How's 1080p playback on 1.83GHz Core Duo Mac Mini?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Hellhammer, Oct 6, 2013.

  1. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #1
    I'm thinking of buying a used Mac Mini to serve as a media center and server. I've been eyeing a late 2006 Mini with 1.83GHz Core Duo (NOT Core 2 Duo) as those are rather cheap. Now, the question I have is: Does that model support smooth 1080p playback? I'm not looking to play uncompressed Blu-Ray rips but I'd appreciate the ability to play decent quality 1080p encodes. Smooth Netflix playback with "Super HD" quality is also a requirement.

    Any owners that have experience?
     
  2. rexrudi, Oct 6, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2013

    rexrudi macrumors newbie

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    #2
    Macmini 1,8ghz run 1080p ok

    My moms 2007 Core 2 Duo 2Ghz MiniMac with OSX 10.5.8 and 2GB ram runs 1080p better than my win7 3,4Ghz core 2 duo :) Windows 7 suck sooo badly...

    All the testing I have done it delivered smooth play of 8GB Bluray rip MKV and other formats without any problems. I would think there would not be much difference to the 1,8Ghz Core Duo you are thinking about.

     
  3. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603

    GimmeSlack12

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    #3
    OP, a Mini Core Duo will not do the job for 1080p. Not even close. I think you really should get at least a late Core 2 Duo or an i5 (was there an i3 Mini?).
     
  4. cyber16 macrumors 6502

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    #4
  5. blanka macrumors 68000

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    #5
    Maybe the CPU can handle it, but the biggest problem IMO is that when the CPU does it, it will run nearly full speed and that makes it hot. The fans will kick in full speed. The 9400M and later models have hardware GPU decoding and do it near silent.
     
  6. Hellhammer, Oct 7, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2013

    Hellhammer thread starter Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #6
    Heat and noise aren't really problems as I'll be sitting far away from it. Also, I plan on reapplying the thermal paste to make it run cooler since I'll be inside the machine anyway. The newer models are simply over my budget because I'm not looking to spend much on this as it's not really a necessity (already have a PC with ~5TB of storage but I don't like keeping it on 24/7 since it's in my bedroom and it's not completely silent).

    I just found a 2008 2GHz C2D model, which I'm trying to get. It's priced around the same as the Core Duo one so I'll obviously take it if the seller still has it.
     
  7. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603

    GimmeSlack12

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    #7
    I've been using a Raspberry Pi and Plex for my HTPC needs. I wrote a brief post about it.
     
  8. Ice Dragon macrumors 6502a

    Ice Dragon

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    #8
    Thankfully no. As it was, Apple used the lowest i5 they could which is fine but an i3 just doesn't cut it for the base model.
     
  9. akm3 macrumors 68020

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    #9
    It sucks!™

    Core (1) Duo 1.83 is not enough for good 1080p decoding without massive frame drops. I know because that is what i have.

    I don't know if the limitation is more the CPU or the Intel GMA950 graphics, but it is simply not up the task.
     
  10. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603

    GimmeSlack12

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    #10
    Thank you. I was waiting for someone with some sense to back me up.
    EDIT: You trademarked the phrase "It sucks!". Nice.
     
  11. Hellhammer thread starter Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #11
    I settled for a 2007 2GHz C2D Mini as it came with 3GB of RAM and a 500GB HD while costing the same as the Core Duo Mini. I know it's still not as good as the newer Minis but it should handle the job.
     
  12. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603

    GimmeSlack12

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    #12
    You made a much better decision than if you got the Core Duo. What sort of software setup are you looking to use? I've used Plex for several years now and highly, highly recommend it. Do you have any external HDD's you're going to use with your setup?
     
  13. Hellhammer thread starter Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #13
    Plex of course, I used it when I still had my iMac a few years ago. I haven't decided on the storage setup yet. I may just install a 1TB SSD and call it a day since I'm not into hoarding media (usually I just delete stuff I've watched, so 1TB is more than enough). Or I'll just add an external drive to make sure capacity won't be an issue.
     
  14. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603

    GimmeSlack12

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    #14
    A 1TB SSD? Isn't that a tad overkill for an HTPC? Or did you mean an HDD?

    Regardless, I bought a Synology NAS to store my library and the only thing I would have changed is getting a 4-bay instead and get the one with an Intel CPU instead of the ARM. The problem with that is the price goes waaay up.

    So for you I'd imagine a 1TB external HDD should be the easiest solution. Just my suggestions.
     
  15. Hellhammer thread starter Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #15
    Check my sig and you'll understand why ;)
     
  16. akm3 macrumors 68020

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    #16
    It's hilarious you are saving money buying an older Mac Mini but will have a 1TB SSD in it. That's so wrong it's awesome.
     
  17. charlieroberts macrumors 6502a

    charlieroberts

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    #17
    This may be too late, but you could look into upgrading the processor in the mac mini, i think those are not soldered. Also it must be nice getting free 1TB ssd
     
  18. mvmanolov macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    i'd love a free 1tb ssd :D
     
  19. vistadude macrumors 65816

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    #19
    The core 2 duo mac mini 2009 and older is not a good idea for 1080p in my opinion. Get something newer like 2012. While the 2009 can output 1080p, it constantly switches the resolution to something very low and ugly after resuming from sleep mode. My guess is that it's a performance issue. I tried clean installing with snow leopard, mountain lion, and mavericks and it does the same thing in all three. It's a very frustrating experience when using the computer for any purpose.
     
  20. blanka macrumors 68000

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    #20
    You must do something horribly wrong. The 2009 is flawless with HD material, and the Nvidia works without any problems in 23.976, 47.952, 50 and 60Hz. And the one time I get a blue screen after a wake-from sleep (once a half year max), just hit the power-button once. I use DVI-HDMI off course, not DP-HDMI.
     
  21. Osamede macrumors 6502

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    #21
    I can't speak for the 2009, but using the 2010 mac mini as HTPC for the past three years (P8800, NVIDIA GeForce 320M) I have only ever encountered exactly one 1080p or any other file that it struggled to play, and I cannot rule it out that it could have been a dodgy file rather than something with the mini.

    Let's put it this way: the machine does not struggle in any way to play 1080p files, the CPU does not choke while playing files and the fan does not even kick up or anything. So I would have no problem recommending a 2010 version for 1080p playback - it works just fine. Don't hesitate for playback.

    Now for "server" that's another question, you are looking at a P8800 C2duo, offering 2 cores with no hypertheading, so it can serve files up just fine, but obviously you dont want to have more than two tasks running at the same time. For example, you can do playback (GPU does the heavy lifting on decoding there) and file transfer at the same time. But you wouldnt want to say be updating your media library and serving files to couple more clients all at the same time. And certainly you wouldnt want to have too much more to do if you have to decode and serve files to plex mobile clients eg on iphone or ipad while doing other stuff on the mini at the same time.

    So really depends on exactly what your demands are for a server and number of clients this thing has to serve and how.
     
  22. vistadude macrumors 65816

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    #22
    What can I be doing wrong? The mac constantly chooses the wrong resolution and forgets to output to 1080p. It's not even when I'm watch a video, the whole screen resolution is messed up. I'm using mini-display to vga.

    Another graphics problem is if I use the included dvi-dvi dongle, the colors are completely yellowed out (looks like a 15 year old burned out vga display) and the fonts are jagged all over.

    Again, this is on completely clean installed snow leopard, mountain lion, and mavericks with the latest updates. Not sure what else I can do unless it's a driver issue.

     

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