Upgraded Mac Mini powerful enough for Photoshop & downloading large image files?

Started Aug 7, 2013 | Discussions
Tom_N Forum Pro • Posts: 12,693
Re: Mac Mini achilles heel

megawatt298 wrote:

Hopefully the next Mac Mini will finally have a discrete video card and the Mini will be the powerhouse that Mac users are waiting for.

The previous Mac Mini was available with discrete graphics.  However, that variant did not have a quad-core CPU.

CPU or GPU, name your poison ...

(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 5,593
Re: Mac Mini achilles heel

Duplicate post deleted

(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 5,593
Re: Mac Mini achilles heel

megawatt298 wrote:

Photoshop uses the GPU for additional processing capacity to speed up some processes. Photoshop also uses OpenCL acceleration on certain filters like Field Blur, Iris Blur, and Tilt/Shift. The Mac Mini does not have a discrete GPU and uses the CPU for for both numeric and video functions.

Well, to be fair the GPU portion is simply part of the entire processor.

Photoshop also supports using the onboard video processing of Intel's processors.

As a result, while the Mac mini Quad-Core i7 is strong on CPU number crunching tasks, it is much weaker on video and GPU intensive tasks.

Hopefully the next Mac Mini will finally have a discrete video card and the Mini will be the powerhouse that Mac users are waiting for.

Unless someone specifically uses and needs to have those specialized tools accelerated as much as possible and more importantly one can measure the difference in speeds between the mini and say an iMac with "discrete" graphics using such tools and can make a reasonable determination it is worth having "discrete" graphics then it simply doesn't matter, especially in the short to medium term.

elliotn Senior Member • Posts: 1,445
Re: Mac Mini achilles heel

I have last year's mac mini (with discreet graphics and 16Gb ram) driving a 27" Eizo. Perfomance in Photoshop CS6 is sluggish (slow screen redraws). I'm not sure whether the current quadcore would be any better. I'm waiting to see if the mini gets an update later this year.

OP bbpp New Member • Posts: 10
Re: Mac Mini achilles heel

elliotn wrote:

I have last year's mac mini (with discreet graphics and 16Gb ram) driving a 27" Eizo. Perfomance in Photoshop CS6 is sluggish (slow screen redraws). I'm not sure whether the current quadcore would be any better. I'm waiting to see if the mini gets an update later this year.

I'm the person who posted the original question about the Mac Mini.

I'm not as "technology savvy" as most of you when it comes to computers (thanks for all of your input so far) but more so than the average layperson (and I'm a very experienced photographer.) There seems to be some waffling back and forth now in the discussion so I just want to confirm:

My intention was to purchase a current Mac Mini to run CS6 and Lightroom mostly, and connect to my Eizo monitor, and I would upgrade to Crucial 16GB of ram. I store all of my image files on external backup hard drives (perhaps upgrading to Drobos in the near future). And, after weeding thru the string of posts here, perhaps also upgrade to a Fusion drive for the Mac Mini.

That being said, is the general consensus here then that my above configuration of a current Mac Mini would be powerful enough for my purposes?

Thanks again.

elliotn Senior Member • Posts: 1,445
Re: Mac Mini achilles heel

bbpp wrote:

elliotn wrote:

I have last year's mac mini (with discreet graphics and 16Gb ram) driving a 27" Eizo. Perfomance in Photoshop CS6 is sluggish (slow screen redraws). I'm not sure whether the current quadcore would be any better. I'm waiting to see if the mini gets an update later this year.

I'm the person who posted the original question about the Mac Mini.

I'm not as "technology savvy" as most of you when it comes to computers (thanks for all of your input so far) but more so than the average layperson (and I'm a very experienced photographer.) There seems to be some waffling back and forth now in the discussion so I just want to confirm:

My intention was to purchase a current Mac Mini to run CS6 and Lightroom mostly, and connect to my Eizo monitor, and I would upgrade to Crucial 16GB of ram. I store all of my image files on external backup hard drives (perhaps upgrading to Drobos in the near future). And, after weeding thru the string of posts here, perhaps also upgrade to a Fusion drive for the Mac Mini.

That being said, is the general consensus here then that my above configuration of a current Mac Mini would be powerful enough for my purposes?

Thanks again.

Hmmm, I'm not sure. How big is your Eizo? My mini is sluggish because it struggles to drive a 27" monitor. Like you I have all my images on an external drive (Promise Pegasus). In that scenario I'd recommend the SSD upgrade rather than the fusion option - 256Gb will be fine for system, apps and some working files.

