Mac Mini Configuration for Graphic and Photography

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by JacobKei, Aug 2, 2011.

  1. JacobKei macrumors newbie

    May 12, 2011
    I recently order new Mac Mini with this configuration:

    Mac mini Dual-Core i7 2.7GHz
    8GB RAM
    500GB 5400rpm
    Radeon HD6630M

    Is this configuration great for my work?
    Photography (Aperture or Lightroom / RAW 20-50mb per one photo)
    Graphic (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign)

    Or I thinking about 750GB 7200rpm, but I don't know If this is important for my work.

    Thank you all for your responses.
  2. philjo macrumors member

    Jul 28, 2011
    The advice I got from a lightroom forum was that the 7200rpm HD will give a big improvement to performance in Lightroom.
  3. Hberg macrumors member

    Feb 19, 2009
    Overland Park, KS
    I am going to get a similar configuration for photography and iTunes once some of the issues Lion and Sonos Controller are resolved; however, I will probably be getting the 750GB Serial ATA Drive @ 7200 rpm + 256GB Solid State Drive option. I will also have a 2 TB 7200 rpm firewire drive attached for storage, so the 750GB Serial ATA Drive may not be necessary.

    I order this originally, but cancelled the order once Sonos sent out their message regarding the lack of compatibility with Lion and the Sonos Controller. Some have stated that a NAS storage solution would resolve the Sonos Controller issue, but I decided to wait for Sonos to issue their new Controller that will have compatibility with Lion. (Sonos said it may be 2 to 4 weeks.)
  4. brudy macrumors member

    May 23, 2008
    I'm in the same boat as you, getting a new mini for web design and photography. I'm definitely doing the 7200 speed option, if not the SSD/7200 combo. 5400 speed drives are just terrible for any of those type of apps (lightroom, photoshop, etc).
  5. fa8362 macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2008
    You'd be better off posting this on a pro photography forum. Virtually no one who posts here is a professional photographer. The advice here is typically "spend as much as possible," which is usually bad advice for a business.
  6. carlgo macrumors 68000

    Dec 29, 2006
    Monterey CA
    Do let us know how the 50 mb files behave with your new setup. It would be very helpful.

    The 7200 HD is better choice than the 5400.
  7. Mak47 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 27, 2011
    Harrisburg, PA
    7200 RPM drives are a better choice, but processor speed is most important. You want to be able to process those large files quickly, and applying edits and effects to them isn't always quick, as I'm sure you know.

    For the money, the quad core server version is the way to go--if it's not too late for you. You'll get a much faster quad core processor and two already built in 7200 RPM drives (500GB each). The integrated GPU is totally adequate for your needs (unless you intend to do some gaming that wasn't mentioned in the original post).

    By the time you make BTO upgrades, or even DIY in some cases on the mid level version, you'll be in about the same place on price, if not higher, and it still won't perform as well.
  8. JacobKei, Aug 4, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2011

    JacobKei thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 12, 2011
    Thank you all guys for your responses.

    And thank you either, but I don't understant, can I run on Mac Mini Server, but no OS X Lion Server? I want normal OS X Lion.
    And second and last questions, Mac Mini Server have Intel graphic card, this is not good for me, isn't it?

    EDIT: And NO, na don't playing any games and even chess. :) I need machine only for that things I mentioned. :)

  9. scupking macrumors 6502a

    Dec 14, 2010
    For what you are doing you want the Quad core and 7200rpm drive. Go with the server version.
  10. Adamantoise macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2011
    You don't need to make a living off of photography to be knowledgeable about the subject.

    In any case, LR3 and CS5 (ACR, PS, Bridge) are all CPU intensive applications. They do not rely on your GPU for image editing purposes.

    It has been said before but the Server model would be better for your uses. If you can manage to set it up, RAID 0 should improve your performance too.

    That being said, I don't know why the myth that Macs are for photography is still alive. Windows machines accept virtually all sorts of media (most professional DSLRs use CF) and usually have a lot more power to crunch the algorithms that Adobe uses in good time.

    But if you have to go with a Mac, then an iMac would be better yet. However, if you're set on the Mini, then go with the Server.
  11. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    Aperture likes a good gpu and a good cpu. Op may not be better off with the server yeah the cpu is better but the gpu is not as good. truth be told he needs a piece of gear that apple does not make a quad mini with a discrete gpu.

    The best advice I can give to him is test the mini out that you purchased if it is not good enough return it and test the server out,better yet get an iMac.

    I have not seen any good aperture test scores out on the mini's vs an iMac so this is more of a guess then fact. I do know this on a really intensive cpu task the server mac mini is far better then any other mini.
  12. brudy macrumors member

    May 23, 2008
    I'd like to see those scores too. But from what I've read about Lightroom it's more cpu than gpu intensive. I spend most of my time in either LR or photoshop/flash.

