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Thread started 23 Jul 2011 (Saturday) 07:54
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New Mac Mini for photo work: i7 dual core + 6630 gpu or i7 quad core + intel 3000???

 
gdourado07
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Jul 23, 2011 07:54 |  #1

Hello...

I was browsing though the new Mini specs, and I find it pretty good for such a small machine. If you already have a good IPS display, it is a great upgrade form an older machine.
Add the fact that according to the Ifixit teardown, it is easy to replace memory and hard rive, you can have an 8gb machine with SSD and a sandy bridge for less than $1000.

Unfortunately, Apple won't let us have the best of both worlds, and forces us to choose either CPU or GPU...

So, for a photography work machine (photoshop CS5, Lightroom, etc...), what would you prefer?

Dual core i7 2620M with an AMD 6620 gnu with 256mb or...
Quad core i7 2635QM with an integrated Intel 3000?

I'd like to see your thoughts on this...

Cheers!


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toxic
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Jul 23, 2011 11:23 |  #2

What exact software are you running, if anything other than PS and LR?




  
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r34p3rex
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Jul 23, 2011 11:25 |  #3

Take the quadcore, the 6620 offers no advantage over the 3000 in Photoshop and Lightroom. The only time a GPU would make a difference in PS is if you're using an Nvidia card with CUDA support (GPU acceleration). AFAIK, PS does not support AMD Stream (AMD's implementation of GPU computing)


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gdourado07
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Jul 23, 2011 11:34 |  #4

toxic wrote in post #12809337 (external link)
What exact software are you running, if anything other than PS and LR?

Not much more really...
I don't do games on the computer...
I just use it for web browsing, newsgroups, e-mail, some general office stuff like write a letter in word or do some lists on excel...
Not much else really...
My computer is mainly my work tool for photography and to keep in touch with the world...

So, quad core all the way?
Discret GPU does not matter for photoshop or lightroom?

Cheers!


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Fuji X100S

  
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r34p3rex
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Jul 23, 2011 11:39 |  #5

gdourado07 wrote in post #12809377 (external link)
Not much more really...
I don't do games on the computer...
I just use it for web browsing, newsgroups, e-mail, some general office stuff like write a letter in word or do some lists on excel...
Not much else really...
My computer is mainly my work tool for photography and to keep in touch with the world...

So, quad core all the way?
Discret GPU does not matter for photoshop or lightroom?

Cheers!

Yup quadcore all the way. See my explanation above :D


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sbattey
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Jul 23, 2011 13:33 |  #6
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Processor! The new intel graphics are plenty good enough, they're no slouch.

They outperform the last two iterations of graphics provided in mobile apple products by nVidia.

Furthermore, I think apple has an API in place called OpenCL that allows the graphics card in the mini to be used for GPU acceleration, adobe would just need to implement it. (They don't, I don't think..but the technology is there)

Have fun with your new mini!


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Moppie
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Jul 23, 2011 22:50 |  #7

gdourado07 wrote in post #12808697 (external link)
Add the fact that according to the Ifixit teardown, it is easy to replace memory and hard rive, you can have an 8gb machine with SSD and a sandy bridge for less than $1000.

You can have a very, very basic mobile dual core sandy bridge for less than a $1000.


The Quad Core i7 Mac Mini starts at US$999, but again, it's a mobile based version of the i7 with a base clock seed of only 2ghz, up to 2.9 with turbo boost.

Your also stuck with 2.5" laptop drives which will limit your storage space and speed.


They work very well as Media servers, attached to a TV, or as part of a bigger network. They also work well as a non-critical file server in a small Mac based office.

As a proper computer for photo work they are less than ideal.
If you want something small and portable, get a laptop. If you want something powerful for photo work, then get a proper desktop.
Yes, they are all a LOT faster than the previous generation mac mini, but given how extremely dated it was, that is no surprise.


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sbattey
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Jul 23, 2011 23:59 |  #8
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What do you currently have, btw?

Because the iMac is a nice machine too, and after you buy a monitor for a mini you might be set back just as far as a nice iMac will set you.

Unless you already have a monitor. Moppie might be right about the mini not being powerful enough. The iMacs come with quad core, and a display for a decent price as well, and you can max out the ram to 16gb for about 165 dollars from crucial...I did, and I love my machine! I will never have to worry about ram on this machine again.


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Tony-S
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Jul 25, 2011 08:21 |  #9

gdourado07 wrote in post #12809377 (external link)
Discret GPU does not matter for photoshop or lightroom?

Right now, the gpu is important for four apps: Aperture, Pixelmator, Final Cut Pro X and Adobe Premier. Also, Adobe's Pixelbender plug-in uses the gpu quite heavily. If you have a good gpu, then Aperture smokes Lightroom and Pixelmator smokes Photoshop (and every other image editing app). Also keep in mind that the gpu is being used more and more in new software releases; not just for graphics but for general computing tasks. Whether that will make a difference in your work flow is difficult to know, but I suspect it will.

Moppie wrote in post #12811763 (external link)
Your also stuck with 2.5" laptop drives which will limit your storage space and speed.

But since it has Thunderbolt, hard drive speed is no longer an issue with external drives. The weak point is the drive, not the enclosure or port.


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Jul 25, 2011 19:29 |  #10

Tony-S wrote in post #12817900 (external link)
But since it has Thunderbolt, hard drive speed is no longer an issue with external drives. The weak point is the drive, not the enclosure or port.

Come on Tony.
Thunderbolt is great if your connected to a massive high speed HDD array.
If your doing that, what is the point of a Mac Mini?

The internal drives of a Mac Mini are 2.5" laptop drives, and that means less performance than a proper desktop.
Any other storage has to be external, which starts to defeat the whole purpose of a Mac Mini (small, inconspicuous).


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Tony-S
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Jul 25, 2011 19:59 |  #11

Well there is room for two ssds in there but you'd really want to have a small footprint for that kind of money.


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gdourado07
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Jul 26, 2011 11:04 |  #12

Tony-S wrote in post #12817900 (external link)
Right now, the gpu is important for four apps: Aperture, Pixelmator, Final Cut Pro X and Adobe Premier. Also, Adobe's Pixelbender plug-in uses the gpu quite heavily. If you have a good gpu, then Aperture smokes Lightroom and Pixelmator smokes Photoshop (and every other image editing app). Also keep in mind that the gpu is being used more and more in new software releases; not just for graphics but for general computing tasks. Whether that will make a difference in your work flow is difficult to know, but I suspect it will.

But since it has Thunderbolt, hard drive speed is no longer an issue with external drives. The weak point is the drive, not the enclosure or port.

Now that you mentioned it, and out of curiosity, is Pixelmator worth it?
How does it compare to others? Is it really what they say? 90% photoshop, 10% cost?

Cheers!


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Tony-S
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Jul 26, 2011 16:16 |  #13

More like 50% of Photoshop and 5% the price. However, if you don't use that 50% that's missing, then it's a steal. If you need those things, the Photoshop is the only game in town. You can try Pixelmator to see if it suits your needs.


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