Mac Mini Speed question

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by kingjereme, Aug 26, 2013.

  1. kingjereme macrumors newbie

    Jun 29, 2012
    I have a 2012 Mac Mini. I'm considering 2 options...a new iMac maxed out. I am also considering what I can buy that will make my MacMini faster with Final Cut X. Here is my current situation with the MacMini:
    *intel i7 2.9 dual core
    *8gm ram
    *Solid state internal boot
    *Thunderbolt to a Lacie esata hub connecting 2 7200rpm HD's that I use for projects
    * daisy chained FW800 Hard drives with my raw video files on them

    My trouble is Final Cut X takes a bit of time opening (and sometimes rendering) projects...Takes a bit of time exporting.

    If I got a 1tb solid state drive connected in the thunderbolt chain...used it simply to export final projects and compressor...would that be a good route for my current set up?

    If so...It would save me quite a bit $1000 vs $3500 iMac
  2. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009

    You'll have to help me out here....
    1. There is no 2.9ghz Dual Core i7 model. The base mini has a 2.5ghz dual core i5. Is that the one you have?
    2. You state your biggest problems are Final Cut X takes a long time to open and to render projects:
    A. SSD will speed up the opening time
    B. Memory MIGHT help with the rendering if the reason it is slow is because you are maxing out your memory, but more than likely....
    C. The "Slow" dual core i5 processor is what is causing slow render
    times. I wouldn't recommend video production with less than a quad core.

    There is little you can do about #3 without selling and buying a new Mini or iMac. You can fix the first half of your issue, but the second half is all about CPU power and you have what amounts to the slowest processor Apple currently sells.

    Sadly, the processors in the iMacs are actually slower than the Mid-Mini unless you go with the i7's according to Geekbench. With that said, I can't speak to the GPU accelerated encoding that the iMac would allow you to do (someone else will have to chime in here).

    So basically at this point you could throw an SSD and more memory and it might help, but alas the processor is "slow" so after doing those two upgrades there is no guarantee your encoding times with be any faster.
  3. kingjereme thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 29, 2012
    Sorry..need biological memory upgrade.

    I use the 2.7 GHz Intel Core i7 mac mini from 2011 (boy was I wrong, and boy does time fly)

    Under systems report, it clearly shows 2 cores

    Basically I'm trying to see where my bottleneck is. My entire system is working, and working quite well. Just when I render a 2 hour video in compressor, I'd like it to take an hour instead of overnight...that sort of thing.

    So if I read/write to a SSD via that a good speed bump option versus read/writing to a thunderbolt 7200 RPM drive.

    Or is my bottleneck the processor?
  4. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    Easiest way to verify, check to see if your CPU is running at 100% (okay really it is 95%+) when rendering a video. If it is waiting to read/write data, then the CPU's won't be running at 100%. It's that simple. If you can't feed or write data out of the CPU fast enough, then the CPU will idle (i.e. not use 100%). If the CPU is maxing out, then you know enough data is getting in and out of the CPU and the processor is your bottleneck.

    Kick of compressor and let us know what your CPU is doing.

    P.S. Compressor can use multiple computers....
  5. kingjereme thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 29, 2012
    Thanks for your response.

    Activity monitor shows 4 full bars, so I'm guessing it's the processor that is the bottleneck. Kind of thought it might be, but thought i'd try.

    However, if the Mac mini is 'doin it' for me, maybe a new one (quad core i7 maxed out on everything at $1700ish) might suit me better than a maxed out i7 iMac at $3600ish. Put money saved into an external SSD or something.

    Compressor over multiple computers...well the 'other' computer is bust showing hulu and netflix to the wife and kiddos. Their TV viewing is effected when I try to take some of it's power.

    Really appreciate your time
  6. opinio macrumors 65816

    Mar 23, 2013
    When you say 2012, I am assuming the late 2012 USB 3.0 models.

    Looks like a nice kit. I'm not sure where you would have a bottleneck? You processor is not the fastest in the range but is still a good processor. Also it is not upgradable so no real need to make comment on that.

    You cold add 1600mhz RAM 16gb. I use corsair vengeance.

    Also not all SSDs are the same. If you want a fast and solid SSD try the Samsung 840 Pro or Evo. Preferably 256gb and above in size as the 128 is not as fast.

    Otherwise you're already fairly speced out anyway.


    If you can afford the quad it is worth it. I have the 2.6ghz. Lightening fast with 16gb ram and a good SSD.

    I made a few comments in this thread on the difference between the 2.6 quad and an i5 in real world work, although the 2.5 I use is the 2011 model.
  7. kingjereme thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 29, 2012
    Sorry Opinio..My beginning thread was inaccurate. I use a dual core i7 2011 Mac Mini.

    I like the quadcore option. Looking into whether a quadcore iMac or a quadcore Mac mini would be best for me. Given I am happy with FCP_X on my mac mini now, If I get a new quadcore i7 macmini with a SSD internal to boot with and a SSD thunderbolt LaCie to write to, all that hits about $2k, I'm thinking i would have a pretty good Video editing machine under $2k
  8. spartus4 macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2009

    The $799 2012 model would do quite well for you. It has a 2.6Ghz i7 as standard. I love mine with the Fusion drive. You may want to wait until the new iPhone launch in September, because Apple may update the Mac mini to a Haswell Core i7. This is just a guess but they have done it in the past.
  9. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    Final cut relies mainly on the processor, and the 2.6 i7 Mini is almost as speedy as the expensive BuiltToOrder i7 iMac. (13000 points Geekbench vs 14000), where the non BTO 27 inch iMacs, the one you can grab under your arm at most stores, are only a quad i5 doing like 8000 points.

    I would get a new Mini i7 2.6 and pop in a Vector 512GB SSD or a Samsung 840 pro (you can add it yourself easily in the empty slot). With Fusion you only have 128GB SSD, and with big projects you will hit the slow 5400RPM hard drive very often.

    Stick to your external TB solution.
    Oh, your current Mini also does like 7500 points GB, it is a quad-thread machine, just like all the non BTO quad iMacs! It is not that bad.
  10. opinio macrumors 65816

    Mar 23, 2013
    Nice to see support for the Vector. It deserves a bit more airtime than it gets.
  11. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    It's the fastest drive when it comes to writing! And cool looking compared to the boring Samsungs (even though you only see it 10 minutes till it's built in). But you get a cool car sticker to go with your white apple.
  12. CausticPuppy macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2012
    Yep, that's it. Activity monitor will actually show CPU usage near 400% if you are maxing out your CPU (maybe 350%-380%). Remember your dual-core processor supports 4 threads, so to the OS it's 4 virtual CPU cores, and a single thread cannot use more than 100%. So your software is using multithreading effectively but it's just running out of hardware.

    A quad-core will max out at 800% usage, 4 cores x 2 threads per core.

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