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Old Oct 28, 2012, 07:00 AM   #1
BenBKK
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New Mac Mini as HTPC

I've been waiting for the new Mac Mini to come out but would like to ask people which model and upgrades would be best for use (mainly) as a HTPC. And the main question is whether the new Intel graphics would be up to playing any sized movie file I throw at it.

I'm thinking the mid range with the hdd or fusion drive and maybe upgrading the RAM later on.

Thanks
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Old Oct 28, 2012, 08:14 AM   #2
fa8362
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People use nearly 4 year old minis for that, so you don't need more than the base and you don't need any upgrades. Just buy it and set it up. I'd advise you to use an external hard drive for audio and video files, but other than that, you don't need anything else to get started. You can add more RAM later if you desire, but there's no reason to buy it now.
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Old Oct 28, 2012, 08:34 AM   #3
BenBKK
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Thanks for the reply. I guess the main reason I'd go for the mid is for the 1TB HDD. Good to know that the graphics would be OK though.
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Old Oct 28, 2012, 08:38 AM   #4
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Thanks for the reply. I guess the main reason I'd go for the mid is for the 1TB HDD. Good to know that the graphics would be OK though.
$200 will buy you a lot of external hard drive space. You'll be able to get at least 2 TB for that money...or two 1 TB drives, with one being used as the backup.
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Old Oct 28, 2012, 09:01 AM   #5
marcello696
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Instead of getting a base 2012 model, I saved some $$$ and bought a mid level 2011 model (same CPU as the base 2012).

Installed Plex and it's streaming high bit rate Blu Ray rips with ease.
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Old Oct 28, 2012, 09:08 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by BenBKK View Post
I've been waiting for the new Mac Mini to come out but would like to ask people which model and upgrades would be best for use (mainly) as a HTPC. And the main question is whether the new Intel graphics would be up to playing any sized movie file I throw at it.
I got the mid $799. It has played everything very well in my home theater. Except for DVDs. Can't handle them at all. Any of them.

For awhile I thought there might be something wrong with the external DVD drive I had hooked up, but I now realize it's some kind of digital rights management, even though some of the DVDs have no copyright.

The new mini will NOT play DVDs in my home theater setup. Blocks them out with a checkerboard screen. The only way it seems to work is if I hook up a keyboard and mouse to the mini and run it directly, no remote management at all. That's not the way I'm set up; the mini is unusable and I'm returning it.
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Old Nov 7, 2012, 08:49 PM   #7
BenBKK
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Originally Posted by fa8362 View Post
People use nearly 4 year old minis for that, so you don't need more than the base and you don't need any upgrades. Just buy it and set it up. I'd advise you to use an external hard drive for audio and video files, but other than that, you don't need anything else to get started. You can add more RAM later if you desire, but there's no reason to buy it now.
Thanks again for the suggestion. I was most likely going to buy the mid range but for once I thought I'd go for the cheaper option. I installed my base mini last night and it definitely handles what I need it for fine.

I do think it's worth upgrading the RAM though. The only thing I've noticed is that apps don't open as quickly as I expected them too. Otherwise very happy.

One question I do have though is what kind of external/portable hard drives work best with macs. This is my first one and I had no idea about them not working with NTFS drives.
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Old Nov 7, 2012, 08:56 PM   #8
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One question I do have though is what kind of external/portable hard drives work best with macs. This is my first one and I had no idea about them not working with NTFS drives.
Fanless 3.5" enclosures that double as the heat sink are the best bang for the buck. But they require an AC connection. The 2.5" FW/USB are also good for video playback and most do not require AC since they are bus-powered. However, you get a smaller drive capacity, max of 2 gb.
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Old Nov 7, 2012, 09:19 PM   #9
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The base model will do the job HOWEVER - The best upgrade I strongly recommend is a SSD for the OS - My reasoning behind it is I wanted my Mac Mini HTPC operate instantaneously - It makes the whole home theatre experience seamless. And when you buy external hard drives get either FW800 or USB 3.0 cause you will find your self transferring movies and tv series regularly between drives. I chose FW800 as I can daisy chain them so I still have spare USB ports. Plex is the best Media Centre application.

Goodluck!
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Old Nov 8, 2012, 06:51 PM   #10
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I was thinking about the server but now I'm wondering if the fusion drive might be a good fit for a HTPC. Or should I just get a small SSD and put all media on externals? Trying to figure out best performance/price balance.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 04:51 AM   #11
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I was thinking about the server but now I'm wondering if the fusion drive might be a good fit for a HTPC. Or should I just get a small SSD and put all media on externals? Trying to figure out best performance/price balance.
Thats exactly what I did. 128GB ssd + 500GB internal. 3x 2tb fw800 drives daisy chained
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 08:07 AM   #12
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Thats exactly what I did. 128GB ssd + 500GB internal. 3x 2tb fw800 drives daisy chained
Yeah, I've made up my mind that I'm going to use an internal SSD and put all the media on USB 3 externals. I think it will work out well. More space for the money while keeping the quick access times of the SSD for everyday computing.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 02:35 PM   #13
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$200 will buy you a lot of external hard drive space. You'll be able to get at least 2 TB for that money...or two 1 TB drives, with one being used as the backup.
You can get 4TB for that money. Costco is selling the 4TB Seagate Backup Plus for $180.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 03:12 PM   #14
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You can get 4TB for that money. Costco is selling the 4TB Seagate Backup Plus for $180.
Yes but I didnt buy them all at once. Once I fill one I buy another. And my mac-mini only has usb 2 so firewire is an advantage


Woops sorry replied to wrong quote - ignore me haha

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kobyh15 View Post
Yeah, I've made up my mind that I'm going to use an internal SSD and put all the media on USB 3 externals. I think it will work out well. More space for the money while keeping the quick access times of the SSD for everyday computing.
Good move - You will never run out of space! By the time you use up the USB 3.0 ports thunderbolt prices would may have come down!
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Last edited by tmanto02; Nov 13, 2012 at 03:06 PM. Reason: cause I'm an idiot
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