New Mac Mini and heavy PS use?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by xheathen, Aug 8, 2010.

  1. xheathen macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #1
    I'm looking to move from a PC to mac - and I'm really having a hard time with what to buy.

    I do a lot of heavy photoshop stuff. Aside from webdesign, which isn't all that taxing, I do some digital painting (maybe like 800mb-1gb files) and working with 200-300mb files through InDesign for print layouts.

    I've got a 24" Dell monitor right now, and all the trimmings to work a Mac Mini out of the box. The specs seem to indicate that the Mac Mini can handle it. But being totally outside of knowing mac through and through, I don't have anything to compare.

    Would the Mac Mini be the best choice, and then bump up the ram? Or would it be better to buy like a refurb iMac 21.5, or used 24" and then use my existing monitor as a 2nd screen?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. The Beatles macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2010
    #2
    I've pushed around 1 and 2 gig files on systems less than a mini but i didnt like it. Im not sure how good the imac is but if you can afford it, i'd get a mac pro. Even an older one. The ram and the graphics card should help out and the faster hard drive speeds plus the ability to use internal hard drives for a performance raid. And you'd have a faster system bus.

    Sure your mini could cope but once things start getting busy, and you have your email, photoshop, indesign and maybe your painting program running for five hours straight...the mini might get bogged down. I guess the imac would do but i'd much rather have the ability to get more performance with expandability than get stuck with a fairly low performance ceiling.

    All in all, the mini is not a photoshop system for heavy lifting, and the imac, i wouldnt want to have to use one as my main photoshop system. Seriously, I'd consider an older mac pro and beef it up with a performance raid and lots of ram.
     
  3. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2008
    Location:
    Thule GL @ the TOW
    #3
    ...try a prev gen 2.53Ghz (it was the top end model) from the refurb store for $589... they've been hitting the store since the new one's came out (probably getting rid of old stock) and I think its a pretty good deal as you get the same HDD size, more RAM installed, a faster CPU, slightly slower GPU and on www.monoprice.com you can get a mini-DVI to HDMI port adapter for ~$6.00 so that takes the HDMI port out of contention...

    If you don't like it for your PC work, make it a HTPC (the reason I bought one in the first place)...its so much more than just trying to get an ATV to do what you want!
     
  4. xheathen thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #4
    I see what you are saying Beatles, but that may even be more than I was thinking. Because Photoshop is my primary painting software, so I wouldn't be using Painter (yet anyway :p). And when I'm painting, it's the only thing that's open (except maybe itunes). So if I'm working on one of those big files, it's the only thing running. Of the remaining 90% of my working time, half is working on web layouts (very small), and print layouts (medium sized).

    The most I've ever had open was Photoshop + Illustrator or InDesign open. So at the absolute ceiling I'd be doing all 3 with itunes and email rolling.

    The only issue I have with getting an older pro system is I was looking forward to the smaller footprint on my desk :) But that may be something to consider.

    I know without a doubt that one of the new iMac's with the 512mb video memory standard could handle it and then some, but it's also $1400 minimum :)

    But I think looking at one of the older mini's is a good idea. I've seen it advertised that the new mini's have 2x the graphics memory. I know that programs like PS primarily run on CPU, memory and harddrive speed, but do you think one of the previous generation top of the line mac mini's can handle that stuff?
     
  5. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

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    Thule GL @ the TOW
    #5
    ...here's a review I dug up... remember they are talking about full retail pricing and this mini is in the refurb store for $589.00 (and I got mine for less than that and no shipping cost as our base PX was selling out the old model to clear space for the new uni-mini's)...FYI this review was 11/9/09 also...

    http://www.macworld.com/reviews/product/325817/review/mac_mini253ghz.html
     
  6. xheathen thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #6
    Great article - thanks for sharing it!

    I've spent the greater part of the evening doing research to know what I'm in for, and based off of reviews, benchmarks and recommendations, I've come up with the conclusion that it's really between the older generation 2.53ghz mac mini or the just-now-refreshed imac 21.5".

    My reasons are that the speed differences in the mini's really aren't all that much different, and you can really pump the mini up. And you can snag them just about anywhere now for around $600 including software. Worst case scenario you just have a new media system for your living room if it doesn't perform the way you want it to.

    The only other logical choice for someone without an unlimited amount of money is the newest 21.5" imac because it's really the biggest jump in performance mainly due to the new stand alone video cards they sport. For the money, $1200 can get me something I'll likely be able to feel like I don't need to upgrade for at least a couple years and I can most likely sell it for a respectable amount to trade up.

    Does that sound like I've thought that through correctly? I feel like the mini CAN definitely do the job, but then it just comes down to do I want used/less money or that "new car smell" with a longer shelf life on my desk.
     
  7. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2008
    Location:
    Thule GL @ the TOW
    #7
    ...apple's refurbs have the same warranty as new machines... the main thing I don't like about the mini or the iMac is how much a PITA it is to get at the HDD's on them... I jut ordered 2 FW external drive enclosures that all my data will get saved to in the event either unit has to go in for service... external FW should be just as fast as the internal 2.5" drive and not much slower than the internal 3.5" drive.

    The plus about the prev gen mini is the ability to go to 8Gb RAM if you find you need it but it already comes with 4Gb so it shouldn't be a worry out of the box...

    Applecare for the mini is also cheaper than the iMac!

    Good luck with your purchase!
     
  8. Matty-p macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2010
    #8
    Yea I'd get prev gen minibus the bonus wig the cheapest iMac is that you will get more power and you'll also get a free wireless keyboard and mouse worth well over $100 if brought separately and you get effectively a free secondary 22" display also it will probably resell for more when you sell it as it is a recent model rather than one that is allready well over a year old
     

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