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Author Topic: Would an upgraded Mac Mini be good for running Photoshop and large image files?  (Read 15804 times)
bethrb
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« on: August 07, 2013, 03:36:03 PM »
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Hi,

Your input would be welcome:

I need to replace my MacBook Pro which is now too old and running to slowly for my purposes. It's currently hooked up to an external monitor (an Eizo) and this is a good set-up for me (though now I'm running way too slowly).  I went to the Apple store yesterday to look at the new Macbook Pros and one of the "Experts" there spent a lot of time with me and suggested that since I already have a monitor to try the Mac Mini instead. I could save myself a good deal of money.

But, although he was quite knowledgeable, he's not a photographer running Photoshop and downloading large quantities of large image files.

My question is:  the following is the set-up he suggested....
Is this Mac Mini set-up (2.3 GHz quad-core Intel i7, 1TB HD, upgraded with a Crucial 16 GB Memory Kit) powerful enough for large image file processing and Photoshop and Lightroom use?

Thank you!
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Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2013, 03:49:51 PM »
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What is a large image file to you? For example to me that would mean 1GB file or larger.
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Thanks,
Kirk

Kirk Gittings
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bethrb
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« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2013, 03:57:57 PM »
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I usually download anywhere from 250 to 500 (sometimes more)  25MB-30MB image files at one time.

Thanks.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2013, 04:12:24 PM by bethrb » Logged
Telecaster
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« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2013, 04:46:23 PM »
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Is this Mac Mini set-up (2.3 GHz quad-core Intel i7, 1TB HD, upgraded with a Crucial 16 GB Memory Kit) powerful enough for large image file processing and Photoshop and Lightroom use?

That's pretty much what I've got aside from the 2.6GHz build-to-order i7 (and a pair of external 8TB HD mini-towers). More than enough juice for processing 24mp RAWs. Note that I never print larger than 20" wide or long, and usually no more than 16".

These days I do most image processing on my iPad, and only switch over to the Mini when I intend to print.

-Dave-
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2013, 12:04:14 AM »
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Hi,

How do you do that? Just curious...

Best regards
Erik




These days I do most image processing on my iPad, and only switch over to the Mini when I intend to print.

-Dave-
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xocet
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« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2013, 05:24:22 AM »
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If you do go the Mac Mini route, I'd strongly consider getting either the fusion drive or a straight SSD.

The standard drive in the setup he recommended would be the bottleneck, and the internal drives are not the simplest of things to upgrade yourself.
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elolaugesen
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« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2013, 10:13:36 AM »
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I was in same boat as you 2008 macbook pro.   Upgrade to a 2.3 macmini i7 my own cinema monitor crucial 16 mg upgrade
Speed is much faster than where I came from.  Love it.  I will after the warranty period upgrade the hard drive to a SSD.       Fusion Huh  Not sure. 
I also clone my hard drive weekly to a usb3 7200 rpm portable seagate drive.  Take it with me everywhere on my trip back home to canada I just booted it up on my daughters imac.

I think you will like the upgrade.   

At this moment i am sitting at my holiday home.  Using the macmini with hdmi hookup to tv.  Using my portable keyboard.   Who needs an expensive macbookpro

Elo
Mac user since the MAC PLUS
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Telecaster
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« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2013, 03:38:53 PM »
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Hi,
How do you do that? Just curious...

Well, I don't send the processed JPEGs from the iPad to the Mini, if that's what you were thinking.   Cheesy  I reprocess on the Mini using the RAWs. On the iPad I mostly do quick & dirty tweaking to JPEGs for online use, though occasionally I'll process a RAW (slowly) if I need to pull down hot/blown highlights or correct bad color balance issues. I post more stuff online--and print less--these days, and the iPad is all I need for that.

-Dave-
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Steve Weldon
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« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2013, 06:42:11 PM »
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Short answer:  Yes.

I recently built a new personal machine (first new personal machine in three years) because I wanted to learn OsX and a good friend was both encouraging and helpful in the process.  I normally use Win machines and I build custom workstations for clients as a sort of side service.  But my experience with OsX is minimal.  So when my friend to me he thought I'd get use from a mini-mac I gave it a close look.  He knows I mainly process large amounts of large image files.  He then pointed out a quad core 2.3ghz Mini REFURBISHED.  A few moments later it was ordered.

As it came, with a 1tb HDD and 4 gigs of RAM I knew wouldn't work for me.  So my very next order was for 16gb of Crucial Memory (through Amazon, their cheaper) and a Samsung 840 Pro 256gb SSD (currently the fastest SATAIII 2.5" SSD available and I believe the slimmest.  I've been using them in my Windows builds over the last two months and currently there is nothing better imo.

