Best Mac for encoding

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by randy98mtu, Oct 24, 2012.

  1. randy98mtu macrumors 65816

    randy98mtu

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    #1
    My wife is about to take our iMac to her office and will be buying a new computer for the house. Honestly the main things I do with this computer is have it on 24-7 as my iTunes server to Apple TV's and for syncing iDevices, as well as encoding movies. My current iMac is an i7 2.93 GHz.

    Setting aside the hackintosh for now, what would be the best I could get? A new iMac with a BTO 3.4 i7? How much better would that be than last years BTO iMac 3.4 i7 (which are in the refurb store for a LOT less money.) Or a 2010 Mac Pro with a 2.8 GHz Xeon? A refurb Pro is the same price as the refurb iMac, but I'd still be without a screen.

    Now if I bought a Thunderbolt Display and built a Hackintosh, I bet I could keep the price in the same ballpark with a more powerful machine. How much hassle are Hackintosh machines? I will do more research on that now. I have looked in the past and always opted to stick with Apple hardware.

    Thanks for any input.
     
  2. Hammie macrumors 65816

    Hammie

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2009
    Location:
    Wash, DC Metro
    #2
    If you are really only going to use it as an iTunes hub and media ripper, the I suggest the Mac Mini with Spashscreen 2 installed so you can control it via an iPad. That is how I have my Mac mini iTunes hub setup.
     
  3. randy98mtu thread starter macrumors 65816

    randy98mtu

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    #3
    Thanks. I haven't heard of that before. I will look into that!
     
  4. iHailCarlo macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2012
    #4
    Most Macs will be able to suit these needs. Mine is the 2010 Quad and it cuts through it like butter. So with that being said, whatever you decide will be sufficient from 2009 on.....
     
  5. Cinephi1e macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2012
    Location:
    Northwest Ohio
    #5
    I also vote for a Mac Mini controlled either by screen sharing from another Mac or through iTeleport (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id286470485?mt=8) on the iPad. If you are running it 24/7 the Mac Mini is very efficient and puts out only a few watts when idle. It has numerous ports in the back to keep attaching drives as your library expands!
     
  6. randy98mtu thread starter macrumors 65816

    randy98mtu

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    #6
    I'm way ahead of you. I already have (3) 2TB MyBooks disay chained on FireWire from my iMac. I will be plugging those into whatever I get.

    I like the extra "muscle" of the refurb'd iMac. I like the low power usage of the Mini. And I like that I could ditch all the external enclosures and put the drives inside a Hackintosh or Mac Pro. For what it will be doing, I'm kind of leaning towards a mini with thunderbolt display. I already have an external BD drive, so the lack of optical drives isn't a deal breaker for me. The biggest deal breaker on the new iMac is the combination of no optical drive and no user upgradable memory. Their prices on ram are ridiculous!
     
  7. ProudLoz macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2012
    #7
    I can vouch for the Mini. I currently use it to encode my Blu-ray rips and to airplay everything to my Apple TV, and nothing more. That's all I really need it to do and I'm quite content with it. I'm also using it as my main Mac, and while it's encoding something, I rarely see it having any issues, unless I have a lot of programs open. Then it will kinda slow down a bit every now and then.

    I highly suggest you get the Quad-Core version though, I have the 2011 Mac Mini server, and it's great. With the new Mac Minis Apple released yesterday, I'm sure they'll be more than enough of what you need.
     
  8. fridgeymonster3 macrumors 6502

    fridgeymonster3

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2008
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    #8
    The best mac for encoding will still be a 12-core mac pro. Those are prohibitively expensive. Since you can just schedule your encodes while you are asleep, speed only matters somewhat. In all honesty, encode speed only really matters for professionals where saving time saves money. For the rest of us, I'd suggest purchasing a computer that fits your lifestyle before worrying too much about encode speeds. A mac-mini, iMac or refurb Mac Pro all would work fine for Handbrake encoding.

    I have a 2008 Mac Pro. It is convenient being able having 6 or more hard drives stored internally (4 Bays & 2 Odd_SATA). Although with all the possible expansion, you may find yourself in constant need for more HDD space (I have about 12.5TB internal and 22TB external). Also, the Mac Pros are unbelievably stable and can be used for several years without falling too far behind. In terms of Handbrake encode, there is a thread somewhere around here that shows my Early 2008 8-core MP encodes slightly faster than your 2.93 iMac (Mid-2010 right?).
     
  9. randy98mtu thread starter macrumors 65816

    randy98mtu

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    #9
    Thank you. This is a great response with great info. Yes, I think my iMac is a 2010. I originally bought a 24" and it was having so many problems they gave me a new one. I paid the difference to get the i7 at that time.

    The problem is I was already telling the wife it would be about $1800 for last years iMac. Now a 2010 quad Pro is $1800, but that's without a screen. I could get a cheap 27" and hope to get an Apple 27" later.

    How many expansion bays are there?

    So many options/trade-offs to weigh...
     
