Mac Mini for photo editing

SayCheese

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 14, 2007
934
146
Thame, Oxfordshire, England
Hi all.

Does anyone use a mac mini for photo editing?
I'm considering a Mac Mini 3.0Ghz & 16Gb Ram.
I shoot 5DIII and RAW only.

I use Photoshop, Lightroom, Spotify, Safari, Word, Excel & iTunes.

Does anyone know how well this mini will perform with photo editing tasks? Will it be unbearably slow?

Thanks
 

ardchoille50

macrumors 68020
Feb 6, 2014
2,142
1,195
Hi all.

Does anyone use a mac mini for photo editing?
I'm considering a Mac Mini 3.0Ghz & 16Gb Ram.
I shoot 5DIII and RAW only.

I use Photoshop, Lightroom, Spotify, Safari, Word, Excel & iTunes.

Does anyone know how well this mini will perform with photo editing tasks? Will it be unbearably slow?

Thanks
I use a base model 2012 Mac mini and it seems to be quite powerful - I haven't seen any lag yet. I use Pixelmator and GIMP for editing photos. I'm picky and impatient and I've been very happy with this machine. The Mac Mini 3.0Ghz & 16Gb Ram model is far more powerful than mine so I would assume it would be fine.
 
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SayCheese

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 14, 2007
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Thame, Oxfordshire, England
Thanks.
My trusty Macbook Pro has died this morning so I need something and quick. I already have a 27" display, magic mouse and keyboard.

I will then look at the Macbook Air 11" just so I've something to take out and about. I wouldn't edit on the Macbook Air.

Can I ask what files you edit with your mac mini? How big are they?

I use a base model 2012 Mac mini and it seems to be quite powerful - I haven't seen any lag yet. I use Pixelmator and GIMP for editing photos. The Mac Mini 3.0Ghz & 16Gb Ram model is far more powerful than mine so I would assume it would be fine.
 
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ChrisA

macrumors G4
Jan 5, 2006
11,598
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Redondo Beach, California
Thanks.
My trusty Macbook Pro has died this morning so I need something and quick. I already have a 27" display, magic mouse and keyboard.

I will then look at the Macbook Air 11" just so I've something to take out and about. I wouldn't edit on the Macbook Air.

Can I ask what files you edit with your mac mini? How big are they?
If you are certain you want a Macbook Air then buy it first. get it loaded up with RAM and try editing on the Air using that 27" monitor. You may find you don't need the Mac Mini. The MBA being Flash based is quicker than you think. Editing still images is not so CPU intensive as you think. Different story if you were editing video.
 

ardchoille50

macrumors 68020
Feb 6, 2014
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Thanks.
My trusty Macbook Pro has died this morning so I need something and quick. I already have a 27" display, magic mouse and keyboard.

I will then look at the Macbook Air 11" just so I've something to take out and about. I wouldn't edit on the Macbook Air.

Can I ask what files you edit with your mac mini? How big are they?
Sorry to hear about your MBP, such a nice machine. I'm planning on one of those myself for when I'm out of the house. The good news is that your display, magic mouse and keyboard will work fine with the Mac mini.

I do a lot of graphics work on my Mac mini and some of my projects approach 1 GB in size - those typically take a few extra seconds to render but not really enough to be annoying.. and that's with the base model, yours should be much faster.

I also use Safari, iTunes (movies don't lag at all!), Numbers and Pages (Apple offerings), and most of the standard Apple apps and I've been very happy with this machine. I was a bit concerned when buying it, due to the 'entry level' description, but this little workhorse has impressed me. The RAM is upgradable on my machine but I don't see the need to do so at this time.

Note: I used to build my own computers during the 13 years I spent using Linux and the Mac mini runs circles around most of the machines I built.

I was told by others to get the higher end Mac mini if I was planning to do any heavy video editing or compiling, but you seem to be looking at that model anyway, so I don't think you'll have any problems.
 
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SayCheese

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 14, 2007
934
146
Thame, Oxfordshire, England
Thanks for the tip.
I've never touched video really. Don't want to either.
I'll have a look at what it can do.

If you are certain you want a Macbook Air then buy it first. get it loaded up with RAM and try editing on the Air using that 27" monitor. You may find you don't need the Mac Mini. The MBA being Flash based is quicker than you think. Editing still images is not so CPU intensive as you think. Different story if you were editing video.
 

