Mac Pro 5,1 or 4,1 or Mac mini

lhoffstadt

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 15, 2014
88
5
New Hampshire
Hi everyone, my name is Luis and I recently move to the US and I left my Mac mini in Chile (home country).
I do not do video editing or heavy stuff with my Mac and I was looking for a recommendation on what Mac to get here.
I will always like to have a Mac 5,1. Do I need this Mac Pro, I will answer no, but I guess is better to have it rather than have an underpowered Mac.
Can a Mac Pro 4,1 or 3,1 handle MacOs Sierra?
Or because I do not do heavy work is just better to get a Mac mini again, maybe a 2012?

It's a Mac Pro noisy?

I really appreciated any recommendations?

Thanks a lot
Luis
 

pianoman88

macrumors regular
Aug 20, 2010
203
46
Not knowing what you plan to use it for, a 2012 Mac Mini I7 would be a good choice in my opinion.
 

Wiltonian

macrumors member
Sep 25, 2016
44
18
Nottingham, UK
Or because I do not do heavy work is just better to get a Mac mini again, maybe a 2012?

It's a Mac Pro noisy?

I really appreciated any recommendations?

Thanks a lot
Luis
I replaced a 2012 Mini with a Mac Pro 5.1 last year, and have not regretted it. Adding cheap and fast and large 3.5" HDs is easy. Adding SSD is easy. Adding RAM is easy and cheap. Mac Pros are not noisy. Unless you might return to Chile in a few months, I'd go for a Pro every time. And a 5.1 or 4.1 will be cheaper than a decent spec i7 Mini.

Stuart
 
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Wiltonian

macrumors member
Sep 25, 2016
44
18
Nottingham, UK
eBay in the UK; waited for a seller who wanted "collection only" and was in range from my home. That tends to keep prices down! ;-) Just bought a 1.1 for a bit of budget-pimping. ;-)
 

pertusis1

macrumors 6502
Jul 25, 2010
425
114
Texas
i7 Mac mini (Mid 2012) melts itself (epsecially 2.6 GHz) - let it encode video for 30 mins and you`ll see.
No doubt! I got one of these based on benchmarks, and had to replace it with a 5,1 pro. The mini struggled badly even with basic FCPX video encoding.
 

kschendel

macrumors 65816
Dec 9, 2014
1,061
334
I run a mac pro 4,1 upgraded to 5,1 at least in part because it's very nearly silent. Replace the spinning disks with SSD and it's even quieter. A properly working and clean Mac Pro should be about as noisy or as quiet as the graphics card you put in it.

One of the nice things about a Mac Pro is that you can run it flat out for hours on end. Try that with a Mini or even an iMac and you'll run into thermal throttling and maybe worse.
 

JedNZ

macrumors 6502
Dec 6, 2015
433
157
Deep South
I've got a cMP 1,1>2,1 and a cMP 4,1>5,1 and the 4,1 is much quieter than the 1,1. As you'll see in my signature, I've expanded mine a lot, so you could choose to get a basic cMP 4,1 Quad core and then upgrade it as your needs expand. SSDs and ram might be the first things you look at upgrading to get best bang for buck. Remember you have to add a screen to a cMP, but one advantage over Mac Minis and iMacs is that you can upgrade just about everything.

Mac Mini's are not heavy lifters by any means of the imagination, so I wouldn't recommend them for anything other than as a media server or simple graphics/email/web work. But a later model of iMac (2012 onwards) might be better match - built-in screen, capable of running Sierra, decent amount ram and most have average+ graphics cards for mid-level work. I'm guessing they draw less power than a cMP, and you can add external drives, and upgrade the internal drive with an SSD (unless it already has a Fusion Drive of course).

I suppose what I'm saying is: do you really need a big chunk of a computer for what you dream you might want to do, or could you get something that is slightly more than you might need?
 

pertusis1

macrumors 6502
Jul 25, 2010
425
114
Texas
For those of you with overheating Minis, try this utility, Macs Fan Control.
I run my quad core i7 mini at 2300 RPM constant, internal temperature stays around 110F. Without it, it gets up to 150F+ pretty quickly.

https://www.crystalidea.com/macs-fan-control/download
Oh, trust me. My fan was running all-out. I checked smc fan to be sure. The enclosure is simply not capable of persistent heavy processor work. I kept it for light schoolwork for my kids, and it still works great. FWIW, a SSD improved the usability considerably.
 
