New mac mini?

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Darlington Pair
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New mac mini?

Post by Darlington Pair » Wed Mar 18, 2015 12:15 pm

So has anyone tried the new mac mini as a DAW around here?

I was just getting ready to pull the trigger on the last generation when they released the new ones. I know there are a lot of things that aren't as nice like the soldered in RAM and the lack of a firewire port forcing me to use yet another adapter.

But now that the mac mini server was better dust has settled, has anyone bought the new one and tried to use it? Is it a useful studio machine if I get the RAM maxed out? I don't really do virtual instruments and a good amount of my processing happens on the way to the machine, so I'm really only mixing and editing.

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Post by kslight » Wed Mar 18, 2015 1:16 pm

I don't have direct experience with the Mac mini, but I still run pt11/etc 24/96k on my 2010 Mac pro (quad 2.8, 16gb ram), which is hardly the fastest anymore, no problems. Hope that helps.

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Post by Darlington Pair » Wed Mar 18, 2015 1:59 pm

kslight wrote:I don't have direct experience with the Mac mini, but I still run pt11/etc 24/96k on my 2010 Mac pro (quad 2.8, 16gb ram), which is hardly the fastest anymore, no problems. Hope that helps.
I'm currently running a dual processor G5 with no problems, I just don't have access to newer software. I suppose it will be perfectly fine for my application because I'm not super demanding, I guess I was just curious about it's capabilities if I decide to get more demanding as programs and plugins become bigger users of resources.

It's also probably time to stop using Cubase SX3. I downloaded Reaper and I should explore that a little more, but I got Mixbus on sale and so far I've only used it to do stereo mixes. Mixbus sounds really great and I love the metering and ease of mixing, but I haven't really got in much deeper than that.

Also, the fact that I'm still running a G5 (that I bought used) shows how often my wife lets me have money for computers :) This is why I'm such a hardware guy, because I can trade repair services for it or fix up old stuff.

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Randyman...
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Post by Randyman... » Wed Mar 18, 2015 3:34 pm

Not a Mac guy, but I believe Apple wised up and made the Mac Mini impossible to upgrade. People were buying the cheaper ones and maxing them out with 3rd party RAM and SSD's and surpassing some of the Mac Desktops for way less cash!

Apple couldn't have that. I believe they stepped down the CPU's, too to further distance the Minis from the Mac Pro.

IIRC, Not even RAM is upgradeable, and I believe the SSD is even soldered to the MoBo on current models. It's meant to be a disposable device at this point (like your iPhone!), but is likely still fairly powerful considering modern 5th gen Intel CPU's aren't available as slugs :) .

Sorry to go on a tangent, but I feel this is relevant to the topic at hand. Maybe a ful-fledged Mac guru can clarify what is or in't upgradeable on the current Mac mini's.

Just curious - How long till Apple kills off Thunderbolt in favor of USB-C? :roll:

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Post by kslight » Wed Mar 18, 2015 4:42 pm

I don't claim to be the end-all be all Apple guy at all (I do find several things they do annoying), but from I can tell on their site, the hard drive is replaceable, just not the memory. Of course they gouge you to upgrade the memory?nothing new from Apple.

CPU definitely seemed stepped down, looks like you can't even get a quad core in the Mini, and that would be a deal breaker for me. If that is your max budget, it might be worth your time to look at a second hand machine, I imagine there are a lot of really excellent Mac Pro towers sitting around on the used market at a fraction of their original price.

Keep in mind, modern Pro Tools/etc are fairly well multithreaded apps, so if you've got extra cores it will definitely benefit you.

If you plan to hold on to this computer as long as you held onto the G5, it seems that the mini might not be the best option in the long run, though I'm imagining that it would run your current demands reasonably, its hard to say what will be out there tomorrow. Like I said, my older system is still running latest software fine (PT11, Live 9, Reason 7).

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Post by Catfish » Wed Mar 18, 2015 7:15 pm

I went with the last generation (2011) i7 quad Mini. Maxed the ram, put in an ssd, and for not much, I have a hell of a powerful little machine. Have both Firewire and Thunderbolt, plus USB3. I dont push it particularly hard, but it really performs well.

My .02

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Post by Darlington Pair » Thu Mar 19, 2015 7:16 am

Catfish wrote:I went with the last generation (2011) i7 quad Mini. Maxed the ram, put in an ssd, and for not much, I have a hell of a powerful little machine. Have both Firewire and Thunderbolt, plus USB3. I dont push it particularly hard, but it really performs well.

My .02
For a while the prices on those shot through the roof, but it looks like the quad one can be had for a reasonable price. I think I'm just going to do that, looks like they benchmark better than the new one.

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Post by Randyman... » Sat Mar 21, 2015 4:50 pm

Darlington Pair wrote:
For a while the prices on those shot through the roof, but it looks like the quad one can be had for a reasonable price. I think I'm just going to do that, looks like they benchmark better than the new one.
As mentioned - Apple "wised up" and distanced the Mini from the current desktop line as an artificial handicap and artificial motivator to get people spending more cash IMNSHO. Gotta love progress.
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Post by jhharvest » Sat Mar 21, 2015 5:18 pm

Hackintoshes can be pretty good these days from what I've heard. Back in the day we had the IBM PC compatibles (i.e. clones). I wish someone would start to manufacture Apple Mac compatible computers - I suppose no chance of that happening in the litigation environment of 2015. :/

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Post by kslight » Sat Mar 21, 2015 6:10 pm

Randyman... wrote:
Darlington Pair wrote:
For a while the prices on those shot through the roof, but it looks like the quad one can be had for a reasonable price. I think I'm just going to do that, looks like they benchmark better than the new one.
As mentioned - Apple "wised up" and distanced the Mini from the current desktop line as an artificial handicap and artificial motivator to get people spending more cash IMNSHO. Gotta love progress.
Yeah Apple is kind of funny. I really like Mac OS and I like that it is a relatively closed system, however if Apple isn't interested in making desktop computers that do more than look good, they should license someone else to do it, as long as they can do it "right" instead of making bargain basement PCs. Or, I'm fine building my own computer again, I just don't want to run windows, or dick around with hacks to make it work.

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2011 Mini here

Post by jdk90042 » Thu Aug 27, 2015 3:29 pm

Replaced boot drive with an SSD from OWC, rather than upgrade to a new machine. Newer ones have slower spinning HDs, 5400 is not really suitable for what I'm doing, maybe light tracking is ok. But heavy track counts and streaming virtual instruments would not work. The top model might be ok with the 2.8 processor and SSD.

I think you CAN still replace boot drives and RAM, so that could still work, but might be better off with a second hand older one.

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