Base Mac Mini graphics good enough for AVCHD video editing?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by CheesyTators, Sep 25, 2011.

  1. macrumors member

    Aug 26, 2010
    SE Michigan
    Would the base model with an 8GB RAM upgrade and the Intel graphics allow me to edit some AVCHD video from a canon Vixia HD camcorder in iMovie, smoothly? I had an iMac, and would buy one again if I had the money but my budget is only around $600. The iMac obviously had no problems editing the video but I wanted some opinions before I grab the mac mini. It will be used heavily for iMovie, iPhoto and some Photoshop. I do a lot of editing so I will most likely have this mini running full out quite a bit.

  2. ctyhntr, May 6, 2012
    Last edited: May 6, 2012

    macrumors 6502


    Jul 21, 2010
    I have the same question. I'm torn between getting a 15" MBP or 2 mac minis for video editing in iMovie. I need portability and volume as I need to bring these and camp onsite for 12-14 hours.
  3. macrumors 6502a


    Mar 21, 2012
    I don't have the current Mini, but I work heavily with AVCHD 2.0 in FCP X, and as far as I can tell from benchmarks, the base Mini should be able to handle it okay. But honestly, if I were you, I'd rather try to find a good deal on a 2,5GHz model with the discrete graphics, because in video editing every percent power means many hours you don't have to work in front of your screen.

    I worked on some semi professional projects, so I know you are going to appreciate the extra power in the more expensive Mini. Final Cut Pro X at least utilizes the GPU quite heavily - don't know if this also applies to iMovie '11, but logically it should since the two programs share many functions.
  4. macrumors 6502


    Jul 21, 2010
    Is FCPX better at tackling AVCHD than iMovie? Right now iMovie meets all my editing needs. I just need a faster process to deal with 1080p, which is why I'm thinking of getting two mac minis instead of a single MBP to speed up my workflow. Right now I have one MBP with the files saved to an USB 2.0 external hard drive. Finalizing and exporting 1 hour of video can take my machine 18-25 hours.

    With two mac minis until the stuff for thunderbolt comes out, I was thinking of hooking them up by Gigabit ethernet, which should be faster than 480mb output of USB 2.0.
  5. macrumors member

    May 7, 2012
    What are the spec of your current computer?

    If you are using a Duo2Core cpu, expect at least 200% speed gain for the i5, i7.

    Im on a pc right now and dont use Final Cut Pro but as I'm a Motion Designer, I often have to edit HD footage. The big bottleneck in editing is the HDD speed. Then the CPU, the ram and the GPU. I dont think Apple products use the GPU cuda cores like Premiere Pro with the mercury engine. I would not worry too much about the GPU.

    The mini in itself is not a bad machine. I think your problem now is that you use the USB 2.0 drive as your footage pool. It's slow. Very slow.

    If you buy a new machine but keep using your usb drive, I guess you will not see much improvement. Forget about gigabit Ethernet as it is even slower in real-life testing.

    One solution would be to get the mini and replace the internal HDD for a faster 7200 rpm drive. You can put 2 HDD in the 2011 mini with a bit of work.

    Solution 2 would be to get a new computer after the refresh at it will have USB 3 like most pc already have.

    Also you can tweek your workflow. Did you try other codecs that HVCHD? H264 is really a bitch on the cpu. Better go with some less intensive codecs like ProRes 422 or even quicktime Photo Jpeg at 85% quality...

    Edit; do you have a firewire 800 port on your MBP? That would also be faster by a fair bit... 800mps vs 480mps for the usb2... That would decrease your render time quite a bit.
  6. macrumors 68000


    Jun 7, 2008
    It can handle it, it'll just be quite time consuming. For what it's worth, the sandy bridge i5 mini, even at 2.3ghz is much more capable than my core 2 macbook pro which I used to edit 1080p/24 video shot on our family camcorder without many issues.

    Thinking about it, although I'm happy with my 2011 mini, I can't help but feel that Apple messed up the configurations. A quad core processor plus the seperate graphics chip would have been an ideal combination for most people.

    Perhaps it was intentional.
  7. palmharbor, May 13, 2012
    Last edited: May 13, 2012

    macrumors 6502

    Jul 31, 2007
    Mac Mini 2012

    thank God I bought the apple protection plan as I am now on my THIRD mac mini....they refused to repair the second one again so they gave me this new one. I would NOT recommend this product to anyone I liked. Sorry but I consider this cheap chinese crap.
    I have a 2000 Flat panel iMac...the first model and it works today and has NEVER needed a repair. I used it while I was awaiting my shipment from CHINA...of the new one. Seriously...just can't recommend it.
    Oh, the new LION OS must have been designed by MicroSoft more bouncing of emails...tiny icons in and must buy the outboard DVD drive,
    nothing to recommend.
  8. macrumors 6502a

    Ice Dragon

    Jun 16, 2009
    Sorry you got two lemons. It's a shame although all computers are made in China. At least Apple gave you new ones.
  9. macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2012
    Hmmmmm.... The first flat panel iMac came out in 2002.
  10. macrumors 6502

    Sep 4, 2005
    I still have that one :)
  11. macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2012
    Probably one of the best computer designs ever made... maybe one day Apple will at least build in a height-adjustable stand again.

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