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Buying Advice: Mac Mini vs. iMac (2012)

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 

Hey guys,

I'm in the market for a new desktop Mac to replace my 2007 24" iMac before the end of the year. I'm a graphic designer using Adobe CS apps and occasionally Final Cut Express and iMovie. I plan to get the Fusion drive regardless of which Mac I buy. Would I be OK with the Mini (maxing out to 16GB RAM)? I could save around $500-$600 vs. the iMac (will need to buy a new monitor).

Any input would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks...

post #2 of 39
Mini:
2.3GHz quad-i7
1TB Fusion ($250)
16GB RAM ($80 - http://www.crucial.com/store/mpartspecs.aspx?mtbpoid=9953A0C6A5CA7304 )

23" IPS - $222 - make sure to get one with a decent brightness and IPS or similar panel:
http://www.amazon.com/Dell-UltraSharp-U2312HM-IPS-Monitor/dp/B005LN1JEC

Keyboard/mouse - ~$100

Total: $799 + $250 + $80 + $222 + $100 = $1451

iMac:
21.5" quad-i5 (slower than the Mini, smaller display, same resolution) or 27" quad-i5 (slower than Mini, bigger display, higher resolution)
1TB Fusion ($250)
16GB RAM ($95 - http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/memory/iMac/2011/DDR3_21.5_27 )

Total:
21.5" = $1299 + $250 + $95 = $1644
27" = $1799 + $250 + $95 = $2144

One thing to consider with the Adobe CS Suite is the GPU. They added CUDA acceleration to some things so the NVidia GPU in the iMacs will help in some cases:

http://www.barefeats.com/aecs6.html

The Intel graphics in the Mini will be fine for the majority of the apps though.
post #3 of 39
Thread Starter 

Really appreciate the analysis!

 

Is it safe to assume that CUDA isn't as crucial in Adobe apps like InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator? Has integrated graphics of the Mac Mini been much of a problem for "standard" usage? 

 

I tend to hang on to my Macs for as long as I can. Any reason to believe the "maxed out" Mini wouldn't be somewhat obsolete-proof?

post #4 of 39

Just received my Mac mini yesterday, but the 16GB RAM is coming in another day or two from a different source.

 

2.6 GHz, 1TB Fusion, 4GB RAM now, 16GB RAM (soon)

 

In easy testing today, it compared favorably to my iMac 27" from last year (3.4GHz, 8GB RAM, SSD+HD).  A basic rendering job took 2min 36sec on the iMac, 2min 40sec on the mini which is not bad at all.I will be doing more intensive testing on it this week and will post here.  So far, it is looking to be a nice little machine.

 

However, I am not looking at it as a primary machine.  Indeed, I access it via screen sharing from the iMac, so there is a screen delay so I can't say anything about the mini's ability to drive a display.  I plan to use it for rendering animation and video; send it a job and wait.

 

In December I will be getting a new iMac 27", so if you aren't in a hurry, I can give you a comparison of the two then.

 

I do some light work with Illustrator/Photoshop but mainly Encore (DVD and BluRay) and other apps for animation creation and audio and video (including FinalCutProX: no more express).


Edited by Bergermeister - 11/26/12 at 5:47am

 

Your = the possessive of you, as in, "Your name is Tom, right?" or "What is your name?"

 

You're = a contraction of YOU + ARE as in, "You are right" --> "You're right."

 

 

Reply

 

Your = the possessive of you, as in, "Your name is Tom, right?" or "What is your name?"

 

You're = a contraction of YOU + ARE as in, "You are right" --> "You're right."

 

 

Reply
post #5 of 39
Thread Starter 

Really appreciate your hands-on knowledge! Glad to hear the speed is good.

 

From what you've done so far, do you feel it COULD be a capable primary machine? Like I said, I really don't do a lot of video editing -- mainly print/web design.

