Mac mini 2012 powerful enough graphic design machine?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Roseburgz, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Feb 7, 2013
    First post on here! Hello to everyone.

    I'm in a weird spot right now, I had plans to purchase a 27" 2012 imac with a an i7 for graphic design work (I would be working in illustrator and photoshop and those would be the only real thing ran... No games) but I've seen online from many different people that they are shipping with the LG screens... Leading to image retention and this frame me out. I live an hours drive from the nearest apple store and would have to rely on them for repairs...

    So my question is, would the maxed out 2012 Mac mini be a viable option to run these programs? Or should I take a chance on the imac? I would be purchasing a maching Thunderbolt Display (that shouldn't have image retention)

    Thanks for all your help!
  2. macrumors 68000


    Nov 15, 2012
    I think it would work fine.
  3. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 7, 2013
    Thanks, just don't want to end up with a machine I have to repair 2 months later..
  4. macrumors 603


    Aug 5, 2010
    I would second that as long as you avoid hdmi displays. The better ones are all displayport anyway. Prior to that higher quality displays typically used some variation of DVI. I would bump the ram from its default configuration. OSX is terrible at memory management. Creative Suite is equally bad. Aside from that 16GB can be purchased under $100, and it can be worth it, especially if you have more than one application open with designs loaded. 8GB is the minimum you'd want to buy today (just memtest any memory upgrades). Adobe recommends 8GB for CS applications in CS6. Who knows with CS7 or 8. If the workload includes motion graphics such as C4D work, then I might be more concerned about the gpu. Otherwise it's fine.

    What do you mean repair? Test it out once you get it. It should not lag. It doesn't even have to be maxed. I'd go with the cheapest quad core model, max ram, add ssd if still making use of scratch disks. If you need terabytes of storage, look at external arrays for that.
  5. macrumors 6502

    Oct 13, 2011
    As somebody who ran Photoshop on a Performa back in the day I would say yes, a current gen Mac mini should be powerful enough to do the same work.
  6. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 7, 2013
    I was thinking about having to have the imac repaired... Seems like everyone is having a problem with them... But yes I would max the ram and also order the 256gb ssd hd for the mini. I like the idea of being able to upgrade to a new mini every year over having to replace the imac with a whole new machine
  7. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    No need to pay the Apple price for the Apple SSD (Solid State Disk), just bay the base quad-core model and add RAM (up to 16 GB of 1600 MHz 204-pin DDR3 SO-DIMM RAM) later for less than 100 USD and buy a 256 GB SSD for less than 200 USD to replace the HDD (or HD - Hard Disk Drive).
    The Crucial M4 and Samsung 840 SSDs are currently the recommended ones.
  8. macrumors 603


    Aug 5, 2010
    I understand that. Even then I'm not sure whether it's always worth upgrading annually. I would say if the cost to upgrade is favorable, it's a consideration. I dislike Apple's display offerings. They're adequate for people purchasing imacs. Otherwise better displays exist for what Apple charges.

    You couldn't run CS6 on a Performa. It's a matter of modern software when it comes to file sizes and expected performance. Adobe apps are quite bloated as is OSX. It's terrible at memory management. I get annoyed whenever I see pageouts happening and obvious slowdowns with many GB of "inactive" ram. You also have to remember how many things have been added. At the time of the performa you didn't have as many things to be calculated. Did they even have hard and soft brushes at the time? I remember the percentage basis was either 7 or CS.
  9. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 7, 2013
    I was thinking that I would instal the ram on my own but the hard drive could be a little much for me to tackle.
    Looks as though its playing the lottery on the new iMacs... Everything I've read points to the same IR issue as the mbpr... Can't believe that they are shipping these out to be honest. Wish it wasn't so, worth taking a chance on?
  10. macrumors regular


    Dec 17, 2003
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Adding an SSD to a Mini is not hard at all. Watch the installation video at to see the process.

    It really is not hard and you will save a lot of cash too.
  11. macrumors 6502a


    Mar 8, 2004

    Installing 8-16GB of memory will help a lot, and everything else with or without an additional SSD will be more than enough for your needs. Digging into pro apps you might use (e.g., Photoshop), you should fine-tune everything you can to utilize the best of your machine's settings, while not letting it take everything (and always use a scratch disk!).


    I think any machine from the last 6 years has been capable of graphic, and interactive design needs. Obviously, you'd like to get the best performance for your dollar, and a machine that's expandable. The '12 Mini pretty much does it all, and one of my favorite aspect of it would be the minimal power draw even when running a lot of apps simultaneously.
  12. macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
  13. macrumors 603


    Aug 5, 2010
    Experience across machines. You don't need one to find the bugs and large amounts of inactive memory concurrent with heavy pageouts. It has become quite bloated in the past two revisions.
  14. macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2011
    I use myriad image editing apps with my 2012 i7 2.3GHz Mini and it works fine for me. 16GB RAM is a must-have upgrade. I use an excellent NEC 24" display connected to the Thunderbolt port via a DisplayPort to Mini DisplayPort adapter.

    I have one display-related issue: waking from sleep causes the display to do a little dance before it stays on. I'm going to contact NEC to see if a display setting will fix it but it isn't a big deal. It's so minor I haven't bothered to take the time and I've been using it since last October.

    Some CS6 features take advantage of GPU acceleration that isn't available with the Mini's Intel HD4000 graphic card. If you use those features a lot it can really slow things down but I don't use them so it is a non-issue for me.

    Adobe has a webpage that details the GPU-intensive CS6 features. has Mini test results for the specific CS6 GPU-accelerated features; they will help you decide if the Mini's GPU is a potential bottleneck in your image-editing workflow.
  15. macrumors 6502

    Jul 19, 2004
    Manchester, UK
    I bet they haven't touched a single line of memory management code in the past two revisions - hell, probably four or five revisions.
  16. macrumors 603


    Aug 5, 2010
    Snow Leopard seemed to be better at freeing it up, but OSX has never been that great about it. It may be more problematic now as we have far more X64 programs in the wild and a 64 bit kernel. I wish it was more aggressive about freeing up memory.
  17. righteye, Feb 10, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2013

    macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2011
    From the sound of it you should be looking at a higher grade monitor Eizo/NEC
    you should be assured of accurate colours and contrast, if your work is going onto the web only it may not be quite so essential but its always good to know that you are working accurately.
    The mac mini should be fine for your uses and can be pimped into quite a high performance machine if needed. (OWC Mercury Helios PCIe Thunderbolt Expansion Chassis)

    There are rumours of the above but the PCIe SSD card will have 2 x esata ports built right onto the card giving extra connectivity options plus if people having bluetooth issues give an alternative to USB3

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