Mini Wisdom

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
I need a little advice on the nifty but much-neglected Mac mini.



My organization is largely a PC-based outfit. We have a smattering of Macs across various departments, but I have managed to convince the powers-that-be to add Macs exclusively in our division. For those needing Windows, we will run Boot Camp.



Here's the deal. Our advertising people are drawn to the 24" iMac, but they have found that its ultra-bright glossy screen?even at the lowest setting?simply isn't trustworthy for important print jobs. We don't have enough cash to outfit the entire team with Mac Pros, so we are looking at a combination of Apple products, including the mini.



Here's my question. Will the mini run non-video programs in Adobe CS3 with ease?or will we need more horsepower? I'm talking about InDesign and Photoshop CS3 in particular. We expect to own these machines for 4 to 5 years, and we obviously will not be running Final Cut, Premiere, or After Effects on them.



I post this in the "Future Hardware" category because we are willing to wait a bit for an upgraded mini, particularly if the current iteration doesn't have the horsepower to do what we need it to do. I'm assuming that the mini works reasonably well with DV video in iMovie.



I have read elsewhere that the mini could be updated tomorrow, in November, or ... never.



Any advice would be much appreciated.
«1345

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 98
    The Low base ram 1gb - 64+ meg for video is bad for that kind of work and the slow HD is not that good for video work. And they max out at 2gb stock from apple owc has 4gb kits but $599 + $100 for max ram = $699 add $200 more to get a bigger hd and a DVDWR at $799.00 + $100 for ram = $899 for a 2.0GHz + a 120gb laptop hd + POS gma 950 video is a real bad system.



    http://eshop.macsales.com/Customized..._intelmem.html



    The open mac may be a good thing to get.
  • Reply 2 of 98
    sybariticsybaritic Posts: 340member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Joe_the_dragon View Post


    The open mac may be a good thing to get.



    Thanks for the analysis. We're back into the realm of the mid-range tower. Despite the beauty of the operating system, Apple doesn't always make things easy on the hardware end.
  • Reply 3 of 98
    sybariticsybaritic Posts: 340member
    Another option is to beef up the mini with a 7200 RPM hard drive from OWC. The mini can also address up to 3GB of RAM.
  • Reply 4 of 98
    backtomacbacktomac Posts: 4,579member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Sybaritic View Post


    ...

    Here's my question. Will the mini run non-video programs in Adobe CS3 with ease....



    Sure. According to this guy. My brother in law also runs PS on a first gen MB with a Core Duo. He says it works fine.



    I would take JTD's advice with a grain of salt. His disdain for Intel chips in general and Intel integrated graphics is pretty legendary.
  • Reply 5 of 98
    vineavinea Posts: 5,585member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Joe_the_dragon View Post


    The Low base ram 1gb - 64+ meg for video is bad for that kind of work and the slow HD is not that good for video work.



    The Mini and MacBook are fine for CS3 from all reports. Max your ram for $100 and you're probably okay despite the slower and smaller drive. The updated mini, if and when it happens, will obviously be better.



    My recommendation is to get one 20" iMac and see if it calibrates well on a second monitor. There was someone here that had some issues with that but it could have just been her machine or her monitor. If so, that's a possible option over the current Mini or the current 24".



    There are also 24" 2.16Ghz C2D White iMacs on the refurb site for $1,199.00.



    http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPL...nplm=FA456LL/A



    For around $3100 you can get 1 mini, 1 20" iMac and 1 24" iMac White for testing to see what product mix suits you best.



    Use an existing monitor and see if the iMac 20" calibrates well for you and if the Mini is good enough. I guess you need to get one copy of all the software you want to run too.



    Worst case scenario? You end up with a white 24" iMac on your desk and you stay with PCs. Oh, and don't buy any ACDs until the refresh them...there are as good or better monitors for less.
  • Reply 6 of 98
    vineavinea Posts: 5,585member
    Oh...and OpenMac is a really bad idea.
  • Reply 7 of 98
    sybariticsybaritic Posts: 340member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by vinea View Post


    There are also 24" 2.16Ghz C2D White iMacs on the refurb site for $1,199.00.



    This is a great idea and it's something that we will seriously consider. I've read that this particular iteration has some trouble with Leopard, but the screen is sound for graphic design work, the hard drive runs at 7200 RPM, and the CPU is still pretty nimble. In some sense it's a shame that two-year-old hardware like this is comparable with the current mini, but there you have it.



    Thanks for your help.
  • Reply 8 of 98
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Joe_the_dragon View Post


    The open mac may be a good thing to get.



