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Thread: Is a Mac Mini fast enough for large files ala Nikon D800, HDR?

  1. #1
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    Oct 2012
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    Is a Mac Mini fast enough for large files ala Nikon D800, HDR?

    Presently using my MBP with i7 quad core but I'd like a dedicated computer for photography only and already have a NEC 24 inch PA series monitor. I'm using LR4 and NIK plug-ins including their HDR program. Eventually, I'd like to try stitching panoramas as well.

    I don't want to spend alot on a Mac Pro (major refresh hinted for 2013) and want something smaller as well.

    Looking at the various Mac blogs/forums, the Mac Mini may be due for a sooner than later refresh. Hopefully it will include a quad core processor and USB3. OWC also can upgrade the present M Mini to 16GB RAM which I would do, if possible, for the next generation Mac Mini.

    Would the lack of a quad core processor in the present Mac Mini radically slow things down compared to my laptop? Is the Mac Mini fine for post processing on a regular basis?

  2. #2
    Moderator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Manfred Mueller

    Re: Is a Mac Mini fast enough for large files ala Nikon D800, HDR?

    A quad core processor is only going to help you if you are running a multi-threaded application like video rendering. Other than that it will help if there are a number of open applications. Photoshop, other than a few of the filters, is really not all that processor intensive an application. I don't know about panoramas, as I haven't tried that functionality yet. That being said, the processors are not stunningly fast.

    Unless you are into video editing, animation or other applications that do a lot of rendering, then the Mac Pro is probably overkill. You simply don't need the power. I've used iMacs and PCs for Photoshop, and they certainly have more than enough processing power.

    I've never used a Mac Mini; they seem to be a bit of an odd creature; essentially a laptop components in a small desktop footprint; very much a casual user's machine. What would worry me is the lack of RAM; the standard 2GB or 4GB RAM looks way too small. Any machine I've used had at least 8GB or RAM on board, so your thought of going the more RAM makes sense. The 256 MB video RAM is right at the minimum Photoshop spec as well, so that looks a bit shaky as well; but you can probably just disable the OpenGL features in Photoshop if that is a problem. The standard hard drive is a slow laptop 5200 RPM drive too, and I find that with my D800, my Photoshop files are quite large, so this slower drive would bother me too.

    If I were in the market for a new machine, I don't think I would go there. There are just too many things that look marginal about it for serious PP work.

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