Which 2012 Mac Mini for an Architect

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by sampdoria, Oct 26, 2012.

  1. sampdoria macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2010
    Hi All

    Which 2012 Mac Mini would be suitable for an architect who works in...

    - Sketchup Pro (use this a lot!)
    - AutoCAD for Mac
    - Adobe Illustrator
    - Adobe Photoshop
    - Adobe Acrobat
    - AutoCAD for Windows on the Mac with Boot Camp (use this a lot!)
    - Revit (will install this in the future)
    - MS Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint)

    I currently run most of these on my 15-inch, Early 2011 MacBook Pro 2.2GHz Quad-core i7 with 4MB memory and AMD Radeon HD 6750M graphics with 1GB memory, with no major issues.

  2. phoenixsan macrumors 65816


    Oct 19, 2012
    I will go with....

    The mac Mini i7 Quad Core 2.3 GHz. But if you can afford, I will upgrade the i7 2.3 to i7 2.6 ($100 extra) and upgrade the RAM to 8 GB. The latter because I heard memory management is more efficient in the Apple mobile ones, so you can cain performance benefits with more RAM. Only caveat is that hideous Intel thing to manage the graphic processing:( :):apple:
  3. Rapscallion macrumors regular

    Sep 28, 2010
    I'm also interested to know how the mini would hold up in these applications, I'm a little worried about the graphics being to weak for AutoCAD.
  4. chedda macrumors 6502

    Apr 17, 2006

    Hey samporia, i work a lot with sketch up i use the previous version mini the i7 dual core with the dedicated card it is surprisingly good. I didn't upgrade the ram either it's the standard 4GB. I use the mac mini if i have to travel to another office when i work on competitions. At home i use a mac pro in my signature this let's me render in maxwell and eats everything i throw at it. The sketchup forums advise against integrated graphics but i think this stems from the very poor previous options, i think & hope the newer HD4000 is a different story.
  5. Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2011
    I'd stick with the 2.3GHz i7 because the slight speed bump isn't worth $100 for me. I added 16GB RAM from Crucial for $82. Based on my experience with Lion 8GB is the minimum I would use in a Mac that is seeing some serious use.

    If you order from Apple you have 14 days to return the Mini if it doesn't measure-up. I would order one and see how it works for you.
  6. fig macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2012
    Austin, TX
    Your needs are pretty similar to mine (except I'll be running Maya and Modo rather than AutoCAD) and I'm going with the midrange model, probably upgraded with the faster CPU and SSD. I'll do the RAM upgrade myself.
  7. MetzoPaino macrumors member

    Oct 24, 2012
    I'm pretty sure i've read somewhere that upgrading to the 2.6GHz i7 gives you a better Intel HD 4000. I think the cache is bigger?
  8. Poki macrumors 65816


    Mar 21, 2012
    Nope, everything is the same. Except the +300 MHz of course.
  9. mizujuggle macrumors newbie

    Oct 10, 2012

    well, did anyone compare mini i7 2.6 Ghz 16gb ram with fusion drive with lowest 21" imac. so intel hd 4000 against nvidia gt640 with 2.7 Ghz i5 with hdd? I have similar needs and trying to figure out if its better to tune up mini to max or take base imac..?
  10. pup macrumors member

    Dec 31, 2009
    I'm a VectorWorks/Photoshop/Aperture user and I went with the mid range Mini - upgraded to 2.6, fusion drive, and 16 gig. If you can't upgrade all three, then my guess is that you'd want to do the memory first, then the fusion or other SSD.

    As for the iMac option - for the extra money, I figure that I'll be much better off to upgrade my monitor to a nice 27" NEC, which should last me for many an upgrade.

    Plus, I suspect that I'll be sorely tempted next year when the new Pros come out.:p
  11. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    AutoCad is not the problem. Sketchup is. Don't know if the HD4000 is very fast on Sketchup. It's a very modern GPU, so more focussed on Video and fancy DirectX 11 features, not on rotating a zillion wireframe polygons. The previous HD6630 is probably better for 3D modelling. But for rendering, the 2.6Ghz BTO 6.2 mini is a beast.

    BTW, stick to your MBP. It is probably better than both the old and the new mini.
  12. Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2011
    A quick Startpage search had this forum thread at the top of the page: https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!msg/sketchup/cRMT28vYW2A/HjOdrd-bOioJ

    The respondent claims that Intel integrated GPUs are "notoriously problematic" with SketchUp. Unfortunately, there is only one reply in the thread and no links provided to webpages with corroborating data.

    A little more online searching or a post on the appropriate forum may get you more info on the matter...
  13. elliotn macrumors regular

    Sep 5, 2011
    I have the 2011 mini (i7 2.7, AMD graphics, 16Gb RAM).

    It doesn't run Photoshop CS6 very well - screen redraws are very laggy (when zooming), and Adobe Camera Raw is extremely sluggish (e.g. up to 5 seconds to preview after adjusting the colour temperature slider).

    I'm considering buying the new mini to see if it can handle Photoshop any better.
  14. DrKarl macrumors newbie

    Jun 6, 2010
    Autodesk recommends a dedicated graphics card for Revit (same with Graphisoft for ArchiCAD) - and the built-in Intel HD 4000 does not seem to meet the specs. Check the Autodesk hardware pages.

    From experience with high-end BIM software, rendering packages, and Adobe software which uses graphics acceleration, I'd strongly advise a Mac with a dedicated graphics card (1 GB display RAM) if you are serious about working with large 3D models.

    Note that even the Macbook Pro 13" does not include a dedicated graphics processor ... you have to go to the 15" Pro model. All iMacs have dedicated graphics processors, too.
  15. shinji macrumors 65816


    Mar 18, 2007
    Really? Are you using an SSD or the included hard drive?

    I'm also considering the new mini primarily for Photoshop work. Using a Mac Pro 1,1 now. If you do buy the new mini, please let us know how the Photoshop performance is.
  16. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    Upgrade the hard drive, or boot a RAM drive (there is plenty of room for it with 16Gb). The built in 5400rpm is not suitable for Photoshop as it is very scratch-disk intensive.
  17. elliotn macrumors regular

    Sep 5, 2011
    Working files are on a Promise Pegasus 12Tb.

    Photoshop runs from the mini's 7200rpm internal HD.

    Photoshop scratch is on the Promise Pegasus.

    I think the issue is the mini is struggling to drive my 27" monitor (Eizo CG275W). - For example, if I reduce the size of the Adobe Camera Raw window, the adjustment sliders become much more responsive.


    See my reply to Blanka re. hardware configuration.

    I likely will try the new mini (maxed out with SSD, 2.6ghz quad, 16gb ram) - and use Apple's 14 day return policy if it's no better running photoshop than my current set-up.
  18. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
  19. elliotn macrumors regular

    Sep 5, 2011
    Why's that?

    I have a Nikon D700 (and briefly had a dysfunctional D800). Is ACR known to be slow with Nikon files?

    I've spent the last couple of months learning the intricacies of ACR, and in spite of it's slowness, I don't think I could give up it's functionality (lens corrections, adjustment brushes, clarity, shadow/highlights etc).

    (Previously I was using Raw Developer, simple and fast, but the files needed much more work in Photoshop compared to the files from ACR.)
  20. Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2011
    How about designating a fast external partition as the scratch drive? I have never used the internal drive for scratch use... I connect a 7200RPM via Firewire 800 and create an empty partition so Photoshop can do its thing without slowing down and fragmenting the internal drive.

    I do find the RAM disk idea intriguing... I haven't messed around with RAM disks for years.

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