pro which had a Radeon 580 installed (and all the other upgrades running Big Sur). Just in general use & Photoshop etc. the mini absolutely hammers the Mac Pro.

The only thing I do which is really graphics card driven is Deep Prime noise reduction in DxO PhotoLab 5. The Mac mini can complete this task in less than half the time of the Mac Pro…

Good to know, thanks. What kind of screen(s) were you driving? I ask because my Mini was fine until I asked it to drive a couple of 4K monitors.

I’m just using one 4K monitor. I have never felt the need to use more than one…

New mini rumoured to be released on March 8