Dedicated graphics card critical for video/music/image production?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Richie3000, Jul 22, 2011.

  1. Richie3000 macrumors member

    Jun 16, 2009
    I, like many of you, am weighing my Mac Mini options and was highly impressed by the results of the quad-core server Mini.

    My question is, do I really need to go with the AMD card for image editing, video and music production, or would I best be served by the quad-core edition of the Mini.

    I know for gaming I'd need the separate (non-quad core) setup with the better card, but I'm not sure if production/editing takes quite the same toll as gaming does. Am I correct in assuming the extra processing power would suit me better for production, assuming I'm not in need of outrageous frame rates (with the exception of an occasional (X-Plane flight)?

    Thanks everyone!
  2. qCzar macrumors regular

    Feb 27, 2011
    SFBA, CA
    As far as I'm aware, Adobe PS CS5 is the only image editing software to utilize the graphics card/GPU. All the others use the CPU to do their work, which is often taxing. Personally, I opted for the server version as I don't use CS5 and having more cores (4, hyper-threading will allow a virtual 8) is always good for these CPU based tasks.
  3. D*I*S_Frontman macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2002
    Lombard, IL
    Video and image editing can't really be lumped together with audio production, IMO. Depending on the software a person is running and how well it employs the use of a discrete graphics card would make a difference. Audio production, however, is all about CPU, RAM and HDD speed. I currently run two 1920x1080 LCDs + the native display off of my old-school MBP using a paltry 256MB GPU. When my system chokes on heavy audio work, it's all about plug-ins taxing the CPUs--the GPU is pretty much irrelevant.

    So I guess I'm suggesting that integrated graphics might be a more significant issue for image and video pros. A Mac Mini might not make sense in that application. But if the purchase were just for a recording studio, the i7 Quad Mini Server could possibly be a good idea. They can be expanded to 16GB RAM (according to OWC), and if the newer versions of Logic offer distributive computing via TBolt, they might be a good idea for gradually expanding one's studio system. For those who do orchestral composition work via massive sample libraries, using a program like VE PRo with tricked out Quad Mini Servers could be feasible. Also, they're quiet, which is important for small project studios that can't afford a separate CPU room to keep the hovercraft-blower tower noise from bleeding into tracks.

    Most audio guys like towers for drive and PCI card expansion, and for the better ventilation and long-term durability (real or imagined). But the coming TBolt revolution might make the necessity for towers a thing of the past.

    If you are doing all three tasks (image, video and audio editing/production), the Mini might not work. For audio applications only, though, it may have a place.

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