To allow the new SSD to fit inside the mini IN ADDITION to the existing 1tb drive I ordered this kit.  It provides the tools, screws, hardware and a very good DIY video..  If your hands/eyes allow you to work with small electronics you'll be able to install the new RAM and the SSD in about 15..

It booted up (it's first boot)  off the 1tb HDD.. took forever and I remember thinking I haven't experienced such slow performance in years.  I then installed Carbon Copy, partitioned the new SSD. and 15 mins later I was booting off the SSD in about 11-12 seconds from cold.  Wow..

Xbench scores this combination at 407.4  My friend has several Mac devices, two MBP's (one with Retina), all with SSD's and large amounts of RAM.. an older mini, 1366 socket OsX workstation, etc, etc.. and my mini scored 35-50 points higher on Xbench.  Faster than well equipped MBP's.. remarkable.  I'm impressed.  In fact his only faster comptuer was an Ivy Bridge based workstation with a graphics card that cost more than my mini!

Even though it scores fast.. it feels faster.  Using LR, CS6, Word, Outlook, Capture One Pro, and others.. it easily is faster than my 1366 socket Win7 machine with 2 SSD's, high-end GPU, 8 HDD's, etc..

Using my Synology 1813+ as a work drive it's faster than when using the internal 1tb.. so when I get some time I'm going to order a 512gb SSD to replace it..  I'll use part for scratch, part for a work drive, and archive through  the 1813+.  I really think this small noiseless slab that remains cool to my touch will keep me going on the OsX side for the foreseeable future.  And I think the 2 SSD internal, NAS external model will become very popular with the advent of the new MacPro..

I hope this helps.
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Lee Rentz
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« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2013, 10:16:46 AM »
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I run both Photoshop and Lightroom off a recent Mac Mini with fusion drive, and it is great. I'm sure the new Mac Pro will be even better, but much more expensive. I couldn't wait because I was restricted by old software and speed of my old pre-Intel Mac Pro, and the tiny new unit runs rings around the old one.

I think that Apple has made a great choice in creating a small central processing computer that requires external rather than internal storage. It gives you much more flexibility.
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Jimmy D Uptain
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« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2013, 07:26:09 AM »
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I have a 2013 Mac Mini
2.3 GHz i7
16GB Ram (Crucial not Apple)
And a Samsung 840 Pro SSD.
My Geekbench score was 11973. Not too shabby
My OS and Apps are on the main drive while all pics are on an external Thunderbolt drive.
Photoshop CS6, Lightroom 5, and Nikon NX2 all run smoothly.
Capture One is good but could be a little smoother. I believe this due to the Mini's integrated graphics.
The Mini is a better bargain. Upgrade the Ram yourself and you will have a very competent machine.

Also consider getting an iMac and running a dual monitor setup. It has more memory capacity and better graphics than either the Macbook or Mini.
I wish I would have given that more consideration but I was in a pinch at the time I bought the Mini.

All that being said, I will most likely be buying the new Mac Pro as I want the better graphics for Capture One.
I would go ahead and get the current Mac Pro but have already started down the thunderbolt path.
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Steve Weldon
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« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2013, 12:25:38 PM »
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Capture One is good but could be a little smoother. I believe this due to the Mini's integrated graphics.

Also consider getting an iMac and running a dual monitor setup. It has more memory capacity and better graphics than either the Macbook or Mini.
I wish I would have given that more consideration but I was in a pinch at the time I bought the Mini.

All that being said, I will most likely be buying the new Mac Pro as I want the better graphics for Capture One.
I would go ahead and get the current Mac Pro but have already started down the thunderbolt path.


I'm currently running (2) NEC 2690's (1920x1200) monitors off my quad-mini and it runs them with a competent aplomb..  There is no need to change settings or define modes.  You just attach the monitors using the TB/DP cable as your primary and HDMI as the secondary.. and the machine does the rest for you.  Extended mode, max rez, and smooth trouble free operation.

Thunderbolt has the potential to make the quad-mini even a better choice through the addition of an external graphics card.  Once consumers learn what the quad mini offers, especially with TB attachments.. there will be one or two on every desk.   

Unless they do something stupid like raise the price..
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studio347
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« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2013, 07:45:30 PM »
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When the retouching master file size become 3 ~ 5 GB, you might want to have more than 16 ram. When you are capturing with, for example, P65 or bigger, and, at the same time, working small files in photoshop, you also want to have bigger rams.
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