Mac Mini 2012 or Mac Pro 2009?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by GameGuru38, Oct 13, 2016.

  1. GameGuru38, Oct 13, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2016

    GameGuru38 macrumors regular

    GameGuru38

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    Location:
    Ohio
    #1
    I currently am using a Mac Mini 2007 and will be upgrading so I can use a newer version of macOS as I am stuck with Lion on my current Mac Mini. I also want to get into Final Cut Pro and edit videos for a Youtube channel I have started. These two are about the same price so that is why I am trying to decide what to go with. Here is how I am looking at it now:

    Mac Mini 2012: Pros - Can upgrade to macOS Sierra
    - Small form factor
    Cons - Limited upgrade ability
    - Might not be powerful enough for what I want to do with it

    Mac Pro 2009: Pros - Lots of upgradability, and with a firmware and CPU upgrade
    can become a 2010
    - Probably would handle Final Cut Pro like a champ!
    Cons - Can't run macOS Sierra unless upgraded to a 2010!
    - Very large and heavy
    - Three years older than the Mac Mini


    Which one will I be more happy with and give me the best experience?
     
  2. 2manygs macrumors newbie

    2manygs

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2015
    Location:
    Midlands, UK
    #2
    I would think the Mac Mini would be the better choice, but make sure it has the i7 quad core processor and maximum 16GB RAM.
     
  3. GameGuru38 thread starter macrumors regular

    GameGuru38

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    Location:
    Ohio
    #3
    So if I get the quad core i7 and then install and SSD and 16GB of RAM it would better better than the 2009 Mac Pro? I love the form factor of the Mini but I want to make sure whatever I get can handle Final Cut Pro well.
     
  4. keysofanxiety macrumors 604

    keysofanxiety

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #4
    I second the above; just ensure you get one with the Quad i7 and SSD. 16GB RAM can be fitted pretty easily using the access panel in the bottom (2x8GB DDR3 1600MHz SODIMM).

    SSD is a little trickier to fit yourself. Here's how to swap the internal HDD with an SSD: https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Mac+Mini+Late+2012+Hard+Drive+Replacement/11716

    Here's how to fit a dual HDD kit: https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Installing+Mac+Mini+Late+2012+Dual+Hard+Drive+Kit/11713
    --- Post Merged, Oct 13, 2016 ---
    It'd 100% perform better than the single-CPU one. The dual CPU Mac Pro might have it on benchmarks but in real-world performance the Mac Mini will still perform better. Mac Pro SATA interface is only 3Gb/s whilst the Mac Mini's is 6Gb/s. That alone would make a huge difference. Quicker RAM, less power consumption... yeah, it's the better of the two options. Plus the Mac Pro is likely to be more expensive too!

    Personally I still use a 15" cMBP 2012, which has the same quad-core CPU as the 2012 Mac Mini, and it's unstoppable. Frequently have 20+ AU plugins running in LPX and it doesn't skip a beat. FCPX has no issues when I try it. Honestly, you won't have a problem.
     
  5. thingstoponder macrumors 6502

    thingstoponder

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2014
    #5
    Old Mac Pros are appealing on the surface but they seem like a hassle compared to a mini.
     
  6. CSeye macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2014
    #6
    Adding RAM and an SSD is not too bad. OWC has videos on how to do this.

    I added a second drive to the quad core i7 2012 Mini which was a very elaborate and risky procedure with the OWC video as my guide.

    The 2012 is significantly more poweful and energy-efficient compared to my Mac Pro 1,1. The Mac Pro does have a more robust GPU but the MIni does well small FCPX projects.

    The 2012 Mini is a beast!
     
