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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Jan 02, 2014
    Posts
    3
    advice needed: 2009 pro vs mini
    Good morning and happy new year all!

    Looking for advice on a new work station for my digital photography. im contemplating between:

    -2009 mac pro 2.66 quad

    or

    -current mini. most likely i5, but could swing the i7 model if i can get a bit of a discount through work.

    My budget is approx $750~850. I've got a pair of cinema displays that i will be using so no imacs.

    The quad would ideally be setup with min 6gb ram, hopefully 8 or more. HD would be min 640 stock config.

    The mini would hopefully have ram upgraded to 8GB.

    My use for this new workstation is for heavy digital image processing through LR4. May try aperture. Between 8-1200 12MP RAW file exports every few weekends. Plus a few dozen hi-res retouching through PS CS5. Probably a few ~5min video edits here n there through imovie or equivalent.

    Ive always had a thing for pro workstations. My previous tower was a hopped up G4 dual 1.8 w/ sonnet processors. That has recently died, and have been using a macbook 2,1 for my imaging needs. Obviously either option will be a huge performance jump. I just want to make sure im buying the proper machine for long term use and reliability. I dont replace main computers every 3 years...more like 10 (they're macs after all!)

    my reasoning for each option.

    mac pro:
    - Robust design and accessibility. Expandability, can upgrade to better processors & much more ram down the road. Options for upgraded graphics (although the work i'll be doing wont necessarily exploit higher end cards?)
    - port options. i've got scanners, and printers + external drives.
    - optical drives (yes i still use these)
    - only concern is higher power use, operating temps ( i like to keep my machines on 24/7, just displays off) and perhaps failing components, no warranty.


    mini:
    - processor power. hoping for the i7 as it will hopefully serve me for many years to come, as is.
    - small form factor.
    - new w/ warranty and can purchase apple care up to 1 year later.
    - only concerns are heat from such a small form factor ( i hear these things get pretty hot during continuous hi load?), and upgradability. plus, no optical drive so an external would be needed.

    So what say ye experts? still definitely on the fence with a slight edge for the pro...

    much thanks!
    lee

  2. #2

    harryb2448's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 28, 2007
    Location
    Nambucca Heads Australia
    Posts
    21,191
    Specs:
    27" 5K iMac, 3.3GHz, 256GB Flash Storge, 16GB memory and OS X.11.3.
    Personally, as a former Mac Pro user when doing photography and graphic design, I would go with the Pro with 16GB of memory. You can upgrade the gfx card if you wish, use an SSD and pop two optical drives in, maybe even a blu-ray.

    Whilst coming up to its fifth birthday the 2009 Mac Pro 2.66GHz returns a Geekbench score of 14,458 compared to the latest Mini's 11,759. If the pocket runs to it, a 2010 2.66GHz Mac Pro would be even better with a score of 20,048 nearly twice that of the Mini.

    The only thing lacking in either Mac Pro would be USB3, however a reputable Mac compatible PCI-E card such as a Sonnet would fix that.
    Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!

  3. #3


    Member Since
    Jan 02, 2014
    Posts
    3
    thanks for the reply harry. yes, the plan is to eventually get up to 16GB ram, but I will have to make do with 6 in the pro for the time being...

    where did you find those Geekbench scores? are those for the quad core or the 8 core? the geekbench scores i found posted much lower numbers, and much lower than the current mac mini gets:

    2009 2.66 quad:

    model:"Mac Pro (Early 2009)" platform:"Mac" processor:"Intel Xeon W3520" frequency:2670 bits:32 - Geekbench Search - Geekbench Browser

    2013 mini i7:

    model:"Mac mini (Late 2012)" platform:"Mac" processor:"Intel Core i7-3720QM" frequency:2600 bits:32 - Geekbench Search - Geekbench Browser

    or am i reading the wrong scores?

    the mini seems to have much better geekbench scores, not surprisingly as its current technology, but i thought the 09 quad would have held its own a bit better...

  4. #4

    harryb2448's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 28, 2007
    Location
    Nambucca Heads Australia
    Posts
    21,191
    Specs:
    27" 5K iMac, 3.3GHz, 256GB Flash Storge, 16GB memory and OS X.11.3.
    Personally use Mactracker. The GeekBench for the 2009 2.66GHz is 8144 for the single core and 14,458 for the twin. The first link in your post talks about 32bit. All Mac Pros after the Models 1.1 and 2.1, 2006/2007, are 64bit architecture.
    Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!

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