    I'm really torn between an imac and a mini. I have an older apple display, but once you add the ext dvd drive, 3rd party ram upgrade, dvi cable, etc the value starts drops quickly when you can step up to an imac for a bit more.
  13. twoering macrumors newbie

    Dec 15, 2010
    I am an avid photo hobbyist as well using PS and was waiting for the mac mini upgrade as a possible replacement to my aging DP G5 with 8gb ram. Having spent considerable time lurking on the MacPro forum site I have learned that PS in its current iteration is, as others here have pointed out, processor and ram intensive and that hard drive speed becomes impt only when ram is saturated and PS must access its scratch disk.

    I also follow the blog and monthly column of a professional photographer, David Brooks, who writes a Q & A column on digital photography in Shutterbug. He swears by the mini saying even in their last model they were not bogged down by PS.

    One recurring theme of his is that of the need for a properly color-managed system so your prints come out looking exactly like they appear on your display. Frequently prints appear much darker than on the monitor, along with other anomalies. You need a high quality monitor capable of displaying a high percentage (mid 90s) of the Adobe RPG color space without color casts, etc. Apple's monitors do not meet the requirements so an iMac should not be considered. The cheapest monitor he is now recommending is a Dell U-2410 which is priced, if I recall, in the mid $400's to $500's range.

    You might find it interesting to search the MacPro forum site for questions related to the MacPro and Photoshop as you will find a much more detailed discussion. I also recommend Mr Brooks' blog & columns on the Shutterbug site.
  14. Mojo1, Aug 4, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2011

    Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2011
    Wide-Gamut Displays Aren't For Everyone...

    Wide gamut displays can be problematic:

    Unless you are experienced with color management and really need a monitor capable of rendering most of the AdobeRGB color gamut, you are probably better off buying a high-quality sRGB monitor like the NEC MultiSync 2490WUXi2-BK 24" Widescreen LCD Display (

    You will also save a lot of money compared to the $1000+ wide gamut monitors favored by serious photographers.

    FWIW, I'm a pro with 30+ years experience who has no problem getting matching prints using an "ancient" iMac 24" Core2Duo and an HP Photosmart Printer. I only shoot RAW and edit in ProPhoto RGB or AdobeRGB depending on the software that I am using. Using the manufacturer's papers keeps things simple and prints look great. A matte screen and proper display calibration help a lot, but I don't think that relatively pricey hardware calibration is necessary for many people. I use SuperCal software ( and it works just fine for me. Caveats: My prints are for personal use, not for sale. The kind of work that I do is published online and in various media. If I was producing prints for sale and using third-party "art" papers then I would have different requirements.

    My iMac is getting a bit long in the tooth when it comes to current software requirements. The "glassy" iMac displays are a deal-killer for me and I don't need the processing power of a MacPro, since I mainly use Nikon Capture NX 2/Aperture and rarely Photoshop. The new MacMinis, while not as powerful CPU or GPU-wise as the iMacs/MacPros, are very appealing to me. I think that the $799 MacMini with the discreet GPU is the sweet-spot in the current MacMini lineup, but I wish that Apple would offer a "headless iMac" that could be used with an external display. It will probably never happen, but one can always hope!
  15. JacobKei thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 12, 2011
    I already have (I hope) good monitor DELL 24" with S-PVA technology. So I don't want iMac, the best solution for me is Mac Mini or Mac Pro, because I am not milionare and live in poor country Czech republic. :D

    That SuperCal is very interesting, but what princip is using by this software? I don't fully understand.

    After all I changed my order, only instead 5400rpm disk I choose 7200rpm disk. So I hope this was a good choice.
  16. beginner17 macrumors newbie

    Jan 11, 2011
    Berlin, Germany
    I choosed the Mini with 2,5GHz an discrete GPU for using Lightroom and PS.

    I don`t like the glossy displays and so I hope, these Mini is best choice for me an my 24" Dell 2408.

    I guess the HD3000 is the slow for my applications.
  17. Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2011
    SuperCal is visual calibration software that is basically an expanded version of Apple's built-in calibration. Since SuperCal is shareware, you can try before you buy. You can create as many profiles as you wish. It usually takes me one or two attempts to get good results.
  18. radek42 macrumors regular

    May 27, 2008
    Here, there, and everywhere

    I am currently deciding on my next photo computer jumping between various mini models and 22in iMac (27in is just too big).

    I had my eye on the very same model, until I investigate some more (forum here, Apple store, other photographers).

    I don't believe that any of the photo applications (PS, LR, as well as offerings from Apple) utilize graphics card in any significant manner. Ergo, Intel HD3000 should be plenty for 2D (read: PS) work.

    For me right now, mini server looks really nice.



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