Upgrading our work computers... Anyone using mac mini in a business environment?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by Thirteenva, Jan 9, 2010.

  1. Thirteenva macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    #1
    We're upgrading our work computers... right now we have a mix of G5 powermacs and PCs.

    - The MacPros are just too expensive to outfit the dept. with.
    - The all-in-one nature of the iMac scares the IT dept.
    - The Mac Mini fits the budget, but I have major concerns for the performance, having used a well-outfitted dual G5 for years.


    My main concern is that my Dual G5 that's been upgraded over the years will actually have been a better machine than the Mini's we'd be using dept. wide.

    I work in a faced paced environment, and it's pretty common for us to have most of the CS3 suite open, along with MS office docs, Email and IM clients. This machine must be able to handle that kind of multi-tasking, and I'm speculating that the mini will not.

    And, keeping the G5s and only upgrading the PC's is not an option. We need some features of snow leopard and intel macs, such as Exchange and VMware support.

    Has anyone had any experience with a Mac Mini in a business environment?
     
  2. LeviG macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2006
    Location:
    Norfolk, UK
    #2
    Personally I would say it might struggle to do all the things at once, although if you're only likely to use vmware on occassion (ie for web testing etc) then it would be fine as long as theres plenty of ram. The gpu might be the biggest issue later down the line, it's not going to be upgradeable and adobe/apple are heading to a more gpu/cpu combined processing approach to things.

    It's cpu performance would more than likely be comparable to the dual g5.


    Somethings to consider though - The mobile cpu's that are used in the mac mini (core 2 duo) have just had their replacements announced by intel (i3/i5/i7 mobile) which have up to 4 threads on the i5 and upto 8 threads on selected i7 models while being clock for clock faster cpu's.

    Seeing as apple has started updating the mac mini again it's possible that these could find their way into the mac mini (no rumour or anything mentioned mind).

    There's also the likelihood that the mac pro will go to a 6 core or 2x6 core setup (12 and 24 virtual) when intel releases the processor (estimated feb/march for desktop pc's but apple have had cpu's early) but we don't know when. It will have a longer lifespan at albeit a higher initial outlay, you could also get deals on older stock.

    Seeing as the IT department isn't keen on an all in one imac (the quad i7s would be ideal), it may be worth waiting to see if the rumoured Apple event happens at the end of the month and see what it brings first as in my view this is a poor time to be buying new hardware (imac excluded).
     
  3. splitpea macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Location:
    Among the starlings
    #3
    Why does the all-in-one-ness scare the IT department so much? The Mini isn't really much easier to muck around inside than the iMac is. With the new display mode, if the iMac's monitor dies, you can use an external, and if the computer dies, you can still use the monitor. It really sounds like the sweet spot for you in terms of price / performance at the moment.

    Anyhow, have you considered either of the following?

    - look for secondhand or refurb Mac Pros
    - wait to see if Apple upgrades the Pros and/or drops the price.... or at least you could get the current models from the refurb store at a lower price than they are now.
     
  4. Thirteenva thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    #4
    The iMac is a problem because the idea that they could fix something like a failed HD or replace a chipset at least seems viable (I've even done it in a mini at home), and its not all that hard. The iMac is not easy to disassemble in the slightest and they want no responsibility for it, nor do they want to shell out an additional cost for apple care.

    Wasn't the Mini just updated in October? Isn't it unlikely that it'll be updated in January? I'm not comfortable with pushing back dept. needs and budgeting requirements based on rumors. Especially when the rumors, don't seem to relate to anything I need (like tablets).

    I have no problem with refurbs... but it doesn't move us into MacPro territory. A pro will still cost us 2k+ and its a tough per employee cost to swallow.

    Does anyone have any other input?
     
  5. bobdard macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    #5
    I really don't recommend the Mac Mini for your purposes. The Mini, especially if fitted with 4GB RAM and higher processors, is perfect for pretty much everything, but as soon as you get into CS work, you'll see the effects of the 9400M. It's a very nice integrated card, but it's still integrated. If you are working with big files, you'll notice it's lack of video performance for serious work. But it should handle the multi-tasking just fine.

