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Mac Mini for FCP X and heavier applications?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by nateo200, Oct 24, 2012.

  1. macrumors 68030


    I might pick up a Mac Mini as my next computer with the quad core, throw 16GB's of RAM and use that as my primary machine for FCP X, After Effects and encoding...its tiny enough I could carry it with me to work and home if needed...I'll be editing primarily DSLR footage but I expect to be editing footage from RED Scarlets in the future at like 4K....Right now I use my 2010 13" MacBook Pro with a fricken Core 2 Duo...I was thinking the Mac Mini would be a good choice with the quad core and I could easily throw in more RAM in the future and with Thunderbolt future upgrade paths seam unlimited...heck we could have External CPU's to add on in the future! But my main interest is editing video without swearing at my computer...this is sort of a critical moment. Any insight? I gotta get onto the quad core to speed up rendering times...
  2. macrumors demi-god


    My insight is .... no. If you are even thinking of editing RED 4K then forget about it on a Mac Mini. You won't have an easy time managing complex projects with that footage. And the GPU will be an utter joke on that note. And I hope you plan on getting more than 1TB of storage. 16GB of RAM is cool but you are going to want that to supplement killer CPU and GPU to make actually doing this type of work doable. A maxed out Mac Mini will be sufficient for basic editing of DSLR footage but even then the GPU will cripple your experience once you start throwing lots of effects in the mix .. it can be done but will be slow, and forget about it on RED.
  3. macrumors demi-god


    Across the board applications are using the GPU more and more so I wouldn't recommend a Mini as a 'go to' machine. If it's the best you can afford, it's the best you can afford and you'll have to make due, but a MBP or iMac would be a better option. Also, I don't think Mini's dissipate heat as well as the MBPs and iMacs which means the Mini could be in for a shorter life than you'd expect.
  4. nateo200, Oct 24, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012

    macrumors 68030


    Yeah I figured the GPU would be the weak point....wish I could get away with just CPU power! Heat dissipation is important though...Id probably kill the Mini if I ran it as hard as I run my MBP...

    Well 16GB's of RAM would be my initial purchase (not from Apple, can change RAM myself)...would probably go to 32GB at a later point. And uh yeah I'd be using well over 1TB of space over the fastest connection and probably RAID'd. What if I transcode RED 4K to ProRes though? I have no idea how REDCODE is in terms of natively editing compared to H.264, ProRes 4444/422 HQ, and Uncompressed 16-bit TIFF sequence....is it somewhere in between or do they have the RED Rocket because its so insane to edit for a reason! Haha. I mean I figure it'll be less painful editing on a maxed out mini than my current machine...I transcode everything to ProRes before I start working BTW, I mean I run it through MPEG Stream clip before I even import unless I need to be absolutely sure the timecode is preserved for multi cam editing (had a disaster once with that).
  5. macrumors member

    I'm in a similar situation as the started of this thread. I'm doing research before replacing my 2009 c2d mbp and in spite of having done some heavy math I neede help from people with more knowledge.

    I'm running on a limited budget and I have to choose a machine that will do best at video rendering (Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro). My choices are:

    Base 21" iMac with i5 2.7, 8 GB of RAM and 640M
    Mid Mac Mini with i7 2.6, 16 GB (I can do that myself) and HD4000 - just like it is discussed before.

    I know both have flaws, but do You think one will do considerably better than the other? The point is: does memory and CPU outweight GPU?

    Thanks for Your help!
  6. nateo200, Oct 24, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012

    macrumors 68030


    Good to know someone else is in the same boat as me! I'm curious about the 2.3 vs 2.6Ghz upgrade though, obviously it'll help but Id like to see by how much...obviously grab the 2.6 for the extra 100 i believe it is. I mean I guess I could get a GPU in a thunderbolt enclosure later on but if the base iMac is better then I will look that way.
  7. macrumors member

    While I don't know any specific numbers I'm pretty sure it will be well worth to jump to a faster CPU. I'm not even considering the slower option given the overall price of Mac Mini compared to an iMac ;)
  8. macrumors demi-god


    Even with the new stories about the impressive Mac Mini CPU benchmarks, because of the GPU limitation I wouldn't consider it as a long term machine, for your budget an iMac would probably be better.
  9. macrumors member

    For serious editing I'd go for the iMac, the jump to Ivy Bridge CPU and the discreet graphic card would lep you a lot more than an integrated CPU, with Premiere Pro and After Effects you can use GPU acceleration with your effects. Going from your current machine to a Mac Mini the biggest jump you would see would be in transcoding time but this jump wouldn't be too great, also once you begin editing long sequences with transitions and effects the mac mini would reveal how under power it can be. The biggest disadvantage of a 2012 iMac, or least the 21.5" one is that the ram is not user replaceable outside of that it's a great value.
  10. macrumors 68030


    I was setting up the ideal BTO iMac that I was going to hopefully get but now I see that the 21.5" iMac can't have its RAM upgraded but the 27" can? I think thats just ridiculous! Now they gotta go and gouge me up front...Then I was looking at the Mac Pro's and I figured I could take the low end model as I have a decent display already but it hasn't been updated at all...no USB 3.0 or even Thunderbolt! Oh well...I guess Ill go for the 27" with 8GB of RAM and look forward to the 16GB and hopefully 24GB I can throw in it at a later point...just need a faster machine.

