Which Mac Mini, mid or server for Graphics and Video Apps

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by the read, Mar 2, 2012.

  1. the read macrumors regular

    Nov 25, 2009
    I'm going to buy 2 x Mac mini for work. They will be used for running FCP, After FX, Photoshop and other graphics 2D based applications. For monitors we will use the 24" Clinique tablet/screen from Wacom.

    The intention is to upgrade to SSD drives and RAM to 8 GB along with the most powerful CPU available in each model.

    My concern is; as a starting point to upgrade, do I use the Mid mini (with the ATI graphics card), or the Server mini, (with a stronger CPU, but weak intel graphics card)?

    I' m really unimpressed with the intel graphics, but will it be powerful enough on the 2D apps suggested? Will the quad core CPU on the server be better than an dedicated GPU on the Mid mini?

    Most the 2D applications have some multithreaded code, but I'm scepticle to how much of an increase in speed this will really create.

    If anyone is using Photoshop or FCP on the mini please let me know how it performs and what mini model your using.
    Money is not my concern for me when reviewing the mini. Power is more important. But I'm not prepared to opt for the tower Mac Pro, as this will hurt my finance.

    Currently i'm thinking to go with the mid level mini with the ATI and upgrade the CPU to i7.

    Thanks in advance to anyone who can help.
  2. elliotn macrumors regular

    Sep 5, 2011
    That's the best option for Photoshop. I don't know about video.
  3. philipma1957, Mar 3, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2012

    philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    buy 1 of each run both and in under 2 weeks return the one you don't like.

    2 weeks to refund no questions asked is the online store policy.

    just tell them you purchased the 2 to test which was best.and when you get the refund for the return you will use it to buy a second one the same as the one you kept.

    I will be honest it sounds to me like you could use one of each depending on the multi thread app that you use the server can be much faster then the i7 dual core.
  4. the read thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 25, 2009
    I'm not in the US so I don't think this is an option. But thanks
  5. elliotn macrumors regular

    Sep 5, 2011
    I'm in the UK, and same generous refund policy applies here. That's how I figured out that the mini with AMD graphics is a better Photoshop machine than the mini Server - I had both machines on the desk in front of me. Apple telephone support were very cool about it - they encouraged me to continue testing both machines side by side up until the returns deadline.
  6. the read thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 25, 2009
    Really appreciate you responding here. Out of interest, was there much in it? Did you find a dramatic improvement with the AMD GPU? Do you find it an acceptable machine to run Photoshop?

  7. elliotn macrumors regular

    Sep 5, 2011
    Yes, the AMD mini is a good Photoshop machine. (I have 2.7 i7 upgrade.)

    Photoshop was buggy on the mini Server I tried and not really usable (the issue was unpredictable behaviour of Photoshop brushes). I was testing with 10.7.2 - the problems may have been fixed with 10.7.3.

    If you hang out on Adobe forums, you will find many people having issues with integrated Intel HD 3000 graphics.

    I think the mini with AMD graphics is the safer bet.

    That said, the mini Server is the faster machine. (Only slightly faster with Photoshop, as Photoshop doesn't appear to make good use of multiple cores.)
  8. jackrv macrumors 6502

    Jul 14, 2011
    Not sure about Photoshop, but FCP X benefits from graphics with Open CL. The AMD has it, but the HD3000 does not. The upcoming HD4000 supports open CL, but the future midrange will probably have a better discrete gpu as well. For graphics, the discrete will probably be the better option unless the Ivy Bridge HD4000 blows everyone away.

Share This Page