    Absolutely the worst Idea I've heard all day!



    for SO many reasons it doesn't even bear time to bother typing them all.
  • Reply 9 of 98
    mimacmimac Posts: 872member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Sybaritic View Post


    This is a great idea and it's something that we will seriously consider. I've read that this particular iteration has some trouble with Leopard, but the screen is sound for graphic design work, the hard drive runs at 7200 RPM, and the CPU is still pretty nimble. In some sense it's a shame that two-year-old hardware like this is comparable with the current mini, but there you have it..



    Those iMacs were (and in some cases still are) great machines and still sought after for just the type of work you intend doing. Hopefully the Mini will see a significant upgrade sooner rather than later.



    Apple, get rid of those damn, cheap ass, glossy screens already! (or at least give the consumer a choice). BTO is the way to go!
  • Reply 10 of 98
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by vinea View Post


    The Mini and MacBook are fine for CS3 from all reports. Max your ram for $100 and you're probably okay despite the slower and smaller drive. The updated mini, if and when it happens, will obviously be better.



    But in 4 to 5 years the mini with no way to upgrade the cpu or the video will not look to hot also some people have said that the mini has issues with over heating. Also in 4 to 5 year only maxing out at 3gb chip set max / 4gb - 64 mb + for on board video of ram may be to low. Also the mini is 330 days old and the last update was just a faster cpu drop in.



    From a hardware stand point you can get / built a much better pc for just about the same price.
  • Reply 11 of 98
    backtomacbacktomac Posts: 4,579member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Joe_the_dragon View Post


    But in 4 to 5 years the mini with no way to upgrade the cpu or the video will not look to hot also some people have said that the mini has issues with over heating. Also in 4 to 5 year only maxing out at 3gb chip set max / 4gb - 64 mb + for on board video of ram may be to low. Also the mini is 330 days old and the last update was just a faster cpu drop in.



    From a hardware stand point you can get / built a much better pc for just about the same price.



    Most businesses would be happy if their HW were to last 4-5 years. That's fine for *most* businesses.



    A new mini with an updated cpu, better integrated graphics and the ability to address 4 gbs of RAM would be better. No doubt. In fact it's probably worth waiting for except that there's no way in knowing when such an update will occur.
  • Reply 12 of 98
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 2,336member
    Sybaritic, according to your post count you're no stranger to the Mac. So as you already know, Apple has a GAPING HOLE in their product line and they don't seem interested in filling it. Many of us mac users were hollering for something more than a macmini and less than a macpro for at-least two years, and Apple hasn't done a thing.



    That's why you'll see some people recommending all sorts of sorry-ass solutions, but the reality is there is no real solution. Hackintosh is not a feasible solution, Apple may block it any time.



    As for our company we are sticking with XP for as much as we can till Apple provides a real solution or we eventually become Windows only.
  • Reply 13 of 98
    sybariticsybaritic Posts: 340member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post


    Sybaritic, according to your post count you're no stranger to the Mac. So as you already know, Apple has a GAPING HOLE in their product line and they don't seem interested in filling it. Many of us mac users were hollering for something more than a macmini and less than a macpro for at-least two years, and Apple hasn't done a thing.



    That's why you'll see some people recommending all sorts of sorry-ass solutions, but the reality is there is no real solution. Hackintosh is not a feasible solution, Apple may block it any time.



    As for our company we are sticking with XP for as much as we can till Apple provides a real solution or we eventually become Windows only.



    I understand exactly what you mean about the gaping hole in the Mac product lineup. I also see that Windows is a viable solution for your group. Unfortunately, the Sony VAIOs and Gateways that I have worked with over the last five to six years have been prone to problems. At this point, there seems to be no ideal solution, at least within the scope of my team's budget.



    I hope that July is the lucky month for upgrades.



    Thanks for your input.
  • Reply 14 of 98
    sybariticsybaritic Posts: 340member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MiMac View Post


    Apple, get rid of those damn, cheap ass, glossy screens already! (or at least give the consumer a choice). BTO is the way to go!



    Right on. I actually love the glossy for web browsing and general viewing but I find it to be frustrating for serious color work. Some people claim that they have no problem with print output when using the current iMacs, but that has not been our experience.
  • Reply 15 of 98
    vineavinea Posts: 5,585member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Joe_the_dragon View Post


    But in 4 to 5 years the mini with no way to upgrade the cpu or the video will not look to hot also some people have said that the mini has issues with over heating. Also in 4 to 5 year only maxing out at 3gb chip set max / 4gb - 64 mb + for on board video of ram may be to low. Also the mini is 330 days old and the last update was just a faster cpu drop in.