 

Saving $500-$700 is a big deal for me, but if buying a 27" iMac means I would have a more capable machine in the long-run, I'd definitely consider it...

post #6 of 39

A comment on displays:

 

Last year I went from a MacPro (old) with a 23" display up to an iMac with a 27" display and will never go back.  The added real estate is very helpful.  I can leave tool menus open all over the place (organized of course with the app) and still have plenty of space to work.  I can have an A3 sheet in front of me (I often print this size) so I don't  have to print a copy to see it real size.  Even with an A3 sheet on screen, there is room for tools and such.

 

If you have a shop nearby where you can see the iMacs (they would likely be the current ones as the new ones haven't come out), do.  You can compare the screen size running different apps.

 

Your = the possessive of you, as in, "Your name is Tom, right?" or "What is your name?"

 

You're = a contraction of YOU + ARE as in, "You are right" --> "You're right."

 

 

Reply

 

Your = the possessive of you, as in, "Your name is Tom, right?" or "What is your name?"

 

You're = a contraction of YOU + ARE as in, "You are right" --> "You're right."

 

 

Reply
post #7 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nedrick 
Is it safe to assume that CUDA isn't as crucial in Adobe apps like InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator?

Yes. They use OpenCL more, which is supported by Intel's IGP and the CPU:

http://forums.adobe.com/thread/979969?start=0&tstart=0

I expect Adobe will transition everything to OpenCL eventually.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nedrick 
Has integrated graphics of the Mac Mini been much of a problem for "standard" usage?

They would typically lack some hardware features that would have to be done on the CPU. The GMA 950 wasn't too good but the HD3000/4000 are ok.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nedrick 
I tend to hang on to my Macs for as long as I can. Any reason to believe the "maxed out" Mini wouldn't be somewhat obsolete-proof?

It should hold up well for what you are using it for.
post #8 of 39
Thread Starter 

I've been trying to find that perfect combination of economy and performance while shopping for displays. Looks like IPS is the way to go and would love to find one with 1920x1200 (like my current 24" iMac) -- esp. since I value vertical screen space a lot. If I can find a 27" that fits this bill, will probably try that.

It's too bad my 2007 iMac couldn't serve as a display... 1hmm.gif

post #9 of 39
Thread Starter 

Thanks Marvin for sharing your knowledge!

post #10 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nedrick View Post

I've been trying to find that perfect combination of economy and performance while shopping for displays. Looks like IPS is the way to go and would love to find one with 1920x1200 (like my current 24" iMac) -- esp. since I value vertical screen space a lot. If I can find a 27" that fits this bill, will probably try that.
It's too bad my 2007 iMac couldn't serve as a display... 1hmm.gif

Here's a 24" 1920 x 1200 IPS:

http://www.amazon.com/Dell-UltraSharp-U2412M-LED-Monitor/dp/B005JN9310

The 27" displays give you a lot of space but the price shoots up quite a bit for the higher resolution ones. There is a 1080p 27" IPS that is quite affordable:

http://www.amazon.com/Dell-927M9-IPS-LED-27-Inch-LED-lit-Monitor/dp/B009H0XQPA/
post #11 of 39
Thread Starter 

I've been pointed to that 24" Dell a lot. Is the orientation-switching effective with a Mac? (I noticed you can switch in Preferences, but then mousing turns sideways too).

post #12 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nedrick View Post

I've been pointed to that 24" Dell a lot. Is the orientation-switching effective with a Mac? (I noticed you can switch in Preferences, but then mousing turns sideways too).

Once you hit rotate, you would then turn the display before the timeout and click verify. You can also tilt your head to the side to verify before turning the monitor. It would be great if it worked like an iPad - even if the display disconnected and reconnected but identified itself as a 1200 x 1920 display. It's not something you'd want to do often, you'd work in one mode or the other. Some people buy two and have them setup with one portrait, the other landscape - the Mini supports two displays, one over HDMI and the other over Thunderbolt.
post #13 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


27" = $1799 + $250 + $95 = $2144
One thing to consider with the Adobe CS Suite is the GPU. They added CUDA acceleration to some things so the NVidia GPU in the iMacs will help in some cases:
http://www.barefeats.com/aecs6.html
The Intel graphics in the Mini will be fine for the majority of the apps though.

