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View Full Version : which mini for media center?




superB
Jan 29, 2007, 03:05 PM
hey guys,

i am waiting for the updates to pick up a new mini as my desktop replacement. i am probably going to take it to 1-2G so it will be peppy enough. i am hoping it will be a core2d.

my question is this - i want to pick up a second mini to use downstairs with my plasma and sound system. i want it to be my dvd player and file share it with my new mini i will be buying. the only thing i want besides good dvd quality and music is to be able to surf the net on it.

what is the minimum level mini(used/refurbed/new) that i can pick up to do this keeping in mind that budget is an issue for this one.
?core solo
? core duo
?min speed
?min ram

thanks in advance



tyr2
Jan 29, 2007, 03:12 PM
Have you considered a second hand PPC Mac Mini? I have one in my living room and it does the whole web browsing / music streaming thing very nicely. I'd use it for playing DVDs if my TV had a DVI input but I'm using composite so the quality is pretty terrible, it'd be nice with the right TV tho.

Depends if you want digital audio out and a remote really.

superB
Jan 29, 2007, 07:04 PM
Have you considered a second hand PPC Mac Mini? I have one in my living room and it does the whole web browsing / music streaming thing very nicely. I'd use it for playing DVDs if my TV had a DVI input but I'm using composite so the quality is pretty terrible, it'd be nice with the right TV tho.

Depends if you want digital audio out and a remote really.

i do want digital audio out. would a core solo with 1 gig be good enough for dvd's and sound? i might have a friend who will sell his old mini to me. i think it is a core solo 512 but i would upgrade it to 1 gig. will this model have full dvd capability? wireless?

thanks

livingfortoday
Jan 29, 2007, 07:23 PM
I don't get what you mean by "full dvd capability". All Mini's had some form of DVD player in them, so yeah, they'll all be able to play DVD's. I think you'll be fine with a Core Solo - they came standard with wireless, and I had one hooked up to a 23" display (1920x1440 resolution) without any problems when it came to video. A Core Duo will be faster, of course, but a Solo should be fine. I would not recommend a G4 for HD content, though, I think you'll be limited be the slower CPU, as well as the 1GB RAM limit.

superB
Jan 30, 2007, 12:41 AM
I don't get what you mean by "full dvd capability". All Mini's had some form of DVD player in them, so yeah, they'll all be able to play DVD's. I think you'll be fine with a Core Solo - they came standard with wireless, and I had one hooked up to a 23" display (1920x1440 resolution) without any problems when it came to video. A Core Duo will be faster, of course, but a Solo should be fine. I would not recommend a G4 for HD content, though, I think you'll be limited be the slower CPU, as well as the 1GB RAM limit.

sorry what i meant by full dvd was that i would get as good of apicture on my 42 plasma as i would get from a dvd player. also will i get 5.1 digital surround? sorry if i sound infantile with this. im quite techy when it comes to tv and audio but not pc's, especially macs. these mini's will be my first macs so i am just climbing the learning curve.

getting excited though.

thanks

gauchogolfer
Jan 30, 2007, 12:49 AM
Will you be playing physical DVD discs in the mini, or from files you have ripped and are sharing over your network?

livingfortoday
Jan 30, 2007, 01:04 AM
I believe you're out of luck with the 5.1 audio. I think it can only do stereo? I don't know much about audio, so someone else will have to correct me. Here are the exact specs from Apple:

The headphone / line output jack accommodates digital optical audio output, analog audio output with a 24-bit, 44.1-192 kHz D/A converter, digital audio output up to 24-bit stereo and 44.1-192 kHz sampling rate and supporting encoded digital audio output (AC3 and DTS). For analog headphone / line output a standard audio cable with 3.5mm metal plug should be used. For digital audio, a standard toslink cable with a toslink mini-plug adapter can be used.

As for video quality, I think it will be quite good. You might want to consider an :apple: TV, though, as it has HDMI output as well as digital audio and component audio. Plus, it's cheaper.

superB
Jan 30, 2007, 01:24 AM
I believe you're out of luck with the 5.1 audio. I think it can only do stereo? I don't know much about audio, so someone else will have to correct me. Here are the exact specs from Apple:



As for video quality, I think it will be quite good. You might want to consider an :apple: TV, though, as it has HDMI output as well as digital audio and component audio. Plus, it's cheaper.


supporting encoded digital audio output (AC3 and DTS) the ac3 i beleive refers to dolby dig 5.1. so thats good.
-as for the dvd's: i will mainly just be using it for physical dvds, not ripped file sharing dvd.

i basically want it as a dvd player (physical)that can share my itunes music library and do some casual surfing.

thanks for the responses guys

aswitcher
Jan 30, 2007, 02:02 AM
I have read that you need a duo to handle H264 HD video.

One problem for me is the HDD size. Its too small and too expensive to upgrade to a decent size - you need to get an external (which can be good as 7200rpm are better than 5400rpm).

I still hold out hope that real soon Apple will release new minis better designed for media centre work - especially now Vista is out and Leopard is not too far away. I am waiting.

elec999
Jan 30, 2007, 10:06 PM
How Would you get optical out from a mac mini.
Thanks

gauchogolfer
Jan 30, 2007, 10:17 PM
How Would you get optical out from a mac mini.
Thanks

The headphone/line out jack supports optical-out. It's a standard minijack connector and cable.

WildPalms
Jan 30, 2007, 10:20 PM
What software are you planning on using with it? Just FrontRow?
Have you seen Media Central? http://www.equinux.com/us/products/mediacentral/index.html