Help me pick a Mac mini

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Weerez935, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. Weerez935 macrumors regular

    Dec 13, 2012
    I'm considering a Mac mini to use mainly as a home server. Currently I live in an apartment and space is an issue so if I put a tv that doubled as a monitor and used a desk as a tv stand in the bedroom it would be an excellent space saving solution.

    I would like suggestions on what Mac mini and desk to get. The main task for this machine will burning my DVD collection to iTunes, streaming my content to Apple TV, filtering my mail and possibly some browsing/ word processing etc.
    on my desk I would have monitor/ keyboard/ external drives/ and possibly my printer if it fits.
    I like simple and clean. It also needs to be tall enough to see the tv while in bed (average height).

    This is the monitor/ tv I'm looking at:

    I was considering the 799 quad core model but unsure what I should get. I will buy ram from owc. This machine will be on 24/7 so fast boot times don't matter to me.
  2. SoCalReviews, Mar 15, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013

    SoCalReviews macrumors 6502a

    Dec 31, 2012
    I will chime in with a few suggestions. That 27" Samsung monitor you posted is a fairly good choice. I am using what is essentially the 23" version of that same monitor via very high quality HDMI cable and it's great. The only thing I regret is that I didn't get a larger monitor/HDTV at the time that would have a larger desktop display image in 1080p mode.

    The screen and fonts on my 23" Samsung in 1080p are too small even when the monitor is a few feet away on my desktop. 27" is a much better size but you should take a really good look at the other Samsung LED monitor/HDTV models 32" or above and Samsung HDTV models that are 37" and above. I am now considering using my 46" Samsung in my living room for my bedroom when I get a larger LED panel for my living room in the future. Make your decision based on the resolution quality of the screen (1080p minimum) and how far away you want to control your Mac Mini from the screen because otherwise you may end up being forced to use 720p mode like I do while still having to squint at the screen when you get more than a few feet away from it.

    The $799 2.3Ghz i7 late-2012 model would be a really good choice. There are many places online and in stores where you can pick up Minis for a bit lower than standard Apple prices. If you don't mind spending a little more you should also consider the reasonably priced (it varies depending on the vendor...usually from $100 when purchased with new Mini to $169 if purchased separately) 3 year Apple Care plan (2 year extended warranty beyond standard). You can always purchase it later...or up through the first year of standard warranty. Thoroughly update the machine with the latest 10.8.3 Mountain Lion update after you set it up with the out of the box configuration.

    Next you can decide on a DDR RAM upgrade. Most Mini users here are putting the maximum of 16GB in their machines to future proof their new Minis. It will probably be the easiest computer upgrade you will ever do. I like OWC for Mac upgrades and accessories but there are some other excellent choices at comparative prices for memory that could be recommended. Just browse this forum for the best brands and deals when you want to upgrade. I usually go with Crucial dual memory kits but for my 2.3Ghz i7 Mini this time I went with Kingston HyperX 1600Mhz dual kit since it's one of the best for the 2012 Mini and has practically a flawless record of reviews here and elsewhere but of course there are other good choices.

    I am using the Apple USB SuperDrive. It's small and sleek and its metal finish matches the Mini perfectly but you should also browse OWC's selection of USB DVD drives for one that best matches what you want to use it for.

    I really like the Apple wireless keyboard and Apple wireless trackpad for controlling the Mini but there are some other really good options out there including one's from Logitech.

    A backup drive is recommended for Macs and the Time Machine backup program is built in. Unless you have critical data on your mini then using one of the common small portable USB 3.0 external notebook drives up to and beyond 1TB (preferably with an option to have it's own plug in power source) should work fine. Make sure you use very high quality USB 3.0 cables. I will be using a more expensive small portable USB RAID based backup drive array for my new i7 Mini system used for business.
  3. Weerez935 thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 13, 2012
    So I should go larger than 27? I thought 32" would just stretch the text?

    Thanks for the suggestions.
  4. SoCalReviews, Mar 16, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2013

    SoCalReviews macrumors 6502a

    Dec 31, 2012
    I didn't mean to steer you in a completely different direction. I think you made a good initial choice. For a desktop monitor/HDTV the 27" size should be ok. If you plan on sitting back farther than a few feet and want to use 1080p resolution output from the Mac Mini and want to be able to clearly see the icons and fonts then go with 32" or larger. I can't say whether that size would just stretch the text...that might be true. For the 27" screen size you could also set to 720p mode if you need to. I think the Samsung LED panels work great. I have read in this forum that many Mini users have a 37", 40" and larger Samsung HDTVs for room monitors for their media center Minis. The decision on the size all depends on what distance that you want to control the Mac Mini from and still see the monitor/HDTV displaying the desktop.
  5. Weerez935 thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 13, 2012
    Ill be using it at a desk for computing only at a distance for tv.

    But 27> >19" current tv
  6. Giuly macrumors 68040


    If all you do is some iTunes, browsing and word processing, the base Mac Mini will do, but you might want to upgrade the RAM to 16GB.

    As far as the screen goes, the Dell S2740L makes a gorgeous and inexpensive IPS HDTV as it's currently on sale.
  7. StevenT42 macrumors 6502

    Jun 9, 2010
    Before you get an Apple SuperDrive for ripping DVD's, spend a few dollars more and get a Blu-ray drive. I have a Samsung that I got from Amazon for around $90 that burns and plays blu-ray, DVD, and CD. And even though it comes with 2 USB cables, you only have to use one of them to work.

    The Quad Core mac mini can handle 1080p video in its sleep, and with the right software (MakeMKV, Handbrake) you can rip blu-rays and play them back in iTunes.
  8. dbroncos78087 macrumors regular

    Feb 27, 2013
    Northern Virginia
    The i5 model is probably what you would want and then consider if the based HD is enough and getting a USB 3.0 external for your storage needs instead of splurging on the larger internal drive. Burn the discs to the MM HD and transfer them later to the external HD.
  9. SoCalReviews, Mar 16, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2013

    SoCalReviews macrumors 6502a

    Dec 31, 2012
    ...Then the 27" should work fine. After setting up the Mini you will want to experiment and choose the graphical output display mode that works best for you. I like the Samsung combo Monitor/HDTVs and I find that it is very easy to switch between the devices I use with the Samsung remote... satellite TV or over the air HDTV, the Mac Mini, a small Sony Blu-ray player and an older Windows XP PC. If for some reason you did want to get a larger HDTV at some time in the future it would be easy enough to make the switch and connect the Mini via HDMI or other display ports it has.
  10. Weerez935 thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 13, 2012


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