OpenCL and CUDA both had their limitations last time I checked. I haven't read up on the most recent data, but there are a lot of things that couldn't be duplicated as of OpenCL 1.1. I'm interested in how gpu processing standards will progress. If Apple does anything with the mac pro, they'll have to consider such things. I don't think any company would greatly redesign a workstation today without considering the future of GPGPU, especially if they intend to propagate the same case design over a number of cycles. Right now that looks like the largest growth potential for workstations. I've mentioned this before, but sometimes 25% faster isn't that big a deal, even in professional use. It can be a case of yes your work is done faster, but 10x faster enables new growth in software and totally different workflows. When it comes to being able to move things to real time that couldn't function that way before, that drives sales. Your raytraced Wolfenstein link comes to mind.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


Yes. They use OpenCL more, which is supported by Intel's IGP and the CPU:
http://forums.adobe.com/thread/979969?start=0&tstart=0
I expect Adobe will transition everything to OpenCL eventually.
They would typically lack some hardware features that would have to be done on the CPU. The GMA 950 wasn't too good but the HD3000/4000 are ok.
It should hold up well for what you are using it for.

I can think of a couple OpenCL applications that still recommend NVidia gpus, although they're mostly Windows based. It might have something to do with AMD's workstation drivers. There's still an immense amount of room for improvement in OpenCL.

post #14 of 39
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the tip Marvin. HDMI brings up another question... I've seen varying points about using HDMI for display output. Thoughts on that vs. display port/thunderbolt?

post #15 of 39

The primary future proofing element is likely RAM.  32GB max in the 27" iMac vs 16GB in the mini.

 

Personally I'd skip fusion.  If you're holding to the old rule of thumb where your scratch file is 100 x largest image file x number of files you like to keep open some of it will likely get stuck on the 5200 RPM HDD slowing you down.

 

I'd rather spend that $250 on an internal 256GB SSD and whatever you save from doing the mini vs the iMac on the $179 LaCie TB to eSATA bridge + existing external array or get the $570 Lacie 4TB 2Big for ~350 MB/s sequential reads and ~200 MB/s sequential writes in RAID 0 (+ $50 for TB cables). 

 

http://www.anandtech.com/show/5577/lacie-2big-thunderbolt-series-review

 

For comparison purposes the Crucial M4 runs between 250MB/sec to 500MB/sec read and 200 MB/sec writes.

 

http://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/crucial_m4_128gb_ssd_review,11.html 

 

Now random reads you're going to get clobbered (as seen in the LaCie Little Big Disk 420GB SSD speeds) and RAID 0 is kinda risky for anything but a scratch disk.

post #16 of 39

Bergermeister,

 

I am curious, did you get your iMac 27" yet?  Do you think the new Mac Mini holds its own against it?

 

-IP

post #17 of 39

Still waiting for the iMac.  The shop I ordered at did say January, so I can just sit here and wait.

 

Lots of people who ordered early are getting theirs so I am somewhat hopeful it will come soon.

 

Your = the possessive of you, as in, "Your name is Tom, right?" or "What is your name?"

 

You're = a contraction of YOU + ARE as in, "You are right" --> "You're right."

 

 

Reply

 

Your = the possessive of you, as in, "Your name is Tom, right?" or "What is your name?"

 

You're = a contraction of YOU + ARE as in, "You are right" --> "You're right."

 

 

Reply
post #18 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


Here's a 24" 1920 x 1200 IPS:
http://www.amazon.com/Dell-UltraSharp-U2412M-LED-Monitor/dp/B005JN9310
The 27" displays give you a lot of space but the price shoots up quite a bit for the higher resolution ones. There is a 1080p 27" IPS that is quite affordable:
http://www.amazon.com/Dell-927M9-IPS-LED-27-Inch-LED-lit-Monitor/dp/B009H0XQPA/

Hmm.  Tasty spec for tasty price.

 

Have to question why Apple aren't offering a 24 incher in the iMac range...  *thinks back only a few mere years.

 

...I was always hoping Apple would offer 'rotate' design on the iMac.  (So you could iPad your iMac orientation in effect...)