  7. hartleymartin macrumors regular

    hartleymartin

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2016
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #7
    While I do own a Mac Pro and love it, I think that a Mac Mini with a Quad-Core i7 CPU would probably do about 90% of what the Mac Pro does. Unless you're really into making videos, I would probably recommend the Mac Mini over the Mac Pro. I would recommend the 2012 Mac Mini as this was the first model with USB3.0

    That said, a 2009 Mac Pro 4,1 which has had the firmware flashed to a Mac Pro 5,1 can be quite a beast of a machine if you go for the 12-core set up. I would have to check, but I think that macOS supports a maximum of 96GB of RAM, though a 5,1 supports up to 128GB and opens up a number of options for more powerful graphics cards. This is also the first model of Mac pro which supports hyper threading, so you can get a heck of a lot of virtual processing cores. You can also get PCIe cards which give you must faster SSDs (I used an Accelsior-S card with a Samsung 750 EVO for the boot drive - machine boots in 35 seconds flat) and you can get a USB3.0 Card, though I have not done this myself, as I use the internal drives for everything, and if I want to do a massive file transfer between my laptop and Mac Pro, I use ethernet.

    Whatever you go with, I highly recommend going with an SSD at least for the boot drive. I upgraded my 13" 2011 MacBook Pro with an SSD and 16GB of RAM, and it just flies now. It used to take well over a minute to boot, but now does it in about 22 seconds. I did the same upgrades for a 17" MacBook Pro that has the Quad-Core i7 CPU and the thing booted in 17.6 seconds. On both, the applications just load so much faster and everything runs smoothly. It is so frustrating when I have to use a computer that still uses a regular mechanical HDD.

    I am a bit disappointed that Apple has not made any significant enhancements to the newer Mac Mini. I believe that the 2012 Quad-Core is the most powerful ever made.

    The i7-Quad 2012 Mac Mini scores about 12,000 in Geekbench 3, which is about the same score my 2008 8-core 3.0GHz Mac pro 3,1 scores. The one major feature which could be the deciding factor is that the Mac Mini will not support a 4K display, but there is always the option of getting a graphics card for the Mac Pro which supports 4K. If you're happy with the Mac Mini's 2560x1600 maximum display output, by all means go for it.
     
  8. blesscheese macrumors 6502a

    blesscheese

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2010
    Location:
    Central CA
    #8
    If you are doing video work, you need to know how many cores the chip in the Mini has vs. the chip the Mac Pro has.

    My 2009 Mac Pro has 8 cores, and works like a champ when encoding and decoding videos. You need to make sure the Mini is the i7 4 core version, and even then, I would still get benchmarks.

    I've had 2 mini's and my Mac Pro is the best computer I've ever had. I've loaded it with 32GB of RAM and it is rock solid. I also have an SSD and 2 2TB drives in it. For real work, it is hard to beat.
     
  9. GameGuru38 thread starter macrumors regular

    GameGuru38

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    Location:
    Ohio
    #9
    Yeah I really want to go Mac Pro 2009 or later, I just think it will work better for video production.
     
  10. hartleymartin macrumors regular

    hartleymartin

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2016
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #10
    If you get a 2009 Mac Pro, get the Firmware flashed. The 4,1 and 5,1 are basically the same machine with different firmware. This will let you use slightly faster DDR3 RAM at 1333MHz and you can go all the way up to 12-cores of Xeon power the highest being 3.46GHz.

    The 2009-2012 Mac Pros took Xeons that support Hyper-threading which will give you a massive performance boost and when they are tricked out with things like PCIe-SSD cards, USB 3.0 and a high-end GPU, they leave every other Mac, including the trash-can Mac Pros, in the dust.
     
  11. shaunp macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2010
    #11
    The problem with both of these options is you don't know when Apple will just drop support for them with regards to OS updates. Which might not seem like a big deal, but it will matter when your main apps are no longer supported on the version of OS X you are running.

    Are you making money out of this video production, is it a hobby or are you a student? If it's a hobby or you are a student I can understand the need to keep the budget down and you don't always need the latest. If you are making money out of this however then the faster the better. I'd drop the Mac altogether in this case and spec out a decent PC as you will get more grunt for your cash and it's likely you'll be using the same app anyway.
     
  12. blesscheese macrumors 6502a

    blesscheese

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2010
    Location:
    Central CA
    #12
    I disagree -- you already know Apple is going to dump support as soon as they can, ha ha!
     
  13. shaunp macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2010
    #13
    True, very true! :)
     

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