Video work will be aided with the discrete graphics.
It also depends on how intense the video work is
going to be as well and whether the software leverages
GPU acceleration for its work or CPU for its work.
The audio will obviously be CPU intensive.
Something you may consider, is the Mini Server.
You would still need to get the RAM, but you get
quad core i7 with virtualization (equivelent of 8 cores
total) and a pair of 7200 RPM drives. It does, however,
have the HD3000 graphics. Just don't enable any of
the server functions.
Having all those cores may help with the audio stuff
if you use a lot of plugins as a "virtual rack". Personally,
I am using one as primarilly an engineering workstation
and on the side some photo editing, some light movie
work (just with iMovie, nothing fancy), and some audio
work restoring some LPs. I find it quite cabable at all
the tasks and typically much better performing that
my dual core, 2.7 GHz, i7 13" Macbook Pro.
Thanks very much woodmeister50 . Indeed, I was at an Apple Store today and that guy made me realize I could even think of using Boot Camp and have Win and OS X on a Mac mini. Then with your reply, I went and saw I could even use one HDD for each on a Mac Mini Server (I guess ??) - which would avoid me to disconnect everything in my studio when I need to switch from Mac to PC and vice versa...(an audio Interface in Firewire, a USB midi interface, keyboard/mouse/monitors...
Any additional advice on this ?
You sort of brought the final drop on the cake in my decision: it's either the base model, or the Server ! And I'm falling more and more on the side of the server!
One nebulous question for which I have not (yet) found satisfying reply: Can I use dual monitors (screens) with a Mac mini (server or else) ? (That is: in extended display mode) ? I read it works, it does not, it's difficult... It requires adapter on the Thunderbolt.... Is there an easy (and not costly) way ?
I am pretty sure any pair of 1920x1080 displays would work.
You will need a Display Port to whatever adapter and either
direct connect HDMI or use the HDMI to DVI-D connector
that comes with it. Lion has some quirks with dual displays
depending on the apps being used, atleast that is what I hear.
With the HD3000, you will not be able to go to much higher
screen resolutions and have dual displays, i.e. can only
support 1 Apple Thunderbolt Display.
As for the adapters for the Thunderbolt port, pretty much any
Display Port adapter will work (Thunderbolt is backward compatible).
These are pretty inexpensive, however, don't get the cheapest ones
as they tend to be unreliable.
One thing to note, if you plug anything into the audio out port on
the Mini, it will disable all other audio outputs. Not sure why, just
the way it is.
As to your Bootcamp question, you should be able to install
on the second drive, although I can't verify that.
I bought the base model and souped it up to 8Gb and installed 2 SSD drives for like $800 taxes incld.
You can have 2 monitors, one from the HDMI to DVI-D cable incld and the other from the Apple mini display to DVi via the Thunderbolt port (I own 2 of these from my previous Macbook and Mini. The ATI card benefits for games and perhaps some 3D stuff, but if you are just doing video and photo work, the base HD3000 is more than enough.
4Gb on Lion is not fast on your Mac Mini. You need 8Gb seriously and if you are running 64bit specific applications. I paid like $30 for 8Gb in a local computer store when it went on sale. $39 should get you the same at Amazon.com.
Once a SSD drive is installed, the mini runs like a Macbook Air. All 2011 minis will take a 2nd hard drive, but you need to buy hardware for it, like screws, mounting gromets and a specialized Apple SATA drive cable from iFixit.
Btw, I use iMovie 11, Adobe CS 5.5 (Photoshop mainly), Nikon Capture NX 2.3.0 (64bit) and Aperture very effectively. The 2nd SSD is used as a scratch drive for iMovie 11 and Photoshop with effective blazing speeds.
Hope this helps.