 

For scanning in A3 comic art, a rotated screen would be great...

 

Lemon Bon Bon.

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply
post #19 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

The primary future proofing element is likely RAM.  32GB max in the 27" iMac vs 16GB in the mini.

 

Personally I'd skip fusion.  If you're holding to the old rule of thumb where your scratch file is 100 x largest image file x number of files you like to keep open some of it will likely get stuck on the 5200 RPM HDD slowing you down.

 

I'd rather spend that $250 on an internal 256GB SSD and whatever you save from doing the mini vs the iMac on the $179 LaCie TB to eSATA bridge + existing external array or get the $570 Lacie 4TB 2Big for ~350 MB/s sequential reads and ~200 MB/s sequential writes in RAID 0 (+ $50 for TB cables). 

 

http://www.anandtech.com/show/5577/lacie-2big-thunderbolt-series-review

 

For comparison purposes the Crucial M4 runs between 250MB/sec to 500MB/sec read and 200 MB/sec writes.

 

http://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/crucial_m4_128gb_ssd_review,11.html 

 

Now random reads you're going to get clobbered (as seen in the LaCie Little Big Disk 420GB SSD speeds) and RAID 0 is kinda risky for anything but a scratch disk.

 

I'm still of the opinion Apple should have kept iMac prices the same and bundled a 256 gig SSD with them.  TB platter HD drives can be had for very little money now.  I think Apple's nickle and diming us on margins there with Fusion.  That's very perogative.  (I'd call it greedy from my consumer point of view.)

 

256 gig SSD drives can be hard for over or under a £100 now.  For a big company like Apple, I can't see how this was a problem.

 

ie it would have been cheaper for them to include a 256 gig SSD (shouldn't the price rise of the iMac!!! and the dropping of the '£65' 'Super' drive facilitated that inclusion?) and option me a platter 1TB HD for £55+ than for me to do it.

 

Unimpressed with Apple's recent price hikes and money grabbing on the Fusion and Memory (again...)

 

I went for Fusion (doesn't it have 6 gig buffer to stop any bottle necks between the SSD and 7200rpm drive?  For my purposes it should be fine.)  At the rate SSD drives are going I should be able to get a nice 512 gig SSD external for a couple of hundred in the next half a year.  I may even plop for OCZ vertex 4 256 gig SSD in the meantime...  (Wonder how much they'll be in the Jan' sales...)

 

Lemon Bon Bon.

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply
post #20 of 39

I'm still in processing.  I'm guessing 1st week or so in January.

 

Lemon Bon Bon.

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply
post #21 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bergermeister View Post

Still waiting for the iMac.  The shop I ordered at did say January, so I can just sit here and wait.

 

Lots of people who ordered early are getting theirs so I am somewhat hopeful it will come soon.

 

 

Still waiting...  The shop yesterday said there was still no change in the order status, so it will now certainly be January.  Oh, well, so much for getting my hopes up!  

 

Meanwhile, the mini is pulling its weight very well.

 

Your = the possessive of you, as in, "Your name is Tom, right?" or "What is your name?"

 

You're = a contraction of YOU + ARE as in, "You are right" --> "You're right."

 

 

Reply

 

Your = the possessive of you, as in, "Your name is Tom, right?" or "What is your name?"

 

You're = a contraction of YOU + ARE as in, "You are right" --> "You're right."

 

 

Reply
post #22 of 39
Thread Starter 

Bergermeister...

I noticed you do a little Adobe CS work with your Mini. Are you using CS6? Do you feel the graphics processor is capable enough? Thanks!

post #23 of 39

I don't have the mini attached to a display, so I don't know about the graphics capabilities.  It's a rendering and burning machine.

 

It is accessed wirelessly from an iMac using screen share.  I send files over, open them up and set it to render, then bring the results back over.  CS6 is on the iMac; Encore outputs to the iMac and then I move the disc image over for burning.

 

That's my workflow right now. 

 

Your = the possessive of you, as in, "Your name is Tom, right?" or "What is your name?"

 

You're = a contraction of YOU + ARE as in, "You are right" --> "You're right."

