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View Full Version : Processor or Video card? What is the best mini for me?




Username02
Jul 21, 2011, 07:19 AM
Hi all.

Opinions welcome.
I am trying to decide between the Mini Server and the upgraded Mini with the dedicated graphics.

The uses of the machine will be:
- Home file server
- iTunes TV & Movie repository for streaming to Apple TVs
- HTPC hooked up via HDMI to TV
- Back up machine to use in lieu of my 2010 i7 15" MBP in the event of MBP breaking (I can not have computer downtime due to work ~ must run Parallels very good)
- Machine will be accessed mostly with Apple's Remote Desktop software and VNC applications but will be hooked up to an ACD in the event of MBP downtime.

Also, a quick question, if I get the server, can I restore from a Time Machine backup of a current machine in order to get my programs and files on to the server software (machine is currently running Lion standard)?

Thanks for looking.



obsidian1200
Jul 21, 2011, 09:14 AM
Judging by what you listed, you'll benefit from the quad core more than the dedicated GPU. The HD3000 can handle all the things you listed just fine. Unless you plan to do any gaming on the machine, which I don't think you will, the AMD GPU will be overkill for your needs.

EDIT: as for your time machine question, I'm honestly not sure how that would work out. I'd assume that you can make a new profile on your machine and use time machine to restore your files from the MBP to the profile, but I'm not positive on that, since I've never dealt with the server versions of OSX.

Username02
Jul 21, 2011, 12:16 PM
Thanks so much for your thoughts!

SO I take it that with only an HDMI connection used and mostly VNC/ARD access the graphics card is not necessary.

Will the extra cores help in Parallels vs. video card?

DHart
Jul 21, 2011, 01:01 PM
If I may add on to the discussion of processor vs. video card.

Which would be better for this application:

Photoshop and Lightroom work with a lot of large files displaying on a 61" 1080p flat screen TV.

I know that maxing out the RAM is a must for PS and LR, but which would serve better for this: the quad core processor or the better video card?

obsidian1200
Jul 21, 2011, 01:04 PM
Thanks so much for your thoughts!

SO I take it that with only an HDMI connection used and mostly VNC/ARD access the graphics card is not necessary.

Will the extra cores help in Parallels vs. video card?

For those tasks, I'm fairly certain the HD 3000 graphics will work just fine. You will definitely benefit more from extra cores when using Parallels than you would with the video card (assuming you don't plan on doing any heavy gaming while running parallels) because Parallels is more CPU reliant than GPU reliant.

ccc123
Jul 21, 2011, 01:15 PM
If I may add on to the discussion of processor vs. video card.

Which would be better for this application:

Photoshop and Lightroom work with a lot of large files displaying on a 61" 1080p flat screen TV.

I know that maxing out the RAM is a must for PS and LR, but which would serve better for this: the quad core processor or the better video card?
+1

Thanks, C

Username02
Jul 21, 2011, 03:06 PM
For those tasks, I'm fairly certain the HD 3000 graphics will work just fine. You will definitely benefit more from extra cores when using Parallels than you would with the video card (assuming you don't plan on doing any heavy gaming while running parallels) because Parallels is more CPU reliant than GPU reliant.

Thanks so much for your help and advice on this.. I really appreciate it.

xheathen
Jul 21, 2011, 03:30 PM
For those tasks, I'm fairly certain the HD 3000 graphics will work just fine. You will definitely benefit more from extra cores when using Parallels than you would with the video card (assuming you don't plan on doing any heavy gaming while running parallels) because Parallels is more CPU reliant than GPU reliant.

Granted, this is on a Windows machine, but I ended up building a small profile 3.2ghz Sandy Bridge box w/ 8gb of ram and the HD3000, and I've found the video to be a little sluggish. For most everything it works decently, and I can play Halflife on high settings unless it gets really intense (then it just stutters alot) but even in Photoshop, you can feel it dragging a little. At this point, I'm buying a new case so I can use my better vid card.

The mac mini is going to be my introduction into the apple world, and based on my HD3000 experience, I'm really thinking I'll need the discrete chip for graphics.

Username02
Jul 21, 2011, 03:59 PM
What version of Photoshop if you don't mind me asking?
Adobe has sure done a great job of bloating their software of late. :(

Mac Mini is a great machine for first foray to Mac. Such a great machine and Parallels is no joke for Windows needs. Just be sure to max out the machines ram! (not through apple. go with a 3rd party provider, but I am sure you know that if you build machines ;))

xheathen
Jul 21, 2011, 04:04 PM
CS4. On my previous machine, which was an AMD 949 Quad 2.8, I had a 512mb nVidia 9800gt in it, and it was smooth as butter. It lead me to believe it was the video that was doing it.

Username02
Jul 21, 2011, 04:10 PM
CS4. On my previous machine, which was an AMD 949 Quad 2.8, I had a 512mb nVidia 9800gt in it, and it was smooth as butter. It lead me to believe it was the video that was doing it.

Thanks much for this insight. I do use CS3 on the Mac side (and so happy it still works in Lion) so I am going to have to give this some more thought now.