ZonPro

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Original poster
Oct 1, 2020
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I do graphic design for a living. I'm looking to buy a 2018 i7 Mac Mini and wanted to know if it would be comparable to my work computer in terms of power and speed, if not better?

Here are the specs of my work computer:

iMac 27-inch, Late 2013
3.2 GHz Intel Core i5
32 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
NVIDIA GeForce GT 755M 1024 MB

The apps I primarily use are:

Photoshop
Illustrator
InDesign
Bridge
Lightroom
Mail
Chrome

I would also be running two monitors.

If I can run all of that without skipping a beat, then I'm set.

Bonus question, would it be adequate enough to also run Premiere Pro and After Effects effectively? I'm really only planning to edit up to 1440p video. I don't have much interest in 4k at the moment.
 
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ZonPro

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 1, 2020
2
0
The Mini I'm looking at would be:

3.2GHz 6‑core 8th‑generation Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost up to 4.6GHz)
8GB 2666MHz DDR4 (will likely upgrade it myself later)
Intel UHD Graphics 630

If it can run just the apps I listed without slowing down, then great. If it can also adequately be used for video editing at least 1440p, that would be even better.
 

buttongerald

macrumors 6502
Jan 29, 2016
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St. John's, Newfoundland
I'd be wary of it. My late 2013 iMac has similar specs to that Mac mini sans the processor, and it struggles with Photoshop. Starting up, creating files, opening saved files etc. etc. are a constant gamble of "Is it just taking long or has it locked up again?"

This is partly on Adobe, because Photoshop has gotten more bloated than Windows and iTunes over the years.

If it were me? I'd keep saving the pennies for a more powerful rig, be it Mac or PC.
 
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organicCPU

macrumors 6502a
Aug 8, 2016
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From https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/kb/photoshop-cc-gpu-card-faq.html
Photoshop Features that won't work without a GPU:
  • Perspective Warp (more info)
  • 3D
  • Oil Paint
  • Render – Flame, Picture Frame, and Tree
  • Scrubby Zoom
  • Birds Eye View
  • Flick Panning
  • Smooth Brush Resizing
Some other features just run slow without a dedicated graphics card inside. I thought I'd never miss those features, but I promise, it comes the day when you do have the idea to do this or that pretty quick with that 3D feature or when you simply wish to rotate your canvas around.

For Adobe apps, I'd always recommend a dGPU. Sorry, but thumbs down for the 2018 mac Mini for graphic design.
 
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killerrobot

macrumors 68020
Jun 7, 2007
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Seconded or Thirded? The macMini won't cut it. Look for a used 2018 iMac with Applecare or if you really trust the person or the price a 2017.
 

hobowankenobi

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Aug 27, 2015
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on the land line mr. smith.
I would suggest that the two biggest limiting factors would be anything less than about 16GB of RAM...and an HD. An SSD makes a world of difference, especially on macOS 10.13 or later.

I see folks running a mid range i5 iMac and using Adobe CC apps all day long with few problems...but they are running 16GB of RAM or more, and SSD only.
 
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MacGizmo

macrumors 68000
Apr 27, 2003
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Graphic design is not a cheap business to be in, at least not at the start. Avoid anything less than an iMac with 32 GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and max upgraded video card. Anything less and you'll be doing this all over in 2 years. Spend the money now for a well-equipped machine and you'll get 6+ years out of it.
 

weaztek

macrumors 6502
Aug 28, 2009
322
151
Madison
The Mini I'm looking at would be:

3.2GHz 6‑core 8th‑generation Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost up to 4.6GHz)
8GB 2666MHz DDR4 (will likely upgrade it myself later)
Intel UHD Graphics 630

If it can run just the apps I listed without slowing down, then great. If it can also adequately be used for video editing at least 1440p, that would be even better.

The latest gen iMacs are great, but the ARM processor Macs are coming so wait if you can.

