View Full Version : FCP/FCE on the Mac Mini?
January 11th, 2005, 11:25 PM
just wondering what the general consensus was when it comes to editing using FCP or FCE on the new Mac Mini.
i know myself that I cant afford a G5 or iMac any time soon, so would getting a mac mini for this purpose be a good or bad decision?
does anyone have any idea as to whether a dual screen set up can be ran on one? I also noticed there wasnt a video out connection either..
thanks for your time :)
January 12th, 2005, 07:35 AM
I don't see why they wouldn't run on the mini. I'm still on FCP3, but my main machine is a 1.25ghz single processor tower with 1.25 GB RAM and it works fine. I have also run it on a G4/733 with 768 MB RAM and Titanium Powerbook G4/667 with 512 MB. Of course performance will be in proportion to the hardware specs.
Looking at the specs (http://www.apple.com/macmini/specs.html), there is only one DVI video port and they give you a VGA adaptor. It says you can use s-video with another adaptor which isn't included. However I assume this is an either/or proposition since there's only one port. C'mon now, you're expecting a lot from a $500 computer! :-) It will drive a 1920x1200 screen which isn't bad though.
January 12th, 2005, 08:48 AM
There is no reason why you couldn't run FCP or FCExpress on that little setup. You would want to get the bigger hard drive, max out the RAM (it only holds 1 stick) and buy an external Firewire-DV converter to run your video to an external monitor but other than that, there are very few reasons why it wouldn't work like a charm.
Heck the specs of this new Mac Mini are very similar to my Powerbook which cost over 5 times as much! However if you start customizing it on the Apple Store (add a SuperDrive and Max RAM and such) the price jumps over $1000 very quickly! You can get better RAM from Crucial.com for less than half of what Apple charges for it.
If you are looking for an entry level Mac, this is it! Heck the same software will install on your Dual G5 when you upgrade later.
January 12th, 2005, 09:20 AM
Don't use the internal drive for your media. Get a fast external Firewire drive instead. The hard drive inside the iMac mini is probably very slow. I wouldn't be surprised if it was the same 4200 rpm drive used in the iBooks.
January 12th, 2005, 11:13 AM
Since there is only one Firewire 400 port on the Mini, are there issues with using a Firewire Hub with both a DV or HDV camera/deck attached AND and external HD? Or how about a drive enclosure that allows loopthrough, so you've got your Mini > Hard Drive > Camera? Or Mini > Firewire Hub > Hard Drive & Camera?
January 12th, 2005, 11:33 AM
Scott, I don't think anyone can really answer that question until the mini's start shipping later this month...
January 12th, 2005, 03:39 PM
Be aware FCP has a minimum requirement of 384MB of RAM. You really want as much as you can, but the 512MB price point at the Apple Store makes the most sense to get started... no one knows how difficult it is to get into the box to swap in your own RAM but Apple is charging waaaay to much of 1 GB. You should probably upgrade to a DVD burner too for output of your stuff unless you have an external burner already.
The mini looks to be simply an iBook without a screen. So you most likely will be able to do the mini->HD->Camera route. Of course, some cameras don't like to share the FW chain. USB 2.0 is usually fast enough for DV capture, but wait for testing to see what the mini actually can do... an external drive with USB 2.0 and FW is usually a good way to go anyway if you are using the drive to move data around...
January 12th, 2005, 04:12 PM
"[I]ssues using a Firewire Hub with a ... camera/deck attached & external HD"
Can anyone point me to a relevant thread, here, about this? The search strings I tried didn't call up too much.
January 13th, 2005, 10:52 AM
I have a seagate external hd and I use this exact set up for my dual1.8 G5, but I have also used it with a G4 cube/nuclear furnace, and even an old school imac G3 733mhz. So I can't imagine why this would not work, in fact my external has a second 6pin firewire port so if'n you were using the mini you would still have a free port, even with the cam hooked up.
For reference my cams are are a panna DV53 and a Sony PDX10.
Full disclosure: I work for Seagate, but I think most any firewire drive would probably do this for you...
January 13th, 2005, 04:39 PM
How big of an issue is the crippled and anemic integrated video chipset? I've been searching for a cheap way to get a FCP editing setup for my personal use (not for any heavy effects, just for editing short to mid length films, I have an older post a little ways down in this forum) and my price point was around $500. Have they been spying on me? Anyways, I can't wait to hear board member experiences when they run FCP on the mini setup. Mac, you have peaked my interest, I might actually be buying one of your products!
