Mac Pro or Mac Mini for a Plasma TV?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by roland.g, Sep 21, 2006.

  1. roland.g macrumors 603

    roland.g

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    One mile up and soaring
    #1
    My dad actually needs a new computer. He has a Rev. A 17" 1GHz Powerbook. He wants something that he can hook up to his Sony Wega 42" Plasma TV and use with a BT Keyboard & Mouse. He never really took to OS X, a bit much for him to learn, so I will probably install XP via Bootcamp or possibly Parallels. His 42" is a few years old. I guess my question is whether the Mini can be configured to have a nice desktop on that screen. Will it look good in computer mode (he really won't be watching movies through it) so it has to be clear and readable. OR should he get a mac pro? Will that be noticably better. I guess his other option could be a MacBook Pro with the lid always closed. I just know that I have hooked up an admittedly older 12" PB with only a resolution of 1024x768 to my 42" DLP and that gets fuzzy. Does it come down to the TV or the card pushing it. I know that the Mini can do 1920x1200 or at least 1920 x 1080. Is that and the 64MB shared video enough? Also I know the Mini sees 224MB VRAM in XP.

    Appreciate the feedback. Thanx.
     
  2. meepm00pmeep macrumors 6502

    meepm00pmeep

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    Toronto
    #2
    i think the mac mini's output resolution would look too huge on a plasma tv... whereas the Mac Pro's output resolution would be better.. but do some research on both's output resolution
     
  3. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601

    mrgreen4242

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    Feb 10, 2004
    #3
    The plasma is either a 720p or a 1080p display, meaning 1280x720 resolution or 1920x1080 resolution. If it's a few years old it's almost certainly a 720p set, so 1280x720 is the native resolution of the set... no ability to drive higher resolutions (which both the mini and Pro can do) is going to make things any clearer.

    The reason it looks fuzzy is it's big... that's all (well, depending on how you connected the computer to the set - you should be using DVI->HDMI adaptor cable, anything other than that won't look very good). Imagine taking a picture the size of the MacBook screen (13.3") and magnifying it 350%... it's going to look pretty bad up close. This is the same effect that using a 42" plasma screen as a computer monitor is going to have - same number of pixels, 350% more space being filled with them.

    All that said, why buy him a Mac if he's just going to run Windows on it? That's, sorry if this sounds mean but, stupid. Get him a Media Center Edition Windows PC from Dell or something, save a thousand bucks from the Mac Pro (probably only spend a bit more than the high end mini with extra RAM) and get a remote, TV tuner/recorder, better/more TV output options, etc.

    Good luck!
     
  4. roland.g thread starter macrumors 603

    roland.g

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    #4
    Points all well taken.

    1st off. He has like 3 of these TV's which cost him about $6,000 a pop, so he's not really ultra concerned about savings. He'll only be hooking to one of them. Now I don't know if they are 720 or 1080. But they may in fact be 1080.

    2nd. He likes things that look good and Macs look good. The Mini is appealing because of the form factor. Now your point of the Dell Media Center is good, but I don't think he'll be using much of the media center so much as logging into the VPN for his office and checking his patient schedule and things like that. However I won't rule that option out. And he may end up using Parallels and not Bootcamp so he'd still get some use out of OS X. He also has an iSight and an iPod.

    3rd and lastly. The only experience I've had is hooking the 12" PB up to a 42" DLP and that was not the Mini-DVI but the Rev. A 867 PB with the original video out using the included adapter hooked then through S-Video. Not to mention the lower resolution. So in fact a Mini hooked up via DVI-HDMI at 1920x1080 if his TV is 1080 should look much better. Only issue is he may only have one HDMI input and that is already inuse I'm sure. There may be a separate DVI input. I don't know.

    I appreciate the feedback. Any thoughts based on this would be great.
     
