Installing Snow Leopard on 2011 Mac Mini

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by MarkN, Jul 8, 2011.

  1. MarkN macrumors member

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    #1
    I am patiently waiting for the new Mac Mini to replace my first generation AppleTV to be my media server. I have all my music (from CD's in AIF format), music videos, and concerts in iTunes and on my aTV Flash'ed AppleTV. While the AppleTV is slow, the interface is quite nice for my use. I also have the Remote App on my iPad, but I don't always have it around.

    I am troubled with the fact that Front Row is no longer available with Lion. I know there are a few substitutes out there like Plex and XMBC, but I really don't know if any of these is really a good replacement.

    I was wondering if it would be worth it to dump the Lion OS and install Snow Leopard to get back Front Row. I wouldn't be using this system for anything else, except for the occasional YouTube video, and maybe internet radio.

    What would be my best path? Install Snow Leopard, or go with Plex or XMBC?

    Thanks!
     
  2. HE15MAN macrumors 6502a

    HE15MAN

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    #2
    I just use Plex on my Mac Mini. Front Row is crap compared to it IMO
     
  3. simsaladimbamba

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    #3
    Why not get the current generation of Mac minis via the Refurb Store? It is perfectly capable of playing HD and SD content and much more.
     
  4. MarkN thread starter macrumors member

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    #4
    I am hoping that the new mini will have a small SSD option. All I need is about 80GB or so just for the OS. My content is up to 500GB so it would have to be on an external drive anyway.
     
  5. simsaladimbamba

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    #5
    Ah, okay. But if you are handy, you could built the SSD into the 2010 Mac mini too, but it is still quite a hassle.
     
  6. MarkN thread starter macrumors member

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    #6
    I may have to give Plex a try. I've looked around at their website, but a little put off since they really don't show you much about it.
     
  7. HE15MAN macrumors 6502a

    HE15MAN

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    #7
    Heres the basics..

    Download and install Plex

    Put all Movies in one folder, TV shows in another

    Open Plex, point to movies and tv shows folder

    Let it download all the skins, trailers etc..

    Also, in their App Store you can download other plugins to watch things through plex.

    IE Youtube, Netflix, Hulu, Nasa, Comedy Central, Mtv and on and on
     
  8. MarkN thread starter macrumors member

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    #8
    I would be a little afraid to do that now... my hands aren't as steady as they used to be (at least for quite a small space where everything is packed in tight). I was hoping that a 3rd party would sell the mini's with an SSD installed, like Other World Computing, but I haven't found any!
     
  9. blueroom macrumors 603

    blueroom

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  10. MarkN thread starter macrumors member

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    #10
    How does Plex do for music? This would be my main desire.
     
  11. FSMBP macrumors 68020

    FSMBP

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    #11
    To answer the OP's actual question:

    The rule of thumb is this: you cannot go lower than the original OS that generation of Macs initially shipped with.

    For example, in a month, MacBook Pros will ship with OS X Lion. However, since this generation of MacBook Pros were introduced with Snow Leopard, you could technically downgrade it from Lion to OS X.

    However, if the Mac Mini's get updated & they originally ship with Lion. You cannot downgrade.
     
  12. MarkN, Jul 8, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 8, 2011

    MarkN thread starter macrumors member

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    #12
    I first started ripping my CD's in WAV, but then I found I have a lot of music I couldn't get album art for, and since I couldn't add my own, I decided to move to AIFF. I didn't worry about the file size back then because I figured that drive space would just get cheaper, so why not have my data files as close to the original format as possible. Today, being able to get a 2TB external drive for around $100, I don't know if there is any benefit to compressing the files.

    So there would be new hardware that would not be supported by the current version of Snow Leopard? That may be a problem for me to get the current version of Snow Leopard on a DVD...
     
  13. danielsmu macrumors regular

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    #13
    Your main desire as in you're buying a mac mini to play music with? If so, that's really overkill...a new appleTV second gen would serve your needs much better. Assuming you didn't mean that though and that you're really looking for more of a HTPC...

    Do you have an iPhone? If so, I'd recommend using iTunes and the remote app for playing music through the mini. It works great on the apple TV as well.

    Plex can play your music just fine, but if you have a large library it can take a while to navigate through the menus. However, you can definitely still access your entire iTunes library through Plex.

    As for everything else goes (playing video, apps, plugins, etc.), Plex is fantastic. Also, it's free so if you don't like it, you can always migrate to XBMC or Boxee (though Plex is better than both in my opinion).
     