January 13th, 2005, 05:01 PM
QUOTE from Apple- "DVI video output for digital resolutions up to 1920 x 1200 pixels; supports 20-inch Apple Cinema display and 23-inch Apple Cinema HD display; supports coherent digital displays up to 154MHz; supports non-coherent digital displays up to 135MHz"
That sounds pretty good for a "crippled and anemic integrated video chipset"
Like I said before, there isn't a whole lot about this setup (Mac mini) that is very different from the notebook computers they currently sell and tons of people very successfully edit on those every day. The only drawback is being limited to 1 gig of RAM (if that can really be considered a drawback).
I can't see any problem using this little machine to run FCP and have a good little rig. You're not going to set any speed records but then again it's not designed for that. I would have rather it been a little taller and support 3.5" drives but oh well I guess that's what the Cube was for. (I wish I had bought one of those)
January 13th, 2005, 06:06 PM
I would have rather it been a little taller and support 3.5" drives but oh well I guess that's what the Cube was for. (I wish I had bought one of those) -->>>
You didn't miss much. When it was functional I alternately referred to my cube as "the furnace" or "Apple's challenge to my fanatical brand loyalty." Now, it's inert, and according to my tech friends here in the lab at Seagate, unfixable. I did manage to rescue my data from the hard drive, though. These days we call our cube the world's smallest end table.
Personally, I avoid small form factor as much as possible, if you can't get inside the machine I don't want it.
January 14th, 2005, 08:23 AM
Rhett - but is display support size a primary factor in processing strength? (It could be, it's an honest question).
I haven't heard of this cube before. Is this something MAC came out with previously that was comparable to this new minimac that I assume overheated easily and then crashed etc.? Yes, I'm nitpicking but I bet a lot of PC loyalists will be to see if this very well could be the first MAC they look at purchasing....
January 14th, 2005, 09:46 AM
<<<-- Originally posted by Bryan Roberts : Rhett - but is display support size a primary factor in processing strength? (It could be, it's an honest question).
I haven't heard of this cube before. Is this something MAC came out with previously that was comparable to this new minimac that I assume overheated easily and then crashed etc.? Yes, I'm nitpicking but I bet a lot of PC loyalists will be to see if this very well could be the first MAC they look at purchasing.... -->>>
Actually the cube came and went years ago('99-2001?). The g4 "sunflower" imac actually had an even smaller cpu and, as far as I know, none of the heat issues. And, as far as the heat issues go, I know several people who didn't have them at all. I think apple learned a powerful lesson with the cube, and I'd doubt they would offer the mini if they didn't think it has what it takes. Furthermore, the mini has a 2.5" drive, not a 3.5"; in regards to heat, this is a huge difference...
So, no, I don't think it's a good unit for comparison to the mini...
And, for what's it's worth, my cube only crashed once, and it had a pretty hard life before that happened...
January 14th, 2005, 11:00 AM
The mini is a nice "fun" computer that you _can_ do FCP on, but if that is going to be your main focus, get an older G4 tower. The drive space and expandability will be a better mix than the mini in terms of editing... $500 would be a tough price point to hit, but once you up the RAM for the mini to the bare minimum of 512MB then you are more in the $600 range anyway and without a DVD burner.
It makes a great _extra_ mac or beginner computer or light-weight server or fun Unix box... but not ideal for editing.
January 14th, 2005, 12:30 PM
Well, in regards to the minimac, do you guys think there would there be a noticeable difference between the 1.25 and 1.42 gigahertz versions in an exclusive FCP environment? Worth the upgrade or stick with the $499 version? (the upgrade to faster processor also forces an upgrade of HD to 80 gig which I'd be using an external firewire as it is, so it's a useless upgrade).
January 14th, 2005, 12:37 PM
<<<-- Originally posted by Bryan Roberts : (the upgrade to faster processor also forces an upgrade of HD to 80 gig which I'd be using an external firewire as it is, so it's a useless upgrade). -->>>
Not to muddle the issue or anything, but I don't think that I've ever looked at an addtional 40gb internal or external as "useless" . If you do select the upgraded mini I bet you'll fill that internal drive up pretty fast, weather or not you have an external. Even if you don't, you'd have a nice reserve of HD space to deal with the unexpected when it came up.
