YAY !! Mini on the way! Bye bye MacPro

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by propower, Oct 29, 2012.

  1. propower, Oct 29, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2012

    propower macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2010
    After a week of pondering how to replace my MacPro (2009 Nehalem 2.93 Quad) Audio workstation I went with....

    BTO 2.6/256SSD -

    *$100 for 13% more speed... why not!
    *Leave OS and programs on internal for fastest program speeds (apple 256 ~ $100 more than DIY -- Works for me)
    * Have two 256 SSD's already to use for the rest of storage needs - audio and Virtual instrument sample libraries (will buy two USB3 cases - plenty fast, no need to mod the mini)
    * Will do Ram from Newegg 16G ~$85 (or so)
    * Backup all to Synology NAS (maybe spare 1TB drive on USB3 or FW (have >4)....)

    If for some reason doesn't work out... will just give back to Apple.... I am thinking NOT!

    Now on to ponder Thunderbolt display or regular 27" 1080P HDMI monitor!
  2. Poki macrumors 65816


    Mar 21, 2012
    My Thunderbolt Display is already waiting on my desk, and Apple just changed the shipping date for my Mini to ... tomorrow! Just have the standard 2,3 GHz one with 16GB aftermarket RAM now 'cos I'm short on money, but my setup is quite nice (including the TBD, B&W MM-1, a Cyborg R.A.T.-5, Apple keyboard & trackpad as well as some quite fast external drives), so it should be adequate for my current work.
  3. Anthony.L macrumors member

    Nov 7, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    Good to hear others in the same boat. The new Mac Mini has got me seriously considering a Early 2008 (2 x 2.8Ghz Quad) Mac Pro replacement.
  4. kdoug macrumors 6502a


    Jun 2, 2010
    Iowa City, IA USA
    I love the TB monitor but have a hard time justifying the $$$.
    I went with this 27", I'll have it tomorrow.
  5. SF-Theater macrumors newbie

    Oct 29, 2012
    1st Mac

    I got something similar, the 2.6 with the 256GB SSD. I also ordered the 16Gb Crucial memory upgrade. I watched the movie at OWC to install a HDD and figured not worth it to me to self install that, just decided to pay the apple tax.

    This is my first Mac. Will be downloading parallels once I get my new mini next week to transfer my aging XP system and will like need a Win7/8 section/VM/Partition as well (if only Quicken for Mac was the same as Quicken for windows).

    I have a HP Windows home server with 6TB of storage. I keep all of my music/movie files and personal data there and backups for the internal HDDs. Recently one of the drives failed and with data duplication enabled everything was saved (why I won't get a single drive time capsule). I assume I will be able to point my new mini to the HP server to save data, and just keep programs/OSes on the internal SSD. Any quick hints on how to enable a Mac to do that? (Been using DOS/Windows my whole life, ever since the very first IBM PC and haven't ever used a Mac other than quick browsing in INTL airport lounges)

    Thank you all.
  6. propower thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2010
    The grab on the ATD for me isn't just the screen... the extra Ethernet makes an easy convenient connection to my Ethernet control surfaces and the second FW800 port makes a nice dedicated connection to potential Backup drive. Really thinking of this but may wait a couple of days so that it times well with mini delivery.... :)
  7. shinji macrumors 65816


    Mar 18, 2007
    I have a Mac Pro now, and I'm considering a switch to the mini.

    What made you not want to wait until next year for the new Mac Pro to decide?
  8. lcseds macrumors 6502a

    Jun 20, 2006
    NC, USA

    Exactly what I have just done. Not a big Apple tax for the return of reliability (hopefully), warranty, and not having to manage any trim/garbage collection. Memory upgrade, yes. SSD upgrade, I'll pass for now.
  9. propower, Oct 29, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2012

    propower thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2010
    My reasoning
    1) By Geekbench mid tier 2.6 represents a 30%+ improvement in raw CPU horsepower over my 2009 MP 2.93 Quad
    2) I used to run a PCIe card based audio system but now use a great FW box as the heart of a FW based system -- So no need for PCI slots
    3) Not a gamer so never had a need for external video card
    4) Only have ~600GB need for HD space for working system - no need for 5 internal drive bays
    5) USB3 for hanging external HD through either docks or cases plenty fast enough for 7200rpm drives if I need to load projects.-- so no need for 5 internal drives -- can always go thunderbolt if I NEED more speed -- pretty much 0 chance.
    6) Synology NAS for seldom used storage --again no need for 5 internal drives
    7) Mac Pro has constant whir of video card fan, P/S fan, Hard Disks etc... expect mac mini to be pretty close to silent under normal load,
    8) I am 55 years old and can barely lift the MacPro
    9) Resale for my MP is still good
    10) Mini is smaller - I can get rid of rolling rack that holds MacPro
    11) Mini + TB display uses a fraction of the power MP uses... will get killer UPS time out of my 1500W UPS.
    12) New mini with everything I need ~ the resale price of my MP
    13) Never get usage meter above 30% on the largest audio project I do now... Mini should handle this with no problem
    14) HDMI is great for my remote monitors -- no more VGA over cat5

    need I go on? I probably could :)

    Oh yeah, and if the 2013 MacPro is SO tempting, mac mini has one of the highest % resale price of al macs.......

