Could a Mac Mini replace a PC for photo editing/gaming etc.?

classixuk

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 20, 2012
15
0
Just wondering (before I press the buy button) precisely how far I could push a Mac Mini?

For years I've built my own PCs (never top of the range but decent enough).

My current PC has 4GB's RAM, 3.0GHz AMD processor and graphics are handled by an ATI Radeon HD 5570 running Windows 7.

I use it for the following things: Regular use (internet browsing, word documents, Youtube etc.), webdesign (mostly CMS based nowadays although some coding still done locally), occasional video editing using Adobe Premiere, photoshop, lightroom, games such as Portal, GTA series, Half Life series, Alan Wake etc.

I'm attracted to the Mac Mini because:

1) It's small enough to fit under my TV in the living room, giving me useful access to iPlayer and other OnDemand channels over the internet.
2) I'm interested in learning how to develop apps for iPhone/iPad etc. for which I'll need a Mac OS.
3) It's quite portable, so I could take it to another room or property (like I do with my Wii) should I need to.
4) The price is acceptable.
5) It's a Mac and I've never had one - I love my iPhone so I want to get more Apple stuff and see what it's like.


I'm thinking about getting the 2.5Ghz model with dedicated graphics. I understand it can run Windows 7, but how well will it run software such as Adobe Premier or games such as GTA in the Windows 7 environment? Will it be able to replace my PC as my main machine?

Thanks for any advice you can offer.

:)
 

Poki

macrumors 65816
Mar 21, 2012
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899
It should be about as fast as your current PC. Adobe Software isn't a problem at all for the current Mini, however, if you want to play GTA 4 it won't make too much fun ... GTA 3, SA or something like this runs just fine. Also, Diablo 3, Starcraft 2 and other games on this graphic level should run okay.
 

Wardenski

macrumors 6502
Jan 22, 2012
464
4
It won't be good for gaming. Mac versions of virtually every game, including SCII will run worse under OSX even with the same GPU. Keep your PC for games IMO.
 

classixuk

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 20, 2012
15
0
Thanks for your replies, so it looks as if I should keep my current PC for gaming.

Considering that, is there any benefit to me getting the Mini 2.5 with dedicated graphics or would the 2.3 with added RAM be sufficient for the tasks it will be left with (occasional video editing, photoshop, iPlayer etc.)?

Many thanks.
 

Poki

macrumors 65816
Mar 21, 2012
1,307
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Thanks for your replies, so it looks as if I should keep my current PC for gaming.

Considering that, is there any benefit to me getting the Mini 2.5 with dedicated graphics or would the 2.3 with added RAM be sufficient for the tasks it will be left with (occasional video editing, photoshop, iPlayer etc.)?

Many thanks.
If you don't game, the 2,3 GHz i5 model with 8 or 16 gig of RAM should do fine. You'll loose some speed in video and photo editing, but it won't be worth 200 bucks.
 

classixuk

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 20, 2012
15
0
Again, thanks for the replies, also for the discount code but I'm in the UK so will search Amazon for good deals on the RAM.

OK, next (and hopefully last question) regarding mouse and keyboard.

This thing will be living underneath my TV most of the time so I'll be needing a wireless keyboard and mouse. I've been reading about the trackpad ... is that a better alternative to the mouse or would I need both?

Stupid question also, but would a standard USB keyboard and mouse (meant for a PC) work with the Mac Mini (I'm thinking for when I use Windows on it)? And ... is Applecare worth buying at the time of purchase?

Thanks again.
 

Poki

macrumors 65816
Mar 21, 2012
1,307
899
Again, thanks for the replies, also for the discount code but I'm in the UK so will search Amazon for good deals on the RAM.

OK, next (and hopefully last question) regarding mouse and keyboard.

This thing will be living underneath my TV most of the time so I'll be needing a wireless keyboard and mouse. I've been reading about the trackpad ... is that a better alternative to the mouse or would I need both?

Stupid question also, but would a standard USB keyboard and mouse (meant for a PC) work with the Mac Mini (I'm thinking for when I use Windows on it)? And ... is Applecare worth buying at the time of purchase?

Thanks again.
If you use it with a TV sitting on a couch, I can recommend the Apple Wireless Keyboard and the Magic Trackpad together with something to stick them together. This makes a GREAT combination for surfing on the couch, and also works on Windows (as long as windows runs on a Mac).

