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

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

  1. Richie3000 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2009
    #1
    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

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Location:
    SFBA, CA
    #2
    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

    Joined:
    May 20, 2002
    Location:
    Lombard, IL
    #3
    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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