    So a better question is.... why are you holding out for a MacPro??
  10. hugodrax macrumors 6502a

    Jul 15, 2007
    Can't wait to get rid of mines. The mini I ordered ships next month. I am donating the Mac pro. The heat generation and power consumption is hard to justify when the new mini I ordered has twice the performance at a fraction of the energy consumption. And I also get deskspace back.
  11. AnalyzeThis macrumors 6502

    Sep 8, 2007
    Could not agree with you more!!!

    I noticed rather peculiar left-over of FW800 on mac-mini. I think Apple hit the right spot for audio folks. MacPro is overkill for this. For the rest who needs CUDA there is MacPro or HackPro (kind of like mini on efficiency, but not "just works" usability).
  12. hugodrax, Oct 29, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2012

    hugodrax macrumors 6502a

    Jul 15, 2007
    And thunderbolt you can now buy the avid thunderbolt interface and run protocols native and hook up all the interfaces without requiring pcie.

    Funny now my mac mini is going to be smaller than my mbox pro2 hardware. :)
  13. propower thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2010
    FW800, USB3, Ethernet (for controllers) and Thunderbolt is a killer combo for just about any pro audio person allowing low end interfaces all the way up to HD|N (TB) and Apollo. I am personally using Metric Halo ULN8 with PT10HD.... load and run sessions from RAM.

    Really, the 2012 Mini is a great pro audio machine!
  14. shinji macrumors 65816


    Mar 18, 2007
    I do mostly Photoshop work, and the Intel 4000 is actually a step backwards looking at benchmarks. I don't know how it affects real world use because I've seen lots of conflicting answers about that.

    Also, I prefer the tower form factor because if a hard drive fails, I just flip the lever on the back, pull out the tray, and screw a new one in. I have all 4 drive carriers full right now. On a Mac Mini, I'd have to buy a bunch of USB3 enclosures or some sort of JBOD system. And if the internal drive fails or you want to replace it, then you have to remove several other components inside to get access to it in what looks like a potentially dangerous process if you break the fan connector.

    The much lower power consumption and the fact it's quieter are two major advantages the mini has. I just wish Apple would have gone with a discreet GPU and made the internal disk(s) easier to access.
  15. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010

    They didn't really redesign the mini, so I'm not surprised. The only bad thing for new buyers is that they should be aware that this is an element which Apple is phasing out. It's somewhat weird seeing the mini as the last thing to retain it.

    I don't see why people would dump working machines for partial sidegrades just because they're smaller. If they own a mac pro, they have a space on the floor allocated for it under their desks. The HD4000 isn't that big of a deal relative to some of the other low end gpus. When you mention photoshop, it doesn't lean on the gpu very hard. It does somewhat, but mainly with screen redrawing, liquify, iris blur, lighting effects, and possibly a couple other things. Screen redraws are OpenGL functions that the HD 4000 should handle fine. There's an immense difference between 2d drawing in photoshop and navigating a scene with potentially millions of polygons. 2d really isn't that demanding. The biggest point of irritation is that some of the slim machines get hot and stutter when they throttle down at times.
  16. propower, Oct 29, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2012

    propower thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2010
    I don't look at 40%+ (edit - should have been 30%) CPU performance increase and 16G of 1600MHz Ram as a sidestep at all. Big upgrade!

    As many professionals will ! The expandability of the MacPro is what has powered professionals, gamers and enthusiasts since the dawn of the computer age. For all the reasons I have already stated though for me, quite ready to move on. And unless one needs tons of active hard drives on a system booting to an external TBolt/FW/USB3 external is no big deal. So if a drive fails (even the internal) one can simply boot the clone and get back to work (5 minutes). Been doing that for a decade with MacPros PowerMacs etc...

    But as always, there are some that need ALL the horsepower, slots, graphics cards, 8 terabytes attached to the internal SATA bus and more of the MP (you know who you are :)... It's just not me anymore!
  17. shinji macrumors 65816


    Mar 18, 2007
    I'm hoping for it to be much more than a sidegrade... In my case, I have a Mac Pro 1,1 with an upgraded GPU (GeForce 8800 GT) and boot drive (Intel 320 SSD). And I can't run Mountain Lion (officially), either, as the 1,1 doesn't have EFI64.