An i5 or i7 Mini with 32GB RAM and an eGPU would be fine for what you do. I edit massive 16-bit photo files on mine. But again, the ARM Macs are in the pipeline.
[automerge]1603210337[/automerge]
 

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macrumors 6502
Nov 21, 2019
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Graphic design is not a cheap business to be in, at least not at the start. Avoid anything less than an iMac with 32 GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and max upgraded video card. Anything less and you'll be doing this all over in 2 years. Spend the money now for a well-equipped machine and you'll get 6+ years out of it.

As a professional in the industry, I can say this is bad advice. 16GB will likely be fine and will last you quite a while as long as you aren't changing up your software or workflow. If you are going to be doing pro telesion or movies, 32 can help speed things up. It's a waste of money for static images. I work all day in large format printing in Illustrator 2020 on a 2012 Mac Mini with 16GB of RAM without issue. You should avoid the new ARM macs unless you enjoy headaches and dealing with bugs.
 

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macrumors 6502
Nov 21, 2019
408
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From https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/kb/photoshop-cc-gpu-card-faq.html

Some other features just run slow without a dedicated graphics card inside. I thought I'd never miss those features, but I promise, it comes the day when you do have the idea to do this or that pretty quick with that 3D feature or when you simply wish to rotate your canvas around.

For Adobe apps, I'd always recommend a dGPU. Sorry, but thumbs down for the 2018 mac Mini for graphic design.

I can verify that a lot of this stuff works fine on Intel 4000 (2012 Mini) and Intel Iris (2015 iMac) iGPU.

2018 will be fine for most graphic design work. Up the RAM beyond 8GB for anything professional. That's likely all you will need to do.
 
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hobowankenobi

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Aug 27, 2015
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Two of the challenges that I think show up in this sort of discussion stem from:

1. specific existing workflows
2. possible future hardware improvements

There is no doubt that for some, a good 5-year-old Mac (with adequate RAM and SSD)...is, well, adequate as of today. For others that leverage 3D, GPU, or CPU intensive work, this is not true. Both can be true at the same time. So the answer to #1 is: Maybe. It depends.

For #2 and possible future hardware...this is much more speculative. Especially with the coming AS Macs right around the corner. Traditionally, software gets tweaked to leverage available hardware. We can't yet know exactly how Adobe may leverage a whole new breed of CPU and GPU hardware. My safe answer (in general) would be: expect the current Intel Macs to be serviceable for 1-3 years. Anything after that, and the odds drop way off.

If I had to get a new(er) Mac today for a professional workflow, I would consider it a transition or bridge to the new hardware, and would want it to be useful and productive for about 2 years. Anything after that would be a bonus. The key difference is that over the previous decade or so—with mature intel Macs available—I might buy a high-end machine with the goal of getting 5+ years of usable professional use. I would not do that nor recommend that for any professional today.
 

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macrumors 6502
Nov 21, 2019
408
675
For #2 and possible future hardware...this is much more speculative. Especially with the coming AS Macs right around the corner. Traditionally, software gets tweaked to leverage available hardware. We can't yet know exactly how Adobe may leverage a whole new breed of CPU and GPU hardware. My safe answer (in general) would be: expect the current Intel Macs to be serviceable for 1-3 years. Anything after that, and the odds drop way off.

Currents Mac can be expected to last for 5-8 years, no problem. The main concern in Apple products are OS bugs and OS incompatibility with current software that might be used. Graphics professionals tend to use the same software, workflows, and processes continually in order end up at a predicable end result. We are creatures of habit. This means that unless the actual work is changing, the user's set up will last as long the hardware does. That set up you are using right now will still work pretty much the same 5 years down the road. The (RAM) footprint of MacOS has not changed significantly in quite some time. The requirements for Adobe apps are unlikely to change much in the forseeable future. Trying to 'futureproof' is usually a waste of money.
 

hobowankenobi

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Aug 27, 2015
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on the land line mr. smith.
Currents Mac can be expected to last for 5-8 years, no problem. The main concern in Apple products are OS bugs and OS incompatibility with current software that might be used. Graphics professionals tend to use the same software, workflows, and processes continually in order end up at a predicable end result. We are creatures of habit. This means that unless the actual work is changing, the user's set up will last as long the hardware does. That set up you are using right now will still work pretty much the same 5 years down the road. The (RAM) footprint of MacOS has not changed significantly in quite some time. The requirements for Adobe apps are unlikely to change much in the forseeable future. Trying to 'futureproof' is usually a waste of money.