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Synchro3

macrumors 68000
Jan 12, 2014
1,979
835
Just aim a table fan to the Mac Mini, and the heat will be blown away. Especially in the summer.

And install iStat Menus to control the temperatures. I would never use a Mac Mini 2012 without this tool.

However, a i7 2.3 GHz Mac Mini 2012 has more ore less the same single core performance as a Xeon W3690 3.46 GHz.
 

pertusis1

macrumors 6502
Jul 25, 2010
425
114
Texas
Just aim a table fan to the Mac Mini, and the heat will be blown away. Especially in the summer.

And install iStat Menus to control the temperatures. I would never use a Mac Mini 2012 without this tool.

However, a i7 2.3 GHz Mac Mini 2012 has more ore less the same single core performance as a Xeon W3690 3.46 GHz.
It's funny you mention the external fan. That's a good idea. I did notice that when the ambient temperature in my house cooled into the mid-60s F, my performance improved quite a bit. As for single core performance, it is fine. The trouble comes when FCPX tries to use all the cores.

As for comparing the W3690 to the 2.6 i7, I can give you a real life comparison. Transcoding an hour of AVCHD to DVD took my 2012 mini with 16 GB ram and a SSD about 24 hrs if it didn't suffer some interruption. The same process on my 5,1 12 core 3.46 with a MacVidCards 7970 and 48 GB ram takes less than 40 minutes. The DVD is done writing in well under an hour.

I am a relatively casual user of highish end computing, and my current setup is great for my needs. I do sympathize, however, with the frustrations of those using macs to make a living. If my 5,1 craps out on me, there's nothing in Apple's current lineup that I'd feel good about buying. Here's to hoping they make good on their assurances to pro users soon.
 

Synchro3

macrumors 68000
Jan 12, 2014
1,979
835
As for comparing the W3690 to the 2.6 i7, I can give you a real life comparison. Transcoding an hour of AVCHD to DVD took my 2012 mini with 16 GB ram and a SSD about 24 hrs if it didn't suffer some interruption. The same process on my 5,1 12 core 3.46 with a MacVidCards 7970 and 48 GB ram takes less than 40 minutes. The DVD is done writing in well under an hour.
I guess the GPU acceleration of the Radeon 7970 is responsible for the much better transcoding performance. With a Mac Mini with eGPU the result could be totally different.

However, I have both computers, Mac Pro 3.46 GHz and Mac Mini 2012 (with SSD's inside). In my tests the i7 is comparable to the W3690 relating CPU performance, if only four cores used.

Geekbench Mac Pro 1.png Geekbench  Mac Mini 2012 Resultat.png
 
Last edited:

Yahooligan

macrumors 6502a
Aug 7, 2011
965
113
Illinois
I have both a late-2012 Mini i7 (2.3GHz) with 16GB and an SSD as well as a Mac Pro 5,1 (64GB, 12-core 3.46GHz, 480GB SSD + 1TB HDD Fusion drive, GTX 680 2GB GPU) in my house. I bought the Mini back in 2012 because I wanted to get one before Apple crippled them, it's been a great little computer. If you don't have any desire to play games then it will be sufficient for just about everything, including light video editing if you wanted to do that. Currently, it's a kids computer that my oldest uses for drawing/art (Wacom tablet).

The Mac Pro 5,1 was actually a recent purchase. I was determined to get my wife off of Windows and onto a decent Mac that could be upgraded, though at this point it's pretty much maxed out except for the GPU. I got a good deal on it and have been very impressed with it. So much so that if I didn't have multiple Thunderbolt devices then I would've made it mine and given my wife my Mac Pro 6,1 quad-core with D700s. You don't realize how much you miss being able to swap out parts to upgrade systems until you have systems that can't do it, or at least do it easily and for a decent price.

Considering you can get a base quad-core Mac Pro 5,1 for roughly the same price as a Mac Mini 2012, I would go with the Mac Pro unless the bulk/weight would be a concern. They are not small or light by any means but are insanely easy to upgrade if you want.

Sounds like either choice will work for your needs, considering the current prices for both on eBay right now and how many are selling there is definitely a market for both of them which is good if you decide you no longer need it or if you get a Mac Pro and decide you don't want to deal with shipping it back to Chile if/when you head back.

Good luck!
 
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