mini or imac for graphic designer

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by appleman108, Jul 26, 2010.

  1. appleman108 macrumors member

    Jul 26, 2010

    I’m a graphic designer and have been using a mini for about five years.
    (1.66 GHz Core Duo. 2gigs memory).

    It gets the job done, but it’s high time to upgrade

    Should get the new mini or an imac?

    I already have a 23” cinema display that would seem a waste to get rid of

    I’d hate to go down to a 21” monitor imac and the 27” seems huge, and expensive,
    especially considering they’ve been having problems with them.

    The new mini would probably suffice (and be way cheaper) but I wonder how it’ll handle C34/5

    i'm really in a quandary on this
    and would appreciate your thoughts

    thanks guys
  2. FourCandles macrumors 6502a

    Feb 10, 2009
    I assume you mean CS4/5 :) ...if so, I have a recent Mini (2.53GHz/4GB) that handles CS5 very well - specifically, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign all run smoothly. With Photoshop I'm working with 130MB scanned TIFFs with no problems at all, and much faster and smoother than CS2 on my old G5. I am, however, using an external FW800 drive to hold the images and another for a scratch disk, which alleviate any bottlenecks with the 5400rpm internal HDD.

    I also have the 23in ACD which I wouldn't want to part with.
  3. a2applegirl macrumors regular


    Jun 16, 2010
    I have both an i7 macbook pro and the new mac mini server. I have cs 4 on both of them. My mac mini is mostly for video (it is hooked to my plasma tv) but I put cs4 on it recently to fiddle with some of my photos on the big screen. I get the beach ball more on the mini, but than I do on the macbook pro, but only when I have a lot of windows open for edit. Basically cs4 works fine on the mini (although it is faster on the i7 macbook pro obviously).
  4. appleman108 thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 26, 2010
    thanks for you thoughts.
    the external FW800 drive and scratch disc make sense.
    how does the scratch disc work?
  5. FourCandles macrumors 6502a

    Feb 10, 2009
    Photoshop uses one or more "scratch" disks to read/write from/to its temporary working files. You should ideally use a drive that is:
    1. the fastest on your system
    2. is not your operating system drive (boot drive)
    3. does not contain any data or image files
    - so, on a Mac Mini based system, a (7200rpm+) FW800 drive reserved just for that purpose.
  6. appleman108 thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 26, 2010
    thanks 4candles,

    so, would you have one external HD (a 1 or 2 TB) for backup and storage and a separate one as a scratch disk - smaller HD?
  7. FourCandles macrumors 6502a

    Feb 10, 2009
    Yes - one external HD for scratch disk, one for storage. And another for backup anyway (you don't need to backup the scratch disk).

    The scratch disk can be small - probably the smallest FW800 you can find; 80GB is plenty. I think the actual calculation is 1.5x the amount of RAM you have, but you're not likely to find a FW800 disk that small. Speed is the key factor, not capacity.
  8. mlyon macrumors member

    Mar 19, 2009
    I've got the server mac mini and it runs both CS4 and CS5 perfectly. If you already have the monitor I would get the mini. The iMac makes more sense if you have to get a monitor as well. However, if you hate Apples glossy monitors like me, the mini is the only way to go without the complete overkill of a Mac Pro. Make sure to upgrade the RAM to at least 4GB, 8 would be ideal and bump up the disk to a 7,200 RPM or SSD. Getting an SSD as your boot disk would also solve your scratch disk problem.
  9. appleman108 thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 26, 2010
    thanks mlyon,

    would these be external drives hooked up to the mini
    or would i replace the mini drive... can i order a mini with an SSD disk?

    sorry, i'm new to this kinda stuff
    but i'm all for configuring things for optimum performance
  10. mlyon macrumors member

    Mar 19, 2009
    The best way is to replace the internal drive with a 7,200 rpm drive or SSD, Apple won't sell the mini with anything faster than a 5,400 drive, unless you get the server version. It's not as easy as swapping the RAM, but it can be done. You need to have a little technical savvy. OWC ( will probably have videos showing you how to do it after a while. I already had an external superdrive from my MacBook Air so I got the server version which does not have a superdrive, but 2 7,200 RPM 500GB drives internal. I swapped out one for an OWC SSD and use the other for my files.
  11. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    If you have 8 GB of RAM, Photoshop will cache to high RAM (4-8 GB address) before dumping to the scratch disk. It's expensive, but will improve your performance better than anything else. Combine that with a decent SSD (e.g., Sandforce controller) for scratch and you'd be at maximum performance for a Mini. Your scratch partition should be at least 20 GB and no more than 40 GB.
  12. kazmac macrumors 604


    Mar 24, 2010
    On the silver scream
    Thanks for the responses

    I will continue use Pixelmator and Rapid Weaver for any subsequent designing I do although it's very good to know Adobe runs nicely on the Mini.

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