    Can't you purchase one to test for a week or so?
     
  6. nOw2 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2009
    #6
    The Mini and MacBook are a little too slow for me for business use, though Snow Leopard improves things considerably. Its the GPU that seems to get bogged down the most.

    I mainly use a MacBook but the basic specs are very Mini-like.

    I assume your company uses laptops in some capacity, and I'd say that the iMac is no different. We use laptops almost exclusively. They have a set lifetime (2 years for PC, 3 for Mac) and get insured or covered for that time. As long as the data is backed up then the physical hardware can be swapped at will.

    Its worth taking into account that the current line of iMacs represent extremely good value for money.

    When it comes time to upgrade my work MacBook, I'll be pushing for either a MacBook Pro with discrete GPU or iMac based on graphics speed considerations.
     
  7. definitive macrumors 68000

    definitive

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2008
    #7
    if you can't afford mac pro's, then go for pc towers. mac mini isn't really a system geared towards cs3/cs4 no matter what people try to tell you. the moment you try to do something more advanced than web graphics, the system will start to choke.
     
  8. smetvid macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2009
    #8
    I find it very interesting that people would say a 2.53Ghz Mac Mini isn't up to design standards but yet a lot of designers use a 2.53 Ghz Mac Book Pro. They are pretty much the same exact hardware. In fact other then a very tiny sliver of cpu speed and the slower video card a Mac Mini isn't really that much slower then a 17" Mac Book Pro. A 17" does have a slight edge but it also costs 3x as much.

    The Mac Mini is just as good if not better then any 13" MB, MBP or 15" MBP minus the higher end graphics card in the 15" MBP.
     
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #9
    What will the computers be used for You say "business environment". Does that mean just a word processor? If so there would be not problem with a Mini.

    My opinion abuot desktop computers in an office is that you'd be best off getting something that has no internal disk or local memory of any kind. Then there is not even the posibilty of needing to configure then or back them of or even load an OS. The computers boot off a network server. We've been testing something like this and heve a couple hundred of these deployed. A lot of people like them a lot. the big advantage is the you can sign out of the sesion then walk to another building sign in and the desktop and all your files are right were you left them. With no local storage one computer is as good as the next.
     
  10. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    #10
    Unless you are doing a lot of heavy HDD use then the current Mini's will destroy your G5's. If you are still running stock graphics in the G5 (like the geforce 5200fx) then even the Mini's integrated graphics will be many many times faster. The 9400m in a Mini isnt all that bad, if you are upgrading from a 5200fx then the 9400m will feel like the fastest card in the world.

    Dont be fooled by the G5's "pro" moniker, in terms of computer age its practically ancient. Everything but the HDD will be a huge upgrade, the Mini is a much faster machine.
     
  11. PixelFactory macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2003
    Location:
    Chicago
    #11
    We have minis running in our creative department. We run CS4, MS office and Quark. Most of us are running Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Quark, Entourage and Word all the time. They perform very well. We will most likely get them for the whole office. If you are doing video editing, then I would go for the Mac Pro. But for Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, the mini's will be fine. Just have a good backup solution in place. If one goes down I could go buy a new one and have it up and running in less than an hour.
     
  12. mingoglia macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2009
    #12
    I run a 2.53 Mini with 4gb of RAM in an office environment. It runs flawless. I run vmware and office products all day long with it. On Friday I was manipulating a 1 MILLION row Excel spreadsheet on my XP virtual machine. I don't do anything graphics related. I will likely double my RAM to 8gb at some point as I sometimes run multiple VM's when testing and things tend to slow down a bit when I run out of RAM as you can imagine. :) I was planning on the new 27" iMac with the i7, but ended up with the mini due to the issues. Once the issues are worked out I'll likely rotate this Mini to the house but at least for now I've been more than impressed with it for day to day business use. I was expecting this to just be a temporary solution until I "upgraded" to the iMac but with it's performance so far the only reason I'd upgrade to an iMac would be for screen real estate and not performance.... though I'm sure once I'm spoiled with the i7 things will likely change. :D:D

    Mike
     

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