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Old Oct 23, 2012, 06:11 PM   #1
scottgoh
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NEW Mac Mini or iMac

Yea... the wait is over...
now is the decision..
i am new to mac products. i am a wedding photographers with working RAW file size of 1ds2->5D2/3.
I use Photoshop, do some video editing as well.
which do u think is a better spec for $?

thank you for your input.
Scott
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Old Oct 23, 2012, 06:57 PM   #2
MCAsan
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This is partly a apple vs orange comparison unless you also add the monitor cost to the mini. Do you only need narrow gamut sRBB for editing or do you want wide aRGB gamut? If you want wide gamut, you would need a Dell Y2711 or similar panel. The Apple IPS panels have done sRGB very well in the past.
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Old Oct 23, 2012, 08:19 PM   #3
scottgoh
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This is partly a apple vs orange comparison unless you also add the monitor cost to the mini. Do you only need narrow gamut sRBB for editing or do you want wide aRGB gamut? If you want wide gamut, you would need a Dell Y2711 or similar panel. The Apple IPS panels have done sRGB very well in the past.
Thank you MCAsan,
I think i will only need sRBG. Do you have any recommend monitor if i go with mini?
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Old Oct 23, 2012, 11:00 PM   #4
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Google on "best photography monitor". You will find many pages of reviews and recommendations of 24", 27", and 30" photo monitors in prices from $600+ to $3000+. You need to decide which size you want (and have room for) and what the budget allows.
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Old Oct 23, 2012, 11:47 PM   #5
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You will find many pages of reviews and recommendations of 24", 27", and 30" photo monitors in prices from $600+ to $3000+. You need to decide which size you want (and have room for) and what the budget allows.
This. Basically, you need to decide on a budget. Forget about cheap $300 monitors, the iMac's screen will definitely be better. You should at least invest $600 or so, and a smaller, higher-quality screen is better than a big, low quality screen. Two good brands in the quality department are Eizo and NEC.

I've »lent« my Eizo FlexScan S2231W to my brother when I have moved abroad. He put it next to his 24" Dell screen and uses it in a dual monitor setup. The Eizo puts the Dell display to shame when it comes to colors. Also construction-wise, it's much, much better, you just need to lift both.

Overall, the iMac will be significantly faster than the Mac mini: it has faster processors with potentially more cores, much faster and larger storage (3.5" hard drives are much faster than 2.5" drives), much faster graphics and supports more RAM. Also, keep in mind you can connect 2 additional monitors to an iMac, so you can always get a better screen later.
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 01:47 AM   #6
Designer Dale
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This. Basically, you need to decide on a budget. Forget about cheap $300 monitors, the iMac's screen will definitely be better. You should at least invest $600 or so, and a smaller, higher-quality screen is better than a big, low quality screen. Two good brands in the quality department are Eizo and NEC.

I've »lent« my Eizo FlexScan S2231W to my brother when I have moved abroad. He put it next to his 24" Dell screen and uses it in a dual monitor setup. The Eizo puts the Dell display to shame when it comes to colors. Also construction-wise, it's much, much better, you just need to lift both.

Overall, the iMac will be significantly faster than the Mac mini: it has faster processors with potentially more cores, much faster and larger storage (3.5" hard drives are much faster than 2.5" drives), much faster graphics and supports more RAM. Also, keep in mind you can connect 2 additional monitors to an iMac, so you can always get a better screen later.
Someone in the new iMac discussion thread said that the thin machines just announced (what the OP is looking at) have 2.5 in drives. I can't find capacities to 3TB in drives that small, though. In fact, the only 7200rpm 2.5 in drive is the Seagate Constellation. It's a high end product. The OP could also look at the Mini server. It's a quad core i7 and could be equipped with an ssd and hd. You could give it 16 gigs of ram, too, but it would be a DIY project. I love screwdrivers One of the regular posters here uses one and is quite happy with the performance.