Apple have a relaxed return policy, so the best thing to do is to buy it, test it with your workflow, and return it if not happy.

OP bbpp New Member • Posts: 10
Re: Mac Mini achilles heel

elliotn wrote:

bbpp wrote:

elliotn wrote:

I have last year's mac mini (with discreet graphics and 16Gb ram) driving a 27" Eizo. Perfomance in Photoshop CS6 is sluggish (slow screen redraws). I'm not sure whether the current quadcore would be any better. I'm waiting to see if the mini gets an update later this year.

I'm the person who posted the original question about the Mac Mini.

I'm not as "technology savvy" as most of you when it comes to computers (thanks for all of your input so far) but more so than the average layperson (and I'm a very experienced photographer.) There seems to be some waffling back and forth now in the discussion so I just want to confirm:

My intention was to purchase a current Mac Mini to run CS6 and Lightroom mostly, and connect to my Eizo monitor, and I would upgrade to Crucial 16GB of ram. I store all of my image files on external backup hard drives (perhaps upgrading to Drobos in the near future). And, after weeding thru the string of posts here, perhaps also upgrade to a Fusion drive for the Mac Mini.

That being said, is the general consensus here then that my above configuration of a current Mac Mini would be powerful enough for my purposes?

Thanks again.

Hmmm, I'm not sure. How big is your Eizo? My mini is sluggish because it struggles to drive a 27" monitor. Like you I have all my images on an external drive (Promise Pegasus). In that scenario I'd recommend the SSD upgrade rather than the fusion option - 256Gb will be fine for system, apps and some working files.

Apple have a relaxed return policy, so the best thing to do is to buy it, test it with your workflow, and return it if not happy.

Sadly I have a smaller Eizo (22"). Sad only because I wish it were larger. (Fabulous monitor).

Are you suggesting the SSD because it will be even faster than the Fusion Drive?

Thanks again.

(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 5,593
Re: Mac Mini achilles heel

elliotn wrote:

I have last year's mac mini (with discreet graphics and 16Gb ram) driving a 27" Eizo. Perfomance in Photoshop CS6 is sluggish (slow screen redraws). I'm not sure whether the current quadcore would be any better. I'm waiting to see if the mini gets an update later this year.

That's surprising. You sure its not due to something else?

(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 5,593
Re: Mac Mini achilles heel

bbpp wrote:

elliotn wrote:

I have last year's mac mini (with discreet graphics and 16Gb ram) driving a 27" Eizo. Perfomance in Photoshop CS6 is sluggish (slow screen redraws). I'm not sure whether the current quadcore would be any better. I'm waiting to see if the mini gets an update later this year.

I'm the person who posted the original question about the Mac Mini.

I'm not as "technology savvy" as most of you when it comes to computers (thanks for all of your input so far) but more so than the average layperson (and I'm a very experienced photographer.) There seems to be some waffling back and forth now in the discussion so I just want to confirm:

My intention was to purchase a current Mac Mini to run CS6 and Lightroom mostly, and connect to my Eizo monitor, and I would upgrade to Crucial 16GB of ram. I store all of my image files on external backup hard drives (perhaps upgrading to Drobos in the near future). And, after weeding thru the string of posts here, perhaps also upgrade to a Fusion drive for the Mac Mini.

That being said, is the general consensus here then that my above configuration of a current Mac Mini would be powerful enough for my purposes?

Thanks again.

I think it would. You have 14 days to decide for yourself though.

elliotn Senior Member • Posts: 1,445
Re: Mac Mini achilles heel

Basalite wrote:

elliotn wrote:

I have last year's mac mini (with discreet graphics and 16Gb ram) driving a 27" Eizo. Perfomance in Photoshop CS6 is sluggish (slow screen redraws). I'm not sure whether the current quadcore would be any better. I'm waiting to see if the mini gets an update later this year.

That's surprising. You sure its not due to something else?

I'm fairly sure. When I was testing I did a clean install of OSX and CS6. I tested the ram with Memtest (?)

When I say sluggish, I mean that there's a significant lag when zooming in and out in Photoshop. And also a lag, sometimes of several seconds, when adjusting sliders in ACR. This lag is much reduced if I make the ACR window smaller, hence my feeling that the problems are due to the high resolution 27" display.

elliotn Senior Member • Posts: 1,445
Re: Mac Mini achilles heel

bbpp wrote:

elliotn wrote:

bbpp wrote:

elliotn wrote:

I have last year's mac mini (with discreet graphics and 16Gb ram) driving a 27" Eizo. Perfomance in Photoshop CS6 is sluggish (slow screen redraws). I'm not sure whether the current quadcore would be any better. I'm waiting to see if the mini gets an update later this year.