  14. OllyW Moderator

    OllyW

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    #14
    Even with your MacBook Pro example you would probably need to get hold of a set of Snow Leopard restore discs from the latest MBP because they use a later build than is available with the retail version.

    http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1159

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1633#retail
     
  15. MarkN, Jul 8, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2011

    MarkN thread starter macrumors member

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    #15
    I have a MacBook Pro right now as my main system. The problem with the new AppleTV for me is no storage, I would have to make sure that my laptop is awake and iTunes is running before I could use it. I would have to buy something like a mini that is always on, so at that point why buy both?

    So is navigating Plex much different than navigating AppleTV or Front Row?

    I recognize that the Mac Mini will be overkill for my current application, but I can accept that!
     
  16. danielsmu macrumors regular

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    #16
    Plex has tons of skins you can use to tweak the UI to your liking. There's even one called Front Seat that looks/feels very similar.

    If all of your music is ripped (not purchased online with a lot of DRM) and you're not interested in playing movies/tv shows, I'd recommend something cheaper than a mac mini like a Boxee Box or Roku with an external hard drive. An apple TV 2G could also work with a NAS server, but you would need to jailbreak it to run XBMC if you don't want to have to worry about running iTunes on another computer.

    Worst case, you could pick up a cheap older mac mini without waiting for the (presumably more expensive) refreshed version as you definitely wouldn't need much horsepower to play music.
     
  17. FSMBP macrumors 68020

    FSMBP

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    #17
    Exactly - you would need Restore discs for that exact model.

    I actually did this with my MacBook Pro. I bought it December 2007, and it came with Leopard preinstalled. But that generation of MacBook Pros originally shipped with Tiger. So, I found Tiger Restore discs for my specific Mac on eBay for $25 and I downgraded my Mac successfully (after I erased the harddrive that is).
     
  18. cocacolakid macrumors 65816

    cocacolakid

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    #18
    You could put an SSD in an external Firewire case and use it as your boot drive.

    I also second the suggestion to use Plex. It's far better than Front Row and just as easy to use.
     
  19. MarkN, Jul 8, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 8, 2011

    MarkN thread starter macrumors member

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    #19
    I found an upgrade disc to 10.6.8 on ebay, and I have the original upgrade snow leopard disc 10.6.0(?) I purchased the first day it came out. Do you think (speculation only) that 10.6.0 will install well enough on a new mac mini so that I could upgrade it to 10.6.8 with the upgrade disc? The only other full version of snow leopard I see on ebay is 10.6.3.

    I will have to give Plex a try. Front Row is a mostly known entity to me, and it is a familiar option. I wish Apple didn't abandon it.
     
  20. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    #20
    If the op has cd's or cd access apple tv is not going to work very well at all. I have to think he wants the cd/dvd slot in the mini.
     
  21. danielsmu macrumors regular

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    #21
    OP says all his music is in iTunes and never mentions the need for an optical drive.

     
  22. MarkN thread starter macrumors member

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    #22
    All my music that I have right now, but I have CDs being delivered from HMV.co.jp today, and some on its way from HMV.com.hk! Those, and future CDs will need to be ripped into iTunes. I am planning to use the optical drive in the mini to do that.
     
  23. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    #23
    Op does say all his music originated from cd's at one time. Kind of fuzzy if he will get more from cd's in the future. Thats Why I iffed I am not sure if he will get more cd's or not. I have never used anything but cd's in the optical slot to put on hdd's I have access to a lot of cd's and made 25000 song apple lossless itunes from the cd's. I kind of thought but was not sure if he is going to put more cd's on his itunes.
     
  24. HE15MAN macrumors 6502a

    HE15MAN

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    #24
    Plex is great with music. I keep all my music on my iMac and just access it via wireless through Plex on my Mac Mini. Also you can use Pandora through Plex
     
  25. Minicube macrumors regular

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    #25
    Rather than bothering with install disks, how about just cloning an updated version of Snow Lep. from another computer onto a reformatted 2011 Mini drive (assuming it would boot SL)?

    I'm in the same boat; I need to run SL to run Golive CS2. If the new Mini can't boot SL, I can't use it.

    Someone on this board opined that if the 2011 Mini uses the same hardware as the 13" Macbook Pro (which I think is likely and believe has happened in previous updates), then it will boot in SL also. Someone else said Apple will change the boot ROMs and it won't work. I can't seem to get a definitive answer.
     

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