Mac Mini as a Mac Pro replacement?

InuNacho

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Apr 24, 2008
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I have a 2009 Mac Pro and 2012 cMBP 15' and I'm eyeing the 2012 Minis to replace my Pro. At present my Pro basically acts as a place to store all my files and do really important work as I do more or less most everything else on my MBP.
I've been reading about the energy costs of having my massive Mac Pro against having a petite Mac Mini but with 8 drives all attached and in use, I'm not sure I'd be seeing a real energy savings with external 2/4 bay enclosures.

Has anyone successfully gone from a Mac Pro to Mac Mini?
 

opeter

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Aug 5, 2007
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For server purposes, maybe a Mac mini is better. Maybe (energy cost)... But you won't get the options, to mount 4 drives (or more, if you are using 2,5" HDDs/SSDs) inside a/one computer case.

So you need external enclosures. And there also need additional power. Well, still, the Mac mini+external enclosures will be much more energy efficient, but also don't forget, in some cases, also slower. It depends.
 

JamesPDX

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Aug 26, 2014
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Grab a 2012 2.6 GHz Intel Core i7 if you can find one, load it with 16GB RAM and an SSD or two. Buy the good ones.

If you want more of an enterprise/professional solution for storage go all-SSD. Look here: https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/blackmagicmultidock

No more spinners for me, no more cheap disposable external enclosures with noisy fans and wall warts.
You can even daisy-chain them because of the extra TB port. Rack mount it all, and you're good to go. Sierra 10.12.6 is great on these machines. The money you save on electricity alone will pay for the Multidock.

You'll thank me later.
 

ziggy29

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Oct 29, 2014
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Sounds like you really don't need the power (in terms of computing AND electricity) of a Pro. A mini can serve multiple disks -- but in reality, I think you'd need at least Thunderbolt 2 for that much throughput on multiple disks IF more than about two of them will be serving data at the same time. (As much as I prefer the quad core 2012 Mini, it only has TB1 and I don't know that it would handle server requests hitting multiple volumes at the same time very well.) If you won't have more than 1-2 of these external disks at a time, a TB1 port or even external USB 3.0 would likely be enough.
 

JamesPDX

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The Thunderbolt bus speed on that Mini is "Up to 10 Gb/s x2" -But I don't know what the data i/o rate of the OP's 2009 MP is. With the system that I setup (Post #3) you'll never saturate the Thunderbolt bus even with those 4 SSDs in RAID 1. Unless there's a BTO fiber-channel card in that 2009 Mac Pro, the internals are still communicating at 3Gbps.
And there's still that gigabit ethernet. But I guess the real question is, "Hey, whatcha servin' and how fast do ya' serve it?"
 

InuNacho

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Nope, I don't have any fibre cards. Right now my Lightroom library is roughly 70k images, I'm routinely work with PSDs over a gig in size, and am working more frequently with 1080 ProRes files. Desktop WD Blacks have been suffice. If I switch to a Mini I would immediately need to get a dock of some sort as I run dual monitors and need access to another Thunderbolt dock for a BlackMagic Shuttle.

While interesting, that BlackMagic Multidock would prove to be too costly.
 

Neodym

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Jul 5, 2002
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You could always connect the second monitor to the mini's HDMI port (if one of your monitors offers that port). And the 2014 mini's feature two instead of only one Thunderbolt port.