  10. fridgeymonster3 macrumors 6502

    fridgeymonster3

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2008
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    #10
    The Mac Pro has 4 Hard drive bays. The 2008 model had two Odd_SATA ports on the motherboard for additional internal hard-drives (usually housed in the lower optical bay), but I believe from 2009+ those were removed. 4 PCIe slots (on the 2008, I assume same for 2010) allow you to add a second graphics cards, eSata or USB 2.0/3.0 cards, internal Sata cards, etc. I have three 23" monitors running off of two graphics cards because it's more cost effective to have multiple smaller monitors than have one large monitor.

    FYI, Mac Pro's are not thunderbolt compatible. Therefore, the 27" thunderbolt displays will not work without some sort of adapter or something else (not even sure it's possible). Mac Pro's also are not out-of-the-box USB 3.0 compatible, a PCIe card would need to be purchased.
     
  11. phoenixsan macrumors 65816

    phoenixsan

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2012
    #11
    I will suggest.....

    You go with the refurbished iMac. Sounds good to me, as a cost-efective solution. Also, you will get a screen.
    The Hackintosh way will provide you with a powerful computer, and maybe money savings. But you must be confortable with tinkering/configurating hardware. Also, be prepared to invest some amout of time in getting all the components run together. :):apple:
     
  12. KevinC867 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2007
    Location:
    Saratoga, CA
    #12
    I think the new $800 Mini with the quad-core i7 processor would be a great machine for what you describe.

    That said, I am very happy with a quad-core PC I built for about $300 last year as my video processing machine. I use MakeMKV and HandBrake for ripping and transcoding and these run on both Mac and Windows platforms. After the videos are transcoded, I move them to the storage on my Mac, tag them with iDentify and add them to my iTunes library.
     
  13. randy98mtu thread starter macrumors 65816

    randy98mtu

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    #13
    Thanks for all the input. After thinking about the Mac Pro and the Hackintosh, I think they are both out. I will either go with the refurb iMac or the new Mini with a pair of 24" Dell Ultrasharps. The other remote possibility would be using an old Core2Duo 2.0 Mini I have solely as a server and building a PC to rip/encode and buy the 2 Dell Ultrasharps, 1 for each machine. I think I'd prefer to stick to a single computer though.

    So it's down to the mini, which would be more efficient, or the iMac, which would be a bit more powerful and has the optical drive. Guess I just have to decide. I definitely do the encoding mostly at night, so I guess it doesn't have to be that fast.
     
  14. Lance-AR macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 7, 2012
    Location:
    Little Rock, AR
    #14
    I currently have a dual core i5 mini that converts bluray using HandBrake's high setting faster than an 8 disc Netflix subscription can feed it. If it were me, I would order the new $799 mini with the BTO $100 processor upgrade and then upgrade the RAM to 16GB.
     
  15. randy98mtu thread starter macrumors 65816

    randy98mtu

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    #15
    If I do the mini, that is what I would do. The wife yesterday made it clear she will still be using this computer some. I had expected with her iMac at work and her MBP, she would be set. Buts he likes working with a big screen. For some reason this is making me lean toward the iMac again, but part of me still says the Mini with a pair of 24" displays would be better for what I am doing. I'll see what she thinks after she talks to the other person she is sharing the office with.
     
  16. JoeBlow74 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2012
    #16




    1. NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!:eek::eek::eek:


    2. Get the refurb IMAC. I have an I5 mid2011 Imac and I can rip a movie in 23 minutes flat. I have heard the I7 can rip a movie in half that time. Plus, if your wife plan on using the new computer, she will have an easier time switching between the work and home. If the wife is happy, everybody is happy. Trust me when I say this. :cool:



    3. A friend just build a hackentosh and he ended up yelling at it and almost throwing the thing out the window. He had to buy certain PC parts and had to constantly fiddle with it. After all these months, he still has a few issues. Besides, if you spend all your time messing with a Hackentosh, your wife will not like this and start a discussion with you. Trust me when I say this. :cool:
     
  17. randy98mtu thread starter macrumors 65816

    randy98mtu

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    #17
    Looks like today is the day. My wife is going to meet with the person she is sharing the office space and they will discuss what they want for the office and then we will order the new machines. Right now I'm leaning towards the Mini BTO with the 2.6 i7 and a Thunderbolt display. Grab up 16 gig of ram and call it a day. Still like the idea of moving the drives all into one enclosure, but the Mac Pro is cost prohibitive for what this machine will be doing.

    The Apple store was out of the refurb 3.4 i7 iMacs last night. If they are available tonight, I'll have to give it some more thought, but I'm still leaning towards the Mini. First, it has USB 3. Second is the lower power consumption for what the machine will be doing most of the time. And third the Thunderbolt display would allow me to hook my 17" MBP up to the 27" when I'm processing my pictures in Lightroom. :)
     
  18. boomhower macrumors 68000

    boomhower

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2011
    #18
    I'd get the Mac Mini. For your needs it's the best choice. Since most of the usage is as a server and encoder no need for a monitor all the time. With the update it will be perfectly sufficient for encoding.
     

Share This Page