SayCheese

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 14, 2007
934
146
Thame, Oxfordshire, England
Thanks. Its good to hear.
Some of my composite work comes in as 500mb files. Most of my stuff though is 5D III raw files.

I'm just thinking that a full spec mini and a Macbook Air is less than a full spec Macbook Pro. Just not sure if I need the capabilities of the Macbook Pro.
I do however need something that I can take around with me but it doesn't need to be powerful. Hence the Macbook Air thought.

Sorry to hear about your MBP, such a nice machine. I'm planning on one of those myself for when I'm out of the house. The good news is that your display, magic mouse and keyboard will work fine with the Mac mini.

I do a lot of graphics work on my Mac mini and some of my projects approach 1 GB in size - those typically take a few extra seconds to render but not really enough to be annoying.. and that's with the base model, yours should be much faster.

I also use Safari, iTunes (movies don't lag at all!), Numbers and Pages (Apple offerings), and most of the standard Apple apps and I've been very happy with this machine. I was a bit concerned when buying it, due to the 'entry level' description, but this little workhorse has impressed me. The RAM is upgradable on my machine but I don't see the need to do so at this time.

I was told by others to get the higher end Mac mini if I was planning to do any heavy video editing or compiling, but you seem to be looking at that model anyway, so I don't think you'll have any problems.
 
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ardchoille50

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Feb 6, 2014
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Thanks. Its good to hear.
Some of my composite work comes in as 500mb files. Most of my stuff though is 5D III raw files.

I'm just thinking that a full spec mini and a Macbook Air is less than a full spec Macbook Pro. Just not sure if I need the capabilities of the Macbook Pro.
I do however need something that I can take around with me but it doesn't need to be powerful. Hence the Macbook Air thought.
Keep in mind that each new Mac mini seems to be less user-serviceable than the previous version so it's best to get the higher spec'd model at the time of purchase. Also know that the Mac mini is made from laptop parts, this is why the entire machine has such a small footprint.
 

SayCheese

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 14, 2007
934
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Thame, Oxfordshire, England
Thanks. I've already discovered that the new Mac mini doesn't have user upgradable ram.

Keep in mind that each new Mac mini seems to be less user-serviceable than the previous version so it's best to get the higher spec'd model at the time of purchase. Also know that the Mac mini is made from laptop parts, this is why the entire machine has such a small footprint.
 

ardchoille50

macrumors 68020
Feb 6, 2014
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Thanks. I've already discovered that the new Mac mini doesn't have user upgradable ram.
Yeah, this is why I'll get the highest spec'd model the next time I buy a Mac Mini. I'm hoping to get into video editing at some point in the near future and I'll need a more powerful machine for that.

You really can't go wrong with the Mac Mini, it's an amazing little machine. :)
 

kelub

macrumors regular
Jun 15, 2010
136
45
2012 Mac Mini base model; upgraded to 16GB RAM and a 250GB SSD drive. I am typically running LightRoom, Photoshop, NIK editors, Premiere Pro, After Effects, Handbrake, Safari, and Photos at any given time (yes, often most of these are running at the same time, because I'm lazy and hate waiting for apps to open when I need them) without issue. I work with raw images from a Canon 70D and H.264 video files.

It's a very capable system and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it as a workhorse. As a bonus, the 2012 model is not only upgradeable with RAM and HDD/SDD, but it still includes a firewire 800 port while also including USB 3.0 and thunderbolt. I have a couple of HDD enclosures that support firewire 800, so it's nice to have it available still if I want.
 

SayCheese

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 14, 2007
934
146
Thame, Oxfordshire, England
Thanks all.
I've picked up the Mac Mini 2.8Ghz, 8Gb RAM, 1Tb Fusion Drive last night. My Macbook Pro is repairable (graphics card issue that affected a batch of 2011 MBP's, so free repair) and I needed something whilst it is in for repair at the Apple store.
I'm hoping that this Mac Mini will perform reasonably well when I come to edit sessions later today. If it does I'll keep it. If not then I'll return it and see what else I can get that works a little better. If yesterdays problems taught me anything it's that I need a 2nd mac to use as a backup.
 