Your opinion. May be true...may not be. Same with my opinion. I am offering the OP a counter to your conventional wisdom. Neither opinion can be proven right or wrong as of now.

Major upheavals, while not common, do happen in the Apple world. It is way too soon to see how Apple leverages new hardware with macOS 11, and how Adobe leverages new hardware to optimize applications or bring new features.
 

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macrumors 6502
Nov 21, 2019
408
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Major upheavals, while not common, do happen in the Apple world. It is way too soon to see how Apple leverages new hardware with macOS 11, and how Adobe leverages new hardware to optimize applications or bring new features.

What happens with OS11 is mostly irrelevant to our work. Outside of very specific cases, it’s generally not a requirement. OS10 will still be receiving updates for at least two more years. Even after that, it’s not going to just stop working.
 

MacGizmo

macrumors 68000
Apr 27, 2003
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As a professional in the industry, I can say this is bad advice.
Well, as I have spent 35+ years (pre-dating computer use) in graphic design, I'm pretty sure my advice is rock solid. I'm absolutely certain that an iMac with it's much faster I/O, with 32GB of RAM, faster SSD, and a video card that is an order of magnitude more powerful than the built-in Intel Iris graphics will, in fact, and without dispute, blow the doors off a Mac Mini. And it will continue to do so no matter how long the computer lasts.

The resources required by Adobe apps depends completely on the files you're working on. I regularly work on 800MB+ Photoshop files, and massive InDesign documents, and I can say with absolute certainty that PS and ID run SIGNIFICANTLY faster with more RAM... it's basic computing. The more data the computer can load into RAM, the faster scrolling, zooming, and altering the file is. There's no arguing this point, it's Computer 101. The same goes for the dedicated video card.
 
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macrumors 6502
Nov 21, 2019
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Well, as I have spent 35+ years (pre-dating computer use) in graphic design, I'm pretty sure my advice is rock solid. I'm absolutely certain that an iMac with it's much faster I/O, with 32GB of RAM, faster SSD, and a video card that is an order of magnitude more powerful than the built-in Intel Iris graphics will, in fact, and without dispute, blow the doors off a Mac Mini. And it will continue to do so no matter how long the computer lasts.

Without a cost/benefit analysis, your advice is not terribly useful here.
 

hobowankenobi

macrumors 68000
Aug 27, 2015
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on the land line mr. smith.
What happens with OS11 is mostly irrelevant to our work. Outside of very specific cases, it’s generally not a requirement. OS10 will still be receiving updates for at least two more years. Even after that, it’s not going to just stop working.

What happens in the future matters if one is keeping software current, or close to current. As an example, CC 2020 apps require 10.14 or newer. That is less than 2 years of backwards compatibility OS support when they were released.

If you are arguring that if a user never changes their workflow tools( hardware, OS, and apps)...well, sure...everthing that works today stays pretty indefinitely.

Why macOS 11 matters: There is a very good chance that Adobe will require OS 11 or newer in the near future, and anybody that needs or wants the latest version of Adobe apps may find either the Adobe apps and/or the OS are no longer receiving updates and support. Those who want or need to update may find that Intel Macs are not viable in as little as 2-4 years.
 

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macrumors 6502
Nov 21, 2019
408
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What happens in the future matters if one is keeping software current, or close to current. As an example, CC 2020 apps require 10.14 or newer. That is less than 2 years of backwards compatibility OS support when they were released.

If you are arguring that if a user never changes their workflow tools( hardware, OS, and apps)...well, sure...everthing that works today stays pretty indefinitely.

Why macOS 11 matters: There is a very good chance that Adobe will require OS 11 or newer in the near future, and anybody that needs or wants the latest version of Adobe apps may find either the Adobe apps and/or the OS are no longer receiving updates and support. Those who want or need to update may find that Intel Macs are not viable in as little as 2-4 years.

