2014 Mac Mini or 2012 Mac Pro?

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Hello,

My budget allows for a current top of the line i7 mini or a 2012 3.33 Ghz Six Core Pro with a ATI Radeon 5770.
It would be used for video compression in Handbrake, watching stored video (movies and tv) and online gaming on a daily basis. As well as Illustrator, Photoshop and maybe After Effects projects in the near future.

Suggestions?

Much appreciated.
 
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pigoo3

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Going from a Mac-Mini to a Mac Pro pretty much covers everything. A Mac-Mini is technically an entry level computer…and a Mac Pro is the top end computer (although a couple years old).

Why such a span?

If these are the only two choices…the Mac Pro will obviously do MUCH better at the tasks you mentioned (but will cost more too).

- Nick
 
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Hello Nick! Thanks for the response.

Well, I'm replacing a '09 mini, I've been waiting for an update, so was looking at the new minis. I ran across the Pro at close to the same price point but was unsure about the older CPU and GPU speeds compared to the newer hardware. Sounds like you just made up my mind lol.
 

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Well, I'm replacing a '09 mini, I've been waiting for an update, so was looking at the new minis. I ran across the Pro at close to the same price point but was unsure about the older CPU and GPU speeds compared to the newer hardware. Sounds like you just made up my mind lol.

I guess I'm surprised that you found a 6-core 2012 Mac Pro for the same price as a 2014 Mac-Mini. Of course I'm not sure which Mac-Mini you are talking about…but the top end unit does go for $999…which is getting pretty darn pricey for a Mac-Mini (in my opinion).

But just for discussions sake…let's say you went with the 2.6ghz i5 2014 Mac-Mini for $699. CPU benchmark scores compared:

- CPU benchmark score for the 2.6ghz 2014 Mac-Mini = 6626.
- CPU benchmark score for a 2012 6-core 3.33ghz Mac Pro = 15541.

As you can see a BIG BIG difference! Even the top end 2014 Mac-Mini (with an 3.0ghz i7 CPU upgrade can't touch this). Also…I'm pretty sure that the performance of the Radeon 5770 in the Mac Pro is better than the Iris Graphics in the Mac-Mini. Or at least very close (and you can always upgrade the video card in the Mac Pro later).

So if you can get this 6-core Mac Pro for the same price (or close) as the 2014 Mac-Mini…DEFINITELY go for the Mac Pro!!!:)

- Nick
 
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Yup, I was gonna get the i7 3.0Ghz mini w/ 16gb ram, which comes in at $1399.00. The Pro is a couple hundred more but still in my budget and way more versatile. I just wanted a second opinion before pullin the trigger, thanks for the help, sir.

~JW
 

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Yup, I was gonna get the i7 3.0Ghz mini w/ 16gb ram, which comes in at $1399.00.

When spending this much cash…you have so many more choices than a Mac-Mini.

For example…you could EASILY go with an iMac. If you went with the 21" 2.7ghz iMac for $1299 ($1499 with 16gig of ram)…it has a CPU benchmark score of 10310…which would still out-score a 2014 Mac-Mini with the 3.0ghz i7 CPU upgrade. And with the iMac…you also get a very nice display, keyboard, mouse, better speakers, and a camera.:) Which you don't get with the Mac-Mini.

But the iMac's CPU score of 10310 is still a lot lower than the 15541 CPU score of the Mac Pro.

- Nick
 
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Very good points. I have no need (or room) for another large display though, so I'm leaning towards your advice on the Pro. I've also never had a top of the line computer before, so our conversation is making me quite enthused of the idea! :)
 
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I just purchased a rebuilt 2009 Mac Pro with 2 - Xeon 2.66, 6 core processors. 32 GB memory, 500 GB SSD, and a Nvidia GTX 780 video card with 3GB onboard memory. I hope to transition from my other editor to this one.

I currently use a 2008 custom built Windows 7 system with 2- Xeons 2.5, Quad cores, 24GB memory, 500GB SSD and a Nvidia GTX 770 video card with 4GB onboard memory. I have done hundreds of video projects on this system.

My point is I use After Effects, Premiere Pro, and a whole bunch of other Adobe programs to create media. After Effects will be the most stressful and resource intensive program of them all. I haven't put the new system through an After Effects project but I plan to this coming week. My older system does okay with less than one minute projects. Longer ones really stress it out. I hope the new one will prove better.

If you plan to use After Effects, get as much machine as you can afford. None of the other programs you listed will be an issue. The 2012 you list will do a much nicer and faster job for you.

Lisa
 

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Very good points. I have no need (or room) for another large display though, so I'm leaning towards your advice on the Pro. I've also never had a top of the line computer before, so our conversation is making me quite enthused of the idea! :)

Ohh…I wasn't trying to convince you to get an iMac…just that for practically the same money you were going to spend on this upgraded 2014 Mac-Mini…you could have gotten an even better iMac.:)

I agree with you. The Mac Pro is still the best deal (still scores 50% faster than the iMac & probably and 2x faster than the upgraded Mac-Mini)!:)

- Nick
 
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@Lisa,

Very good info, thank you, it's good to see I'm on the right track :) I hope the single 6 core will do the trick, this Pro only has the single CPU tray, I would have to buy a new tray plus 2 new CPUs designed for multi CPU if I had to upgrade :( That would put me right out of my budget for sure!