 

 

Reply

 

Your = the possessive of you, as in, "Your name is Tom, right?" or "What is your name?"

 

You're = a contraction of YOU + ARE as in, "You are right" --> "You're right."

 

 

Reply
post #24 of 39

Still waiting for my new iMac.  Dropped by the shop this morning and they said that Apple Japan is on holiday until the 7th (New Year's is a pretty important holiday here) so there will be no action on BTO units until after the weekend.

 

Most people in Japan though went back to work today, Friday the 4th.

 

Your = the possessive of you, as in, "Your name is Tom, right?" or "What is your name?"

 

You're = a contraction of YOU + ARE as in, "You are right" --> "You're right."

 

 

Reply

 

Your = the possessive of you, as in, "Your name is Tom, right?" or "What is your name?"

 

You're = a contraction of YOU + ARE as in, "You are right" --> "You're right."

 

 

Reply
post #25 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nedrick View Post

Bergermeister...

I noticed you do a little Adobe CS work with your Mini. Are you using CS6? Do you feel the graphics processor is capable enough? Thanks!

 

My old PPC Mac was a decent Photoshop machine.  

 

I'm sure the Fusion powred Mini with plenty of ram will be a very decent Photoshop machine.  It should fly.

 

If in doubt...wait for the gpu oompth of Haswell.

 

Or just buy the low end iMac with Fusion and you get a discrete gpu.

 

My top end iMac is being processing.

 

Lemon Bon Bon.

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply
post #26 of 39

I am also considering buying a mini instead of the iMac.   One thing I would like to do is to buy two monitors for the mini.  Any advice on what to get?  

post #27 of 39
Originally Posted by amg1 View Post
One thing I would like to do is to buy two monitors for the mini.  Any advice on what to get?  

 

Anything, really. The quality of monitor you need depends on the work that you do.

post #28 of 39

I would love to here about your comparison and how it all worked out!

 

I'm about to purchase the Mac mini for Purely graphics work as a primary machine.

 

Yea the New mini hase the new i7 processor and the thunderbolt so I think this would help.

 

My primary concern is the Graphics card..

post #29 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rispent View Post

I would love to here about your comparison and how it all worked out!

 

I'm about to purchase the Mac mini for Purely graphics work as a primary machine.

 

Yea the New mini hase the new i7 processor and the thunderbolt so I think this would help.

 

My primary concern is the Graphics card..

I got the new 2012 mac mini with CS5 suite installed, no problems at all.  Works great, and its nice having dual matching monitors. 

iMac 2007, Macbook pro 2008, Mac Mini 2011
Reply
iMac 2007, Macbook pro 2008, Mac Mini 2011
Reply
post #30 of 39

Finally got my iMac after a very long wait.  Should be able to get some testing done over the next couple of days.

 

Your = the possessive of you, as in, "Your name is Tom, right?" or "What is your name?"

 

You're = a contraction of YOU + ARE as in, "You are right" --> "You're right."

 

 

Reply

 

Your = the possessive of you, as in, "Your name is Tom, right?" or "What is your name?"

 

You're = a contraction of YOU + ARE as in, "You are right" --> "You're right."

 

 

Reply
post #31 of 39

Been following this string and looking forward to the comparison.  Just bought a loaded mini and have a Thunderbolt 27 to go with it. I was wondering if the graphic chip variance between the MINI and IMAC will make much of a significant difference with Photoshop use and any other apps...

post #32 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nedrick View Post

Really appreciate your hands-on knowledge! Glad to hear the speed is good.

 

From what you've done so far, do you feel it COULD be a capable primary machine? Like I said, I really don't do a lot of video editing -- mainly print/web design.

 

Saving $500-$700 is a big deal for me, but if buying a 27" iMac means I would have a more capable machine in the long-run, I'd definitely consider it...


Bought the iMac 27, hopefully, I won't have to buy a new computer for a very long time. Upgrading from 2004 Dell PC LOL!!!
post #33 of 39
Thread Starter 

I'm back! I'm finally ready to pull the trigger. There are some good deals on Apple's refurb store -- esp. the 2.3 i7 (1TB Fusion) Mac Mini at $900. I could find a quality 24" monitor for around $300, add some RAM and have a nice new Mac/monitor for around $1,300. 