I'm the person who posted the original question about the Mac Mini.

I'm not as "technology savvy" as most of you when it comes to computers (thanks for all of your input so far) but more so than the average layperson (and I'm a very experienced photographer.) There seems to be some waffling back and forth now in the discussion so I just want to confirm:

My intention was to purchase a current Mac Mini to run CS6 and Lightroom mostly, and connect to my Eizo monitor, and I would upgrade to Crucial 16GB of ram. I store all of my image files on external backup hard drives (perhaps upgrading to Drobos in the near future). And, after weeding thru the string of posts here, perhaps also upgrade to a Fusion drive for the Mac Mini.

That being said, is the general consensus here then that my above configuration of a current Mac Mini would be powerful enough for my purposes?

Thanks again.

Hmmm, I'm not sure. How big is your Eizo? My mini is sluggish because it struggles to drive a 27" monitor. Like you I have all my images on an external drive (Promise Pegasus). In that scenario I'd recommend the SSD upgrade rather than the fusion option - 256Gb will be fine for system, apps and some working files.

Apple have a relaxed return policy, so the best thing to do is to buy it, test it with your workflow, and return it if not happy.

Sadly I have a smaller Eizo (22"). Sad only because I wish it were larger. (Fabulous monitor).

Are you suggesting the SSD because it will be even faster than the Fusion Drive?

Thanks again.

I think the mini will be fine with a 22" display.

SSD because I like to keep things simple. I don't know if it's faster than the Fusion Drive, but I suspect it might be. Also the fans ramp  significantly in my mini (which has a regular HD) when doing heavy duty tasks (batch processing raws). Not really a problem, but I find the noise distracting. Maybe an SSD mini runs quieter than a Fusion Drive mini?

(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 5,593
Re: Mac Mini achilles heel

elliotn wrote:

bbpp wrote:

elliotn wrote:

bbpp wrote:

elliotn wrote:

I have last year's mac mini (with discreet graphics and 16Gb ram) driving a 27" Eizo. Perfomance in Photoshop CS6 is sluggish (slow screen redraws). I'm not sure whether the current quadcore would be any better. I'm waiting to see if the mini gets an update later this year.

I'm the person who posted the original question about the Mac Mini.

I'm not as "technology savvy" as most of you when it comes to computers (thanks for all of your input so far) but more so than the average layperson (and I'm a very experienced photographer.) There seems to be some waffling back and forth now in the discussion so I just want to confirm:

My intention was to purchase a current Mac Mini to run CS6 and Lightroom mostly, and connect to my Eizo monitor, and I would upgrade to Crucial 16GB of ram. I store all of my image files on external backup hard drives (perhaps upgrading to Drobos in the near future). And, after weeding thru the string of posts here, perhaps also upgrade to a Fusion drive for the Mac Mini.

That being said, is the general consensus here then that my above configuration of a current Mac Mini would be powerful enough for my purposes?

Thanks again.

Hmmm, I'm not sure. How big is your Eizo? My mini is sluggish because it struggles to drive a 27" monitor. Like you I have all my images on an external drive (Promise Pegasus). In that scenario I'd recommend the SSD upgrade rather than the fusion option - 256Gb will be fine for system, apps and some working files.

Apple have a relaxed return policy, so the best thing to do is to buy it, test it with your workflow, and return it if not happy.

Sadly I have a smaller Eizo (22"). Sad only because I wish it were larger. (Fabulous monitor).

Are you suggesting the SSD because it will be even faster than the Fusion Drive?

Thanks again.

I think the mini will be fine with a 22" display.

The minis work fine with a 27" high resolution display.

SSD because I like to keep things simple.

Actually, the simplest thing is the Fusion Drive as no active management is required on your part.

I don't know if it's faster than the Fusion Drive,

Comparing just the 128GB SSD that is part of a Fusion Drive to the 256GB and above SSD options it is a bit slower.

but I suspect it might be. Also the fans ramp significantly in my mini (which has a regular HD) when doing heavy duty tasks (batch processing raws).

Just one fan in the mini.

Not really a problem, but I find the noise distracting. Maybe an SSD mini runs quieter than a Fusion Drive mini?

The SSD in a Fusion Drive is just as quiet as any other SSD. In other words, it is silent. Even the hard drive portion is essentially silent. Heavy access to the hard drive portion though would increase heat within it and speed up the fan so pure SSD is potentially quieter due to less heat.

