Could use some expert help on Mac Mini decision

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Cinab1mt, Jun 16, 2010.

  1. Cinab1mt macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    #1
    There are a few threads regarding this already, however they didn't help me out much. I think the easiest approach would be to tell you what I need from my Mac Mini.

    I have a new MBP which I love. It has everything on it currently (all my files). I use it mostly for work, and commute with it every now and then. I would like to get a Mac Mini for my living room. I have a 32'' Samsung LCD which I think would be awesome coupled with my mini. I would use the mini mostly for videos I have, mostly AVI files, music, web surfing, and light gaming (nothing that intensive, Counterstrike every now and then) although the option for other games would be nice.
    Here is where I need your help. My MBP is pretty mobile, I would really like a solution where all my important files where on a HD that is more stationary, like a mini. And I would rather use the HD space on my MBP for my other projects that arent as important.

    The Mac Mini with OSX server would be a "no brainer" for me in that it has the specs that I need, however, I would rather run Client, than Server. When I upgrade the lighter version mini, it comes to almost the same price, or a lil more than the server version.

    I am not that tech savy when it comes to installing new software and things like that. So what setup would you guys recommend for me? I realize in other threads that it is possible to install OSX Client on the server mini, but if possible I'm not sure I want to deal with all that. :confused:

    So what setup, specs and all, would you go with?

    Thanks in advance guys! This would be my first ever Mac Mini, and I need some help!
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    Finland
    #2
    Server can do pretty much the same thing as normal OS X, along with some server tasks such as easy and fast file sharing. Normal Mini suits fine for you though so I would just get it. Don't add anything extra, it's fine as it is (add 4GB later on if needed). Normal OS X can do file sharing just fine
     
  3. LeeTom macrumors 68000

    LeeTom

    Joined:
    May 31, 2004
    #3
    I would go with the standard mini, not the server.

    Putting the client version of OS X on there might be a pain until 10.6.5 is released, because the mini has a special version of 10.6.4, there will be hurdles in getting it installed (i can go into detail if you like). OS X Server is basically the same as client with some kind of annoying server management tools put on top.

    It is handy to have the DVD drive in there for watching or ripping DVDs.

    You can upgrade the RAM for much less money through 3rd party retailers ( http://www.newertech.com/products/nurammacmini2010.php ).

    For hard drive space, you can always get a small external bus-powered 640gb drive and plug it into the firewire800 or usb ports.

    Go standard mini!
     
  4. Jawnathin macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    #4
    Unless you need a server, don't get the server version. If you need a PC for the living room, I'd get the standard version, and upgrade the memory to at least 4GB. The CPU differences between the server and standard version is minimal.

    Regarding the HDD differences, I'd look into a network based storage solution. This way both your Mini and MBP can access the same files on the network.
     
  5. Cinab1mt thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 26, 2010
    #5
    Thanks guys! I really appreciate the help, and I think the decision is made! Anything else let me know!
     
  6. Cinab1mt thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 26, 2010
  7. uberamd macrumors 68030

    uberamd

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    Location:
    Minnesota
    #7
    Upgrade the RAM 3rd party (do it yourself). Also, just get a few external hard drive enclosures that hold 2 SATA drives, buy a few 1TB hard drives and use them for storage. More flexible than OS X server with its 2 internal 500GB drives.
     
  8. paolo- macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 24, 2008
    #8
    Am I the only one with this feeling, but why two computers ? You don't want to put important files on the MBP, I'm presuming it's because you're afraid the HDD will crash.

    Have you considered having a time machine or an external HDD to do your backups on and just plug the MBP in the 32" ?

    I don't know how your workspace is setup and I can understand why you would want two computers if you have a home office where you would do your work and a more recreational area in the living room and don't want to physically move the computer (though there might be some cabling options). But it seems to me like you would have two computers doing essentially the same tasks and you would just have the problem of keeping them in sync. "Oh yeah, on witch computer did I put the picture on again ?"
     
  9. Cinab1mt thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 26, 2010
    #9
    I completely do understand what your saying, and most of it is true. I basically would just rather have a computer in my living room where most of my movies would be, and in this case, (already have them hooked up to my 32''LCD).

    Is it imperative to get a mini? Probably not. I do use Time Machine to back up files and things of that nature, but figured this would be a better alternative to what I currently do (put my AVI files on a flash drive, and then connect that into my PS3 which can play DIVX files etc).

    So to answer your question no, I just thought the option was within my price range, and because of the fact that my AppleTV cannot play any other movie files, (besides converting them all to mv4) this would be cool, plus I would like the option of gaming on a bit bigger of a screen, without having to hook my MPB to my LCD. Any thoughts are greatly appreciated! Even if you disagree! Thanks for the advice and insight!
     
  10. uberamd macrumors 68030

    uberamd

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    #10
    I have MediaLink for Mac (http://www.nullriver.com/products/medialink) and it lets me stream from my computer to my PS3 in almost any format. Works great and costs way less than a Mac Mini.
     
  11. bimmerfreak0 macrumors member

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    Nov 9, 2008
    #11
    Assuming your files are less than 4.0gb in size. That's an issue with many movies for me (all are 720 or 1080). 720p movies barely make it to 4gb
     
  12. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #12
    PS3 Media Server is a similar app. It's free and works very well. It also support live transcoding so any format can be streamed to PS3, including .mkv
     
  13. Cinab1mt thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 26, 2010
    #13
    Thanks for the advice guys, my next question was going to be a media server (streaming video app).


    It is too much to ask to run STEAM on the new Mac Mini?
     
  14. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #14
    Nope, most games should run okay at low settings at least.
     
  15. uberamd macrumors 68030

    uberamd

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    #15
    Can it transcode and stream a mkv file that is larger than 4GB? If not, there isn't any point of playing a mkv file because 720p and 1080p files are larger than 4GB.
     
  16. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #16
    Not 100% sure but with some quick googling, people seems to have no issues with e.g. 8GB files. So many people mentioned 720p and 1080p movies so I doubt there is a limit. BTW, why would there be a limit anyway?
     
  17. uberamd macrumors 68030

    uberamd

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    #17
    Ah I understand now. There is a limit but thats only if you hook directly in to the system via a external HD (as the HD needs to be Fat32, Fat32 = 4GB files or less). Ignore my ramblings :)
     
  18. dh2005 macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 25, 2010
    #18
    If you mean some of the older games from Steam, I expect they'll run very well. I run Doom 3, Half-Life 2 and Return to Castle Wolfenstein smoothly (on medium-to-high settings) on my 2009 Mini, which is powered by the 9400M - and that's appreciably inferior to the 320M.
     

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