Given that I use Adobe CS5 apps on a regular basis, do you think I'd be on the right track with this system? Thanks!

post #34 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nedrick View Post

I'm back! I'm finally ready to pull the trigger. There are some good deals on Apple's refurb store -- esp. the 2.3 i7 (1TB Fusion) Mac Mini at $900. I could find a quality 24" monitor for around $300, add some RAM and have a nice new Mac/monitor for around $1,300. 

Given that I use Adobe CS5 apps on a regular basis, do you think I'd be on the right track with this system? Thanks!

Sounds good to me, I use CS5 too, but on an i5 really have no problems.  I say go for dual monitors too.   And if you ever notice the system slowing, just open the terminal and type "purge" frees up ram when you're working on heavy projects.  Good luck man! 

iMac 2007, Macbook pro 2008, Mac Mini 2011
Reply
iMac 2007, Macbook pro 2008, Mac Mini 2011
Reply
post #35 of 39
Thread Starter 

You think the Mini has enough graphics power? I'm afraid of running into the lag I already deal with on my 2007 iMac.

post #36 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nedrick View Post

You think the Mini has enough graphics power? I'm afraid of running into the lag I already deal with on my 2007 iMac.

What do graphics have to do with any of the software you listed? Indesign doesn't really use it. Illustrator doesn't really use it. Photoshop only cares how much memory you have. If you look up gpu benchmarks on something like barefeats, you'll notice that they basically drag race it. When was the last time your work was slowed down by liquify or iris blur rendering time. If never, don't worry about it. Just load up with ram either way.

post #37 of 39
Thread Starter 

Hmm... mostly InDesign, basic Photoshop work and occasional Illustrator with a sprinkling of Dreamweaver and rarely iMovie or Final Cut Express.

 

I feel much more confident moving forward with the Mini -- thanks everyone!

post #38 of 39
I have been following this string, and I think that for basic photoshop, the mini will be ok. Video editing would be limited, but you indicated that you only do a little of this. As far as monitors, I suggest you that a look at monoprice.com. They sell a 27" IPS monitor that uses same led panel as Apple, that outputs same resolution, at about half the price of Apple's 27"monitor. It uses display port, and they sell the mini Displayport to display port adapters too. (If you use HDMI, you are limited to 1080 resolution)
post #39 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by kroginold View Post

I have been following this string, and I think that for basic photoshop, the mini will be ok. Video editing would be limited, but you indicated that you only do a little of this. As far as monitors, I suggest you that a look at monoprice.com. They sell a 27" IPS monitor that uses same led panel as Apple, that outputs same resolution, at about half the price of Apple's 27"monitor. It uses display port, and they sell the mini Displayport to display port adapters too. (If you use HDMI, you are limited to 1080 resolution)


He mentioned final cut pro express which doesn't use it. If he said Premiere, that uses the gpu for playback and possibly a couple other things assuming CUDA support and adequate video memory. Adobe gives a list of certified gpus here. Those are specifically for Premiere. FCPX seems to make limited use of it. Final Cut Express was the old one, which I thought wasn't supported under Mountain Lion. I could be wrong. GPGPU has been hyped for years, and it can really speed specific things up where it's fully implemented. It's just not much of a consideration unless the software in question makes significant use of it, which isn't really the case with the OP's apps. There are various good displays. With the OP's use, I wouldn't suggest a shiny thunderbolt display. Reflections are too distracting. The new imac screen treatments are supposed to be significantly better in terms of reflectivity, but there are plenty of other equivalent or better displays out there. As for photoshop, there are very few use cases where you really couldn't use a Mini. Most people seem to regard some of the newer dslr files in the 30MP range as being heavy, yet that is really nothing. Quad core cpu + lots of ram and you're basically fine even with dozens of layers. If you're getting lagged by too many thumbnails and long history states, that won't really be solved by a more powerful gpu.

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