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Mac Mini horsepower for EyeTV / Media Center

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Anastacio, Apr 18, 2010.

  1. macrumors regular

    Hi everyone.
    I have been following the forums for the last few months and finally decided to sign up for MacRumors.

    I have never owned a Mac, only Apple products I have had has been various iPods and the very first iPhone. Now I'm looking to the Mac Mini.

    To make it easier for you folks to help me out, I'll tell you what it'll be used for. The Mini will in my case primarily work as a Media Center. I'll store all my pictures, movies, music (don't have many at the moment) on a harddrive and install Plex like so many others.

    The other function it'll have is tv watching and for me to record shows. So I plan to add on the EyeTV Hybrid or 250 to make this a reality. For loose stuff I could use it for light Internet browsing (news sites, facebook etc.) and the heaviest duty might be simple croppings of pictures (Photoshop CS3 with Windows on it). Mind you it'll be used to store all content (in which I don't have that much) to synchronize with an iPhone.

    What specs do I need to have in the Mac Mini for these purposes? I am looking to save as much money as possible but yet have a "powerful" machine for the mentioned tasks.

    Is this good enough:
    - 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    - 320GB Serial ATA Drive
    - 4GB Memory
    - 8x double-layer SuperDrive
    - Nvidia GeForce 9400M
    - Mac OSX Snow Leopard

    Or could I go for these specs and have a fast experience as well:
    - 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    - 160GB hard drive
    - 2GB Memory
    - Nvidia GeForce 9400M
    - Mac OSX Snow Leopard

    Which one would be best for me? Option 1 or 2?
    An important feature is for it to be silent.

    Then for the additional questions.

    01) How many gbs is a recorded show with EyeTV?
    02) Is keyboard/magic mouse a must or would you recommend a smaller Logitech media center keyboard remote thingy?
    03) Can I manually upgrade it with SSD or 1TB ATA Drive? Will it lose its silency?
    04) It won't be used for games per se but if I would choose so, which games can your chosen option play? Football Manager 2010? Stalker? Anything?

    I would be happy to get some helps from you guys who knows all kind of stuff in the Apple scene. So I would thank you all in advance and appreciate your attention toward my question. Have a nice sunday. =)
  2. macrumors member



    This option would would great for what you said you wanted to do with it. If you are interested in saving money, I recommend looking into the Refurbished Mac products on the Apple Store page. You can usually save $100 or more on products (including the Mac Mini). Not sure how familiar you are with the Refurbished Store, but it updates multiple times a day. So you will just need to check from time to time, and be ready to buy when it is available.

    Its extremely easy to hook up an external HD for more storage.

    Hope that helps. There is quite a bit more information on this topic in several other threads if you want to know more.
  3. macrumors 6502

    I have the 2.26 with an EyeTV Hybrid (2009) and a HomerunHD.

    Processor wise it can handle recording three HD streams simultaneously, though it does max it out. I had 4gb of RAM, but recently pushed that to 8 (excessive and unneeded, I just happened upon a really good deal and had use for the replaced RAM in another machine). The biggest hit on RAM is the export/Comskip after recording is done. 4 will do fine, though 6 seems to give plenty of room. The big drawback on the 2.26 and EyeTV is that playback of HD sports with Progressive Scan drops frames, so you have to switch to one of the lesser motion adaptive settings. Not too big a deal, but if sports are a big part of your viewing I might suggesting going for the 2.5 chip.

    The average HD recording of a one hour show seems to be around 5-6gb.

    As for keyboard, I have a Logitech Edge DiNovo (I think that's what it's called, the full sized one, not the mini one). Honestly I only use it occasionally (maybe once a month or so). More typically I use a combo of the Logitech iPhone mouse controller (works great, and free) and just using ScreenSharing from my iMac or laptop when I need to more intensive stuff.

    You can upgrade the Hard Drive very easily, though from what I read the 1 tb drives are too tall. I don't know if that's true, but something to look into. Assuming you have your Mini in a cabinet next to your other components i can't see any internal hard drive making enough noise to be audible across a room.

    Can't speak to games, as I just use my PS3 for that. I would guess you could get away with any games that is a couple years old.
  4. macrumors regular

    Thanks for the answers guys.
    Maybe I'll invest in one next month then.

    I just hope it will run smoothly with Plex and all the medias.
    I'll primarily use it to record SD tv shows with Eye TV through cable-tv.

    That it would handle right? (now that it seems to run HD content just fine)
  5. macrumors 6502

    It could handle a half dozen simultaneous SD recordings without breaking a sweat (not that EyeTV can do that, I think after four tuners the software starts being buggy). It will handle Plex and all your media no problem.
  6. macrumors regular

    Even with just 2GB of RAM?
    Which one would be best of the tuners, Hybrid or the 250 one which does a lot of the processing itself? And can I connect a tv-cable to the Hybrid? (they say yes everywhere, yet I can't seem to find it on the pictures).
  7. macrumors 6502

    I think 2gb would be okay for SD. 4 would be better, but if you don't want to do the upgrade it would work, you might need to reboot every week or so if you start getting memory pageouts (pinwheels of death).

    The 2010 model of the Hybrid requires an adapter (included in the box) to plug in any source, including coax cable (seems silly to me, they did this merely make it smaller, but it adds an extra cable that doesn't need to be there). I've never used a 250, so I can't speak to its performance, but I don't think it would be needed with a current mini.
  8. macrumors regular

    Alright. I don't want any memory pageouts or trouble with it, as it'll be the first Mac I'll get, so I want it to be as fluid, fast and reliable as can be for the price. I guess I'm going to add 2GBs, so the total will be 4GB. =)
  9. macrumors regular

    Forgot to ask, if I buy the cheapest one with 4GBs instead of 2, will it be able to run in 1080p or 720p at least? Because I'll connect it to my HDTV.
  10. macrumors 6502

    Yes, it will play 1080p with no problem.

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