  5. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    Sep 19, 2003
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    Canada, eh?
    #5
    Wow. You're not kidding about $$ burning a hole in your pocket. I wish my family had enough money to be buying 3 plasma TV's and contemplating purchasing a Mac to run Windows for the sole reason of "it looks nice".

    I was considering a TV like that, hoping that they'll drop to around the $1000 (Cdn) mark after Christmas this year. I'd probably attach something cheap to it, so a Mini would be my pick.
     
  6. roland.g thread starter macrumors 603

    roland.g

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    #6
    Just let me get this straight. I live in CO, he lives in FLA. I have a 6 1/2 year old G4 that I have been saving up to replace and haven't figured out yet with what. He is a doctor who works 12-17 hours a day at least 5 if not 6 days a week and has every right to spend his hard earned money on what he wants to. Especially when his only day off is Sunday to watch football and sleep and he still ends up doing paperwork, charts, and dictation. He also bought those 3 TVs when plasmas were new. The same TV doesn't cost $6k today. He's just an early adopter. He also has a 17" PB that he likes but he's 65 and isn't the most tech saavy computer user so while he has learned some of the OS, he uses XP every day at work. Not only will a Mac look nice but it also is a quality machine and now that they can run Windows a little bit of both might be his best solution.
     
  7. Reaver macrumors 6502

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    Columbus, Ohio
    #7

    Ok first off your father can spend as much money he wants to considering he has spent most of his adult life paying for his profession as a doctor. second my uncle is a doctor with a family practice and he uses a 42" LCD in his meeting room with a PC hooked to it for the same reasons your father is wanting to use it for. I would recommend the Mac Pro for this, more than likely the Plasmas are going to be 720p since they are a couple years old and the 1080p plasmas have just started showing up in the past 6 to 7 months. I am sure that the tv(s) could handle 1080i but it would be better at its native resolution so you would need to find out what it was if you know the model numbers of the Tv's you could find out on the Sony website. when hooking up the Tv I am sure it will be DVI-D which is just a regular DVI Cable like you use to hook up your computer monitor with, this works the same way (connect the Mac Pro to the Tv using the cable as you would a monitor). if you or he has used his powerbook with an external monitor I am sure he know or would know how to set the resolution for the external monitor in this case a 42" plasma Tv with the native resolution of the Tv.

    it would also be a good idea to hook up a second monitor to the mac pro while connected to the tv just until you get the resolution worked out that way if nothing shows up on the tv you have something that can still be displayed on a screen so you can follow your work.
     
  8. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    #8
    I don't really see why the Mac Pro would be all that much better than the Mini. I guess it depends on the graphics card, especially at those resolutions.

    Sorry, I didn't mean to be condescending, I just tend to think for anyone to buy a Mac simply because "it looks good" is a little bit vain. But, like you said, he's certainly entitled to it..
     
  9. kellen macrumors 68020

    kellen

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    Aug 11, 2006
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #9
    I currently have my mac mini hooked up to my HDTV (34" Sony XBR) and it looks great using safari, playing WOW, watching movies, etc.

    Setting it up to display perfectly is a crapshoot, some tvs will show the whole computer display and others are more difficult, some people buy an inexpensive program that allows them to set the resolution perfectly to the screen.

    I sit on the couch about 7 feet away and use the BT keyboard and mouse, both working perfectly. Font size in Safari must be increased to read the headlines, but is only a minor inconvenience when it doesn't increase all the font. Otherwise it is like having a 34" monitor.
     
  10. NATO macrumors 68000

    NATO

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    Northern Ireland
    #10
    That makes absolutely no sense. You do realise the 'output resolution' of both Mac Mini and Mac Pro will be the same to drive a large Plasma TV at native resolution?
     
  11. kgarchar macrumors 6502

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    Sep 21, 2006
    #11
    would anyone ever trade a 30 in acd for a 42 in plasma tv?
     
  12. NATO macrumors 68000

    NATO

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    #12
    Not a chance :p
     
  13. kgarchar macrumors 6502

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