    Given that "hello world" apps take 65MB to run (mild exaggeration) I don't know why you keep harping on that out of a 3GB limit. OMG I just lost a staggering 2% of my available RAM. Stop playing iTunes on your mini while you work and use your iPod, mkay?



    In 4-5 years, yes, the GMA 950 will look bad and likely not run CS 5. This is assuming that Adobe actually starts using the GPU for something in PS. Of course, this is no different than any circa-2003 machine today except that you get the dubious option of running CS3 sloooowly on your 3.0Ghz Northwood P4 in comparison to modern a 3.0Ghz Conroe.



    Mmm...I'd say that one could make a good case for machine replacement cycles of LESS than 4-5 years for production staff.



    Given that the GMA950 is pretty lame, I WOULD wait for a refresh. Just in case CS4 sucks on it. Even a bump to the 3000 would be worth while.



    Quote:

    From a hardware stand point you can get / built a much better pc for just about the same price.



    The Mac Pro represents good hardware value. The mini, not so much. However, you need to measure the TCO and what moving to OSX means in overall productivity...not just pure hardware costs.



    Presumably, there's a good reason to move to OSX so the question before us is if the mini can be used to stretch their budget a bit. The answer is "kinda".



    With the current mini, you're good with CS3 with the understanding that because it DOES need a refresh it has limited legs. If you can live with CS3 for your entire hardware replacement lifecycle then it might be good enough since there are iMacs and Mac Pros in the studio mix.



    The cost of the mini is secondary to the cost of a good monitor anyway. Replace them first in your hardware recycle in 3 years. Shift the 2008 Mac Pros and iMacs down the food chain.
  • Reply 16 of 98
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Sybaritic View Post


    I need a little advice on the nifty but much-neglected Mac mini.



    Neglected? Maybe somewhat but I do have to wonder what people expect out of a low end machine like the Mini.

    Quote:

    My organization is largely a PC-based outfit. We have a smattering of Macs across various departments, but I have managed to convince the powers-that-be to add Macs exclusively in our division. For those needing Windows, we will run Boot Camp.



    I'm not sure boot camp is the way to go, to much rebooting for my tastes. Besides it makes it to easy for people to not transition to the Mac OS. One of the best reasons to go the Mac route is the OS and if you provide a path that keeps people out of the that environment you will never transition 100%.



    You would likely be better off simply running the Windows apps in a virtual machine when they are needed.

    Quote:



    Here's the deal. Our advertising people are drawn to the 24" iMac, but they have found that its ultra-bright glossy screen?even at the lowest setting?simply isn't trustworthy for important print jobs. We don't have enough cash to outfit the entire team with Mac Pros, so we are looking at a combination of Apple products, including the mini.



    This is a tough one, I really don't know why Apple hasn't been more responsive to the needs fo professionals with respect to the iMacs screens. Obviously what you want to do is to buy as many Mac Pros as you can will the minimal being what is required to get the core work out. In any event for those people that don't need a workstation class screen you should really look at Mac Book Pros. Mainly due to the choice of screens.

    Quote:



    Here's my question. Will the mini run non-video programs in Adobe CS3 with ease?or will we need more horsepower? I'm talking about InDesign and Photoshop CS3 in particular.



    That depends. That is not a cop out answer either but there are many parameters here to consider. Frankly though I don't see a Mac Mini as being a professional class machine. Especially in an advertising department where you don't want to be slowing people down. Even for a clerk or secretary you would be better off with an iMac in my opinion.



    This isn't always an issue of performance either. If the department is exposed to the various customers they support you don't want to send the wrong message with hardware like the mini.

    Quote:

    We expect to own these machines for 4 to 5 years, and we obviously will not be running Final Cut, Premiere, or After Effects on them.



    See right there you just blow the mini out of the water with the above statements. The mini just isn't the platform to install if you expect it to be viable 5 years down the road. It really doesn't matter what software you think you will be running on it today. In any event, if you ask me, Apple has a big whole in their product line up. You either have to go with extremes in desktop performance or go with any number of their laptops.



    AS to the future the good thing here is that Apple has pretty much said that the current OS sucks performance wise and that they want to fix that. So maybe the need for performance increases in hardware will easy up a bit. Still 5 years from now I can't see the Mini being all that great of a platform. Even today it is getting to the point where it is a seriously bad buy. Err scratch that is is a bad buy, a raw deal if you will.

    Quote:



    I post this in the "Future Hardware" category because we are willing to wait a bit for an upgraded mini, particularly if the current iteration doesn't have the horsepower to do what we need it to do. I'm assuming that the mini works reasonably well with DV video in iMovie.



