Is the 2014 1.4GHz (4GB RAM) Mini powerful enough for a HTPC?

Idgit

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 14, 2004
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Would a 1.4GHz 2014 Mac Mini with only 4GB of RAM work as a Kodi HTPC or Plex Server as well as a usenet (nzbget/SABnzbd/Sonarr) client? It wouldn't need to push more than 2 streams (usually just one) and the usenet usage would be relatively light.

There are lots of these Minis for sale, but the paltry 4GB of soldered RAM worries me. Will it be enough?
 

Gav2k

macrumors G3
Jul 24, 2009
9,217
1,606
Yes it's fine and can happily transcode multi 1080p in plex.

One thing I would do is swap to an ssd for the boot drive. If it's staying on 24/7 then not as much of an issue.
 

Idgit

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 14, 2004
419
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Yes it's fine and can happily transcode multi 1080p in plex.

One thing I would do is swap to an ssd for the boot drive. If it's staying on 24/7 then not as much of an issue.

So, the 4GB of RAM shouldn't be a problem if it's running Plex Media Server and a few other apps?
 

Idgit

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 14, 2004
419
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What other apps? What video codecs will be used?
1080p h264/x264 MKVs or MP4s.

As for programs running 24/7, it would be Plex Media Server, iTunes, Sonarr, SABnzbd (or nzbget), and also some python scripts that run occasionally.
 

casperes1996

macrumors 603
Jan 26, 2014
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As for programs running 24/7, it would be Plex Media Server, iTunes, Sonarr, SABnzbd (or nzbget), and also some python scripts that run occasionally.
Now I must admit I don't know all of those programs, but assuming none of them have high RAM requirements, I don't think you'l have problems, no. You'll probably be somewhere in the yellow region of Activity Monitor's Memory graph, which means there'll be enough compression, and minimal swap usage that more RAM would benefit performance, but that your system is still running smoothly.
 

Idgit

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 14, 2004
419
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Now I must admit I don't know all of those programs, but assuming none of them have high RAM requirements, I don't think you'l have problems, no. You'll probably be somewhere in the yellow region of Activity Monitor's Memory graph, which means there'll be enough compression, and minimal swap usage that more RAM would benefit performance, but that your system is still running smoothly.
Okay, thanks for the info.

The system won't be seeing extremely heavy use, and I think I can tweak a couple of the apps so they go easier on the CPU.
 

Gav2k

macrumors G3
Jul 24, 2009
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You'll be fine running the above. An ssd would speed things up significantly but it's not required
 

CUDA_Switch

macrumors newbie
Jul 23, 2015
28
18
There are lots of these Minis for sale, but the paltry 4GB of soldered RAM worries me. Will it be enough?
My opinion is yes, right now a base 2014 Mini can do a 24/7 Plex Server, iTunes, and a couple other low-horsepower things as needed. But I wouldn't recommend it. Maybe if you can buy it for really, really, *really* cheap, and you don't have to put any more money into it? With Sierra, 4 GB is low enough that you'll occasionally start paging out to the slow HDD. Sure, you can throw an SSD in there but if you have to buy that, you're putting more money in that bare-bones machine. Same goes if you don't have enough storage for the media and have to buy that. There's a reason why there's so many of those machines for sale, they're basically throwaways. My question is, why buy a Mini with 3 year-old tech that's maxed out at 4 GB RAM? The same money can get you a much more powerful and expandable machine. Linux (or Windows if iTunes is a must), can do all the things you said you need.
 

Idgit

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 14, 2004
419
32
My opinion is yes, right now a base 2014 Mini can do a 24/7 Plex Server, iTunes, and a couple other low-horsepower things as needed. But I wouldn't recommend it. Maybe if you can buy it for really, really, *really* cheap, and you don't have to put any more money into it? With Sierra, 4 GB is low enough that you'll occasionally start paging out to the slow HDD. Sure, you can throw an SSD in there but if you have to buy that, you're putting more money in that bare-bones machine. Same goes if you don't have enough storage for the media and have to buy that. There's a reason why there's so many of those machines for sale, they're basically throwaways. My question is, why buy a Mini with 3 year-old tech that's maxed out at 4 GB RAM? The same money can get you a much more powerful and expandable machine. Linux (or Windows if iTunes is a must), can do all the things you said you need.
Would El Capitan use less RAM than Sierra or are they about the same?

