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Old June 27th, 2008, 12:42 PM   #1
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Mac Mini for HDV editing?

Wanted to see what other MAC users thought.
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Old June 28th, 2008, 03:50 AM   #2
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I used one fine with FCE,the one I was using had 2gb ram/160gb

I must say though that I don't understand the idea behind the Mac mini? Once you've bought it and then paid for the keyboard and screen you are past the price of one of the mid-priced imacs.....having said that,if you already have the screen,etc then they are a good deal.
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Old June 28th, 2008, 04:03 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Cliff Etzel View Post
Wanted to see what other MAC users thought.
I love Macs, but the Mac Mini is a P.O.S. I wouldn't trust it for anything critical, like work/art. Email and web surfing, that's what it's built for.

I'm surprised that FCE can be installed on it! I'd almost rather edit in iMovie on an iMac.
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Old June 28th, 2008, 06:43 PM   #4
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Mike, do you have specifics about the problems you have with the Mac Mini? I've had no problems with the ones I used, even with final cut. They just need more ram and add a firewire Hard Drive... a big one!
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Old June 28th, 2008, 08:24 PM   #5
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Mike, do you have specifics about the problems you have with the Mac Mini?
I'm probably being unfair with a blanket statement like that, but we had one at my previous employer's that had the audio card components die after about 48 hours of use. I have heard similar anecdotes from a few others. Let's just say, I have never physically met someone who worked on a MacMini that didn't have it go bad on them.

I should make the caveat that this is likely the first generation Mac Minis. Are they not on a second or third by now? I haven't kept track. But considering the price and the market towards which it is geared…

I'm curious, those who have used it, what kind of footage were you editing and how long were you spending time on it? Was this running 8+ hours a day, 5 day/week?
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Old June 29th, 2008, 01:04 AM   #6
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I'm curious, those who have used it, what kind of footage were you editing and how long were you spending time on it? Was this running 8+ hours a day, 5 day/week?
I've had one since last August, when the last update was released. It's an 1.83Ghz, Core2duo and I added RAM to 3GB. I use this machine mainly to record and watch HDTV (using Elgato eyeTV) and also (using FrontRow) to watch our own home movies in HD. When I'm doing large transcoding jobs using Compressor, I'm distributing the load between my main work machine (a dual 2.3Ghz G5) and the mini (connected via gigabit). Under these conditions, the mini always outperforms the G5 (it just renders faster).

I wouldn't wanna use it as my main work machine for FCS2 because of its integrated graphics card. But for rendering and for playing HDTV, even for playing raw HDV, it has plenty power. Its fan is almost always on its minimum setting, making it essentially silent, only when rendering for extended times you can hear the fan (it's still quieter than the G5).
Let's not forget that this nice little machine is a previous-generation MacBook in a different form factor. The fact that for $600-700 you get a "render slave" that's faster than a 3 years old G5 is more than good enough.
My mini runs on average 6-7 hours per day, for almost a year now, not a single problem. Recently, I even installed VMware fusion to run windows in virtualization. Since the mini has no monitor attached (only a projector for watching TV), I'm using Windows through screen sharing from the G5 (again, via gigabit) and it's super-fast. The mini doesn't care a bit, it's got plenty power.

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Old June 29th, 2008, 02:10 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Phil Kay View Post
I used one fine with FCE,the one I was using had 2gb ram/160gb

I must say though that I don't understand the idea behind the Mac mini? Once you've bought it and then paid for the keyboard and screen you are past the price of one of the mid-priced imacs.....having said that,if you already have the screen,etc then they are a good deal.
IF you get the Apple KB and mouse, that adds $100 to the price, but there are third party KB and mouse that start at $20 for both. I picked up one from Macmall for $20 for my son's Mac Mini.

IF you already have a display, there's no additional cost, but LCD displays start at about $200.

So the price doesn't have to be as high as an iMac.


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Old June 29th, 2008, 07:41 AM   #8
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But for rendering and for playing HDTV, even for playing raw HDV, it has plenty power. Its fan is almost always on its minimum setting, making it essentially silent, only when rendering for extended times you can hear the fan (it's still quieter than the G5).

Let's not forget that this nice little machine is a previous-generation MacBook in a different form factor. The fact that for $600-700 you get a "render slave" that's faster than a 3 years old G5 is more than good enough.
That's very interesting. Just out of curiosity, do you have any anecdotal figures about its render performance? How much do you think having it as "render slave" cuts your output times?
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Old June 29th, 2008, 12:52 PM   #9
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vid card

has intel gma 950 I believe.. supports FCE but not FCP. (at least not recommended) Might work ok. Too bad it didn't have at least the X3100 like the mbp's have..
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Old June 29th, 2008, 01:49 PM   #10
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That's very interesting. Just out of curiosity, do you have any anecdotal figures about its render performance? How much do you think having it as "render slave" cuts your output times?
I really only have anecdotal numbers. It cuts the transcoding time in half (50% done by the G5, 50% by the mini). This is based on the Batch Monitor window which allows you to see how a job gets worked on. A particular job gets separated into like 7 forks or pieces to be worked on; these get distributed among the available slaves; then you can watch how fast individual forks progress. When watching that progress, the mini is consistently as fast as the G5 (granted, the G5 might have some more background activity, as it's also managing the cluster, running FCS plus maybe safari and some other stuff, but still, +/-20% the two machines are in the same league). Again, this is for compressor jobs only.

My biggest gripe is that I can't use the mini's power when doing regular FCS operations. For example SmoothCam doesn't take advantage 'cause it's inside FCS.
For raw performance numbers, there should be some around on barefeats or other sites. Again, it's the same motherboard as the previous MacBook generation.

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