    I think Apple is indirectly making life harder for the power user :mad:
  11. macrumors 6502

    I would really consider getting the mac mini as a desktop mac. But not having gpu is killing me.

    would it be able to handle 1080 30 fps, 1080 60 fps, and 720 120 fps.

    thanks in advanced.
  12. macrumors demi-god


    Welcome to the frustration many pro users have been feeling for the past couple of years. ;)

    It depends on what you mean by 'handle'. The Mini won't be as fast as a current iMac, MBP or Mac Pro but that doesn't necessarily mean it won't be fast enough for your needs and your budget.
  13. macrumors newbie

    As others have mentioned about the GPUs, you want this for video.

    Editing native DSLR files does not take advantage of GPU math, however, if you're transcoding or selecting ProRes for renders as you should, then you'll get their advantage.

    I too was hoping for a better graphics option in the new Mac minis, but alas.

    Sell off your 2010 13" MacBook Pro, and get a 2011 15" MacBook Pro or later with a GPU and QuadCore i7, that's what I did, and have been very very pleased.
  14. macrumors 68030



    Oh I've read all about it I've just only started to feel it. Then I have people who think my needs for a faster computer are ridiculous. They think that video magically puts its self together when you open up FCP! The iMac getting its upgradability castrated is really what bothered me...Apple telling us what we need and don't need :(

    Well I don't edit H.264 directly at all. It all ends up in ProRes 422 so my Core 2 Duo doesn't barf 1s and 0s all over my lap... I'm looking at the 15" MacBook Pro the entry model with 8GB RAM (Going to put more obviously)....is this going to be sufficient or at least less painful for my tasks? Mainly looking for smoothing out my editing times, rendering times and actually have the power of a discrete graphics card for programs like After Effects. Also the Thunderbolt port is a welcome addition that seams to make the purchase even more future proof since you can plug anything from a hard drive to an external GPU to it!
  15. macrumors 68030


    So I'm dead set on the 15" MacBook Pro...definitly gonna BTO the low end model and max out most of the stuff or just get the high end model for the 1GB or GPU RAM...will have to decide on that, as well as an SSD upfront or later on...if I start editing uncompressed video more often then an SSD will be in order. But...the MacBook Pro Retina 15" sounds interesting...I've heard its pretty fast....or do I have to worry about all those pixels needing to be driven?
  16. macrumors demi-god


    I've read good things about the rMBP, but if you are going to edit uncompressed or even 'just' ProRes HQ you are going to need a much larger drive than what SSDs currently offer. Even thought SSDs can provide the speed the storage capacity just isn't there yet.
  17. macrumors 68030


    Well what about external drives? I mean obviously the regular MBP I can gut and throw in any drives I want where with the rMBP Im stuck with whatever I order.....I better just stick with the MBP non-retina....ugh so many choices so few cash!
  18. macrumors demi-god


    An external RAID vai Thunderbolt will be fast enough. Though depending on much storage you need it could cost nearly as much as the MBP.
  19. macrumors newbie

    I just recently upgraded to the mid-level Mac Mini ( I have the ram on order) and I just installed FCPX and edited some DSLR footage. Is it blazing fast ? No. Is it good enough? Yes. I think the RAM will speed it up a ton but its all what you do with it. I dont think I would consider editing 4k on it but 1920x1080 is no big deal. I bet having a dedicated GPU would help certain things especially Motion/After Effects stuff.

    My 2 cents...
    Event Video=ok
    Rendering out the next Avatar = not ok
  20. macrumors 68020

    In some DIT cases its being used as a field system to wrangle data between RED SSD and RCXPro.
    I would only use it for that period.
    Of course you can also attach a Meizler Module and feed it ProRes but who has Spielberg money here :p
    Ive been thinking of getting a Mac Mini for this reason:
  21. macrumors newbie

    I picked up the new Mac Mini with the soul purpose to test it for 4k editing using Smoke 2013.

    Alone the Mac Mini would struggle. the configuration I ordered was the Mac Mini server with the 2.6 i7 ivybridge due to the dual hd. OWC(Other World Computing) has 16gb 1600mhz ram and the Extreme pro 6 SSD. Now my system is running 2x 480 gb ssd raid 0, 16gb ram, Magma Express 3T (Magma(dot)com) with a GTX690 running at 8x. Thunderbolt does not support 16x. Magma and Sonnet make PCIe card reader thunderbolt modules. Build up overtime and you can create a powerful system.

    I got the idea to do this after looking at the blog by John Nack "Editing RED video on a MacBook Air" Its on 9 to 5 Mac http://9to5mac.com/2012/01/25/macbo...-shows-why-the-mac-pro-as-we-know-it-can-die/

    You will also need a separate Raid to hold your media. SAS or Pegasus will work great. I chose a sas by OWC because I can also use it on my PC if needed.


    I love my Scarlet but there is a price reduction coming November 1, 2012
  22. macrumors 68020

    The price reduction (hoping) is on EPIC. I just picked up a BT Scarlet so I hope I dont have to deal with returning it for a new one.
    Yea none of the Expansion options support GPU externally.
    We have both Sonnet and Magma and both handled R3D from a RED MX great using a ROCKET card of course (Retina as host).
    Now if we can only use a Quadro 4000 or GTX on them :)
  23. macrumors newbie

    MacPros on YouTube got the quadro running with driver edits. Same edits found on Hackintosh site from Tony Mac. The gpu cards only work with programs like premiere and after effects after u edit the gpu card requirements text found in one of the folder of the adobe folder. Also download the Cuba drivers.
  24. macrumors 68020

    I would love to do this but it would have to be on my own personal gear.
    There is no way my boss would let me hack our DIT Retina ;)
    Plus we dont use Adobe for anything other than After Effects on Motion workstations.

    Thanks for the tip, Ill consider this in the future.
  25. macrumors regular


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