rMBP + TB2 dock vs. Mac Mini

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by triple-tap, Nov 3, 2015.

  1. triple-tap macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2013
    #1
    Hey all,

    I have a dilemma regarding my office computer. Earlier today, I was exploring the option of getting a Mac Mini for use in my law office as my main computer. I recently convinced all of the other attorneys in my firm to switch to a cloud-based program in combination with Box.com to manage our files and cases.

    Below is a cut and paste from my other thread in the Mac Mini section:

    ____________________________________________________
    I am an member of a smaller law firm (5 attorneys and 10 paralegals). I have recently convinced the other attorneys that to alter our case management software away from antiquated old Lexis (aka Windows only) software and into a browser based software called Practice Panther.

    This new software works wonderfully on iPads, iPhones, laptops of any type, etc. We can now bill for our Court appearances before we ever leave the Courthouse at the end of the day, and everyone can access their files, internal notes, etc. from anywhere.

    My questions is whether a Mac Mini like this work for my main office computer? For those who don't want to click the link, it is a 2014 2.6ghz dual core model with 8gb ram, and a 1 tb HDD.

    My current computer is a Dell Optiplex 3010 with a 3.4ghz i3 and 4 gb ram. The current Dell drives 3 21" displays. The Dell can also handle the combination of Internet Explorer with 5-10 tabs open at any given time, 2-3 Word documents open, 2-3 pdf's open in Adobe (free version), OUTLOOK open 24/7, and my box.com sync folder open 24/7.

    Will the Mac Mini be able to handle a similar workload? Will I run into trouble with driving 3 monitors? I will likely be paying for this computer out of pocket. However, if all goes well, I expect to move toward iMacs as part of an incentive program next year. (i.e. for each attorney who bills at least 1950 hours in a 12 month period, that attorney and their paralegals will be provided with iMac computers; 21.5" + an external monitor to paralegals, 27" to attorneys).
    ____________________________________________________



    Now, I am contemplating simply purchasing a TB2 Dock to be used with my 2015 rMBP 13" (i5/258gb/8gb ram). My question is whether this would be harmful to my rMBP in the long run. Will there be issues with overtaxing the internal in driving three external monitors, etc? Is this there another downside/risk that I am not really taking into account?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #2
    Either will be absolutely fine, they are both far more powerful than that dell.
     
  3. maflynn, Nov 4, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2015

    maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #3
    I did a search on geekbench for Optiplex 3010 and it provided benchmarks in the 7000 to 9000 range for the quad core flavor of that computer. I saw that it could come in dual core and that geekbench benchmark was in the 4400 range.

    The Mac Mini geekbench is in the 6,000 range.

    Higher numbers are better if you're not familiar with this benchmark.

    I guess if you have the dual core iteration of the Optiplex you will indeed see a performance boost in the Mac Mini but if you have the quad core machines, then you'll likely have slower performance in the Mac Mini.

    Edit: My mistake the numbers I provided for the Core i5 not the Core i3 - sorry for the confusion

    You may also see a performance boost in your Optiplex if you upgrade it to 8GB. I think you may be over-taxing windows with all those apps open and only having 4GB of ram.

    The GPU in the Mac Mini is integrated only, and I think it will have difficulty in pushing three monitors.

    I believe the high end dGPU equipped MBP will be able to drive 3 monitors but its quite a premium to pay, especially since your intention is have it sit there all day (if I'm reading your post correctly).
     
  4. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #4
    There are no quad core i3's and he specifically stated i3 in his post.

    If the monitors are 1080p or even 1440p or less he can easily run three from just about any modern mac, especially using a thunderbolt dock. Again he is using a computer with a crappy i3 processor with fairly poor integrated graphics intel 4400 is the usual standard (far worse than anything in any current mac) if that will do it a mac will with ease it's not as if we are talking 4K here.
     
  5. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #5
    I missed that - my mistake.

    I'm not sold on an iGPU pushing 3 monitors however.
     
  6. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #6
    Really?? the new 6100 IRIS in the pro can push 2 4K monitors even the 5100 in the mini can push a 4K monitor and apple rates it to push the internal rMBP screen and up 2 1600p monitors as well, I think your concerns are a little out of proportion with modern integrated graphics. My 13 inch 2013 easily pushes 2 1080p TV's and the internal when I need it to.
     
  7. triple-tap, Nov 4, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2015

    triple-tap thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Feb 18, 2013
    #7
    Thank you for the info. You are correct in that these are not 4K monitors. I believe the current monitors are all TN panels, but I can see a potential upgrade from the (3) current monitors to (2) 27" 1440 monitors in the near future if the MacBook Pro will drive them.
     
  8. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

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    Oct 24, 2013
    #8
    That may well be worth investigating efore you buy teh computer, I have no doubt the 15 inch could do it with ease but you may see some lag on the 13 inch pro.
     
  9. triple-tap thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Feb 18, 2013
    #9
    I already own the 2015 rMBP 13".
     
  10. nicho macrumors 68000

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    Feb 15, 2008
    #10
    only problem I can see is, how do you plan to connect these three monitors to the MBP (i think the same will apply to the mini?) - it'll take up both thunderbolt ports and a 3rd via HDMI. they're on two different sides of the computer so it may look ugly, if you're bothered about that. you won't be able to use any thunderbolt devices or dongles (gigabit ethernet, for example) while all three are connected.
     
  11. triple-tap thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Feb 18, 2013
    #11
    With a thunderbolt2 dock... As explained in the original post... And discussed in subsequent answers... And in the title of the thread...
     
  12. nicho macrumors 68000

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    Feb 15, 2008
    #12
    well before you get too arsey, what i was getting at is that given you don't have a thunderbolt display you're SOL.

    Elgato Thunderbolt 2 Dock: "Dual displays are supported when using HDMI and a Thunderbolt™ or Thunderbolt™ 2 display."
    Startech Thunderbolt Dock: "Dual monitor support when using HDMI + Thunderbolt Display"
    OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock: "*Dual monitor support requires the use of at least one Thunderbolt display. If you connect a display to the HDMI port, then the only display that will work through the Thunderbolt port is a Thunderbolt display. If you are not using the HDMI port, then you can use a Mini Display Port cable or adapter to connect a display to the Thunderbolt port."

    Are you noticing a theme? One thunderbolt connection can only handle one non-thunderbolt display. This is what I was getting at; I think you'll find my reading comprehension skills to be perfectly adequate thanks. Nobody previously clicked onto the problem of physically connecting them, only talking about whether the graphics card inside will drive them. I'm sure it will, but not the way you wish to do it. A single thunderbolt 2 dock will not give you enough connections for 3 displays, let alone work with more than one of them.


    You do have the option, I believe, to daisy chain thunderbolt docks and each will drive one display, if you're set on having a single cable to plug in. Alternatively, when you upgrade to 2 27" monitors, make one (or both) an apple thunderbolt display.
     
  13. triple-tap thread starter macrumors 6502

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