Padaung

macrumors 6502
Jan 22, 2007
462
78
UK
Hi Mark, I use a 2012 i5 (2.5Ghz) Mac Mini with 10gb ram and the stock 500gb hdd. I use it for editing Nikon NEF files from a D600 (24mp) using Lightroom and Photoshop. I also use it to edit HD video from the D600 using Final Cut Pro X.

Photoshop performance - I have no issues with this at all, and the times I've created large composites (like you, not really above 500mb) it has handled them without issue.

Lightroom performance - from what I've read Lightroom likes a powerful processor, and doesn't utilise multi cored processors above 4 cores particularly well (i.e. there is little performance gain going from 4 cores to 6 or 8 etc. especially when weighed against the extra cost). The gain to be had from the faster processor is in the creation of previews, rendering the file when viewing the raw in the develop module (it takes my machine about 2s to display the image sharp, which can be frustrating with a lot of images to edit), and in exporting the files.
Lightroom apparently only utilises the GPU in the Develop module. I notice next to no lag when applying a change meaning once the image has been rendered after the aforementioned 2s wait, making adjustments to the image runs smoothly. My machine has Intel HD4000 graphics. I also use the Nik suite of plugins. Creating the initial TIFF takes a while (perhaps slowed by the hdd, the files created are big). Once the file and plugin are loaded, making adjustments is quick once again, and saving the file back to Lightoom is once again a bit slow. I've heard that the Nik plugins are GPU aware so once the file and plugin are loaded then performance may well be quicker (inc. saving) with a better GPU.

Final Cut Pro X - editing the footage is smooth. Scrolling along the edit line and having the waveforms and thumbnails render is laggy, but useable. I wouldn't want to use my machine on a daily basis for editing, let a lone for large projects (I use it for up to 10min sequences). Rendering of some transitions can take a while. Exporting of footage is quick. A friend has a quad core i5 iMac and it runs everything in FCPX a lot more quickly. Quad cores definitely makes a difference!

I plan to up the ram to the maximum of 16gb at some point. Matched pairs apparently makes a big difference, especially for the integrated graphics. I also want to install a 1Tb SSD and keep the 500Gb in the machine to store my music collection. The SSD will allow the machine to boot and load programs more quickly, I'm not sure if it will significantly improve performance once using any particular program.

It would seem we live quite close to each other, I'm in Ealing W. London. My wife's family live in Oxford so we regularly whizz by High Wycombe on the M40. www.charleshenderson.co.uk
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,200
5,544
SayCheese wrote:
"I've picked up the Mac Mini 2.8Ghz, 8Gb RAM, 1Tb Fusion Drive last night. My Macbook Pro is repairable (graphics card issue that affected a batch of 2011 MBP's, so free repair) and I needed something whilst it is in for repair at the Apple store."

You definitely made the right choice by getting the fusion drive option. Trying to run Yosemite or El Capitan using a 5400rpm internal drive can be an exercise in frustration. The fusion drive transforms it into a completely different experience.

I think you'll find the Mini to be a very capable Mac!
 

SayCheese

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 14, 2007
934
146
Thame, Oxfordshire, England
Thanks all for your help and advice on this.
I've now returned the Mac Mini I brought a couple of days ago because although it's great and i'm massively impressed it was a little slower than I'd like it to be.
I am therefore going to purchase the following Mac Mini from the online store which should be a little faster.
3.0Ghz Processor
16Gb Ram
512Gb SSD
 
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WilPhoto

macrumors newbie
Nov 30, 2012
14
0
You made the right choice by returning the inferior mac mini and getting the tricked out mini. When I read in your previous comment that you went with less RAM, and the fusion drive, I thought to myself that you made the wrong choice... Kudos for returning it.

I'm a full time pro wedding photographer and have used the 2012 mac mini (SSD drive, 16GB RAM) for a while now and it's a great machine. I use Adobe CS6 collection along with Lightroom 5. My only gripe is that I wish it had more thunderbolt ports so that I could connect to TB drive storage as well as a 2nd display. Also, I feel like LR6 did not live up to it's reputation for being much faster for me, and I believe it's due to the lack of graphic processor on the mini... so I went back to using LR5 which is fine.
 