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Old Oct 24, 2012, 07:44 AM   #7
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As a photographer, I generate large photo libraries in Lightroom. Those, plus my GBs of iTunes music, would not fit on drives in the 1TB or smaller range. So I use external thunderbolt drives with 3TB disks. If I had a mini, I would go for an internal SSD for boot and apps; however, I would go for USB 3 or thunderbolt drives for data storage.......and I would have a separate drive, such as inside a Time Capsule, for backing up the entire file system.
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 07:45 AM   #8
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Actually, all things considered, the Mac Mini is more expensive than an iMac.

The iMac includes a very nice screen (especially the 27" one, the outdated version is sold separately for $1000, remember). And it comes with a keyboard and a mouse.

The Mac Mini is half the price, but you are lacking all those. Yes, you could of course buy monitor+keyboard+mouse+speakers for $300 and be all set. But if you want something decent, you will at least go near the price tag of an iMac... Especially if you want a 27"!
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 07:56 AM   #9
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agreed. If you did not have a good monitor, and only needed a narrow gamut monitor (which is all most folks need), it would be hard to beat one of the new iMacs. If I were ordering desktops right now for wife and I, I would definitely order the new 27" iMac with internal SSD (not HD), fastest CPU, and 16GB of memory. I would also order a LaCie external thunderbolt HD set for data storage and a 3TB Time Capsule for backup, IP routing, and wifi hotspot.

As a member of National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) I can order with a business discount...which looks the same level as education discount. So if you are not a member of NAPP or similar org, it might be worth joining NAPP for a year just to get the discount on Apple products as well as products from other companies. Plus you get the NAPP Photoshop mag which is very good.
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 05:08 PM   #10
scottgoh
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Thank you for your responses.
I have a check and most likely goin to get the 2011 may iMac. I need a screen, it all add up to quite an amount.refurbished. I will upgrade it to 32GB ram. And thinking of changing the hard disk to a ssd owc. It's 3.1Ghz i5 27"iMac. I think speed wise, it's about the same as new iMac. And cheaper by lots. Lost the usb3.0, gain firewall, DVD. Don't require thin.

----------

I will look into joining NAPP. Thank you
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Old Oct 25, 2012, 11:41 AM   #11
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One last thing to consider....

What is your upgrade path? If you believe that in the future you will be moving to a Mac Pro (and whether or not you should is a different discussion) ... but if a Mac Pro is likely to be in your future then a Mini may be the smarter way to go. In the next few years, as you can afford them, you will start adding peripherals - another good monitor, a good printer, a few external HDDs for off-site backup, card readers, a scanner, etc. At some point you can just swap the Mini out and put the Mac Pro in its place, and all of your peripherals just swap over with minimal adjustment needed, and more importantly - the Mini may be useful repurposed to a new role than a retired iMac. I've read some interesting ways people use an older retired Mini in their homes and offices.

Only you know if you will need a Mac Pro though.
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Old Oct 25, 2012, 12:10 PM   #12
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If you believe that in the future you will be moving to a Mac Pro

Based on the current Mac Pro...I would totally disagree. You can build a i7 2011 socket 6 core Hack for much less. And the Hack will have native USB 3 and SATA 6GB connections...etc. Lets hope Apple gets their stuff together on Mac Pro in 2013. Hopefully the next generation will have native USB 3, thunderbolt, and SATA 6GB controllers.
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Old Oct 25, 2012, 01:28 PM   #13
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Based on the current Mac Pro...I would totally disagree. You can build a i7 2011 socket 6 core Hack for much less. And the Hack will have native USB 3 and SATA 6GB connections...etc. Lets hope Apple gets their stuff together on Mac Pro in 2013. Hopefully the next generation will have native USB 3, thunderbolt, and SATA 6GB controllers.
As I said in my post... only the OP knows if a Mac Pro may be in their future, so offered that advice conditionally.

Also - as a professional (which the OP seems to be as well) I wouldn't touch a hackintosh - period. I do not need the cheapest or the most powerful computer I can get, I need a computer I can rely on when it's working. And one that I can get fixed easily and quickly when it doesn't. A Mac with (or without) AppleCare means I can drop off the broken computer at an Apple store, go home continue working using my backup system (AppleCare simply means I won't have to pay for the repair).

