I need some pre-purchase advice - MAC MINI

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by SUSU65, Dec 10, 2013.

  1. SUSU65 macrumors newbie


    Nov 30, 2008
    I need some pre-purchase advice - MAC MINI

    Hi There - I a long time mac user ( mac mini 2005 )
    plus other macs in the past.

    I want to buy a new mac - and CS6 - prompted by the notion that CS is going to creative cloud and I hate that idea ... $600 per year ? ... or buy it once.

    So, I’m upgrading to do that ... get CS6 ( boxed version )

    I’m looking at another Mac Mini.
    Likely the one that’s $599 ( ...I hope, if it will suffice and my needs
    for a good while )

    • 2.5 Dual Core i5
    • 4 GB Ram
    • HD Graphics 4000
    • OSX MAV

    Some questions for you nice people ??

    1 . I mostly do vector graphics, photoshop stuff, print ads, brochures, press ready work at 300 ppi for CMYK print and News Print ads . I don't do large format work very often like billboards or trade show graphics ... but on rare occasions sometimes it comes up.
    So ... with CS6 ... will I be happy with my new Mac Mini ?
    My old mac mini was 1.42 Hhz Power PC G4.

    2. RAM ??? ... it comes with 4 GIGs -
    16 sounds nice but that would be $300 more.
    I looked on line and there seems to be deals at just over
    half the price to get 2, 8 gig chips.
    Does that seem like the way to go ? ... get the base model
    and upgrade later ?

    3. All-be-it I’m a ‘Mr. Cheepo’ through & through, and like that $599 price,
    would I be sorry if I passed up the Mac Mini that’s $799 with the 2.3 quad core i7 , or would I even notice any benefit based on what I do
    and be just fine with the $599 mini ? Mostly Adobe Illustrator & photoshop sorts of projects for print.

    4. If anyone has a new Mac Mini - what inexpensive flat screen are you happy with ?

    Thanks for any thoughts.
  2. benoitgphoto macrumors 6502

    Jul 19, 2007
    Just bought a new Mini but I went a slightly different route :

    1. I got the 2.3 GHz i7
    2. I got the 1 TB Fusion drive
    3. I upgraded to 16 RAM myself for +/- 160$. Got it at Crucial.com
    4. I do not do a lot of vector graphics so 40$ Pixelmator does the job. Using it with Aperture for photo stuff.

    The 1 TB Fusion is really fast. Computer boots in a little less than 10 sec and most software I use boot really fast, in a bump.

    Upgrading the RAM is easy so don't pay 300$ Apple to do it and save money on that. I would use the money you save and invest it on the i7 and/or Fusion drive instead. You will assure a better overall performance and a longer usable life of the mini.

    I bought a 23'' AOC I2369 Vm 1080P screen that I plugged using a Mini Displayport to DisplayPort cable. I got a really good price for the screen (140$ in Canada) and I'm overall quite satisfied with the quality.
  3. blanka, Dec 11, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2013

    blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    Just go with the entry model, it sounds great for your needs. If you are on a budget it is a wise choice.
    What you do need though is:
    - install yourself an SSD, even the smallest is fine. For example a 60$ Kingston SSD Now. You can pop it in the empty slot. If you like, set it up as Fusion drive.
    - install at least 1 8GB RAM module for a total of 10. 4GB is limited, but with SSD you won't run into its limitations as much as you would with the stock HD. The other 8GB can come later.

    So count on 60$ SSD, 20$ SSD cable, 70$ 8GB, so basically 150$ of upgrades that are must have.

    Best low-budget screen for your work is probably the Dell U2412M.
    It is a 24 inch 1920x1200 (best resolution ever) IPS panel with swivel/portrait/height adj. for 250 bucks.

    1000$ grand total!

    What file sizes are you working on in Photoshop? If you do multi-layer high DPI stuff on large paper sizes, the i7 might be worth considering, but compared to 2005, you will find a 10 fold speed increase already with the i5.

