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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > How comparable is the computing power of a mac mini to a macbook pro?

How comparable is the computing power of a mac mini to a macbook pro?
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Veltliner
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Feb 21, 2009, 05:53 AM
 
I'm just curious: in the past mac minis were not up to many tasks mbps were, especially graphics applications due to their weak integrated graphics card.

Has this changed recently? Is there anybody here who has both a mbp and a mini and runs e.g. Photoshop on it?

It's possible that I need to buy a second computer and I'm checking out my options.
     
Simon
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Feb 21, 2009, 07:57 AM
 
I have both a MBP and a Mm.

Nothing has really changed. The mini still has an anemic GMA950 and a slow C2D with a slow disk.

The MBP has a much better GPU (even the integrated/shared GPU is much better), faster CPUs, bigger (hence faster) disks, and support for more memory. With a Mm you get exactly what you paid for. It's fine as a HTPC or web client, but if you're worried about performance and pro apps it's not what you're looking for. There's a reason the MBP costs over a $1k more. And you will notice it.

If the Mm is updated to MB specs and the price remains where it is now it will be in much better shape. But right now it's almost hopeless.
     
Veltliner  (op)
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Feb 22, 2009, 05:17 AM
 
Thanks, Simon.

I thought I'd had a good idea for a transportable computer with a mini and a 20" cinema display. But with the mini so weak I can forget it.

How much slower are the MacBooks actually than the MacBook Pros? What counts for me is to have the option to use an external flat screen monitor with some transportable computer.
     
Simon
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Feb 22, 2009, 06:56 AM
 
You should probably wait for the Mac mini update to make a final verdict. The Mm is so weak now because it hasn't been updated for a while. After an update there will likely be no performance gap between the Mm and the MB.

Both the MB and the MBP will work fine with a large external monitor. That's how I use mine.

The performance difference between MB and MBP pertains to the GPU and VRAM. If you use apps that rely on a fast GPU (Aperture, Motion, 3D games) or need lots of VRAM you will notice a substantial difference.

It also depends on how much resolution you need on the road. If you only need large resolutions at the desk a MB might be fine. If you need a large resolution to do field work (like a sports photographer) the MB has a clear disadvantage compared to a 17" MBP apart from the GPU. The quality of the MBP screen is also clearly superior to the MB's.
     
tooki
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Feb 22, 2009, 08:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by Veltliner View Post
I thought I'd had a good idea for a transportable computer with a mini and a 20" cinema display. But with the mini so weak I can forget it.]
The 20" Cinema Display was discontinued a few days ago.
     
Simon
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Feb 23, 2009, 03:31 AM
 
Originally Posted by tooki View Post
The 20" Cinema Display was discontinued a few days ago.
Tooki, meet refurb store.

20" ACD, $499
     
Big Mac
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Feb 23, 2009, 04:57 AM
 
Having it in the refurb store doesn't mean it isn't discontinued.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
Simon
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Feb 23, 2009, 05:05 AM
 
Who said it meant that?

What it means is that the OP can still get the 20" he wanted.
     
Veltliner  (op)
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Feb 23, 2009, 08:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by tooki View Post
The 20" Cinema Display was discontinued a few days ago.
You can still buy it refurbished at apple.com

I'd actually look for a more modern display anyway, like an Eizo.
     
Veltliner  (op)
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Feb 23, 2009, 08:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
You should probably wait for the Mac mini update to make a final verdict. The Mm is so weak now because it hasn't been updated for a while. After an update there will likely be no performance gap between the Mm and the MB.
Sounds very good to me.

I just hope it'll get a decent GPU for running Photoshop and Final Cut Pro. Even a low end computer should be able to do that nowadays.

But I might just end up buying a laptop AND an external monitor. More ways to use it.
     
iREZ
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Feb 24, 2009, 07:36 PM
 
get a 17" and you wont need the 20" monitor seeing how both have the same resolution.
NOW YOU SEE ME! 2.4 MBP and 2.0 MBP (running ubuntu)
     
Simon
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Feb 25, 2009, 04:44 AM
 
Originally Posted by iREZ View Post
get a 17" and you wont need the 20" monitor seeing how both have the same resolution.
Actually the 23" ACD has the same resolution as the 17" MBP: 1920x1200.

But in this case that's entirely beside the point because in terms of portability the 17" MBP and a MB are two really different animals. People who need these large resolutions on the go should look at a 17". But forget about using the 17" on coach. If you only need large resolutions at the desk, you can go for something more portable.
     
   
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