That said, the increase in fan speed could simply be due to your CPU working really hard.

(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 5,593
Re: Mac Mini achilles heel

elliotn wrote:

Basalite wrote:

elliotn wrote:

I have last year's mac mini (with discreet graphics and 16Gb ram) driving a 27" Eizo. Perfomance in Photoshop CS6 is sluggish (slow screen redraws). I'm not sure whether the current quadcore would be any better. I'm waiting to see if the mini gets an update later this year.

That's surprising. You sure its not due to something else?

I'm fairly sure. When I was testing I did a clean install of OSX and CS6. I tested the ram with Memtest (?)

When I say sluggish, I mean that there's a significant lag when zooming in and out in Photoshop. And also a lag, sometimes of several seconds, when adjusting sliders in ACR. This lag is much reduced if I make the ACR window smaller, hence my feeling that the problems are due to the high resolution 27" display.

Doesn't sound right. I've used the mini with the 27" Thunderbolt Display and Photoshop and never saw what you are describing.

elliotn Senior Member • Posts: 1,445
Re: Mac Mini achilles heel

Basalite wrote:

elliotn wrote:

Basalite wrote:

elliotn wrote:

I have last year's mac mini (with discreet graphics and 16Gb ram) driving a 27" Eizo. Perfomance in Photoshop CS6 is sluggish (slow screen redraws). I'm not sure whether the current quadcore would be any better. I'm waiting to see if the mini gets an update later this year.

That's surprising. You sure its not due to something else?

I'm fairly sure. When I was testing I did a clean install of OSX and CS6. I tested the ram with Memtest (?)

When I say sluggish, I mean that there's a significant lag when zooming in and out in Photoshop. And also a lag, sometimes of several seconds, when adjusting sliders in ACR. This lag is much reduced if I make the ACR window smaller, hence my feeling that the problems are due to the high resolution 27" display.

Doesn't sound right. I've used the mini with the 27" Thunderbolt Display and Photoshop and never saw what you are describing.

It doesn't feel right. I've tested two different minis (server model and discreet graphics model, both late 2011) with my setup (promise pegasus + eizo 27") and both exhibited display issues. Perhaps there is some incompatibility between the different bits of hardware. Anyway whilst it's sluggish, it's workable, so I carry on.

Mateo Miller Regular Member • Posts: 476
Yes
1

bbpp wrote:

I'm the person who posted the original question about the Mac Mini.

I'm not as "technology savvy" as most of you when it comes to computers (thanks for all of your input so far) but more so than the average layperson (and I'm a very experienced photographer.) There seems to be some waffling back and forth now in the discussion so I just want to confirm:

My intention was to purchase a current Mac Mini to run CS6 and Lightroom mostly, and connect to my Eizo monitor, and I would upgrade to Crucial 16GB of ram. I store all of my image files on external backup hard drives (perhaps upgrading to Drobos in the near future). And, after weeding thru the string of posts here, perhaps also upgrade to a Fusion drive for the Mac Mini.

That being said, is the general consensus here then that my above configuration of a current Mac Mini would be powerful enough for my purposes?

Thanks again.

Yes

Link to Mac Performance Guide and Optimizing Photoshop CS6

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(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 5,593
Re: Mac Mini achilles heel

elliotn wrote:

Basalite wrote:

elliotn wrote:

Basalite wrote:

elliotn wrote:

I have last year's mac mini (with discreet graphics and 16Gb ram) driving a 27" Eizo. Perfomance in Photoshop CS6 is sluggish (slow screen redraws). I'm not sure whether the current quadcore would be any better. I'm waiting to see if the mini gets an update later this year.

That's surprising. You sure its not due to something else?

I'm fairly sure. When I was testing I did a clean install of OSX and CS6. I tested the ram with Memtest (?)

When I say sluggish, I mean that there's a significant lag when zooming in and out in Photoshop. And also a lag, sometimes of several seconds, when adjusting sliders in ACR. This lag is much reduced if I make the ACR window smaller, hence my feeling that the problems are due to the high resolution 27" display.

Doesn't sound right. I've used the mini with the 27" Thunderbolt Display and Photoshop and never saw what you are describing.

It doesn't feel right. I've tested two different minis (server model and discreet graphics model, both late 2011) with my setup (promise pegasus + eizo 27") and both exhibited display issues. Perhaps there is some incompatibility between the different bits of hardware. Anyway whilst it's sluggish, it's workable, so I carry on.

I would look into it instead of simply accepting it. You should be 100% satisfied in the setup you choose.

