Questions re: Details of a Mac Mini Server for Logic music production

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by digitalninja, May 9, 2012.

  1. digitalninja macrumors newbie

    May 8, 2012
    Hello, long time lurker, first time poster. I am planning on buying a Mac Mini Server to be used for music production with Logic. I will probably wait for the refresh, as my current music mac is still working great, but I'm starting to get the itch...

    Anyway here are my questions:

    1. With my current Mac Book Pro, I use a Hanns-G HZ281HPB 27.5'' monitor. With the limited graphics card of the mms will I encounter slowdown or problems in Logic using this, or a dual monitor setup? I see there are multiple threads about dual monitors with the mini, but I didn't see any that directly addressed Logic, since I only want this as a music rig. I was thinking about adding another monitor, would I have to go the Thunderbolt route?

    2. I would like to upgrade one of the HD's to SSD to run the OS and Logic. Is that something I can/should do myself, and if so what is a good reliable drive to put in there? I don't particularly mind using the stock apple ssd if the difference isn't substantial.

    3. Memory I understand can be beefed up to 16gb, aftermarket. Any recommendations for that based on what I want to do with this computer?

    Thanks for your time and advice. Cheers
  2. CausticPuppy macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2012
    You won't encounter any issues with the display unless you're doing something GPU dependent like gaming.

    I have the current gen MMS driving a 24" display with 1920x1200 resolution, and it works just great. Your monitor has slightly lower resolution so it should not be a problem.

    I also swapped 1 of the hard drives with a Crucial M4 SSD. If you're good with tools, it's a pretty easy job, but some of the connectors are very small.

    I wound up just buying iFixit's toolkit so everything went smoothly.

    You can review the procedure step-by-step here and see what you think:

    As for logic, 8GB is cheap and is more than enough; 16GB might even be overkill, but then again I don't think there's such a thing as too much memory unless you're loading many GB's of samples.
  3. earwax69 macrumors member

    May 7, 2012
    They say Logic Pro run fine on the mini however if you plan to do gigantic projects your are better choosing the 7200rpm 750gb hdd upgrade option.

    A ssd will help but as reading aiff samples count as "sequential reads" more than random reads, the 7200rpm disk should be just as good. However the SSD will load your apps and boot faster.

    I've just bough a mini yesterday and will try Logic. I had a good deal that sadly only included the 5200rpm 500gb drive. I dont think it's going to be a problem though. Right now all my samples are on an external USB drive and I never had a problem with Ableton Live. Im sure Logic will run just as fine.
  4. McGilli macrumors 6502

    Nov 11, 2008

    I use Logic and Garageband together daily.

    I had a MBP, 4gb with dual SSD's in it.

    Moving to the Mini has been no problem.

    I have the 2.5 mini with the 5400 500gb drive.

    Loading a project takes me about 3 or 4 more seconds. However, during my work, saving is actually better. I always save as I am playing back tracks.

    On my MBP the screen would stutter, and daily, I would at least once get an error saying there are too many tracks to be read all at the same time.

    With the Mini I haven't had that yet.

    BUT - I did increase the Mini RAM to 8gb. So I would recommend that.

    I've decided to keep the stock HDD in the Mini instead of installing a SSD.

    But still, as mentioned before a faster HDD or SSD WOULD help a little bit.

    But if you have a few extra seconds in your day the stock HDD is fine.
  5. earwax69 macrumors member

    May 7, 2012
    That's a strange speaker you got there! ;)
    Are you satisfied with the magic trackpad for daily use? I dont know what to pick between the mouse and the trackpad...
  6. Lance-AR macrumors 6502

    May 7, 2012
    Little Rock, AR
    I use the mouse more than the trackpad but I like gestures on the trackpad better. Eventually I added both.
  7. earwax69 macrumors member

    May 7, 2012
    Then I should get a normal logitech or microsoft mouse and get the trackpad to complement?

