- Advice on which Mac would best suit editing (Mac Mini vs. iMac vs. waiting)
- A year with Apple's 5K iMac: Still the best Mac for your money
- Initial thoughts
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My MacBook Pro and my custom build Windows desktop. Nothing else. As mentioned above, this is what I chose for my photo editing computers in and It works. With only GB of storage I have to think about what I am putting there and actively manage it a bit, watching for programs that default to using the boot drive for temp files. Now you are not going to put your photos here. I guess it is nice to see Apple offer some overkill options. You may be thinking that 1TB or 2TB of local storage inside the Mac Mini sounds ideal to you as a photographer, but the price is over the top again here.
However, Apple is marking up the costs on the SSD quite a bit more than they are with the memory. External storage is the best way to meet the needs of storing your photos and GB or B SSD options are better choices. While on the topic of storage, if you are going to use a Mac Mini for your photo editing you really have to plan on adding external storage for your photos. I really wish that Apple offered a desktop computer with the form factor that allowed adding internal storage. Maybe the new Mac Pro that is supposed to be headed our way in will provide it, but I am not holding my breath.
So the storage has to be external. Fortunately Apple has provided some super speedy ports on the Mac Mini to do just that. Thunderbolt 3 connections are capable of speeds that rival the M. Neither is worth the price of the storage for the tiny bit of performance increase. It would sure be nice if there was a less expensive way to go to 2TB of that insanely fast storage.
I do have a very good alternative. Still a little on the costly side for many photographers, but a really good option that will provide quite a lot of performance. That drive is plenty fast to keep your Lightroom and Photoshop moving along.
Advice on which Mac would best suit editing (Mac Mini vs. iMac vs. waiting)
Edit from the speedy and mostly reasonably priced SandDisk SSD and then store the photos long-term in the slower but far less expensive WD drive or something similar. A great solution to the problem of storage for a photographer wanting to use a Mac Mini for photo editing. I recommend BackBlaze as both a reliable and good value online backup provider I have used for many years. There is really only one good reason a photographer would consider this upgrade, and that is if you ever want to use Network Attached Storage NAS.
We just talked about needing to add external storage. The important thing to note is that this upgraded Ethernet connection will allow you to get the very most speed out of that NAS as is possible today. With that 10 gigabit connection you can get speeds fast enough to edit photos from the NAS.
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If you need it later and are still using this Mac Mini for editing then you can always add a Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter and get there when you decide you need it. Though not listed as a decision you need to make as you are buying your Mac Mini, I wanted to go over this briefly here.
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Graphics cards are pretty expensive in general again, thank you crypto miners and you have to add the cost of a Thunderbolt 3 chasis to the mix. There is some support, and in some cases it has helped, but there are still a lot of photographers finding they have to turn off what limited support there is for GPU in order to get the most performance.
Even without great support for GPU in Lightroom and Photoshop, a discrete graphics card would likely do better than the Intel UHD Graphics , but it is going to be good enough for photo editing. I recommend skipping on the whole eGPU option here. At least for now. The other options are just overkill. Love the article. But to be honest made me confused. And that has being my main machine to edit all my photos in Lr and Ps.
I work as a wedding photographer. It has accomplished wonders and only a few times it gets slow and do some delays in the editing. How could I have being able to fully edit thousands of photos on Ps and Lr with a theoretically slower and less powerful machine? When properly configured with the Core i7 processor and 16GB of memory it does extremely well. I have heard from many photographers who used the advice in the article to guide their purchase and they are extremely happy. That is what I was trying to get across as the entire premise of the article, I think the Mac Mini is the very best price to performance option for photographers to run Lr and Ps.
Now this can be solved with an eGPU connected via that super speedy Thunderbolt 3 connection, so there is that. Though that tech is new enough, and therefore expensive enough, if you want to do video editing you are better off with a MacBook Pro or iMac. Oh, in second reading if your comment Thiago, it is my strong recommendation to not go with the baseline model of the Mac Mini and I do believe that is absolutely true.
It is that if you invest a little more in some hardware here the experience of Lr in particular will increase tremendously. It is very worth the investment.
A year with Apple's 5K iMac: Still the best Mac for your money
The less advanced features of the software. I also know that importing, exporting, and most of the activities in the Develop module are significantly faster when you have a stronger processor. It will totally work to be sure. For some tasks as you say just fine, just significantly better with Core i5 and then better again with Core i7 that for the little bit of money it takes to get there it is totally worth doing that given most photographers are going to keep this computer around for as long as they can.
My big worry is hooking this up to my existing 5K Ultra Fine and experiencing the laggy LR performance still. Give this a try on you MacBook Pro. Just to give it a try. See how the performance is. Does the lag you have seen go away? What the heck would be the best solution here?
I have the 5k monitor so desperately want to use that. Editing in this smaller window is not ideal haha… 1st world photographer problems, I know. Thanks in advance. But at least the mini is available now. Read your build a PC article — thanks! With the current iMac prices; and knowing any new iMacs, based on Apples current greedy stance, will cost even more, the mini looks favourable. Your help or direction is greatly appreciated.
This may never get seen since this article is several months old, and its a good writeup, but there are some technical errors in your external storage section. Wicked fast. But expensive. You could also build your own. Too funny, my middle name is actually Dean. So I am a Jeff Dean too!
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Those TB3 ports are far more capable than I gave them credit for. Thanks for catching that.
Updated the article. Thanks for the feedback! Easy to add a simple 2. Great for a scratch disk. Even a small GB drive. At least in the minis case, it means not having to shell out the premium for an internal drive from apple. You could get by with GB even…. And GB is dropbox, shared files to clients across the country. Advice on which Mac would best suit editing Mac Mini vs. The iMac Pros: In particular, would it follow suit with the iMac Pro and have RAM that requires a technician to upgrade?
I wanted to get some advice, particularly on what would be best for running Lightroom and Photoshop, since those are the primary tools that warrant the more powerful computer. I kinda assume more cores is, generally more important than the GPU. But is it worth waiting? Jon Anscher Posts 30 Reply Likes undecided.
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All 4 Replies. David Converse Posts Reply Likes.