Considering bidding on Mac Mini C2D 1.83 GHz machine for HTPC, need advice.

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by evildarklordude, Jan 13, 2009.

  1. evildarklordude macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2008
    Location:
    New York, NY
    #1
    Hi guys,

    I've been lurking here for a while and generally see very good advice about HTPC Mac setups. i was hoping someone has a quick opinion about this.

    I want to buy a Mac Mini to set up as a media center with my (reasonably high end) HDTV and home theater system. I am considering bidding on a Mac Mini C2D 1.83 GHz with 2G RAM and 80G hard drive for this purpose. My questions are...

    1) Is about $450 a good price (includes peripherals)?
    2) Will this machine have issues playing 1080p video?
    3) Will this machine be able to pass through 5.1 AC3 or DTS to my receiver via optical out? (note that for this and previous question i want to use Plex/Boxee as my front end)
    4) What are people's comments about waiting for a mini refresh? I figure I could wait until maybe ~ March. People think a refresh is probable in that timeline?

    Thanks for the input. Sorry if these questions have been previously answered.
     
  2. Oneness macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2007
    Location:
    Cowtown
    #2
    I'll take a stab at this:

    1)I trolled Ebay alot last summer and unfortunately that is the going price for the Mini. (amazing isn't it?) Your options include an Apple Store refurb (but I hear those are scarce right now) or continue trolling and hope you get lucky. I finally got tired of waiting and bit the bullet.
    2) I have not done any 1080p on my Mini (2.16ghz/2gb RAM/80gb HD) but Caveman has and without any problems. He has a 2ghz Mini so if I were you I would search his posts and make sure the 1.83ghz is fine. If I remember correctly the 1.83 Core 2 duo was capable of 1080p, but again search Caveman.
    3)Again, Caveman is best resource. He uses Plex as his frontend also. I do not use Plex right now but I will be migrating to it shortly. I mainly use the Apple DVD player and get 5.1 sound out of it.
    4)Wow, I don't think anyone can answer that for you. No matter what people may think they know, only Apple knows if and when the Mini is getting updated. I say buy the Mini now and if an update comes you (and I) can update then and not feel rushed to do it.

    Cheers and good luck.
     
  3. evildarklordude thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2008
    Location:
    New York, NY
    #3
    Thanks a bunch for the input Oneness...

    I might troll on eBay for a bit more before buying but I can already feel the money burning a hole in my pocket... :). Are you generally happy with you mini as an HTPC? Do you use front row with any iTunes content you might have?
     
  4. iknowyourider macrumors 6502a

    iknowyourider

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    Location:
    onanorthboundtrain
    #4
    Probably a fair price. Get it now for HTPC and get a new mini if it comes, for a desktop. Mine (1.83 C2D) is on my 42" plasma. I use it, with frontrow, about once a week. It is a lot of fun. I have a 2 gig ram kit and a 160 hdd ready to put in it. I am waiting until I get board and brave on the same evening.
     
  5. Oneness macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2007
    Location:
    Cowtown
    #5
    I am very happy with my Mini - wish I would have bought is sooner.
    My setup includes a 46" Sony Z Series and a Harmony 880 - which is coupled with Remote Buddy. So everything, TV, Mini,AVR, runs off the remote. Quite lovely!
    I do use Front Row for some movies and all of my TV shows, but most of my movies are ripped as VOB files and I use a program called Distant DVD to play them. Distant DVD is simply a program that will display movie art and then, using a launch script, will launch a movie in the Apple DVD Player. It is very bare bones but works for what i need (which is a VOB media player) until i get Plex.
     
  6. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #6
    That depends on the codecs used and their bit rates. I would expect that an m4v h.264-encoded movie at 14 mbps would be fine. Higher bit rates could be a problem. With MKV, ymmv.

    With Plex, yes (up to 7.1 DTS or AC3). With Quicktime/Front Row, only AC3 (up to 7.1) but will be tricky as QT isn't that great at managing digital audio.

    I'd say very high in the next month or two. But that's just a WAG.

    That was a pretty good stab. ;)
     
  7. evildarklordude thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2008
    Location:
    New York, NY
    #7
    Thanks for the input Cave Man...

    I currently run a setup with a MacBook and Apple TV running (mostly SD) video. I am somewhat frustrated by the limited codec capabilities of the Apple TV. I figure that if I'm going to have to play around directly in the terminal and hack devices, I might as well get a full blooded computer that I can use for other things as well. Having to get into the guts of the Apple TV seems to defeat the plug-and-play purpose of it...

    I was looking into getting a mini, putting on Plex and/or Boxee and "acquiring" :eek: some HD (mkv) video and avoid large scale conversion to m4v/mov. If current minis are going to have a problem with mkv's... then maybe waiting is the correct thing to do...

    Thanks for your help...

    P.S WAG?? maybe this is an acronym that's lost on me... :eek:
     
  8. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #8
    It won't matter what the container is (m4v, mov, mkv), if the bit rate of the encoded video is too high, then your Mini may have trouble with it. You just have to try to see.

    Wild-@$$ guess.
     
  9. munckee macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2005
    #9
    Craigslist is your best bet for a mini. I picked up the exact machine you're looking for at $350. Gonna do the same thing with it soon.

    EDIT: I'm in NYC as well...
     

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