A broken hackintosh means you have to stop working, research and troubleshoot and diagnose the problem, arrange for the parts, install the parts, and test the fixed system. My clients don't pay me to do tech support, they pay me to take photos.

I don't dispute that hackintoshes may be an appropriate solution (though, it's got to be said, not entirely legal) for some people who need the performance increase. But it is probably not an appropriate solution for someone who uses their system as a professional.

And no... for the record... I don't actually worry about the legality of hobbyists using a hackintosh. I've bent a few rules in my time, and I'm no hypocrite. But at the same time I also don't counsel others to break the rules. Well, rules of composition - yes, I will counsel people to break those rules... but I think you know what I mean.
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Old Oct 25, 2012, 04:44 PM   #14
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I get your points. But to me the current Mac Pro is a lame duck. Too much of it is too old technology. Hopefully the 2013 config will kill arse.
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Old Oct 25, 2012, 06:50 PM   #15
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Someone in the new iMac discussion thread said that the thin machines just announced (what the OP is looking at) have 2.5 in drives. I can't find capacities to 3TB in drives that small, though.
I didn't know they're using 2.5" drives now, I haven't seen any mention of that. There are 3 TB 2.5" drives on sale, but they are 15 mm high (as opposed to the usual 9.5 mm which fit in most laptops), so these drives are geared towards desktops.

In any case, the iMacs will be significantly faster than the Mac mini.
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Old Oct 25, 2012, 07:18 PM   #16
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I get your points. But to me the current Mac Pro is a lame duck. Too much of it is too old technology. Hopefully the 2013 config will kill arse.
Well, my new Mac Pro (bought refurbished) works perfectly fine for me. It's way faster than my last one, and - comes with AppleCare.

Lets be honest here... with a few exceptions for people who render for a living or need to play games or need fast video refresh rates, today's computers (and yesterday's too ) spend 90% of their time waiting for the user to do something, or waiting for something to download.

There is nothing 'lame' about the old/new Mac Pros if they have the technology that you need. Plus they hold their resale value very well.
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Old Oct 26, 2012, 06:35 AM   #17
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iMac screens are atrocious...... infact mac desktop screens are atrocious and overpriced.....

Personally I'd go mac mini and a decent screen, but with both mac mini and an imac you'll be looking at changing in in a year or 2.

Splash out and get a mac pro
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Old Oct 30, 2012, 01:03 PM   #18
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Get the new 2.3 quad or the 2.6 BTO mini with a NEC PA271W. It is cheaper than an iMac 27 inch, it is faster than a 27 inch iMac, and it has a MUCH BETTER SCREEN than a 27 inch iMac. You will have swivel/tilt/height adjustable matte screen with perfect calibrated sRGB/AdobeRGB presets thanks to a 3D lut (the only way you can limit a wide gamut backlight to sRGB), a 2 computer KVM switch for sharing mouse, wacom and keyboard with mini and laptop, it has a portrait mode, it has 5 years waranty, it does 30 bit colour, it is capable of 24p video display.... And just 100$ more expensive as a TB display.

Don't worry too much about the built in harddrive. You will need an SSD as scratch disk, but other than that. For storage you need a backup solution anyway, and having 3 similar FW800/USB3 external drives that are synced and of which 1 is moved to a safe location, so that covers project storage.

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Old Oct 30, 2012, 01:43 PM   #19
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If yous take the position of both choices being equal in upgradability, reliability, and display quality, then the iMac is the better value. IMO, the mini has advantages in these areas that will be relevant to your circumstances.

With the relatively higher cost of the mini set-up, you have more flexibility and upgradability in monitor choices. Now or possibly later, you might find some of those display choices superior to Apple.

Likewise, the heat generating internals trapped in a stylishly narrow iMac case is a problem (or many problems) waiting to happen. YMMV, but the iMac has some standing as Apple's most failure-prone computer. If you need to produce work on a deadline, an iMac may not be the computer that you want to rely on.
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