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Old Aug 4, 2011, 9:20 AM   #1
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Default Mini Macs and Lightroom

Hi folks,
I am just curious to know if anyone has a Mini Mac and uses lightroom?
I Have a very old PC and looking for a cheap alternative.
Is the Mac Mini Powerful enough?
The way I am thinking is having a external hard drive ie lacie
so just lightroom would be on the Mini Mac and the lrcat files and photos on the external drive.

I would go for the 27 inch imac but if i could get away with the mini as desktop it would be ideal.

PS I plan on getting a 15 inch Macbook Pro but that for next year.
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Old Aug 4, 2011, 10:43 AM   #2
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there seems to be a couple of variations of the mac mini both core i5 processors but differ in the amount of RAM I would say you need to go for the one that has 4gig of Ram.
my 21.5 imac has a core i3 and 4gig and runs aperture and photoshop elements no problems
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Old Aug 4, 2011, 11:02 AM   #3
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All the mini macs will run lr3 just up the ram to at least 4th, 8 would be better. Also you can get aperture 3 for editing also. It works well, and is less money from the apple apps store, 80 dollars.
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Old Aug 4, 2011, 12:51 PM   #4
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Were you mostly interested in a box running OS X because you like Apple's Operating Systems; or just trying to find a good deal on hardware for running Lightroom?

If the latter and you don't mind Windows 7 instead, then you may want to consider buying a laptop with the same CPU and graphics.

The newer Mac Mini base model uses an Intel Core i5 2410M CPU with Intel HD 3000 Graphics. Basically, that's the same "Sandy Bridge" mobile chipset found in many laptops. Apple tends to use laptop chipsets in their Mini. Note the specs for the latest boxes on the right side of this section about them:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mac_Mini#Specifications_3

If you shop around, you should be able to find a laptop with the same CPU and graphics for about the same price.

For example, the base Mac Mini with a 2.3GHZ Core i-5 CPU (it uses the Intel 2410M) with 2GB of DDR3 and a 500GB drive runs $599.

http://store.apple.com/us/browse/hom...co=MjMzOTQxMTc

For the same money ($599), you can get a Dell Inspiron 14R with the same CPU (Core i5 2410M) and graphics (HD 3000, which is standard with the latest Sandy Bridge Laptops), with twice as much memory (4GB of 1333mhz DDR3 versus 2GB with the base Mac Mini) and a 7200rpm 500GB drive.

But, with the Dell laptop, you get a built in keyboard, display, battery and DVD burner.

Then, just use it as a desktop if you like (plug in an external keyboard, monitor, drives, etc.). That particular Dell has two very fast USB 3.0 ports (whereas the Mac gives you thunderbolt instead). But, at 5 gigabits per second, USB 3.0 is still faster than the fastest external drives (the external drive speed would be the bottleneck, not the speed of the port). A number of drive manufacturers are now offering USB 3.0 attached drives and enclosures (and they're also compatible with older USB 2.0 ports, only running at the slower USB 2.0 speed). The Dell also gives you eSATA.

If you go to this page, I just clicked on the CPU check box on the left to show only laptops with i5 CPUs. The $599 model I'm referring to is the one at the top of the list:

http://www.dell.com/us/p/laptops.aspx?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs&~ck=mn#!facets= 135390~0~6687268&p=1

You could also get one of the Dell Vostro (business) laptops equipped about the same way for a bit more (only with Win 7 Pro versus Win 7 Home Premium). See some here with that same CPU starting at $639 with 4GB of memory, Win 7 Pro and a 320GB Drive (the 500GB is a $40 add). They're a bit higher than the Inspiron models, and geared more towards business users.

http://www.dell.com/us/business/p/vostro-laptops?~ck=anav#!facets=55103~0~9641698&p=1

The Sandy Bridge Vostro models like the new 3450 also give you an ExpressCard slot (missing in the Inspiron 14R geared more towards home users). Click the specs tab on this page, then scroll down to the section listing ports and slots and you'll see it:

http://www.dell.com/us/business/p/vostro-3450/pd

Or, look at the desktops. Heck, if you're a good shopper, you could find a nice box with a core i5 2500 for around the same price with more memory and a larger drive, only the desktop would be a lot faster since you'd be getting a CPU with 4 physical cores, twice as much CPU cache, and a faster clock speed. For a faster machine, I'd look at the XPS 8300 boxes (and I'd also check the refurbs at Dell Outlet for bargains).

Of course, you don't get OS X going that route if that's why you want an Apple Mini. But, if you don't mind Win 7, and are just looking for a fast box for Lightroom, going with a non Apple solution would give you more choices for about the same money.
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Old Aug 4, 2011, 1:02 PM   #5
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OSX just got updated. They ripe out a lot more unused old code form the os.and it does run faster from snow leopard to lion, like leopard to snow leopard. Think it is a free upgrade for anyone buying a new machine that still has leopard.
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Last edited by shoturtle; Aug 5, 2011 at 3:35 AM.
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Old Aug 5, 2011, 3:28 AM   #6
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Thank you all for replying.
I am going into Macs after windows since 96.
Looking for a cheap alternative but I guess
I will go 27inch imac with I7 processor and 8gig of ram.
A friend of mine has had one for 4 years and swears by it.
I will get the macbook pro next year for portability.
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Old Aug 5, 2011, 3:43 AM   #7
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The iMac as more speed then the mini, And the i7 is very fast, especially the new ones with the sandybridge. And 8gb of ram will really help it hum along faster when using lightroom 3.

But the mbp do a very good job also. I use a 13 mbp as my main computer now. And I just max the ram, and has no issue with aperture 3 which like lr3, likes allot of ram.
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Old Aug 5, 2011, 6:13 AM   #8
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I went mac after 30 years with pc's and to be honest I wont go back life is so much better with my mac
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Old Aug 12, 2011, 8:56 AM   #9
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My only computer is a MacBook Pro, along with an external monitor. I ended up getting a 17" because I wanted the ExpressCard slot for an eSATA card, not because I wanted the bigger monitor. Get as much memory as you can - it makes a huge difference!

The reason why I like having two monitors. even with them being different sizes, is that it works great with Lightroom. There's a dual monitor mode where you can have the grid library on one and whatever frame that's selected in it will appear on the other monitor. I keep the library grid on the small monitor since I don't need to see everything at one, just a couple of rows. Also, when using develop mode I can have the entire big monitor showing the picture, with the controls on the small monitor (don't need huge space for that). It works well for me - admittedly having two large monitors would be even better but then I'd have to buy a bigger house!
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