Choosing a Mac Mini

Hi all,

I’m hoping someone can provide some advice. I’m looking to recommend a Mac to use at my church. It would mostly be used for live song lyrics and video playback displayed via a projector, playing music, with some audio and video editing.

We share the hall with the school next door so there’s a lot of kids around, so I’m not keen on having an expensive iMac that could get broken, and a laptop would have to be locked away and brought back out every week, could go missing or get dropped. This has made me consider a Mac Mini.

We have a locked media box under our audio-visual station that currently houses an Apple TV and other things hooked up to the projector. My thoughts are to put a Mac Mini in there, run usb extension cables up to the main area to plug in a mouse, keyboard and a spare for usb sticks etc. And then pick up a cheap 1080p monitor and we’re all set. No batteries needed, and nothing accessible is expensive to replace.

I’m having trouble deciding what Mac Mini specs we need - if it was my money it would be easier but I don’t want to recommend something overpowered and too expensive for our needs, but I also don’t want to be recommending it get replaced in a couple of years time.

For longevity, 16Gb of memory is a must. Then I was considering 256 or 512Gb of internal storage, with an external SSD hanging off it for extra storage, and a standard HDD for time machine backups.

Processor is my biggest question. We do some light video editing on fairly large clips. a recorded sermon will be 30-40 mins. Normally I use FCPX to sync video and externally recorded audio, chop the beginning and end, crop in and export before uploading to Youtube. I want people to be able to join the AV team without having to own a Mac or their own video editing software, so being able to complete these edits on the Mac Mini is a goal. Being able to edit this, and export fairly quickly would be great so people aren’t staying back on a Sunday to wait for the edit to render or export. I want to be able to do this all in 4K also, for future. My 2017 dual core Macbook Pro handles this ok, but I do wait a long time for rendering in FCPX.

Sorry for the novel, I’m just really not sure whether the standard 4 core will be fine, or whether to go for the 6 core upgrade to ensure we get 5+ years out of it. If anyone has any other recommendations I’m all ears.

Thanks,
Lance

The mac minis across the line could perform the tasks you describe very well I think. But, one tip:

For longevity I would look at the CPU first. Then memory, then SSD.

  • Memory can be expanded by you, or at an apple authorised service center
  • The SSD capacity can be easily expanded by using external SSD storage

Your CPU is fixed to the motherboard and is the one thing that cannot be user upgraded or replaced.

If you are spending someone else’s money, and want it to last I would recommend upping the CPU as much as you can, add 16Gb lateron or if you have the money right away, and go for the 128 or 256 gb SSD.

A Samsung T5 SSD 500gb should be about 100-120 dollars, so that should not stretch any organisation’s budget too much in a month or two. Memory is about 50 dollars for 16gb, so again not too much money and you can always do that when it is needed.

Spend the money on processor and ram. Use the could for storage and backup. When the Mini breaks down or goes missing you don’t have to worry about the data. Plus the sharing of the files is so much easier.