Aperture on mini

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Xzag, Apr 26, 2012.

  1. Xzag macrumors member

    Mar 19, 2012
    Hi mini experts,

    The lack of a Macpro update, and overall cost has me looking at scaling back my aspirations a bit on my next apple purchase. I am a photo prosumer, with a large photo library (80k++ photos, 1TB++). I will use aperture primarily to manage these photos.

    Would the following system be enough for these needs:

    Mac mini i7, 8gb ram, 120SSD + 500gb
    LaCie 2big 4TB thunderbolt for the library
    Various backup media
    HDMI to my TV

    I am concerned about only 2 cores, should I be? Is the 120 enough for all the apps plus osx? Anyone have this system running video editing? That is not the primary activity, just for what the kids take, and for me to produce with iMovie. Thanks for the feedback.
  2. Poki macrumors 65816


    Mar 21, 2012
    Everything should be fine, you just won't get the ultra speed with the two cores. Maybe consider the Server model? Yeah, it doesn't have a graphics card, but the Intel HD3000 isn't all that bad and in Aperture, the faster CPU should make the bigger difference.
  3. Mak47 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 27, 2011
    Harrisburg, PA
    I'm doing similar things on my Mini. I have the quad core server model. I have also owned the early 2011 MacBook Pro 13". It has the same guts as the $599 Mini. I ran the same stuff on that, and it did fine. (It also does fine on the 13" MBA I recently switched to)

    Consider the following:

    Based on your descriptions of your usage, the GPU in the mid-tier Mini is doing nothing for you, unless you'll be doing some gaming that wasn't mentioned.

    I'd recommend taking the mid-tier option off the table. As consumers we often are drawn to the "Medium" choice. In this case it probably isn't worthwhile for you. You're essentially paying for a GPU that you don't need. You're paying for 4GB of RAM than are going in the garbage when you upgrade. The HDD is the same as the base model. The CPU does not deliver a dramatic performance increase over the base model. Is it better? Sure. Will you notice? No.

    By choosing the base model, you save $200 up front. You can use that toward a bigger SSD (which you will find you need when you can't always keep all of the media you're working on on the same drive you're working from) and toward a 16GB RAM kit instead of 8GB. (Currently $95 on New Egg until 5/2). The extra RAM will come in handy when doing video.

    Now, here's the case for the Server model:

    You spend $200 more than the mid-tier, but get better performance.

    You'll get a quad-core processor, which really does deliver a noticeable performance increase compared to the base model. You will take particular notice when doing heavy duty editing on images or graphics, rendering video, or converting video files.

    You get two 7200 RPM HDD's. These are faster than the stock 5400 HDD's in the other models, and obviously double your storage. You can also BTO your Mini with 750GB HDD's for about $100. I have an SSD in my Mini server. It makes apps load a second or two faster and makes the system start up in 15 seconds instead of 30, but because I'm often pulling my media from an external USB drive or from the internal HDD, it generally doesn't make that much of a difference in speed. In a laptop, it's a great addition because it's more durable than a spinning disc drive. In the desktop, you really do sacrifice storage for a sometimes unnoticeable speed increase.

    If I had it to do over again, I'd get the two 750GB HDD's and hold off on the SSD until prices drop further. The 7200RPM delivers adequate speed.

    Which is best for you? That depends. If you don't see yourself doing any more video in the future than you do now, or doing lots of video conversion in Handbrake, quite honestly the base model will probably suit you fine.

    If you do see those things changing, then you'll get more longevity from the server model. I'd forgo the SSD for now though and take the cheap upgrade in HDD space.

    Then of course the other option is to see what comes out with Ivy Bridge. We may see an update to the Mini this year. If we do, the integrated graphics will improve considerably and may be worth the wait. Of course, we may also not see an update until next year. Apple doesn't seem to update the Mini as often as other machines.
  4. B.A.T macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2009
  5. Xzag thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 19, 2012
    These inputs are great

    sorry for ignoring my own post, got called overseas on an emergency.

    Mak, thanks for the time and energy in your post. Two things really ring out, the gpu does not help with image or video editing? I guess I just assumed! And you know what happens when you do that. I need to read up more.

    The SSD comment also went against my initial thought. I was assuming that having the programs on the SSD would make editing and other tasks much faster, but I guess the sata connection to both is either 3gb or 6gb.....so it is governed by the spin up of the drive vs access to the NAND in the ssd. Do I have that right?

    Back to the bigger picture. I am loathe to make ANY purchase right now, but I am wearing thin on patience for any update. Not just to the mini, but anything. I keep telling myself to wait for the next update to anything and then make my decision.
  6. iDave macrumors 6502a

    Aug 14, 2003
    I think Aperture will benefit from the dedicated graphics card in the mid level mini. But movie editing will benefit from a quad core processor. Having your Aperture library on a SSD will speed things up. Referenced masters don't need to be on a fast drive. — IMO.

    It's hard to find benchmarks or anything that confirms my opinions. But after buying a mid level Mac mini last fall, Aperture runs much, much, much better than on my previous mini, which was a 2009 2.53 Ghz model.

    I do not use a SSD but I have my library on a dedicated partition on one internal HD and masters on a second internal HD. Editing and exporting are pretty snappy.

    Ifixit and OWC sell kits for installing a second drive in recent Mac minis.

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