And yes, every mouse or keyboard on the planet should work with a Mac Mini (as long as they don't have a PS/2 port ;))
 

classixuk

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 20, 2012
15
0
If you use it with a TV sitting on a couch, I can recommend the Apple Wireless Keyboard and the Magic Trackpad together with something to stick them together. This makes a GREAT combination for surfing on the couch, and also works on Windows (as long as windows runs on a Mac).

And yes, every mouse or keyboard on the planet should work with a Mac Mini (as long as they don't have a PS/2 port ;))
Fantastic. Thanks.

Just on Amazon UK now (Mac mini is £468 instead of £525 from apple store) ... I'm looking at the memory upgrades. They recommend the 8GB crucial (2 x 4GB) but I was wondering if a 16GB upgrade would be better? What do you think?
 

Poki

macrumors 65816
Mar 21, 2012
1,307
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Fantastic. Thanks.

Just on Amazon UK now (Mac mini is £468 instead of £525 from apple store) ... I'm looking at the memory upgrades. They recommend the 8GB crucial (2 x 4GB) but I was wondering if a 16GB upgrade would be better? What do you think?
I personally have 8 GB for two years now, and I think it's appropriate for most tasks. I always have Safari with about 20 tabs, mail, iTunes and Pages open and it consumes about 4 to 5 GB of RAM. I only wish to have more when I work with Aperture and Final Cut - both of these can consume more than 5 GB alone. So it really depends.

For Photoshop and most other Adobe programs I think you should be fine with 8 GB.
 

classixuk

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 20, 2012
15
0
I personally have 8 GB for two years now, and I think it's appropriate for most tasks. I always have Safari with about 20 tabs, mail, iTunes and Pages open and it consumes about 4 to 5 GB of RAM. I only wish to have more when I work with Aperture and Final Cut - both of these can consume more than 5 GB alone. So it really depends.

For Photoshop and most other Adobe programs I think you should be fine with 8 GB.
OK then, well based on your advice I just placed my order and by next week will be the owner of a brand new Mac Mini. :)

I actually ended up getting a really good deal when compared to the Apple store.

It's cost me £613 in total for a brand new 2.3ghz Mac Mini, Wireless Keyboard, Trackpad, 8GB Crucial RAM and also this: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Henge-Docks-TrackPad-Wireless-Keyboard/dp/B006T3RM08 as you said it's a good idea to be able to connect the keyboard and trackpad together.

That's not a bad price overall. (Mac Mini cost me £434.99 instead of £525 just incase you're wondering how the price for all the stuff seems so cheap).

:)

Thanks again for all your help everyone, and especially to you Poki.

:)
 

Poki

macrumors 65816
Mar 21, 2012
1,307
899
OK then, well based on your advice I just placed my order and by next week will be the owner of a brand new Mac Mini. :)

I actually ended up getting a really good deal when compared to the Apple store.

It's cost me £613 in total for a brand new 2.3ghz Mac Mini, Wireless Keyboard, Trackpad, 8GB Crucial RAM and also this: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Henge-Docks-TrackPad-Wireless-Keyboard/dp/B006T3RM08 as you said it's a good idea to be able to connect the keyboard and trackpad together.

That's not a bad price overall. (Mac Mini cost me £434.99 instead of £525 just incase you're wondering how the price for all the stuff seems so cheap).

:)

Thanks again for all your help everyone, and especially to you Poki.

:)
Yep, that's a really good deal. And you didn't pick my favorite thing to connect the Trackpad and the Keyboard, but anyways, they should all work ...

http://www.amazon.com/Twelve-South-12-1101-MagicWand-Connects/dp/B004L9M0AO/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1344788022&sr=8-9&keywords=magic+trackpad+apple+keyboard

Have much fun with your new setup! Always nice to be able to help people ... and, welcome to the Mac!
 

yekim

macrumors newbie
Jul 26, 2012
10
0
Michigan
As far as keyboards go, I like to use the Logitech ones that have the touchpad built in and they work great for sitting around on the couch and surfing/typing or whatever.

In regards to the ram, 8gigs should be fine but if you find a deal on 16gigs, it will never hurt! :D
 

classixuk

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 20, 2012
15
0
Yep, that's a really good deal. And you didn't pick my favorite thing to connect the Trackpad and the Keyboard, but anyways, they should all work ...

http://www.amazon.com/Twelve-South-12-1101-MagicWand-Connects/dp/B004L9M0AO/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1344788022&sr=8-9&keywords=magic+trackpad+apple+keyboard

Have much fun with your new setup! Always nice to be able to help people ... and, welcome to the Mac!
I spotted the magic wand thingy but didn't think to click on it as I assumed it was some type of Harry Potter device remote control for the Mac Mini. :eek:

Looking forward to next week now and checking out the Mac OS. :)
 

mlg1998

macrumors newbie
Mar 29, 2012
15
8
get the base mini add 8gb ram. if you buy from apple you have 2 weeks to return it.

this ram will work it is on sale

EMCNBNA49 use this code

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231295


BTW just get a better GPU for your pc
I too just bought a Mac Mini and want to upgrade to 8gb ram. The item # you suggested above is a PC3-10666, and according the online Apple store, the Mini takes a PC3-10600. What is the difference between the two?

