Interested Mac mini Customer

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by wmachotze, Nov 29, 2011.

  1. wmachotze macrumors newbie

    Nov 29, 2011
    New to the forum. I have seen the following topic posted across a few platforms but had some specific questions so decided to become active. I apologize in advance if this seems redundant.
    I am looking at picking up either of the following: 2.3GHz or 2.5Ghz mac mini (2011 model).
    My intent is to use this as a media hub/HTPC for the family. It will be connected to a 42" Plasma TV. I am considering the following peripherals: Eye TV, Boxee, Apple Superdrive.
    What is the forums take on the two models. Is the 2.5 worth the $200 bump for what I can tell a touch more clock speed and the discrete AMD Radeon HD 6630 graphics processor? I am aware with the 2.5 you receive 2GB of RM but I am mainly focused on the components that can not be upgraded.
    As the budget allows I intend to upgrade with third party RAM if necessary, throw an SSD or two in there for a little pick me up, and eventually give an external Thunderbolt drive a try as the media library grows.
    Thank in advance for any feed back!
  2. lickitysplit macrumors regular

    Sep 26, 2010
    If you are simply using it as an HTPC I would suggest sticking with the base and getting a third party 8GB kit with the money saved.
  3. lovekeiiy macrumors newbie

    Nov 21, 2010
    4GB of RAM should be more than sufficient for HTPC use. Only if you're doing gaming or some video editing would 8 RAM be useful.

    For video playback and so forth, both machines can handle the duties just fine. I use a late 2009 2.66 C2D, 4RAM, and integrated NVidia 9400M graphics with no problems (most of the time). HTPC do not need to powerful.
  4. lickitysplit macrumors regular

    Sep 26, 2010
    While 4GB is most likely sufficient the base only comes with 2GB. So the 8GB kit is what you will want to purchase.
  5. wmachotze thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 29, 2011
    Thanks to all for chiming in.
    It appears the 2.3 with upgraded third party RAM should cut it for me.
    We will be using it as a computer also but only in the casual user sense of internet, word processing, light spreadsheet etc.
    I would like the option to clean up some of the family video and photos but again, only in the casual user sense. iMovie/iPhoto would more than likely be the programs we would use.
    I get hesitant when I can't upgrade.
    Please keep posting, the more experienced opinions the better!
  6. blevins321 macrumors 68030

    Dec 24, 2010
    Winnipeg, MB
    I'd been using a 2009 Mini as a media server. ATV2 for the actual TV interface because the 2009 didn't have an easy way to hook up to TV (Doesn't support audio via HDMI). I bought a 2011 Mini on Black Friday though, and the 2GB in the base is just painful. Put 8GB 3rd party RAM in it ($40 - $20 rebate) last night and now the thing flies. It will serve as a perfect media server.
  7. wmachotze thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 29, 2011
    DDR3 vs DDR5

    This may reveal my techie naivete; is it possible that the Intel HD Graphics 3000 processor with 288MB of DDR3 SDRAM could out perform the AMD Radeon HD 6630M graphics processor with 256MB of GDDR5 if you had enough on board main memory for the Intel to pull from, or am I hung up on the 288 vs 256 and don't really know the difference between DDR3 and GDDR5?
  8. blevins321 macrumors 68030

    Dec 24, 2010
    Winnipeg, MB
    When you load 8GB of RAM into the base model, it allows the 3000 to use 512MB. When playing videos, web browsing, etc, you won't notice the difference between the integrated Intel3000 and the Radeon. You'd only know the difference if you were gaming or using software (Photoshop, etc) that allows for graphics card processing.
  9. phairphan, Nov 29, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2011

    phairphan macrumors 6502a


    Sep 21, 2005
    Reject Beach
    You might want to consider the bump up to the 6630M if you want the future possibility of playing lossless audio codecs (DTS-MA and Dolby TrueHD) from ripped Blu-rays.

    8GB of RAM, SSDs, and Thunderbolt storage are overkill for a media server.
  10. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    Well DDR5 is faster memory than DDR3 to begin with. The AMD 6630 is overall a much faster GPU than the integrated Intel 3000. Any advantage that the Intel HD3000 has in memory size, would be more than lost to the memory bandwidth (i.e. DDR5) and overall faster GPU of the AMD 6630. Don't get caught up on the memory size, as it is only a small piece to the overall puzzle.
  11. wmachotze thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 29, 2011
    Great Information from all. I appreciate you taking the time to give your two cents.
  12. bt22 macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2009
    I just recently purchased the base model 2011 Mac Mini. I agree with other posters that 2GB is painful. I recently upgraded to 8GB runs very smooth now. I wanted to mention that OS X Lion does not have Front Row. But I guess you could just use iTunes to view your movies, assuming you are going to convert them to iTunes format.
  13. fa8362 macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2008
    No need for iTunes. There's a ton of applications that play movies.

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