Macbook or Mini?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by gugy, Nov 5, 2014.

  1. gugy macrumors 68030

    Jan 31, 2005
    La Jolla, CA
    I wondering if some of you can shed some light on my conundrum.

    I need to get a MacBook Retina 13" or Mac Mini 2012 to use when I travel for work.

    My work is mostly Photoshop(huge files up to 1gb)/Illustrator/Bridge open at all times. I am graphic designer. I will have a TB display available to where I travel.

    I am wondering if I go the laptop route or if the Mini can be the best choice. This is a secondary computer, my main work happens with a MacPro at 12 cores but I need to have an option when I travel.

    I am looking for the best bang for the buck on this situation. The Mini price is attractive but I wonder if it is enough for Photoshop. Can I get away with the base model or go higher with a 2012 model with quad core?
    I am planning to get a SSD and 16gb RAM to whichever model of Mini.

    I don't want to invest too much $$$ because this is a computer that will not see much use after all, just 5 days every month when I have to travel.
    Of course the portability and easy to use of the laptops are a great choice but the price points are much higher than the Mini with I choose to add more RAM.
  2. cornerexit macrumors regular

    Sep 11, 2014
    I was in a similar situation but I use mine for heavy audio (analog synths ported into a sequencer). I first bought a Macbook Pro retina then decided to take it back when I found a mini quad core leftover model (2.3 proc, 1tb spinner). Having just had the MBPr and 2012 Mini pushing my monitors I can tell you the MBPr has the better video card/graphics. And from the sound of it that is what you'll be doing on it, is visual. I'd say cry once, buy once, and get the MBPr for Iris. I think it does higher res as well (although I could be wrong). I saw the display difference, between the two, and the laptop was better so that's my $.02. My needs were processing power, ram, so the two are very similar in power so I went with the cheaper option because I'd just be wasting a grand. It will never leave the house.
  3. cinealta macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2012
    Sorry that's wrong. The difference you were seeing was between the 2 displays, the MBPr screen and your screen. The Mini can drive a 30" monitor at 2560x1600. That's 2K video.
  4. gpspad macrumors 6502

    Feb 4, 2014
    I kind of have some mac mini regret also. I originally planned on buying a macbook retina, as a companion to my iPhone and iPad.

    I figured the 2012 mac mini's may soon go the way of the apple tv 2's, so Bought an open box i5 from best buy for $400. I figured I needed a monitor, so grabbed a deal on a used 27" thunderbolt for $600 (which has been great)

    But still need a keyboard and mouse, so figure I am $1,100 in the hole and should have just got the macbook or might have found a deal on a used iMac for the same price in the end.

    The mac mini with thunderbolt display is an awesome setup; but overkill for basic browsing. The macbook would have been better for me.
  5. J232022 macrumors member

    Nov 3, 2014
    I think the macbook would be best for you , mainly because it is portable when traveling . The mini would be good too , it has hdmi so you could easily hook it up to hotel tvs if they have a modern tv that is , but you would also have to bring a keyboard and mouse . Get the macbook I think you will be more happy . If you have a low budget get the mini but other than that I see no reason to get the mini .
  6. cornerexit macrumors regular

    Sep 11, 2014
    Wrong. They had different video cards. MBPr has Iris Pro for video. The Mini does not, it has HD Graphics 4000. I could see a big enough difference between the two that for someone doing picture/video editing, go with the Iris version. If you aren't chopping up Photography then it doesn't matter.
  7. gugy, Nov 7, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2014

    gugy thread starter macrumors 68030

    Jan 31, 2005
    La Jolla, CA
    Thanks for the replies.
    Yeah, this is a interesting dilemma. What I like about the Mini is that first it's cheaper and when I don't use for travel I can have at home for media server and time machine backups.
    That said the MacBook does indeed make it easier for travel because I don't have to carry a keyboard and mouse and there is a screen there anytime I want to power that thing. Oh boy....:D


    Yep the Mini can drive my 30" display I have at home but mainly it will be use on a 27" TB display, so it should be fine.
    What I wonder is if I get a better photoshop performance/price under the Mini than the rMBP if I maxed it out with SSD and 16gb RAM.


    Yeah, that's something to consider when working on Photoshop. I could go beyond the 2014 base model but then starts to get a bit expensive. Because this is a secondary machine, I think I can live with this limitation.
  8. gugy thread starter macrumors 68030

    Jan 31, 2005
    La Jolla, CA
    If I decide to go the Mac Mini route, which option would you guys consider best for Photoshop?

    2012 Quad-Core at BB $749 plus upgrades in RAM/SSD that would add an additional $400
    2014 Dual-Core at Apple Store (edu discount) $859 with 16gb RAM. Adding a 256SSD should put an additional $200.
    Prices are very close. I am tempted into the 2014 option.

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