January 14th, 2005, 12:49 PM
Personally I doubt that the speed bump to 1.42ghz will be especially noticeable. I see only a slight difference between my 1ghz G4 powerbook and 1.25ghz tower.
January 14th, 2005, 01:16 PM
Mark hit the nail on the head there. If you were serious about editing I would venture for an older G4 for expandability sake but spec-wise the Mini will still do it well.
The specs for the monitors the Mini will support indicate to me that it would have plenty of power to run video. Video isn't really that demanding on the graphics card. As a frame of reference, I have a Dual 500 with 2x32MB ATI Radeon cards. These particular cards are about 5 years old now but they don't have any problem handling the video I run through it. I don't see there being a problem with the built in card on the Mini since it will display full screen HD resolution. Will it "play" full res HD would depend on the hard-disk and processor. I wouldn't put my hopes in that but for DV video it should be fine.
For an "entry level" FCP system, I think the Mini would be really cool. what you lose compared to a full size system is expansion and more processor power but if you don't need it, you're golden.
The Cube was a cool looking little 8x8 G4 computer that didn't gain acceptance because it wasn't expandable. It was a different time in the computer world back then. Today it works better I think.
As far as Small form factor computers go, I have 2 Shuttle PC's and I absolutely love them. They pack a ton of punch into a tiny little case.
January 14th, 2005, 02:59 PM
I hope that Apple continue to expand. They have a better philosophy about what computers should be.
January 17th, 2005, 07:19 AM
Final question: I've heard some concerns regarding the slower 2.5 inch HD. How much affect does having the operating system on a slow drive affect overall system performance when using larger and fast external firewire drives for applications like fcp? Is it only a concern when accessing video files etc. which would be contained on the faster drives or would having FCP on the slow 2.4 internal drive make the whole program not be able to perform as fast? Is this marginal / negligeable? Would using a 7200 speed external HD as a bootable source be a solution?
January 17th, 2005, 07:52 AM
I don't think you'll have too much problem, this is like the drives they're putting in laptops. I notice that my desktop machine boots faster however.
January 17th, 2005, 09:46 AM
I seemed to miss the part where Apple was claiming the Mac Mini was a speed demon. Oh that's right, they didn't.
Obviously this computer isn't going to be ANYWHERE near as fast as ANY other computer in the Macintosh line-up. It's not going to be as upgradeable or expandable and... I would bet that Apple had never conceived it as being their new entry level FCP machine. I mean, FCP costs twice as much as the computer! But here are a few specifics you can learn about this new little machine.
1. Yes, it will run FCP.
2. No, there shouldn't be any serious problems with performance.
3. Yes, there are many people using FCP on systems with equal or lesser hardware configurations than this. (iBook, Powerbook)
4. Yes, you can certainly buy a MUCH better system for editing. (see next)
5. Yes, the Mini will feel much slower than a Dual 2.5Ghz G5 with a Serial RAID Boot, 8gig of RAM, an ATI X800XT and Fibre Channel XRaid storage.
6. Yes, you will have to do a few work-arounds on the Mini because of it's limited Firewire ports. (or rather, port)
7. NO, Apple did not have professional video editing in mind when they designed the Mac Mini.
Apple was thinking more along the lines of Ellen Feiss and friends. People who spent more money on their iPod (if that makes any sense). It seems strange to me that there are users out there that will spend up to $600 on an iPod and complain that the Macintosh computer is too expensive (pre Mini era). Oh well, to each his own. (just an FYI, Apple sold 4.5 MILLION iPods for christmas this year!)
If you want to get a taste of Macintosh this is an easy option. If you still need to buy a monitor and mouse and keyboard to go with it, you would be better off buying an iMac, but "most" people aren't smart enough to figure that out.
January 17th, 2005, 09:59 AM
Or for $800 you could buy an eMac which comes complete with screen, keyboard, mouse, two firewire ports and also has a 1.25ghz G4 http://www.apple.com/emac/specs.html
January 17th, 2005, 02:17 PM
The eMac has a better Hard Drive too in terms of speed. So now you have quite a few options... really the mini is for people that are a) willing to spend more for style or b) people with their own peripherals. Otherwise, the eMac makes more sense or for more power, the iMac. It is a nice lineup at the low end now. The big question I have is will the mini be a lure to get people into stores and then up-sell them to other computers? The big gap is between the eMac and iMac, not the mini and the eMac... those bottom 2 are budget computers and the iMac with easier upgradability will be the computer for the longer time investment.
