New iMac or New Mac Mini?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by JMG, Sep 29, 2015.

  1. JMG macrumors 6502a


    May 4, 2006
    Looking to upgrade my 2010 Mac Mini. I've read about all the upgrades etc the 2012 Mac Mini can do, but I don't think I need quad core or SDDs. I'm debating between:

    3.0Ghz Dual Core i7 Mac Mini - $1400
    27 inch iMac - 3.2Ghz Quad Core i5 - $2000

    I already have 2 monitors off my old Mac Mini, but that 27 inch is nice. I never really liked the all in one package of the iMac, since if there is something wrong with the screen, you're stuck with it. BUT is the Quad core i5 THAT much faster?

    Main use will be Lightroom and Photoshop editing/processing of RAW files and Video editing DNx and 4K footage in Avid Media Composer. Right now my current Mac Mini cannot handle 4k video files. Will the i7 Mac Mini do this? Or is $700 a small price to pay for a quad core i5 and a 27 inch screen?
  2. iceman42 macrumors regular

    Nov 12, 2012
    i dont like all in one computers to.the 2014 mac mini can handle 4k video files.just max it out and you will be fine.27 inch is to small for me i use a 34 inch 4k samsung monitor with my mac mini.its a little jerky because its only 30hz refresh rate
  3. Celerondon macrumors 6502a


    Oct 17, 2013
    Southern Cal

    Did you just tell JMG that a dual-core mini could edit 4K video with Avid Media Composer?

    When JMG said that the 2010 Mac mini could not "handle 4k video files" I believe that non-linear editing was the goal. When iceman42 claimed that "the 2014 mac mini can handle 4k video files" he seemed to refer to playing them at the well known ½ speed frame rate.

    Avid provides some System Recommendations for Feature Performance in this table:

    A dual-core i7 mini that can barely play 4k video files is not adequate for this software. Shucks, according to Avid's chart, a quad-core iMac with hyperthreading and >16Gb of RAM would be unable to perform most (any?) of the features on the chart.

    Look at those requirements for 4K! The minimum specifications are somewhere between a 6-core Mac Pro and Drogon from Game of Thrones.

    If you must edit 4K video with Avid Media Composer then you might want to look at a 12-core nMP with 32Gb of RAM and a ton of crazy fast storage.
  4. iceman42 macrumors regular

    Nov 12, 2012
    i have no problems with editing 4k video with final cut pro x on 2014 mac mini
  5. Celerondon macrumors 6502a


    Oct 17, 2013
    Southern Cal
    Did you visit the link?

    Avid Media Composer_specs.jpg
  6. iceman42 macrumors regular

    Nov 12, 2012
    i don't use avid i use final cut pro x
    Final Cut Pro X - Technical Specifications
    • OS X v10.10.4 or later
    • 4GB of RAM (8GB recommended for 4K)
    • OpenCL-capable graphics card or Intel HD Graphics 3000 or later
    • 256MB of VRAM (1GB recommended for 4K and 3D titles)
    • 4.15GB of disk space
  7. opeter macrumors 68000


    Aug 5, 2007
    Slovenia, EU
    Ah, so the problem here is functional illiteracy.

    iceman42, please read once again, what OP posted:

    Read it so many times, that you understand it.
  8. Celerondon, Sep 30, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2015

    Celerondon macrumors 6502a


    Oct 17, 2013
    Southern Cal
    Okay fine, now back to the OP. JMG, I am confused about some aspects of your original post. Before you even mentioned the “main use” that you intended, you established that you “don’t think I need quad core or SDDs.”

    Although there is a Mac Pro listed in your sig line and you seem familiar with the programs and file formats involved, I don’t understand why your search has strayed below a quad-core CPU. Even if that Mac Pro is old, broken, or no longer in your stable, I would expect a photo and video editor to know how essential extra CPU cores are to this sort of computing. I won’t even venture into how popular SSD storage has become in the last few years.

    Could using the DNx format somehow enable you to use a dual-core <$1500 mini to properly edit 4K footage? Even if you could edit 4K footage, Avid provides fair warning about the limitations posed by substandard equipment. You asked if a quad-core i5 could be “THAT much faster?” You should find the answer on that specifications page I linked. When you compare that quad-core i5 iMac against the 12-core beast in their table remember that the Dual AMD FirePro equipped workstation is Avid’s minimum recommended Mac system for this type of use.

    I suggest that you should recheck that specifications and then consider this question. Will that Mac Pro be only 3 times faster at 4K video editing than a quad-core i5 iMac when running Avid Media Composer?
  9. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    OP wrote above:
    "I've read about all the upgrades etc the 2012 Mac Mini can do, but I don't think I need quad core or SDDs."

    If you need 4k, I don't think the current (2014) Minis -- ANY of them -- are going to give you what you want.

    We're not going to see true 4k support in the Mini until the NEXT version is released, but I wouldn't expect them to arrive sooner than February/March 2016 at the earliest. Are you willing to wait that long?

    If you "need 4k now", you probably need to go to the upper-end iMac line, or the new Mac Pro.

    Having said that...

    ...For Yosemite or El Capitan, you -DO NEED- an SSD drive.
    Prediction: you ARE NOT going to be happy with Apple's most recent OS's running on a platter-based hard drive.
    All too soon, you'll be back here asking, "how can I speed this thing up?"

    The "least-equipped" 2014 Mini you should shop for is the midrange model that also has the 1tb fusion drive.
    For $100 more, you could get the "top-level" model that includes the fusion drive.

    But I don't think you'll be satisfied with the purchase of a Mini that has only an HDD inside it...

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8 September 29, 2015