New Mac Mini M2 for Dorico

At present I’m using a MacBook Pro M1 with 8GB RAM/256 SSD. I’m considering upgrading to one of the new M2 Minis with 16GB RAM and a 512GB SSD. Would there be any great advantage in getting the Pro version, given the the £350 price difference for the same spec? The extra ports don’t matter too much as I’ve got a Dell display with 4 USB ports. Would the Pro version be better for future proofing?

The Pro version gives you 2 more CPU cores, 6 more GPU cores, twice the memory bandwidth, and (perhaps most importantly) lets you configure up to 32Gb RAM, so there’s certainly value in the extra.

I have the M2 Pro Mini, and a quick test of Condensing and Uncondensing an orchestral score shows a brief spike to 75% CPU. (That’s 75% of one core.) I’ve rarely seen Dorico use more than around 100%.

If you plan to use ‘heavy’ instrument samples – e.g. Orchestral Tools, EastWest, Vienna Symphonic Library, etc, then you’ll find that the Audio Engine can use up to 300% CPU. (Again, where 100% is one of your 8 cores.) This is likely to be an peak, with a low of 100% and average of 200%.

More importantly is that large samples will use a lot of RAM: however, in my testing, Apple Silicon CPUs can actually ‘hold’ between 1.5 and 2 times the amount of data that they actually have RAM for, because of built-in hardware for memory compression, ultra-fast SSDs and high memory bandwith.

If you’re going to spring for anything, I’d suggest getting the full 24 Gb RAM that the M2 base can take. If you’re running NotePerformer only, then it’s not an issue.

Here’s some testing I did running some large samples on a 16 Gb M1 Mac through Dorico. (Orchestral Tools Miroire library on 18 staves.)

The audio was faultless, even though it’s dealing with around 24Gb of data!

You’ll be able to see your RAM and CPU usage on your 8Gb M1, using Activity Monitor, and make an assessment of your needs.

Don’t forget that, as with any hub, you’re splitting the bandwidth of the connected TB socket across those ports (and the video signal).


@ChrisW I would recommend against getting the 512GB SSD. Benchmark tests that I’ve seen show that it’s very slow compared to the other sizes available. As Ben mentioned, ultra-fast SSDs are part of what make the Mac Mini so memory efficient. The 512GB SSD really compromises that efficiency. You should seriously consider the 1TB SSD at a minimum.

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If by slow you mean 3000 MBps for sequential write and read, and faster for random reads and writes, which is more in line with ‘real world’ usage.

The 256 Gb Mini is half that; the M2 Pro @ 1Tb double.

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Thanks both, that really is helpful. I’m hoping at some point to get one of the bigger orchestral libraries, so I’ll need to take that into consideration. Checking the Activity Monitor on my M1 MacBook shows it’s definitely struggling at times, but also how remarkable the memory management is.

I’ll need to sit down and do the sums - does the 512GB SSD problem apply to both the basic and pro models do you know?

Thanks again.

Just play around with the configurator on the Apple website.


This data would suggest the M2 base will always max at 3000 MBps for any size.

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I might be mis-remembering regarding the SSD sizes. The 256GB SSD is probably the one to be avoided.

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I must say, I’m veering towards the M2 Pro model after doing more reading. Given the way that M2 memory operates, 16GB should well outperform the Dell XPS tower I’ve been using with Windows 11. This has never suffered memory issues - just a lot of others!

The extra ports will be valuable. I’d overlooked the fact that the Mini has an HDMI port as well as a power supply -so no need to use up a TB port and no need for hub.

The M2 Pro model really does look like a great choice. I’m currently using a mid-2010 Mac Pro that has reached the end of its life. It can’t go any further with OS upgrades. I’ve upgraded the CPU and GPU and it actually works quite well with Dorico, but it’s hard to say just how long it will remain viable, especially if future versions of the Qt application framework on which Dorico is built require a higher OS version than my Mac Pro can support. So the time has come to pull the trigger. When Dorico 5 comes out later this year, I’ll be replacing that 13-year-old computer with a shiny new M2 Pro Mac Mini.

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In fairness, I got the M2 Pro pimped up with 32Gb and 1 Tb. :grin:

Yes, the M2 Pro Mini scores higher on Geekbench than the 28-core 2019 Mac Pro - for over £10,000 less!!

The extra GPU capabilities are pretty decent, too, given that I’ve got 2 displays, one of which is 5K.

I’m anticipating that it will serve me for a long time, before one of us is declared obsolete.


For what it’s worth, I don’t expect the next version of Dorico to raise the minimum macOS version on which Dorico will run, but don’t forget that we only officially support much more recent versions, and we certainly recommend using a more recent version of macOS.

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Thanks Daniel. I tend to keep up with OS upgrades, especially now that I’m retired and less is at stake! I’ll need to wait a little longer to get an M2 Pro Mini, but it looks well worth the investment.

Well, finally pulled the plug and a shiny new M2 Pro Mini (base model) should arrive on Wednesday :grin:


Just to say thanks again for the advice to go for the Mini M2 Pro. The performance is astonishing, and the extra ports are definitely worthwhile.


I am currently thinking in purchasing a mac mini m2 pro and I was wandering if 16GB RAM is enough or I should upgrade to 32GB.

my current use case is quite minimal in terms of power requirements and I am sure that with 16GB is moren than enough, however down the road I would like to be able to run NPPE with the BBC CORE or similar, I was wondering if someone is running a full orchesrta with NPPE with 16GB or this is clearly not enough and I should upgrade to 32GB. The price is quite different and considering I am using dorico just as hobby I want to make sure the cost/benefit is well justified!

thanks a lot in advance!

NPPE uses 14.5 Gb with all of BBCSO Core loaded.


You’ll see that there is still ‘some’ memory pressure on an M2 Pro with 32Gb RAM:

However, someone posted showing NPPE using 37Gb of RAM on a Mac with 32Gb of RAM!! (on top of everything else using RAM.)

In short: M-series Macs are remarkably memory efficient, and you’re unlikely to need more than 16Gb RAM for almost every task. The one task that does require lots of RAM, of course, is … holding sample library files in memory. BBCSO Core is one of the lighter ones that NPPE uses.

As for CPU usage: playback can go up to about 200% CPU (which is 2 cores, and you’ve got 10 cores in the Pro.)