i7 Dual Core w/AMD or Quad Core Server Primarily for Photo & Video Work

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by M. Raboy, Oct 20, 2011.

  1. M. Raboy macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2010
    Sorry for another "what should I buy?" thread...I've been doing heavy research for the last several days and I'm still on the fence between the two. As I said I primarily will use the machine for photo processing in Lightroom 3, and 1080p video editing in Final Cut Studio 7 (no need to upgrade to FCPX...yet).

    From what I've read neither of my main apps will make use of a discrete gpu, nor will they fully take advantage of all 4 cores in the server model (except for transcoding video). As of right now I'm leaning towards the server model, however I'm hearing from colleagues and the internet I MIGHT eventually need the AMD graphics to do what I need to do...

    I'm know in the next couple years photo and video apps will start leaning more heavily on both the gpu and multi-core processors. Keeping that in mind, I need to make an informed decision based on the following...

    -I would also like to run 3 displays simultaneously for my work (HDTV over hdmi, Apple Cinema Display thru thunderbolt, and Dell LCD thru a usb-dvi adapter)...is this even possible on the Server model without the AMD chip?

    -I would also like to do a bit of casual gaming (Steam games mostly...Counter Strike, Half Life, Portal, etc)...I don't need 3 displays for this, but I would like the games to run at a tolerable framerate on at least 1 monitor.

    -I would like whichever machine I pick to last me at least 3 yrs without having the hardware limit myself on future app upgrades and purchases (FCPX being one of them)

    I know I should just get a mac pro and call it a day...but its not in my budget, and its hard to find feedback on the internet from mac mini owners using their machines the same way I will. Also, a Macbook Pro or iMac are not really options I'm willing to consider...I need a mini for its versatility and semi-portablity, and built in monitors are kinda redundant for my needs.

    I should also add that I will be installing 8GB ram and 7200rpm + SSD drives in whatever model I choose...it sort of comes down to figuring out which model is a better fit for my workflow, now and tomorrow.

    Will the dual core 2.7 i7 w/AMD benefit me more than the raw power of the quad core 2.0 i7 server? Which one will still be relevant in a couple years as visual media software becomes more complex and gpu intensive?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. MJL macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2011
    I just got the 2011 i5 2.5 ghz model (I need something with a faster data channel) and am greatly disappointed over the mid 2010 model.

    Basically the mid 2010 model was running at 18 - 20% constantly and the temperature did not move much above 50C (depending on room temperature which can be up to 24-25C). Fan never went faster than 1800 rpm.

    The 2011 model runs at approx 7-8% CPU but the temperature is running at 70C and peaking at 80C. I have to manually set the fan to 2300 rpm to get the temperature down to reasonable levels around 50C. Fan is inaudible at 1800 and noticeable at 2300.

    If you can make do with the 2010 model I suggest to get that one instead - imho it is the best of all the Mac mini's.
  3. Darby67 macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2011
    the corner of Fire and Brimstone
    I would suggest staying away from the 2010 C2D model, the i5 or i7 may run warmer, but it is a non issue. The processing times differences between the C2D and the i-models for Lightroom are pretty dramatic. Don't have much if any experience with the other programs.

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