    We have no idea what Apple will be doing with the current Mini. There are a number of possibilities and some of them might not be all that great performance wise. In any event if you can wait then you really don't need the hardware. You would be better off slowing your hardware transition so that you can afford Mac Pros at all workstations that can make use of them. If the users and management see real value in the new hardware you will get more money to move faster along. If it was me I'd go the Mac Pro route where the performance is needed and go the iMac or Mac Book Pro route at the lesser stations.

    Quote:



    I have read elsewhere that the mini could be updated tomorrow, in November, or ... never.



    There are a huge number of possibilities here. I actually see Apple expanding their hardware line up so that we have more that just the Mini to shore up the less that Pro desktops.

    Quote:



    Any advice would be much appreciated.



    I'd simply buy Mac Pros at the rate that you can afford and place an iMac or Mac Book Pro at the workstations with lesser demands. If you have to stretch out the transition a year.



    DAVe
  • Reply 17 of 98
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by backtomac View Post


    Sure. According to this guy. My brother in law also runs PS on a first gen MB with a Core Duo. He says it works fine.



    What any one person says doesn't really mean squat. There are a huge number of variables with respect to what is acceptable to anyone person. The big question is what will PS performance be in a years time when it is 64 bit, demands, more memory and offers up new must have features. Not to be mentioned here are things like HDR and new 25+ Mega Pixel files coming right out of the camera. For a business, right now the Mini is simply the wrong machine on a number of levels.

    Quote:



    I would take JTD's advice with a grain of salt. His disdain for Intel chips in general and Intel integrated graphics is pretty legendary.



    JTD did an excellent job of getting some valuable points across. Especially things directly related to how well the Mini will perform in this sort of application. To dismiss them without valid and useful counter information is not very helpful. Of course it is hard to argue with the facts.



    In any event I just can't see any rational sound argument for putting a Mini into a corporate environment. Not to rehash all the correct observations but it is simply to far behind revision wise to justify its current price. Another thing to consider is that it is a far less than ideal package to have on the desktop from the system maintenance stand point.





    Dave
  • Reply 18 of 98
    backtomacbacktomac Posts: 4,579member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    What any one person says doesn't really mean squat.



    Did you read the thread? Others corroborated Messiah's opinion that CS3 runs fine on the current mini. As well, I mentioned that my brother in law runs PS on his Macbook with a CORE DUO and integrated graphics. This is his 'work' machine provided by his employer. He gets along just fine.



    Oh, and what makes JTD's singular opinion more valuable than Messiah's? Does JTD even use CS3?



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    JTD did an excellent job of getting some valuable points across. Especially things directly related to how well the Mini will perform in this sort of application. To dismiss them without valid and useful counter information is not very helpful. Of course it is hard to argue with the facts.



    In any event I just can't see any rational sound argument for putting a Mini into a corporate environment. Not to rehash all the correct observations but it is simply to far behind revision wise to justify its current price. Another thing to consider is that it is a far less than ideal package to have on the desktop from the system maintenance stand point.

    Dave



    What valuable points did JTD bring to the table? Slow HDD? Integrated graphics? Again there are others who use CS3 daily who find that the mini gets the job done despite it's limitations.



    I'm not going to argue that it's the best machine for the job. And a product refresh would do a lot to enhance it's appeal. But from what I've seen and read it can get the job done.



    Hell, I'm sure there are plenty of windows users running the windows version of CS3 on P4 boxes. I'm sure the mini compares quite favorably to such a machine.
  • Reply 19 of 98
    backtomacbacktomac Posts: 4,579member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post




    In any event I just can't see any rational sound argument for putting a Mini into a corporate environment.



    Dave



    Absolutely ridiculous statement. The mini is fine for *most* corporate environments. Only those that *require* a video card in their machine would find the performance of the mini unacceptable. It's small form factor is appealing for some users.



    While the iMac is a better value, some have a dislike of all in one machines.( FWIW, I'm not one of those people). If users prefer a machine without an integrated display the mini is a fine machine and substantially less expensive than the Mac Pro.
  • Reply 20 of 98
    hudson1hudson1 Posts: 800member
    When I read the original post, the comment that jumped straight out was the expected lifespan of the computer. In this day and age, if you truly expect to be running professional grade software on a given machine for four or five years, then you really should be strongly considering professional grade hardware. In an evolving computer software and hardware world, it's too much to expect that a mini will remain an appropriate or even viable computer for that length of time. There's no question that a MacPro would be highly useful for at least that long. If we were talking about a computer needed for clerical tasks I'd answer differently but that's not what the stated needed is.
Sign In or Register to comment.