    Another option:
    If you are mr. Cheapo and don't want to invest too much in software: get a refurb/second hand 2011 Radeon model. It is about as fast as the new entry one, with even faster GPU, and it runs Snow Leopard and thus most of your current software. I still use Freehand 10 on my mini 99% of all vector design needs. Also I find myself using CS 1 plenty of time. It's just a nice tad leaner than CS6, and I never notice the Rosetta speed difference. The old PPC apps never ran better than on the 2011 mini.

    I have a 2011 2.5Ghz i5/HD6630M/Samsung 830 256GB/Scorpio Black 750GB/16GB Crucial RAM/Snow Leopard machine, and it is a nice little beast running everything from ancient OSX 10.1 apps to the latest ones (serious apps still support Snow).
  4. phoenixsan macrumors 65816


    Oct 19, 2012
    I think.....

    you have to weight in two factors working with graphics/media files:

    1-RAM: The more, the better. I guess you can get faster response in a mini with a sizeable amount of RAM. You can buy RAM aftermarket, no necessarily from Apple....:D

    2-HDD space: Graphics files can eat up a big chunk of space. So, here is valuable to get the bigger HDD your budget can afford. Fusion drives can make loading of files and apps a faster thing too.....

  5. Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2011
    Take a look at Mac Mini tests at Barefeats.com. They will give a you a good idea how well the Mini will serve you when running CS6. The only possible glitch is if you use Photoshop functions that benefit from GPU acceleration; if you use them on a regular basis you may be better off with an iMac or MacBook Pro with a supported discrete GPU. (The Adobe website has a comprehensive list of the CS6 functions that benefit from GPU acceleration.)

    Unless you want the benefits of an SSD the stock hard drive works fine for me doing image editing. But my needs are minimal… You will definitely want more RAM; I experimented with 4GB before I upgraded and it was sufficient for basic computing needs. Add RAM-hungry apps or keep a lot of software open at one time and 4GB quickly fills-up. I wouldn't want to run Aperture and Photoshop with only 4GB RAM.

    Like others have suggested, go with quality third-party RAM; Apple's prices are exorbitant. I prefer Other World Computing and Crucial; when I bought 16GB I went with Crucial for around $80. It was quite a bit cheaper than OWC at the time…

    I went with the i7 CPU but frankly I would be well-served with the i5. If what you use on your Mac would benefit from a quad-core CPU then the $200 i7 upgrade may be worth the money. Again, Barefeats.com and other Photoshop-centric websites should help you decide if the i5 will meet your requirements.
  6. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    The GPU affected filters in Photoshop are on a very short list. And even then, the HD4000 is a GPU, and accelerates these filters, although not as much as a GT650 or Iris Pro in a iMac will do. On the other hand, a i7 in the iMac is much more money than an i7 Mini, which will outperform the base iMacs in the 98% of other Photoshop operations.
  7. Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2011
    If you happen to regularly use those features it can add a lot of time to image editing; the tests on Barefeats show that the difference between an HD4000 and certain discrete cards is substantial.

    Here is the Adobe webpage I mentioned previously; between it and Barefeats one should be able to ascertain whether a discrete GPU is essential vs. a luxury for their CS6 image editing.

  8. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    I bet, but it often means people pick a cheap iMac with i5, which makes PS slower on all the other operations. I think the GPU accelerated ones are really not very useful ones in the "Instagram" category.
  9. ioannis2005gr macrumors 6502


    Aug 10, 2013
    Good point! ;)
  10. MacPC, Dec 15, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2013

    MacPC macrumors regular

    Sep 25, 2006
    I recently got a late 2012 i7 Mac mini. Upgraded the hard drive to a Samsung 1T SSD and the RAM to 16G. Overall I love this mini. The only issue I have is with is the video. After some research I found out it is an issue with the Intel HD4000 Graphics. It is a minor annoyance, nonetheless it is still annoying. Other then that, I love it. :)

    I prefer it over the i7 iMac because I don't particularly like the iMac form factor and the display.

Share This Page