Also, what would you recommend for a Linux/Windows HTPC? An Intel NUC?
 

casperes1996

macrumors 603
Jan 26, 2014
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Horsens, Denmark
Would El Capitan use less RAM than Sierra or are they about the same?

Also, what would you recommend for a Linux/Windows HTPC? An Intel NUC?
El Cap does consume a little less, yes. We aren't talking super much, but there is a difference.

If I may jump into the second bit, the Intel NUC is a fair piece of kit, but if you have the know-how, I'd recommend a bottom up build
 

cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
11,586
1,886
As long as you don't expand to far beyond what you listed it will be fine. It won't be the worlds best experience but I still prefer HDD's for serving media. Of course this strictly due to size vs cost (size availability too).

You mentioned MKVs? I could be wrong because I'm just looking at current Apple listings but base spec system comes with a 500gb HDD. Where are you planning on keeping the media? 500gb is gonna be tough as your collection expands, even 1tb for that matter.

May want to consider a high quality NAS. Even a cheap NAS can serve MKV's, but you'll want something nicer that can decode h264 or better.
 

CUDA_Switch

macrumors newbie
Jul 23, 2015
28
18
Would El Capitan use less RAM than Sierra or are they about the same?

Also, what would you recommend for a Linux/Windows HTPC? An Intel NUC?
I was afraid you might ask. ;) Let me take your second question first. The HTPC client I have connected to the TV is an Asus Chromebox running a Linux distribution called OpenELEC. It was $150 when I bought it in 2015 and still works great. See http://www.avsforum.com/forum/39-ne...treaming/1639937-kodi-xbmc-via-chromebox.html for more info (an old thread but still useful). Keep in mind that I don't need 4K, so I haven't had to jump through those hoops just yet.

The HTPC server I have actually is a Mac Mini running Plex and iTunes (for the phones and the Airplay devices around the house including the Chromebox). It also acts as a file server for the media storage. So a similar idea to what you're thinking about, but in my case it's running a couple VMs as well so I have the 2012 2.3 quad with 16 GB RAM. I am seriously thinking about selling it and abandoning the Mac while I can get a decent price since I could drop all that stuff on another newer box. But if I stick with iTunes it would need Windows and I'm not much of a fan. So I am staying with the Mac, for now.

Back to your first question - sure, El Cap is slightly less resource intensive. But it won't help that much and it's just postponing the inevitable. Every new OS will need more RAM and CPU, whether it's a little or a lot.
 

Idgit

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 14, 2004
419
32
As long as you don't expand to far beyond what you listed it will be fine. It won't be the worlds best experience but I still prefer HDD's for serving media. Of course this strictly due to size vs cost (size availability too).

You mentioned MKVs? I could be wrong because I'm just looking at current Apple listings but base spec system comes with a 500gb HDD. Where are you planning on keeping the media? 500gb is gonna be tough as your collection expands, even 1tb for that matter.

May want to consider a high quality NAS. Even a cheap NAS can serve MKV's, but you'll want something nicer that can decode h264 or better.
I've got a bunch of external USB HDDs and a cheap Synology, so storage isn't an issue.
 
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Telomar

macrumors 6502
Aug 31, 2002
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It'll be fine, I used an older mini as a HTPC until it died recently.

Now I'd say you could equally look at something like the Asus VM65n or something else in the Vivo Mini range. They make beautiful little HTPCs, especially with Windows 10.
 

Idgit

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 14, 2004
419
32
It'll be fine, I used an older mini as a HTPC until it died recently.

Now I'd say you could equally look at something like the Asus VM65n or something else in the Vivo Mini range. They make beautiful little HTPCs, especially with Windows 10.
Cool, thanks. I'll check out the Asus.
 
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