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hi all


thanks for all the invaluable advice on the related threads


I'm going to wait and see what comes along for the next mac pro update before I make a decision.


In the meantime I do need to find a replacement for the one I'm using now - I've found a new mac mini 2012 for a fraction of the cost and would like to know if it would be much of an improvement over what I use at the moment for rendering. The intention is that this would become my backup machine after I get my main upgrade.


I currently use a 2 x 2.8GHz quad core mac pro (2008) with a Radeon HD 5770


I'm looking at a 2.3GHz quad core i7 mac mini (I would upgrade the RAM)


Integrated Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4000

  • Storage: 1TB SATA
  • Processor: Quad Core i7 2.3GHz
  • Memory (RAM): 4GB 2 x 2GB
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4000


would this offer an improvement over my mac pro?


once again, all advice greatly appreciated







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as for the pure CPU power, you may have a look here:




and compare the setups. as for using the mac mini just for adding additional render power to you mac pro, this could be a good option - but the onbard graphics card may be not very suitable for modeling, the ATI in you macpro being the way better option for opengl!


my recommendation would be to find a more advanced, used mac pro model like the 'nehalem' (2009/2010) models instead of the mini, if you can afford it. these are still very fast compared to current models - especially if you can get a 12 core model - and their CPU's and graphic cards can be upgraded very wel! also, if running mavericks or yosemite, even powerful and cheap PC graphic cards can be used with them. the 2008 mac pro unfortunately is not easily upgradeable CPU wise and has some limitations in the choices for graphic cards upgrades.





Edited by 3dworks

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I did that upgrade a couple of years ago. I was basically in the same boat - a late 2007 Mac Pro to a 2012 i7 Mac Mini. I have 16gb RAM in the mini, and I have to say it blows away that old Mac Pro. It's still my main machine at home. The only real slow-downs are when using all of the options in Shaded Full mode. I use them to "render" a still image but shut them off while working (mainly soft shadows and AO) because the graphics card just can't keep up. I'm running a 27" IPS monitor that can support 2560x1440 but the mini will top out the output at 1920x1080 over HDMI.



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I would second Evan's thoughts.  I run a Mac Mini 2.6GHz quad core, 256 SSD, 16MB RAM and it runs FormZ great except for a slowdown in shaded full with lots of options checked - especially the new v8 soft shadow and AO options.  


For sure upgrade to a SSD drive instead of using a hard drive.  


As I said on the other thread use http://browser.primatelabs.com/mac-benchmarksas a guide for speed.  I have benchmarked render times on a few machines and they mirror very closely the difference in scores on the Geekbench site.  For example, if your old cpu scores 1000 and the new one is 2000 then you can expect to see render times be 2x as fast.


Really the main drawback to the Mini is the graphics card.  I don't notice except for Shaded Full.  I'm sure incredibly complex models in Wireframe and Shaded Work display faster on a better graphics card, but he Mini gets it done more or less.

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