Mac Mini "turbo"

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Beliblis, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. Beliblis macrumors regular

    Dec 31, 2011

    I've been a longterm & happy Apple user at work. Got a 2008 MacBook for leisure.
    Now I'm about to go freelance. Mainly within photography & retouching. Most of the time I'll be working in Lightroom and Photoshop, with PSD files between 100-300 mb.

    However, I guess that about 10% of my work will involve working on rather large PSD files, with up to 50 layers and 2gb of total file size.

    So, I'm in the market for a new computer...

    MacPro: Maybe in 1-2 years, if Apple keeps the line. At the moment I just can't afford it.

    iMac: not an option because of the screen. Unfortunately there's no two ways about this, and so I've already decided on getting a Adobe RGB capable Eizo FlexScan.

    Leaves me with a MacMini...

    First question: What's the better option from a graphics card & processor point of view (I'll run a 21" screen):
    2.0GHz quad -core i7 (Intel HD Graphics 3000)?
    2.7GHz dual-core i7 (AMD Radeon HD 6630M)?

    Second question:
    Would the MacMini be an adequate machine for my needs, if I spice it up with 16gb of ram (US$300) plus 2x 128gb SSD (Crucial m4), in RAID mode.

    I know striped raid might be problematic for data loss, but I'd only use the internal HD for the system and swap disks. It'll only have Lightroom and Photoshop installed.
    All sensitive data will be on an external Firewire800/eSATA drive. All e-mail and important documents will be on my existing MacBook.

    Do you think this would make sense & keep me happy for 1-2 years?
    I mean... I don't mind waiting 1-2 minutes when I open a large PSD file, or for the occasional Liquify filter. As long as the actual retouching, and zapping through Lightroom archives can be done more or less fluently...

    Thanks a lot for your input on this!
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
  3. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    I never understand RAID 0ing SSDs. A super fast Samsung 830 or Sandforce 2281 series SSDs would be just as fast as 2 crucial m4's especially for day to day operations and wouldn't put your OS drive in as much danger of failure. Seriously don't do it. Plus then you can have one big mechanical drive for data purposes.
  4. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    It is for marketing purposes:
  5. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    Or really "bragging rights"..... it's just dumb.
    Person 1:"My RAID0 is faster than your single SSD"...
    Person 2: "Great! But your RAID0 is twice as prone to failure as my single SSD and not that much faster because you chose two slow SSD's compared to my fast SSD"...
    Person 1: "Crap"
  6. Beliblis thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 31, 2011
    I agree, all this "bragging" is rather dumb.

    I don't know too much about RAID, but I know that RAID0 is rather dangerous. That's why I said I wouldn't have any personal/sensitive/customer-data on that internal drive.
    And I'd have a Time-Machine backup of the system on an external drive anyway.

    I just thought a SSD might be a good idea as a Photoshop swap-disc. I know 16gb of ram is a lot, but you never know.... as I said, sometimes I've got REALLY large PSD files to work on.
    What'd be really nice is an external SSD via Thunderbolt. Maybe in a few years...

    About the Crucial m4:
    Not sure, but I've heard that with the most recent controllers, SandForce-based SSDs are not as reliable as the m4. True?

    If I don't go SSD in RAID:
    2x 500gb 7200rpm drives in RAID0?
    1x SSD (Crucial m4) ?
    What's faster?
  7. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    It's not that an SSD isn't a better choice for a hard drive, but to RAID0 them is just playing with fire (I don't even recommend RAID0 for mechanical drives). RAID0 is simply for benchmarking bragging rights. In real life experience you will rarely ever "feel" the difference. I know because even in my "younger years" I would RAID0 everything and then run every benchmark I could get a hold just to "prove" how much faster my set up was. Then you get one hard drive failure and you have to redo everything (even if you keep backups it can be annoying). And really, it isn't that much faster. Sequential Reads and Writes yes, but much of what a "normal" person does isn't sequential and therefore the numbers don't mean squat. Great so you shaved 10% off your boot time (due to the few large system files), but you doubled your failure rate. Doesn't seem like a good trade off to me.... With SSD's being so much faster, it has even reduced the need for RAID0 to almost nill. Many will point to the insane benchmarking numbers they pull down to prove me wrong, but those are synthetic and not real world.

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