@Nick,

It's good to know the options anyway.
My tax return should be here Monday, I can feel the anticipation beginning! lol
 

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It's good to know the options anyway.
My tax return should be here Monday, I can feel the anticipation beginning! lol

If you were going to spend approx. $1399 for the upgraded Mac-Mini…and a couple hundred more for the Mac Pro ($1599)…I'm sure you want to get the most for your money. You should definitely shop around.

For example…here's an 8-core 2.93ghz 2009 Mac Pro for $1299 (Buy It Now). But could be even less. Since there is 1 day, 5 hours remaining in the auction…and the opening bid is $999.

It has 16gig of ram, 3 hard drives, and a Radeon 5870 video card…which is literally twice as fast as the Radeon 5770 in the Mac Pro you mentioned.

Also…and maybe even more important. It's CPU benchmark score is 17658. Which is more than the 15541 of the 6-core 3.33ghz Mac Pro you are considering.

2009 Apple Mac Pro 2 93GHz 8 Core Nehalem 16GB RAM Radeon HD 5870 GPU 3 HDDs | eBay

- Nick
 
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Hey! That is a nice looking rig, I'm a tad wary of the low number on the seller, but everyone has to start somewhere.

If I remember correctly, dividing the benchmarks x number of cores gives the single process speed or something like that? If so, the 6 core is a bit higher, but for the price the 8 core might be a better value, (plus the extra gaming muscle!) hmmmmm.........
 

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If I remember correctly, dividing the benchmarks x number of cores gives the single process speed or something like that? If so, the 6 core is a bit higher, but for the price the 8 core might be a better value, (plus the extra gaming muscle!) hmmmmm.........

Some of the stuff you mentioned wanting to do will use all the cores the computer has. For example Handbrake will use every core you throw at it.

The difference between the CPU scores (15541 vs. 17658) isn't super-major…but still nice. With the eBay Mac Pro the 5870 video card is a nice plus…since it is worth almost twice as much $$$ as the 5770…and the 5870 is 2x the performance.

And (at a maximum) the eBay computer would be $1299 (maybe less). The other Mac Pro sounds like it was around $1599.

- Nick
 

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If I was in the mode for a new desktop, that's a nice lookng MP you found there Nick.

I have finally been able to move on from the decade plus when I had to build a new computer every 12 months just to be able to use the new software application that came out. My primary system is close to 4 yrs old and one of my friends is still using an old P4 overclocked to 4 Ghz I built back in '03.

My problem is that my mind has not moved on from what I perceive to be the value of old computers and my whole body goes into a spasm at the idea of spending a grand on what is approaching a 2, 3 or 4 yr old computer, much less one hitting 6 yrs old.
 
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There are a few other considerations I'm mulling over with these two computers, one being westmere vs nehalem, westmere supporting the faster ram sticks. Also, the 6 core has a 90 day warranty included and the seller is an established reseller with a much higher rating.

But you certainly hit the nail on the head with the price point and graphics of the 8 core you found. I think, if I can get it for closer to a grand, I may have to jump on it. (still no bids!)

I really appreciate the effort you have put in to help me out, many thanks, Nick :)

~JW
 

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Just to add, I'd have to pay the $1299 for that 6 year old MP long before I'd give anyone anywhere close to $1,000 for any Mac Mini ever made.
 
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@bobtomay,

I've always felt the same way, as you say, paying so much for an old computer, so I've been buying the current model that fit my budget, but since paying closer attention, I now "see the light", buying an old Pro makes more sense than a new Mini, (so long as physical size is no concern)
 
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Size has one advantage motorpsycho. Throw the 46lb of her up onto the deask, remove side door and access everything.

More memory, four had drive, faster gfx cards, PCI-e cards including USB3 etc etc etc. If nothing else mate it will improve the muscles and is the right choice.
 

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There are a few other considerations I'm mulling over with these two computers, one being westmere vs nehalem, westmere supporting the faster ram sticks.

Personally I wouldn't put too much emphasis on this. The faster ram (and other faster design differences...westmere vs nehalem) used in the newer Mac Pro in this discussion are all factored into the CPU benchmark tests.

So if the 2009 8-core Mac Pro scores 17,000+…and the 2012 6-core Mac Pro scores 15,000+…the faster ram, newer CPU's, newer logic board design…are all factored into the CPU benchmark scores.

Also, the 6 core has a 90 day warranty included and the seller is an established reseller with a much higher rating.

Getting a warranty is always a bonus…and is certainly something some folks prefer. But even after 3 months (90 days)…you're still going to be on your own. And with the 8-core eBay computer (not sure if both of these are eBay computers)…it's not like if you buy it…BAMM…that's it…it's yours. You have a reasonable amount of time to use it (let's say 1-2 weeks). If it "craps-out" you contact the seller about it…or contact PayPal (a good way to pay for eBay things)…for a refund if the seller is not cooperative.

I really appreciate the effort you have put in to help me out, many thanks, Nick :)

You're welcome. It's always fun to "shop with other folks money"…and find them good deals that they may not otherwise have considered.:)

- Nick
 

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Just to add, I'd have to pay the $1299 for that 6 year old MP long before I'd give anyone anywhere close to $1,000 for any Mac Mini ever made.

I here ya Tom!!! $1399 for a maxed out new Mac-Mini (i7 CPU upgrade, 16gig of ram)…is just way way too much for a Mac-Mini. ANY Mac-Mini!;)

- Nick
 

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