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Old Dec 19, 2012, 01:37 AM   #1
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Mac Mini config for HDTV and EyeTV

I use Elgato's EyeTV to record and playback broadcast TV shows/movies using a Mac Mini dual core 1.83Ghz and 2Gb of 667Mhz RAM. It's mostly done quite well. However I am noticing more and more that some (but not all, making it rather puzzling) HD content I record plays back with the video out of sync with the audio. If I reduce the window size to half of full screen it usually works fine. There are some HD content I've recorded that plays back fine. So I am mystified if it's the processor not keeping up why does it sometimes work.

Now to my question. I'd like to upgrade to a newer Mac Mini. I was considering the new 2012 models but have read that they have some "integrated" graphics capability and that it suffers with not doing fast frame rates with video. I don't know what that would mean in my situation. My intuition says a 5-6 yr newer model will be faster than what I have but would it be fast enough? Would increasing memory or getting an SSD be the cure? Should I get a used Mac Mini 2011 model? or a 2010 model? the 2011 model has a better graphic card as I understand.

I have looked and looked and can't find a definitive answer for HDTV and Elgato's EyeTV. A 1 hr recording can be from 5-9GB file using it.

I'm wondering if the times it works ok is actually 720p and not working ok for 1080p? How would I know?

I saw one article where they max'd out a Mac Mini 2012 with fusion drive, max ram, top CPU model and got pretty impressive results but it's like $1100 price tag. Seems steep for my needs.

Please steer me to articles or provide answers based on preferably your experience or if you have solid theory.
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 11:01 AM   #2
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I will be interested in see what the experts have to say.
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Old Dec 22, 2012, 01:15 AM   #3
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Well the 6630m GPU on the Mini 2011 is indeed better than the HD4000.
As for the HD4600 on Haswell ("Mac Mini 2013"), we'll see.

Leaving aside technicalities...

I can perfectly record 1080i via Hauppauge's HD PVR and the EyeTV app (I think you are referring to a setup like this? Or referring to EyeTV as the device itself?). I have a Mini 2011, Corei7 (Dual), 8 GB Ram, stock 500GB SATA.

In any case, it works wonders for me, no stuttering or anything at all. Just pure, full HD (well, at least on the few HD channels I get via my cable provider, since in South America of course we live in the dark ages).

Now playing back, if that's your issue, might sound dumb but have you tried using another computer to play the videos? Maybe it has to do something with the recording source?

In configuration, I use MAX framerate available, which means around 12-15 GB per hour of Full HD content.

Have in mind that if your fear is that, "5-6 year newer model" will experience HD playback issues.. well, fear not.
If the raspberry PI can playback HD in such a tiny package, then it's obvious anything Core i* (and even older) can easily eat a BluRay-like source for breakfast.

Both the Mini 2011 and 2012 will playback Full HD content pretty well, now the GPU difference will only matter if you're using apps that depend on GPU capabilities, in which the 2011 has a little headstart, but both GPUs are crappy anyway.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 06:26 AM   #4
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I have just bought a Mac Mini MD 388 - for all our eyetv recordings. It works very fine - but since I'm no expert I wouldn't know if it is overkill.

Here's one of the reviews I read before I bought mine:


Tanja, Denmark
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