Mac Mini Quad Core vs. 6 Core

I am considering a Mac mini to replace my 2008 Mac Pro tower, now obsolete. When it comes to Photoshop, is there any advantage to getting the 6 core processor and paying the extra for it? I will not be doing video and do not batch process images. Just plain old cookie cutter PS.

My old tower is still chugging along and works fine. But I am now 3 or 4 operating systems behind, since I can no longer update them, and I am starting to run into software that will not run on the old OS. Otherwise, I would just keep the old one going.

Harley, I think the base Mac mini would work fine (and quickly) with Photoshop. For PS, extra RAM is more important than extra cores. I have a 2011 iMac with 12 MB and a 2016 Macbook Pro with 16 MB, both process PS changes quickly enough that I don’t notice slowness. What I do notice is the I/O speed, even with Thuderbolt 3 and an external SSD on my laptop, the opening and saving are slow.

A quad core CPU will work just fine for PS, but try to get as much RAM as you can afford. If the Mini will support 32 GB, I would go with that, especially for large files.

I am not sure what options you have for the video card, but PS continues to add video hardware acceleration for features in PS as time goes on. Therefore, a decent video card with at least 2 or 4 GB, or more, of VRAM will pay dividends.

Same here Harley. I’m not sure what I want to do next. Either downgrade models or wait and see for when and if they release a new Mac Pro.

Richard, the Mac Pro is so dang expensive it is not an option for me. I think it is geared toward video editing with all its horsepower. It would be nice, but…

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Based on this, it would seem the older iMac would be a better Photoshop machine than the new Mini. The Mini video has no RAM, it uses processor RAM. Hmmmmm. Maybe Apple will release an upgraded iMac this winter.

Just to clarify, Harley…

The CPU has graphics capability built in. The CPU then uses your RAM as Video RAM (VRAM). There is nothing inherently wrong with this setup, but if the machine does not have enough RAM, video will have the priority and applications such as Photo Shop will slow down.

If you decide on the Mini, get as much RAM as you can afford.

Okay, thanks for clarifying that. I thought the opposite, i.e. it really needed dedicated graphic card RAM.

Hate to to say it - if you want bang for your buck - go Windows 10. But my advice is to get the most CPU you can, as you can always upgrade RAM.

As far as CPU vs RAM - they both are extremely important with PS.

CPU effects most of your everyday performance from everything from Camera Raw, to effects, to a lot of of your display performance, as well as saving/opening speeds.

Lack of RAM hits performance when you are working on large files and if you run out of ram, PS creates a temp file/cache on your Storage which is incredibly slower than RAM. I also think if you run out of space altogether, you can’t even save your file.

The key here is not the number of cores, but CPU speed. Here’s a quote from testing done by Puget Systems

Most actions in Photoshop are either single threaded or lightly threaded . This means that you will get the exact same performance whether your system has two CPU cores or twenty CPU cores. For these actions, a CPU with a high operating frequency is key.

I have a 7 year old Puget Systems workstation with a 3.3GHz, quad core i5 and 32 GB of RAM. I also use an Asus 2GB video card. (Windows 10). Photo Shop CC 2019 runs like a champ. even with large files, and other aps running.

As I mentioned above, Harley should buy as much RAM as he can afford, and I will add that, given the above quote, a 4-core CPU will work just fine. Higher core-count CPU’s get costly real quick, with diminishing returns in terms of performance.

btw: I know for a fact that Harley hates Windows 10–he’s a Mac guy though and though. :slight_smile:

Hmm - ok yeah you’re right. Clock speed vs cores for sure! But still think there’s a benefit if you are multitasking outside of PS. I do also edit video/timelapse so my use case is a little different.

I may add that I when going with a portable/mini computer (i.e. laptops/Mac mini’s) there’s is also the issue of heat and throttling. I have a few machines, two are essentially the same CPU architecture/speed/ram/gpu ect and my cooled tower outperforms a laptop that obviously throttles with heat. That’s a huge downside of a Mac mini.

And big 10-4 on the Mac\Windows… Didn’t want to start “that” conversation lol

That’s a good point. My Win 10 laptop will also throttle a bit when it gets hot. I’ve never had it crash from heat (it has a CPU fan), and I keep the number of running aps to a minimum when using PS on that machine.

Mr. Harley will no doubt look into throttling issues with the Mini.

Just looked up the new spes - still integrated Intel GPU which is also going to be a major bottleneck. They are claiming 3.2x performance with a 6 core as well.

I hear you. I think I bought my old tower for $3000 or $3500. The next gen will probably cost 2x.

It might be worthwhile to bookmark and follow diglloyd. He keeps tab of the latest gear and is always running performance test and recommendations.

He is very high on the new mac mini