That's not really much of an issue for professionals who understand their tools and how to achieve desired results. Adobe doesn't change much in their software version to version. They might add a filter or an effect that is rarely used. Sometimes a tool. Sometimes an improvement in stability. Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign haven't changed appreciably in a very long time. I am on 2020 right now. Hell if I know what's changed between 2018 and now.
 

TheGenerous

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Nov 14, 2010
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I'm an Austronaut
I use the same software you mention and my Mac Mini is 2012, 16 RAM, i5 and a SSD for the operating system and a Dell 4K display. It still works perfectly.
I use Affinity and Capture One Pro too.
I don't do anything with video though.
 
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PepsiSmile

macrumors newbie
Oct 27, 2020
6
0
As a professional in the industry, I can say this is bad advice. 16GB will likely be fine and will last you quite a while as long as you aren't changing up your software or workflow. If you are going to be doing pro telesion or movies, 32 can help speed things up. It's a waste of money for static images. I work all day in large format printing in Illustrator 2020 on a 2012 Mac Mini with 16GB of RAM without issue. You should avoid the new ARM macs unless you enjoy headaches and dealing with bugs.

I concur with the above from my own adventures in graphic design. I suppose the thing is, "graphic design" can equal a myriad of different things depending what you're doing, so we'd really need to know what kind of work you do. My 2014 Macbook Pro handles a lot of work I do quite easily. I have a fully spec'd out HP tower for when things get rougher but the MB genuinely suffices for most stuff. I worked for years (up until 2014) on an old duel processor G5 and built most on my business on that.
 

weaztek

macrumors 6502
Aug 28, 2009
322
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Madison
I concur with the above from my own adventures in graphic design. I suppose the thing is, "graphic design" can equal a myriad of different things depending what you're doing, so we'd really need to know what kind of work you do. My 2014 Macbook Pro handles a lot of work I do quite easily. I have a fully spec'd out HP tower for when things get rougher but the MB genuinely suffices for most stuff. I worked for years (up until 2014) on an old duel processor G5 and built most on my business on that.
I've been one of the posters to recommend 32GB. If you can add the RAM yourself (as I did) it's $100. I'd expect a local repair store wouldn't charge more than $50 for the simple install. That is not a lot of money for a professional expense. I think I spend over $700 on 16MB of RAM on my first graphic design Power Mac 7200.
 
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PepsiSmile

macrumors newbie
Oct 27, 2020
6
0
I've been one of the posters to recommend 32GB. If you can add the RAM yourself (as I did) it's $100. I'd expect a local repair store wouldn't charge more than $50 for the simple install. That is not a lot of money for a professional expense. I think I spend over $700 on 16MB of RAM on my first graphic design Manc.
Yeah, I do agree it's worth having these days, for sure. I think one can get away with a relatively older processor for graphic design though.
 

gnohz

macrumors newbie
May 4, 2019
15
5
I use the same software you mention and my Mac Mini is 2012, 16 RAM, i5 and a SSD for the operating system and a Dell 4K display. It still works perfectly.
I use Affinity and Capture One Pro too.
I don't do anything with video though.
Hi @TheGenerous, just wondering, do you experience any lag in the Capture One user interface, especially the sliders during editing? It doesn't seem as smooth as Lightroom. I don't understand as I read Capture One is supposedly speedier than LR.

And during browsing, despite rendering previews much larger than the photo sizes, they appear blurred at first it takes 1-3 secs before they are rendered sharp.

Do you experience the same?
For reference, I'm using Mac Mini 2018, 32 GB RAM, i7, SSD, discrete graphics. 8 Nikon raw files in a new catalog. Tested with hardware acceleration off and on.
 

tyc0746

macrumors 6502
Apr 3, 2019
257
98
Liverpool, UK
I use a late 2014 iMac 5K (quad core 4.0ghz i7 with 1TB SSD + 32GB ram + M295X) for graphic design (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat, Quark Xpress, etc.) - it is not noticeably slower than my 2019 iMac 4K (hex core 3.2ghz i7 with 1TB SSD + 32GB ram + Vega 20) in the office.

We’ve mainly stayed away from the Minis due to the limited integrated GPU. Fine for a home machine, but not for any heavy graphid work without an eGPU.
 
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