Gonna check out a mac mini tomorrow and need expert advice (photography)

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Nikato, Feb 9, 2011.

  1. Nikato macrumors member

    Jan 28, 2011
    Alright so I have come to this mac mini forum looking for help from the mini mac guru's! I need advice with getting the right set up for this baby so please bear with me. As the title says, it will be used for photography.

    *clears throat*.

    Alright. I am getting into photography and hope to have my camera by the end of this week. I want a mac to handle all of my photography so that way I don't have to mess with anything on my PC (it's an old bugger but still works).

    At first I was considering an MacBook Pro because of the portability. Of course they run about 999 refurb - upwards to 2k. The Imac is even more expensive, though it does have better specs. I thought about the mac mini briefly but its almost 700-800 dollars (a few less then the MBP) and i figured for that price iI may as well go for the MBP since the mac mini comes with only 2g ram.

    But that has changed now.

    Was keeping my eye on Craigs list and saw soemone selling a mac mini for 650 dollars. It is the 2010 model. For 100 more bucks they sell a keyboard and mouse with it two. They bought it to play a game on it but honestly don't use it since the husband is in the military and the wife doesn't really do computers. After talking to them a bit I got them to lower the price to 540 and throw in the mouse and keyboard (score). Now, at this point I am thinking that the mac mini is less powerful then the Imac by far, but I am getting it for nearly 600 dollars cheaper.

    I'll be taking a look at it later today and will have everthing set up. Now I am just looking for some people to help me figure out some upgrades I can do to it because as I said, I am getting this for photography.

    The Mac mini comes with 2 gigs ram and a 320 gig 5200 rpm harddrive. Those are the two things I am looking at upgrading.

    I can max out the ram to 8gigs for about 100 dollars on newegg. I am not sure what size hard drive the mac mini uses though. I don't think its a 3.5'' hd, though if it is I could buy a 7200rpm one for like 35 bucks. I am not really concerned about the size. I have several 1TB externals already and will probably by a 500gig FW hd as well.

    I already have a mouse and keyboard though with the ones they are giving me i can have extra. I have an extra monitor and I also have a spare LCD 32 inch tv.

    So in the end...depending, it looks like I can get the mac mini for 540, upgrade the ram for another 100 and spend between 35-150 for a 7200rpm harddrive, bringing the total to 670-700ish dollars.

    So in the end in comparison to a MBP this is what I have:

    Processor: Mini: 2.4-2.6gh C2D. MBP: Same
    Graphic card: Mini: NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics processor with 256MB of DDR3 SDRAM shared with main memory. MBP: Same
    Ram: Mini: 8gigs MBP: 4gigs
    HD: Mini: cheapest being 160gig 7200rpm. MBP: 250gig 5200rpm

    Price (that I have to spend): Mini: max $780. MBP (13inch) $1,199.00 (not including ram upgrade) (999 refurb not including ram upgrade).

    I'd think that all in all it is a good deal since I am initially getting it for roughly 500 bucks (if everything is legit and works). Like I said I have the keyboard and mouse already and will be getting extra.

    I know this is not a workhorse computer meant to do insane graphics and stuff. I am just getting into photography. If I decide later on in the years to take it much more seriously and become a professional then I would probably get a brand new Imac.

    Will this set up work for me? Is 8 gigs of ram over kill? I am thinking about upgrading the HD to a 7200 because people said it would increase app loading and I don't want to buy an SSD. What HD size does it take? As far as photo programs I will have App 3 and maybe photoshop elements since I believe my wife has another copy from her tablet.

    Lastly, what would be a good test when I go look at the computer? I was thinking of bringing a disk full of large photos and some video to test the speed. I don't know if they will have internet. Are their any downloadable..."speed test" programs I could bring with me and plug in?

    Sorry for the long post and sorry that it is jumbled. Trying to get everything straightened out and its late.
  2. b-rad g macrumors 6502a

    b-rad g

    Jun 29, 2010
    For that price I would wait for one to pop up in the Apple Refurb Store as they go for $599. Then you could get a new keyboard and mouse from Amazon for about the same they are asking for theirs.
  3. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    I think it is a good purchase but price wise, if you can wait for a refurb then get it. To me, the new mini's are overpriced.
  4. B.A.T macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2009
  5. fa8362 macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2008
    If you are just getting into photography, buying anything beyond a Mini and the keyboard/monitor is not advisable. Out of the box, it's more than what someone just getting into photography needs. If you stick with photography, at some point you'll need an external drive, additional software and additional RAM, etc. But there's no need to buy that stuff now. Just use iPhoto until you outgrow it.
  6. klm123, Feb 9, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2011

    klm123 macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2011
    I have 2 of the new minis. 1 for me and 1 for my wife, side by side and 2 32" LG hdtvs for monitors. The mini is underrated, as far as performance. I have maxed out the ram (8GB/$100 at Crucial), because I play Steam games like Left 4 Dead(graphic demanding). The stock 2GB was okay, but some lag issues. Now, it runs the game like a charm. Photography... still good choice with the mini. Make sure you go FW800 to your external, max out the ram, and you will be happy. I will be upgrading the 5400 rpm HD with a ssd soon for faster loading.(for boot and apps drive only). If you already have everything else that you need to hook it up, all I can say is... what are you waiting for? Oh, and the drive size is 2.5" also.
  7. Nikato thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 28, 2011
    Thanks :).

    And there have been several Mac minis on the refurb store. The current one is a sever that is 858 I think. I'm getting this Mac for only five, and an updated price (I looked at deals at amazon) has me Looking at 648 I think.

    Def gonna get a FireWire hard drive. They have some at bb and online I like, and I have some other TB harddrive as well.

    I hope it works out. A few more hours till I can go check it out. Is there any program out there I can take with me to run a diagnostic on the Mac mini to test it out that doesn't require an internet connection?
  8. klm123 macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2011
    If you are still going to check it out, and if you are referring to the performance and demand on the stock ram, go to apps/utilities/activity monitor once you are on the desktop, and after the monitor comes up, click on the memory tab at the bottom, to monitor memory activity. You can bring your photos on a usb jumpdrive, or even a memory card has a slot in the back of the 2010 mac minis now. This way you can load your photos, and mess around with different apps and real case scenarios that you will actually be using yourself, and you will be able to see how the ram memory is affected during these processes using the activity monitor. Remember, the more apps that are open/used, the more ram is needed, or else it will start showing a lot of swap files(a.k.a. borrowed memory from the cpu itself, which takes longer to retrieve the information for you to see.)

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