Mac mini vs Mac Pro vs iMac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by macnoob222, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. macnoob222, Mar 25, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2013

    macnoob222 macrumors newbie

    Mar 25, 2013
    Hi and thanks in advance for any helpful responses. I am planning on buying a new mac for video editing. I am going to be using Final Cut 7 but I will probably end up using FCPX in the future. I also want to be able to use Motion and photoshop. I don't mind waiting several hours to render huge projects but I really don't want to have the program freeze up while I am using it. I also have a 37" Philips TV which I plan to use as my monitor.

    I am leaning toward a mac mini but am finding that the price difference (at least for used machines on ebay) is negligible between all three of these machines. I know that macpros have more space inside them for upgrading memory/hard drives but what I care about is that the machine runs smoothly. I think I will probably use my new machine offline because it seems that my last macbook (not pro) has run slower over time and I'm guessing its due to internet use.

    Which of these models/setups will give me the best performance? I almost don't want the imac because the screen will be reduntant and in fact in the way on my desk. Also, can I get away with an i5 processor if I go with a mini? Secondarily, which is the best bang for my buck? Also, is it worth it to spend a couple hundred extra bucks on a mac mini vs used? Help! :apple:

    I'd like to be under the $1,000 threshold. Cheaper the better(of course). My workload is just personal projects for now.
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Can you please use the EDIT button to format your post with breaks and paragraphs, as it is very difficult to read.

    You have not mentioned a budget or the specs of what Macs you were looking at not have you mentioned, what kind of video editing workload you will have.

  3. Macsonic macrumors 65816


    Sep 6, 2009
    Hi Macnoob222

    You're better with the Mac Pro since you are doing video editing and Motion. You will also need to factor in Compression tasks which also needs multi-core processing plus other apps being open.

    You'll also might be dealing with large files later and the expandability of the Mac Pro is a big plus.
  4. macnoob222 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 25, 2013

    Don't imacs and mac minis have multi-core? and how much do I need to worry about apple not supporting macpros in the future?
  5. Macsonic macrumors 65816


    Sep 6, 2009
    I know iMacs and Mac Minis are also multi-core though they use i5 and i7 processores while Mac Pros uses the Xeon server type cpus. Here are some discussions which might help but keep in mind you will get varied opinions. Some will recommend Mac Minis or Imacs over a Mac Pro and vice versa.

    We don't have an idea how long Apple will support the Mac Pro though let's hope Apple will continue to.
  6. macnoob222 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 25, 2013

    Thanks for all the help y'all. My research tells me that:
    imac 21" used: $800
    macpro (older than the imacs/minis of course) used: $800
    mac mini i7 used: $800
    mac mini i5 refurb: $500
    mac mini i7 refurb: $700

    Now of course there is some variation in the specs of all these machines but they seem to pretty much balance out.

    I think I want to go with one of the minis because they are cheaper and I trust refurb more than used but I can't seem to find a clear answer to the question:

    How do mac minis (i5 and i7s) handle Apple Motion 4? Which of these options is my best bang/$?

    I would really like my new machine to be able to handle motion but I was using an imac at school today and it slowed down when I got into rotoscope rendering.
  7. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000


    Nov 20, 2007
    A mini is not a great solution for running Motion. You're better off with something that has discrete graphics.
  8. Macsonic macrumors 65816


    Sep 6, 2009
    Hi Macnoob222. I guess best way if you have friends who have Mac Minis is to get an actual demo using Apple Motion and see how things run. Might be hard to speculate based on specs on paper.
  9. palmharbor macrumors 6502

    Jul 31, 2007
    Mac Mini

    First bought MM in 2009 bought Apple care...good thing...I am now on my third MM paid for by Apple Care....inconvenient at best.
  10. macnoob222 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 25, 2013
    Thanks. could you recommend any good options with discrete graphics?
  11. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000


    Nov 20, 2007
    The minis are quite capable of handling FCP, but Motion is best used with discrete graphics. In the Mac world that equals a Mac Pro, MBP 15" or iMac.

    It looks like you're after a desktop, (which are typically more powerful), so really you have a choice of Mac Pro or iMac.

    I'd be looking at a 27" iMac 2011 or later, or a Mac Pro 2009 or later. Unfortunately neither option is really that cheap.

    If I had to choose just one..? Prob the Mac Pro. Look around to get the cheapest option and then possibly switch it for a more permanent solution when/if Apple update the MP range later this year.
  12. Byrnes3969, Mar 29, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2013

    Byrnes3969 macrumors member

    Jan 23, 2009
    We just had this discussion on the FCP X thread:

    My advice is switch to Adobe Creative Cloud for $30 per month ( $20 if you're a student) and then get the PC below for $700 less than the entry level Mac Pro:

    HP Z420 Workstation
    Intel® Xeon® E5-1620 (3.6 GHz, 10 MB cache, 4 cores)
    8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3 ECC Unbuffered RAM
    NVIDIA Quadro K2000 (2 GB) card

    $1800 ($700 less than the Mac Pro Entry) if price isn't a consideration you can configure the Z420 beyond anything imaginable.

    Unless you're really devoted to Apple. Then I would keep waiting for a Mac Pro update and price reduction.

    My opinion is that Apple has a really strong iphone, ipad, portable business with great OS's and apps but Pro level Video editing is a business that Apple appears to giving one last gasp in marketing and sales before they let the software coast into oblivion. (Think: iweb, iDVD, FCP Express, Aperature, Logic)
  13. KaraH, Apr 2, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2013

    KaraH macrumors 6502

    Nov 12, 2012
    A mac pro would be best and I would suggest aiming for that if you can wait. According to various rumours they hopefully will do a release later this year. In reality I would suggest having a backup plan if there is not a next release.

    While by the specs on paper an iMac would do for me right now I am leaning towards a mini as my second-choice plan. Why? The iMac has practically no expandability and the monitor is married to the CPU. I like to be able to upgrade/replace things as needed without buying a new computer (all hail the data doubler). The mini is not much better but it does have *some* expandability ... my main complaint being the gpu.

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