Mac Mini 2011

Will Wilson

All the gear, no idea
I have acquired a 2011 Mac Mini (Quad i7, 8Gb, Spinner Disks)....

Currently my "main" machine is my Windows Gaming Machine. i7 4770, 32GB RAM and Lots of SSD (1 x 256GB Boot, 1 x 512GB for Games, 2 x 1TB for samples etc) (Win10).

I'm currently using Studio One 3 which is OK but I really miss using Logic, I mainly use Spitfire samples and Kontakt so my question is:

1) Will I be frustrated with the performance with the Mac Mini (assuming I upgrade the RAM to the max 16GB and perhaps put in some SSDs)? Could I use an external Firewire drive to store samples on?
2) Is it worth using the Mac Mini with the PC as a slave? (Not done anything with this slave stuff in the past though, and bear in mind this is also my Gaming PC)
3) Forget about the Mac Mini carry on as I am and potentially wait for the New Mac Pro if it ever arrives?


Senior Member
I use a Mac mini 2011 (Dual i5!) maxed at 16 GB or RAM, an internal SSD, and a Thunderbolt 1 interface adding four USB3 ports. The machine is quite powerful, even if the track count can be low (how much depends on the samples and device from which reading the samples). While I'm waiting to upgrade to a Mac mini 2012 Quad i7, at the moment I can work with the old machine.

With your Quad i7, expect a big speed increase when using audio applications.

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Senior Member
I started with a Mini 2011, but it was dual core, so I can't quite compare with yours. I also have a Mini 2012 that I use at home, if I need to crank something out overnight.

Compared with my Mac Pro 2013 that's at my studio, it's not even close. Some high-res videos don't even play within Cubase on the Mini 2012.

Setting up a slave isn't a bad idea, but it will suck up a whole lot of time. If you can suffer for a year and a half (potentially), then I'd say wait for the new Mac Pro. I couldn't wait, so that's why I got the Mac Pro 2013.

Also, the 2011 only has USB 2, which is pretty painful.

Overall, though, I say do it. Switch to Logic, if you heart calls you to it. Swap out the OS drive for SSDs, install a second hard drive in the Mini for samples also. Slave everything to the PC. And then, in a year and a half, celebrate the release of the new Mac Pro!


Senior Member
Your gaming machine is likely more powerful. However, you could easily use VEPro on your gaming machine to host samples and run it all in Logic on your Mac mini. Just be aware Apple will likely abandon your 2011 machine in the very near future, so LPX updates will eventually not work for you.

One massive downside to Apple is their planned obsolescence, even though older machines are powerful enough to run the new OS.


Senior Member
I run VEP on a mac mini server... Awesome little slave, as it's... well... little! Love the small footprint and surprisingly awesome as a slave machine. Definitely would add extra RAM though.