On a side note, Apple wants $200 for 8gb!!!!! $40 on newegg.
 

philipma1957

macrumors 603
Apr 13, 2010
6,271
191
Howell, New Jersey
I too just bought a Mac Mini and want to upgrade to 8gb ram. The item # you suggested above is a PC3-10666, and according the online Apple store, the Mini takes a PC3-10600. What is the difference between the two?

On a side note, Apple wants $200 for 8gb!!!!! $40 on newegg.
well I have used both and both work, so as far as I am concerned there is no difference. I mod and sell about 100 minis a year and gskill 10666 and gskil 10600 work. sale


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231342

EMCNBJN69 the one above is 10600



the product number on newegg is n82e16820231342


go to www.newegg.com search the product number and put in the code. If selling ram at a high price was a crime apple would be in lots of trouble. But it is not a crime and apple gets rich.
 

Poki

macrumors 65816
Mar 21, 2012
1,307
899
I spotted the magic wand thingy but didn't think to click on it as I assumed it was some type of Harry Potter device remote control for the Mac Mini. :eek:

Looking forward to next week now and checking out the Mac OS. :)
Lol, too much magic in all these products nowadays. :D

Believe me, you won't be disappointed with Mac OS for just about everything except gaming, as the graphic drivers aren't up on par with the ones for Windows.

Just don't be disappointed at the beginning. I remember needing about a year to get my first Mac configured exactly like I want it. Some basic tips you'll NEED in your setup:

- Activate three finger movement in the trackpad settings - otherwise you won't be able to drag anything sitting on the couch. Well, simply activate EVERYTHING in this menu except natural scrolling, which is pain in the ass, and look at the videos there how to use the gestures.

- Don't be disappointed with the Mac OS button layout. It will always bother you as long as you use both systems, but in the long run, you'll discover it's faster to do your work than on just about any other system.

- Activate "active borders". Not everybody likes them, but for example for Mission Control, I find it more intuitive and faster even than the four finger gesture.

- Never turn off your Mac. It uses just about as much power powered off as in sleep mode, and a Mac still sleeps way better (technically :)) than a PC. That's one important part for the Mac experience.

Well, it's all a matter of taste, but don't ignore the first tip for a good Mac OS experience! ;)
 

classixuk

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 20, 2012
15
0
Lol, too much magic in all these products nowadays. :D

Believe me, you won't be disappointed with Mac OS for just about everything except gaming, as the graphic drivers aren't up on par with the ones for Windows.

Just don't be disappointed at the beginning. I remember needing about a year to get my first Mac configured exactly like I want it. Some basic tips you'll NEED in your setup:

- Activate three finger movement in the trackpad settings - otherwise you won't be able to drag anything sitting on the couch. Well, simply activate EVERYTHING in this menu except natural scrolling, which is pain in the ass, and look at the videos there how to use the gestures.

- Don't be disappointed with the Mac OS button layout. It will always bother you as long as you use both systems, but in the long run, you'll discover it's faster to do your work than on just about any other system.

- Activate "active borders". Not everybody likes them, but for example for Mission Control, I find it more intuitive and faster even than the four finger gesture.

- Never turn off your Mac. It uses just about as much power powered off as in sleep mode, and a Mac still sleeps way better (technically :)) than a PC. That's one important part for the Mac experience.

Well, it's all a matter of taste, but don't ignore the first tip for a good Mac OS experience! ;)
Thanks again Poki, I'll come back to this thread again next week once the mini arrives.

RE: The gaming thing .. I have my Wii and existing PC for that so not worried - I'm getting a bit older now and gaming less anyway, but when games such as Portal arrive on the scene it's good to have a device to play them on. ;)
 

Poki

macrumors 65816
Mar 21, 2012
1,307
899
Thanks again Poki, I'll come back to this thread again next week once the mini arrives.