Meister

Suspended
Oct 10, 2013
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Thanks all for your help and advice on this.
I've now returned the Mac Mini I brought a couple of days ago because although it's great and i'm massively impressed it was a little slower than I'd like it to be.
I am therefore going to purchase the following Mac Mini from the online store which should be a little faster.
3.0Ghz Processor
16Gb Ram
512Gb SSD
There is not going to be much speed difference because you are still stuck with a dualcore.

As mentioned the biggest culprits are hdd and the processor.
If you were unsatisfied with your previous mini then a 2012 i7, iMac, Mac Pro or 15" rmbp are really the only options.
 

Larry-K

macrumors 68000
Jun 28, 2011
1,855
2,311
Hi all.

Does anyone use a mac mini for photo editing?
I'm considering a Mac Mini 3.0Ghz & 16Gb Ram.
I shoot 5DIII and RAW only.

I use Photoshop, Lightroom, Spotify, Safari, Word, Excel & iTunes.

Does anyone know how well this mini will perform with photo editing tasks? Will it be unbearably slow?

Thanks
Without an SSD it would be impractical.
 

Padaung

macrumors 6502
Jan 22, 2007
462
78
UK
Based on the conclusion from this person's recent tests I reckon you made a good purchasing choice:
https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Adobe-Lightroom-CC-6-Multi-Core-Performance-649/

From the conclusion it would seem quad core gives the most optimal performance. More cores than that has limited performance benefit considering the extra cost outlay. Quad core benefit's performance most when exporting the images. For all other tasks, CPU speed is more significant. An SSD gives the feeling of an overall responsive system so is definitely a good thing to have.

GPU speed provides no benefit to Lightroom performance.

Going up to a quad core machine with a 512Gb SSD (all other specs similar too) requires you to get a 27" iMac which would have been an increased spend of £400 (using Apple prices for memory).

The quad core 27" iMac is an amazing machine and would make for an amazing Lightroom performance experience, but if you already have a screen you like then a saving of £400 goes a long way towards a new camera lens ;)
 

Meister

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Oct 10, 2013
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Based on the conclusion from this person's recent tests I reckon you made a good purchasing choice:
https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Adobe-Lightroom-CC-6-Multi-Core-Performance-649/

From the conclusion it would seem quad core gives the most optimal performance. More cores than that has limited performance benefit considering the extra cost outlay. Quad core benefit's performance most when exporting the images. For all other tasks, CPU speed is more significant. An SSD gives the feeling of an overall responsive system so is definitely a good thing to have.

GPU speed provides no benefit to Lightroom performance.

Going up to a quad core machine with a 512Gb SSD (all other specs similar too) requires you to get a 27" iMac which would have been an increased spend of £400 (using Apple prices for memory).

The quad core 27" iMac is an amazing machine and would make for an amazing Lightroom performance experience, but if you already have a screen you like then a saving of £400 goes a long way towards a new camera lens ;)
You do know that the OP bought another dualcore?
 

Padaung

macrumors 6502
Jan 22, 2007
462
78
UK
Yes. Going up to a quad core costs several hundred pounds more. So based on spend, I think he got the best bang for his buck. It would seem CPU speed is the most significant factor and he got the highest dual core Mhz machine available. To spend all that extra money for a quad core machine which can render previews and export a bit faster seems unnecessary.
 

SayCheese

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 14, 2007
934
146
Thame, Oxfordshire, England
Thanks all for the input. At the moment i've not yet purchased the replacement higher spec mac mini, I'm planning on doing so next month. At the moment i'm running on my repaired Macbook Pro.

Whilst i'd love a quad core, I just can't afford it. I also have an Apple 27" cinema display, keyboard and mouse already and don't have space for an extra monitor, so an iMac is out of the question.
 

Badrottie

Suspended
May 8, 2011
4,317
332
Los Angeles
Hi all.

Does anyone use a mac mini for photo editing?
I'm considering a Mac Mini 3.0Ghz & 16Gb Ram.
I shoot 5DIII and RAW only.

I use Photoshop, Lightroom, Spotify, Safari, Word, Excel & iTunes.

Does anyone know how well this mini will perform with photo editing tasks? Will it be unbearably slow?

Thanks
Trust me 3.0Ghz is not a joke. It is very powerful and beast! It will push Photoshop easily. 16G is perfect if you do a lot of complex stuff. Go and buy mighty Mini!!
 
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