    Edit; I've just read that the magic mouse is really not good for 3D software. I guess it's not for me then.
  8. McGilli macrumors 6502

    Nov 11, 2008
    I stopped using mice ... man.... 4 years ago? I made a switch to only MacBooks back then and I am so used to them I just went for the trackpad and I love it cuz it's so big.

    It;s great for Logic cuz if you need to really zoom in you can make really fine adjustments.

    Probably can with a mouse. I'm comparing to the trackpads on MAcbooks...

    This large trackpad makes me feel spoiled (hard using my macbook trackpads now) - especially with using gestures. So much easier.
  9. earwax69 macrumors member

    May 7, 2012
    Wow! I'll definitively get the trackpad. Even if in the end I use the mouse and my wacom for delicate work, it sure will be more practical when I move the mini in the living room. And I got to try it anyway just for the novelty aspect.
  10. digitalninja thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 8, 2012
    Wow, thanks for the replies everyone. McGilli That's a nice looking setup, although I agree about the speaker. But yeah, never thought about switching from mouse to trackpad. Maybe I'll give it a try.

    For ram you can never have too much...and I would still upgrade the hdd along with the ssd. But it's good to know that the mini server is beastly at stock value. Ill end up upgrading and I'd like to go dual monitor. Actually id love to add a second monitor that I could switch over to my "everyday" Mac when needed.
  11. Duckypoos macrumors member

    May 7, 2012
    In a similar situation myself ... Currently I am a heavy Ableton user, who has out-grown his mid 2009 2.53ghz MBP ( 64GB OCZ PETROL SSD / 240GB 5400 HDD 8 GB RAM).

    Initially I was in the market for an iMac to power Ableton and dual monitors, but thanks to the delay in the refresh schedule I have started to look at other options.

    My idea is to maybe get a mac mini server , and run my 2 Acer 21.5" ( 1920x1080) monitors via the matrox dualhead2go DisplayPort Edition.

    Naturally this means using the mini's onboard graphics, whilst using a bus powered Novation Impulse49 midi keyboard, but, as there is no intensive video going on, would this setup be a good idea for the mini server ?

    I will be putting an SSD in the mini for OS and apps.

    Thanks in advance for any assist.
  12. DarthMoops macrumors regular

    Aug 7, 2010
    Baltimore MD
    I have read some internet scuttlebutt that the current minis have problems with FireWire based audio interfaces. Something to keep in mind.
  13. Mak47 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 27, 2011
    Harrisburg, PA
    I don't see why you'd have a problem.

    The GPU is only an issue if you're gaming, or I would think rendering video. Which it doesn't sound like you're doing.

    As for the displays, no problem. I'm running two 21.5" LG displays on mine. One through HDMI, the other from the TB port using an HDMI adapter. If you don't use an Apple TB display, you can still use TB peripherals, your display would just need to be the last link on the chain. Not really any reason for that to be a problem.

    My recommendations would be as follows:

    Get the two 750GB 7200RPM HDD option. It's a cheap upgrade and you'll appreciate having the space. You can RAID the drives to either give yourself one big 1.5TB drive, or so that their mirrored, giving you more security in the event of a failure.

    I just got the standard 500GB drives and swapped one for a 128GB SSD. I notice the speediness of it when opening apps and starting up the machine, but all of my content is being read from or written to either the internal HDD or an external USB drive. I would imagine your situation would prove to be the same for the most part. This kind of workflow pretty much negates the benefits of the SSD. Sure, I gain a few seconds here and there, but it hasn't really amounted to much in the long run. More space would've been beneficial though.

    Second, get 16GB of RAM. NewEgg has 16 GB kits for around $100. Depending on what plugins you're using, or how many open apps you'll have, the extra RAM is awesome.

    The one thing I really love about Lion with dual monitors is that I can set up a workflow on two screens, then go into Mission Control and add another desktop to setup an entirely different set of applications. A 3 finger swipe on the trackpad moves from one desktop to the other and everything keeps working. I can switch from a project, to personal stuff, and back to the project quickly and easily. They key to having lots of stuff like this running though, is plenty of RAM.

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