mac mini editing pro res 422HQ?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by dewjack, Feb 10, 2017.

  1. dewjack macrumors member


    Jun 6, 2012
    Currently editing XAVC-S on a mac book pro, mid 2010, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, 2,4 GHz Intel Core Duo, NVIDIA 256 GB, and it works surprisingly well ... but ... my wish is to buy a black magic cinema pocket camera, which records in pro res 422 HQ, hence, I need to update my hardware.

    Question 1: Will a mac mini, late 2012, intel i7, 16MB RAM, 2,3 GHz Quad Core be enough?

    Question 2: Can one update the graphics card on a mac mini?

    Is it important that it has an internal SSD or is FD enough?

    Yours Dewjack.
  2. treekram macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2015
    Honolulu HI
    First the easy question: The 2012 (and 2014) Mini's both have an integrated GPU - there is no graphics card and it cannot be upgraded internally. At best, using an external GPU is not practical. The 2012 quad-core Mini has a substantially faster CPU and GPU than what you currently have.

    As to whether the 2012 Mini is enough, it depends on what kind of video processing you plan to do, resolution, framerate, what software you use and what your expectations are. The Black Magic camera you mention is 1080HD and given capable software, the 2012 Mini should be able to do that. XAVC-S looks like H264-based and the HD 4000 in the 2012 Mini has support for that. I don't see native GPU support for the ProRes 422, but H264 is more compressed than ProRes 422 so the native GPU support issue probably won't be an issue.

    I mainly edit videos in 720p using Premiere Elements. It (Premiere, that is) probably is lacking in performance, but it meets my needs and it's not that expensive. Edited 1080i is OK depending on how the video was encoded. If I use the MP4 file from my DVR software (almost uncompressed), it's pretty laggy but if I transcode using HandBrake (going to 1080p), it's much better and I think the situation will be similar for you - performance will depend on factors other than just hardware.

    I find a SSD is almost necessary for later (Yosemite and later, perhaps) Mac OS's. If whatever video software you use stores work data to disk (vs. memory), you really will notice the difference. Premiere does store work files to disk - in my case an SSD but my video files that I use and export to are all stored on HD's. That works pretty well for me.
  3. Boyd01, Feb 11, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2017

    Boyd01 macrumors 601


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    I got a 2012 2.6ghz 16gb quad mini with original Apple 256gb SSD a few months ago that I dedicated to video editing. At the moment, my projects all involve legacy 480i60 DV footage I shot of theatrical perfomances 10 to 15 years ago. The mini handles this with no problem of course. For final delivery, I am using Compressor to convert to 480p30 with the highest quality motion compensation. This puts the biggest stress on the machine, a one hour video took about 13 hours to compress.

    I also have a 2013 MacBook Air with the 1.7ghz i7 CPU, 8gb RAM and 512gb SSD. The Mini renders video twice as fast as the MacBook Air. It is also twice as fast as my base model 2012 i5 Mac Mini. This is pretty much proportional to the geekbench ratings for these machines. But the difference is pretty significant when you consider that the 13 hour export mentioned above would have taken 26 hours on the slower machines. :)

    I have also done some editing of 1080i60 footage from a Sony HVR-Z1 and 1080p24 from a Sony XDCAM-EX that work fine on the Mini. I still use legacy FCP for my editing, and it is really all I need for the legacy SD footage. But I spent awhile with the FCPX free trial and it ran fine. Also tried DaVinci Resolve and was surprised that it seemed to work well, although I only tried with SD footage.

    I don't put any media on the internal 256gb SSD, I have several 5TB external USB 3.0 drives for storage, they clock at around 180MB/sec. To make editing smoother, I have a 1TB Samsung T1 USB 3.0 SSD that I use for my current project. It clocks around 400MB/sec write and 430 read. The internal Apple 256gb SSD gets about 450MB/sec write and 520MB/sec read.

    I like having the internal SSD because programs launch quickly and it boots in about 15 seconds. But the external SSD is a pretty good option if you can't find a model with internal SSD and don't want to tear it apart to install. I setup another 2012 Mini for my daughter's family recently using the same Samsung T1 external SSD as a boot drive. it also feels very fast, but it takes 30 seconds to boot vs 15 with my internal SSD.

    I am very happy with the quad mini, it's a fast little machine. I don't use any software that needs a better graphics chip so the HD4000 is fine. In fact, i have some legacy CAD software (VectorWorks 2008) that has issues with the newer HD5000 chip on my MacBook Air but works fine on the Mini. I also like the fact that the 2012 Mini runs MacOSX 10.8.5 which makes it more compatible with my old software.
  4. dewjack thread starter macrumors member


    Jun 6, 2012
    Thanks both of you. I did choose to buy one through e-bay, arrives next week. It has two internal ssd:s each 256 GB. I guess I could store my media on one of them without slowing down the work of FCPX, which I'll store on the other.

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3 February 10, 2017