    Anyway, these are the GPU-bound features in Photoshop http://forums.adobe.com/thread/979969 In searching for this, I've seen people complaining about performance and others saying it's no big deal. I do use some of the features mentioned in that link.
  18. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    On sidegrade, I was thinking more along the lines of 4,1 to mini. To be fair, the base model 4,1 was a weak offering at the time it was released. The 3,1 was an enigma, but the 4,1 just really went bare minimum on base hardware in spite of its starting price.

    I missed warp and oil paint. With warp it isn't clear if it's used to boost interactivity with the tool or just rendering the result. Some of those are also restricted to photoshop extended, and some just aren't very good. Photoshop has gone at a snail pace in terms of adding 3d features. CS3 started it. In CS6 we finally have IBL, yet its 32 bit editing tools which would be used in preparing a sphercial hdri image are still lacking. You have to take these things in context. Iris blur is painfully slow if cpu bound, but I've never touched it for anything. Liquify and warp rendering are practically instant if OpenCL can be leveraged.

    Now I don't think this makes the 2011 mini with discrete graphics a valid consideration, because it barely makes the cut. It fits the minimum requirements for some things under CS6. Not everything is supported, and by CS7, it may not make the cut at all. Given the 12-18 month update cycle, which Adobe is really trying to push to a 12 month cycle, this shouldn't be viewed as a valid long term purchase. If you have full photoshop or creative suite licenses, it means at this point they force you to upgrade every version regardless of how crappy it is. It's still cheaper than the rental model, especially if you're upgrading from prior versions rather than buying the full version today. This means even if you stick with an older version, you're buying the next unless you intend to just transition to their annual licensing plan with their next upgrade. I mean I don't see buying the year old revision with fewer cpu cores when the gpu doesn't fix all of your gpu complaints anyway. It was kind of a hack on Apple's part in that they implemented a really weak option there, then this year went back to a theory of integrated is good enough.

    You mean tested and sustainable as opposed to geekbench? Geekbench shows the 2.3 mini at 11645 and that mac pro at 10117 under 64 bit. 32 is a little closer. You'd gain some from the 2.6, but these things tend to taper together during periods where turbo boost is active. It makes it hard to tell how sustained performance compares. I'd like to know how you derived such dramatic performance differences in specifically cpu bound processes. Can you provide any further detail? I'm not sure how you're deriving such large gains in general use unless other simultaneous upgrades supplemented the change. Faster scratch drives, lack of a jumbled/fragmented file system from an aging drive, more ram, or a supported gpu if OpenCL functions were heavily tested would make this seem like a more significant upgrade. I just don't see this from a cpu bound standpoint.

    TLDR I'm not sure how you got such a performance boost, but I'm happy for you.
  19. propower thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2010
    I am probably being a bit over enthusiastic but here is my reasoning...

    I have a MacPro 4,1 2.93 Quad -- 32bit Geek~9000
    The Retina MBP 2.6 GB (same proc and ram) ~ 11,700

    That's a raw 30% improvement (40% was overstated). I also factored that in my application (ProTools pro audio), the faster RAM is significant for Plug in instantiation count. Also, for me I never push my MP past 30% CPU usage now -- no real peak draw-- all steady state load. I am not a gamer so graphics is perfectly fine for what I do. So... in this application I still see the 2.6 mini as a pretty nice step up at a great price point with an attractive feature set and form factor.

    Of course GB is an indication of performance not a measure of it. That's why I buy direct from apple and use the 14 day to test out. FWIW, In 2011 I bought a 11" MBA, traded in for 13" MBA, traded in for a 13" MBP and finally settled on a 15"MBP. Was a little crazy but totally worth it to me. If the mini doesn't make the cut then just keep using the MP :)

    That's a raw 30% improvement (40% was overstated). I also factired that in my application (ProTools pro audio), the faster RAM is significant for Plug in instantiation count. Also, for me I never push my MP past 30% CPU usage now. I am not a gamer so graphics is perfectly fine for what I do. So... in this application I still see the 2.6 mini as a pretty nice step up at a great price point with an attractive feature set and form factor.
  20. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    That's cool. I was going off 64 bit geekbench for both, but they only had numbers posted for the 2.3. I don't take form factor too seriously if I have the space and it won't move around. I hope it works out well.
  21. sean barry macrumors regular

    sean barry

    Oct 3, 2012
    Belding, MI
    Would the base 2012 Mini with lots of RAM be good enough for basic audio projects? PreSonus 22VSL and StudioOne 2 Artist, 2 mics for live recording. And adding a highly processed vocal to things. Reverb, compression, echo, pitch correction, etc. Because I sing like crap :D

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