Any Mac Mini Blender users here?

(raycat) #1

I am considering a Mac Mini as my next Mac as my Mac Pro ages. Tired of the gi-normous footprint of the mac pro…very impressed with numbers I’m seeing turned in by the latest crop of Minis.

Any Blender users here use one of these Minis as their main/only 3D-rendering machine? Do they hold up well under constant, round-the-clock rendering?

Thanks for anything you can relate about this!


(Onemanfilms) #2

I do use my Mac Mini to use blender a lot! They do hold up pretty well when rendering a lot, but i do recommend getting a free RAM manager from the app store so it does take all of it! :slight_smile:


(Chad Gleason) #3

Id like to further add to this question if thats ok…

Do modern macbook pros and imacs hold up well to 24/7 rendering? As the form factors get slimmer and slimmer, im concerned that they will get too hot and throttle the cpus or worse, overheat.

(Chad Gleason) #4

I dont own any mac minis but what turns me off about them is limited ram and no discreet graphics. Those are 2 serious strikes against using it as a gfx workstation. I would want at least 32 gigs of upgradeable ram (im looking at you, retina macbook pro) and an nvidia chip with 2 gigs of ddr5 ram. Especially if you are buying new.

(place57) #5

I have a mac, and and switching to a windows/linux box as soon as my wife lets me… IMOHO, Mac’s just don’t have the kick you need to do heavy duty 3d work.

(Chad Gleason) #6

What kind of mac? What kind of kick do you need? Not neccessarily disagreeing with you, just looking for more detail. Ive owned many workstations and the mac pro is the best ive ever owned. Unfortunately the mac pro hasnt been updated in over 2 years and no one but apple knows if it ever will be…

(Jason van Gumster) #7

Moved from “General Forums > Blender and CG Discussions” to “Support > Technical Support”

(place57) #8

It seems to me that Apple has abandoned the professional and is trying to gain more mainstream users (A decision I feel was wise on their part). I base this on their decision to eliminate their tower systems and downgrade FCP into iMovie on steroids. I own a Imac 27" which is essencially dead in the water as far as cycles goes. The new MacBookPro has a better choice of card, but I think in the long run moving to a windows/linux box will benefit me more in the future as far as upgradability goes.

I own the master collection CS5 for MAC, but rather than upgrade, I will be moving to the Adobe Cloud and CS6 on the PC. I love the Mac, but for me, it’s advantages have all but ended.

(Chad Gleason) #9

You may be right. We’re holding out hope here that the redesigned mac pro (due out this year) will be a good professional workstation. Unfortunately their track record with redesigns over the past couple of years have not been winning over the hearts and minds of the pros. We’ll see.
If the next “mac pro” turns out to be a mac mini on steroids, then I’m done with Apple.
On the other hand, if the next mac pro is a real workstation, our office will buy 4 of them. :slight_smile:

(raycat) #10

thanks, onemanfilms…what’s the name of the RAM manager?

(raycat) #11

check this link:

I have heard this from people over the past 25 years: “If Apple doesn’t do X-Y-Z next month, I’m done with Macs and going PC!”

I get the frustration, but whatever made you go with Macs, Apple is still producing. Perhaps not releasing a new ultimate machine every 6 months, but the Mac Pros now on peoples’ desktops aren’t garbage. They are still highly capable machines. And no they aren’t abandoning the Mac Pro line so they can sell more iPads. They already ARE selling more iPads!

Then you have oddbarks like me, backing away from their top machine and going back to the Mini…and it will still git 'er done!



(Jakerlund) #12


I’m on an old MP as well and are waiting for the new model.
But i also have the new Mac mini i7 2.3 Ghz / 16Gb ram / 256 Gb SSD.
Mainly i use the mini as server and media center but it handles Blender just fine.
It renders the Mike Pan Cycles benchmark scene on CPU in 2:48.

Cheers :slight_smile:

(Caleb Roenigk) #13

What is the reason one would buy a Mac Mini, I don’t ask to be rude or anything, just wondering the advantages of having one?

(Ricardo Figueira) #14


I am thinking buying the last MAC Mini 2018. The main reason is to have a separated computer to render over the night … normally I use my laptop for that.

Love to know the render times with that “basic” video card Intel UHD Graphics 630.

Ricardo Figueira

(Clockmender) #15

Just seen this thread…

I use a MacBook Pro for all blender modelling work, i7 processor, 8Gb RAM, very good for all my projects so far including file sizes up to 166Mb, not tried bigger as this is the biggest file I have. For rendering I use an Ubuntu box with a 6-core AMD processor and a 4GB GTX980 graphics card. I don’t get using a Mac mini for rendering, it doesn’t have the grunt of a GTX980 and will probably get too hot. I have a liquid cooler for the CPU, not needed for GPU rendering, but useful for other things the machine does. Incidentally, whilst I have good fans in the box, I leave the back off so it never gets too hot. On my MacBook, I sometimes render smaller jobs, like video from png files, here the Mac used to get too hot, so I installed Mac Fan Control:

to keep everything cooler, this works well.

Cheers, Clock. :beers:

(ajarosz) #16

I had MacMini 2012 and we had MacPro in the studio. After two years I was so happy to be back to Windows computer. As for photography, vector graphic mac has sense. If you want to have a small computer- yeah, that will do. But at this price tag, you can have sooo much better computer for 3d.

(Tea_Monster) #17

2 GB of RAM in your GPU is peanuts nowadays - especially if you are doing any serious rendering. They look nice (if rather expensive) for a general computing solution, but you will want a lot more horsepower for 3D work.

I used to be an exclusive Mac Guy. I still have a MacBook Air, which I use for lightweight modelling while my main machine is rendering. I went over to PC back in the 90’s and with the price to performance ratio, I never looked back. Except for their reliance on AMD GPUs, they are nice machines, I just don’t think they are nice enough to justify the pricetag.

The other thing with a standard PC is that when your graphics card can’t keep up any more, you just swap it out for a newer one. My rig has been going strong for 5 years now. I just upgrade the graphics card and cycle in larger RAM chips and I’m back on the sharp edge again.