While some FW hard drives and cameras won't play nice on a single FW port, many should. There is plenty of bandwidth there. In the end, one port or 2, you are using 1 bus to the computer so it shouldn't make too big of a difference.
January 17th, 2005, 05:27 PM
My reason for the mini mac is that the price is rather low, however I understand how the emac is a better value, I already have all my peripherals and want to connect it to my 19 inch LCD which has two inputs and then switch between my pc and mini mac for strictly FCP HD and itunes use. The 17inch CRT emac just takes up too much damned space and I don't want an extra monitor cluttering up my already cluttered work space. I think I'm opting for the 1.4 to get the most I can out of this little dude and my 1 gig stick of memory should be coming in the mail soon - I'm excited to see how my entry into the mac world is :)
January 17th, 2005, 05:50 PM
That makes perfect sense Bryan. I hope you'll report back to us with your impressions after you've put the mini through its paces!
January 18th, 2005, 10:59 PM
thanks for the replies guys, really appreciated :)
January 22nd, 2005, 04:27 AM
Bryan, it's 4 days later now. Got your mac-mini yet? ;)
I am actually intererested in this little bugger myself. I am a PC boy, but I hate them - it's just been the stupid price of a fast desktop Mac that's stopped me going that way and my 2.8Ghz PC is more than fast enough for anything I do, so no drive to upgrade/switch.
Now though, for about NZ$1000 I can try a Mac and see if I like the platform. Use it for everything except my video editing and keep my PC for that. Although I'd love to try FCP......
Can't wait to see how thing work out for you Bryan.
January 22nd, 2005, 08:48 AM
Looks like you may have to wait a little longer for that mini...http://www.thestreet.com/_yahoo/tech/hardware/10204618.html?cm_ven=YAHOO&cm_cat=FREE&cm_ite=NAOrders placed on the company's Web site for the Mac mini may take three to four weeks to ship, the company warns.
January 22nd, 2005, 11:24 AM
Another point to be made is the portability benefits. I can think of at least 10 w/o trying . To have a whole inprocess or finished project in that form factor has alot of potential . Everyone I know has a 19" monitor in their home or office . It's about half of the weight of a 17" LT and alot easier to carry , not to mention the price . Also , usually carrying DT's across international borders is a pain in the tuckus . For artists , art galleries , museums or anyone involved in video or digital photography for multimedia presentation , it's a jewel. Not to mention I can carry it in and out of Mexico without the aduana hitting me up for a bribe, I'll buy one in the next few months for sure! However, I'll probably run fce instead of pro . And who knows , maybe the new imovie will be sooo cool ( the less technology there is between the vision and the completion , the more perfect the work - my humble opinion ). But , I think if you want to run pro , your better off getting a new imac . If you don't need to expand and you can afford to put 1.5 or 2 gigs of ram in the imac , it also is the perfect high end machine - 2 grand with a 20" lcd . Yes the mini for video users WILL cost more than $500 - I'd buy the 80gig drive , airport and bluetooth and get at least 512 ram ( ram cost for this machine will come down fast and there will be good instruction on how to do it yourself ) I'd also bypass the superdrive and opt for a lacie dvd burner instead ( only $100 more )But the mini is going to be in my pocket soon . I predict they become so ubiquitous, they'll replace the dollar-Kurth
January 22nd, 2005, 03:42 PM
Hey Guys - well I tried to order one last week but it listed a Feb 14th ship date so I waited in line at my local MAC store (I felt awfully weird, like a traitor) early this morning and got one of around 20 -30 that were available (they sold out in the first rush of people after opening the doors!, I ended up getting the 1.4). Also, I installed the 1 gig of memory this afternoon which is not difficult, just a bit scary at first, it takes some force and tools. Anyways, my bday is tommorow so I'm going to be busy all today and tommorow so Monday, I'm going to give a proper review with pics and anecdotes etc. so stay tuned for that. - Just as a quick teaser though, I must say I'm very impressed, but more later ;) .
January 22nd, 2005, 09:32 PM
Great stuff Bryan - and Happy Birthday!