RE: The gaming thing .. I have my Wii and existing PC for that so not worried - I'm getting a bit older now and gaming less anyway, but when games such as Portal arrive on the scene it's good to have a device to play them on. ;)
As this is just your first step in the Mac world, it's probably a good thing to have both systems. Hopefully your next Mac in some years has enough graphics power to throw your PC out of the window. :apple:
 

thekev

macrumors 604
Aug 5, 2010
6,721
1,820
OK then, well based on your advice I just placed my order and by next week will be the owner of a brand new Mac Mini. :)

I actually ended up getting a really good deal when compared to the Apple store.

It's cost me £613 in total for a brand new 2.3ghz Mac Mini, Wireless Keyboard, Trackpad, 8GB Crucial RAM and also this: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Henge-Docks-TrackPad-Wireless-Keyboard/dp/B006T3RM08 as you said it's a good idea to be able to connect the keyboard and trackpad together.

That's not a bad price overall. (Mac Mini cost me £434.99 instead of £525 just incase you're wondering how the price for all the stuff seems so cheap).

:)

Thanks again for all your help everyone, and especially to you Poki.

:)

I think the graphics on that mini are quite weak. Personally I would've suggested waiting for a 2012 model, as you have a computer that currently runs well. The upgrade could be a very nice one, and it's overdue. Some people have suggested 2012 may not see an update. Given that Haswell is a year away and the mini uses the same Sandy Bridge cpus as the 2011 macbook pros (and will use the same ivy bridge ones as the 2012s), I don't believe them. I will mention that your 8GB of ram is a good idea. It's the suggested amount for CS6. If the 2012 mini also comes with an NVidia card, you could benefit from CUDA in Adobe Premiere. I'm surprised no one else mentioned any of this.
 

Poki

macrumors 65816
Mar 21, 2012
1,307
899
I think the graphics on that mini are quite weak. Personally I would've suggested waiting for a 2012 model, as you have a computer that currently runs well. The upgrade could be a very nice one, and it's overdue. Some people have suggested 2012 may not see an update. Given that Haswell is a year away and the mini uses the same Sandy Bridge cpus as the 2011 macbook pros (and will use the same ivy bridge ones as the 2012s), I don't believe them. I will mention that your 8GB of ram is a good idea. It's the suggested amount for CS6. If the 2012 mini also comes with an NVidia card, you could benefit from CUDA in Adobe Premiere. I'm surprised no one else mentioned any of this.
Of course it's always better to wait for the next generation, but I don't see any significant improvements in the base model. The two most noteworthy are USB 3.0 and the Intel HD 4000 chip, which should be 40 - 60% faster than the HD3000. But as it's still not very capable for games, it's not as much of a difference as many think imho.
 

thekev

macrumors 604
Aug 5, 2010
6,721
1,820
Of course it's always better to wait for the next generation, but I don't see any significant improvements in the base model. The two most noteworthy are USB 3.0 and the Intel HD 4000 chip, which should be 40 - 60% faster than the HD3000. But as it's still not very capable for games, it's not as much of a difference as many think imho.
The OP was buying the discrete model. This would mean an updated gpu for the current year. Faster gpu + usb 3 is a win to me. At the mini's level, you can probably see 15% cpu performance, so not something I think the OP will notice. Given that the mini is a relatively low end option for gaming, it would be good to see every boost possible. Beyond that there is always the possibility that it gets a more significant update. I thought they pushed the rMBP out with the current year to prevent a potentially slow year due to somewhat moderate spec updates from intel.
 

LeandrodaFL

macrumors 6502a
Apr 6, 2011
962
1
No Mac can replace a PC for gaming (assuming you have a decent gaming rig)

Having said that, this will be irrelevant, once you taste OS X, your Mac will become you main computer, and its gaming capabilities are quite good, altough not INSANE like having a GTX 660

It will do insannelly well for your everyday work, including photos
 

Mr. Retrofire

macrumors 603
Mar 2, 2010
5,040
451
www.emiliana.cl/en
Of course it's always better to wait for the next generation, but I don't see any significant improvements in the base model.
The L2 to L1 cache transfer speed should be much higher in Ivy Bridge, which can result in up to 2x faster H.264-encoding, for encoders which use the CPU.
 

student_trap

macrumors 68000
Mar 14, 2005
1,879
0
'Ol Smokey, UK
I don't think that you will have any problems at all with your new mac mini.

For reference, I used to work for a well known publishing company and the machines we used there were:

Mac mini - for all copywriting, photoshop for web and other photoshop tasks
iMac - for graphic design
Mac Pro - for video editing
Windows - for coding

All of the macs were at least a year or two old. The iMacs were early intel white iMacs.