Ralf B
Ralf B Veteran Member • Posts: 8,085
Re: Mac Mini late 2011 - does not apply to OP question

elliotn wrote:

Basalite wrote:

elliotn wrote:

Basalite wrote:

elliotn wrote:

I have last year's mac mini (with discreet graphics and 16Gb ram) driving a 27" Eizo. Perfomance in Photoshop CS6 is sluggish (slow screen redraws). I'm not sure whether the current quadcore would be any better. I'm waiting to see if the mini gets an update later this year.

That's surprising. You sure its not due to something else?

I'm fairly sure. When I was testing I did a clean install of OSX and CS6. I tested the ram with Memtest (?)

When I say sluggish, I mean that there's a significant lag when zooming in and out in Photoshop. And also a lag, sometimes of several seconds, when adjusting sliders in ACR. This lag is much reduced if I make the ACR window smaller, hence my feeling that the problems are due to the high resolution 27" display.

Doesn't sound right. I've used the mini with the 27" Thunderbolt Display and Photoshop and never saw what you are describing.

It doesn't feel right. I've tested two different minis (server model and discreet graphics model, both late 2011) with my setup (promise pegasus + eizo 27")

the late 2011 Minis (to be precise: July 2011) have the older "integrated" GPU in the CPU, Intel HD3000. the July 2011 "server" mini had a dedicated GPU, AMD Radeon HD 6630M, but the quad core clocked at only 2 Ghz. The current minis as of October 2012 have the faster Intel HD4000 and the faster CPU / memory architecture. The OP is asking about the current (late 2012) Minis which are significantly faster than the mid 2011.

Cheers,
Ralf

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Ralf B
Ralf B Veteran Member • Posts: 8,085
Feedback on maxed out October 2012 MacMini

In May this year I got a late 2012 MacMini Quad i7 2.6GHz with 1 TB / 5400min stock HD and 4GB as refurb. Immediately replaced the HD with a Samsung 480 Pro SSD (256GB) and maxed the RAM up to 16GB from non-Apple source following the instruction videos on OWC's and iFixit's web sites.

The Mini boots in 11 seconds. The SSD yields 520MB/sec read and write. The Mini drives a 27" Dell U 2711 via a TB - to - MiniDisplayPort adapter cable with no hesitation.
I use Aperture - which does not need a dedicated GPU - and my picture library of 350GB on an external WD RAID 0 via Firewire800 - loads in 4 seconds. Processing the RAWs from my 24MP Sony a900 is a blast compared to my late 2007 Santa Rosa MacBookPro.

Cheers,
Ralf
www.ralfralph.smugmug.com

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Jayfire124 Junior Member • Posts: 31
Re: Feedback on maxed out October 2012 MacMini

Ralf B wrote:

In May this year I got a late 2012 MacMini Quad i7 2.6GHz with 1 TB / 5400min stock HD and 4GB as refurb. Immediately replaced the HD with a Samsung 480 Pro SSD (256GB) and maxed the RAM up to 16GB from non-Apple source following the instruction videos on OWC's and iFixit's web sites.

The Mini boots in 11 seconds. The SSD yields 520MB/sec read and write. The Mini drives a 27" Dell U 2711 via a TB - to - MiniDisplayPort adapter cable with no hesitation.
I use Aperture - which does not need a dedicated GPU - and my picture library of 350GB on an external WD RAID 0 via Firewire800 - loads in 4 seconds. Processing the RAWs from my 24MP Sony a900 is a blast compared to my late 2007 Santa Rosa MacBookPro.

Cheers,
Ralf
www.ralfralph.smugmug.com

I did the same thing however I am not happy using LR4.4. Don't get me wrong, everything loads super fast and it imports and exports large files from a Canon 5D MKIII with speed however I don't want to be waiting for the finished image to render once I have done some post processing. I still have to wait when I am re viewing a catalog and am not pleased. You pay good money for what seems a fast system but still have to wait for a final image to render when you wish to review it in the Develop Module.

I love using LR4.4 don't get me wrong but......I have had my rant. Sort it out Adobe

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Tom_N Forum Pro • Posts: 12,693
Re: Mac Mini late 2011 - does not apply to OP question

Ralf B wrote:

the late 2011 Minis (to be precise: July 2011) have the older "integrated" GPU in the CPU, Intel HD3000. the July 2011 "server" mini had a dedicated GPU, AMD Radeon HD 6630M, but the quad core clocked at only 2 Ghz.

The Mac Mini Server had a quad-core CPU, but it did not have a dedicated GPU.  The dedicated GPU was in the $799 regular Mini, whose CPU was dual-core.

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