Mac Mini: 1GB ram; 120GB hard drive version as htpc

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by pmcmvp, Aug 4, 2009.

  1. pmcmvp macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2009
    #1
    Is 1 GB ram enough for running the mini as a htpc, with plex? Mainly playing ripped dvds and viewing photos. Also will be getting eyetv. I will use an external harddrive for more disk. I know alot of people here say its easy to upgrade the ram but I may not want to do it right away (scared to break something). I want to buy this thing soon but rather pay the cheaper price.
     
  2. rgarjr macrumors 603

    rgarjr

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    Apr 2, 2009
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    #2
    Yeah it should be okay but more RAM wouldn't hurt. I bought my mini a few days ago to it up as media center project.
     
  3. jont-fu macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    #3
    If you plan on playing 1080p content, I recommend getting the 2GB or 4GB version. I tested my 1GB model with full-hd trailers downloaded from apple.com and it clearly skipped frames. After upgrading the system memory to 4GB the same clips played without skipping frames.

    I guess this may be due to the shared graphics memory; with 2GB system memory it is 256MB and with 1GB system memory only half of that.
     
  4. TRAG macrumors 6502

    TRAG

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    Location:
    Louisiana, USA
    #4
    Don't be afraid. I haven't done it. But watch this video. Looks easy enough. Or look at this guide.

    How's the new mini going? :)
     
  5. MacMini2009 macrumors 68000

    MacMini2009

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  6. Chris Rogers macrumors 6502a

    Chris Rogers

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    #6
    Exactly, you def need to have at least 2GB RAM
     
  7. pmcmvp thread starter macrumors member

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    Jul 28, 2009
    #7
    ill probably buy the lower version but with 2GB RAM through apple. Once I get the courage, ill update to 4G. Now I just have to go there and buy it!
     
  8. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #8
    1 GB should be fine. Make sure your external drive is FW and not USB2. Running the Eye TV tuner and an external drive off the USB bus has a significant bandwidth issue (I've tried it and it was ugly).

    This doesn't make sense to me, unless you're using Quicktime for playback. Plex has a very small RAM footprint and 1 GB should be plenty so long as you're not concurrently doing other tasks (especially Safari, which is a RAM hog). I can play almost all of my Blu-ray rips on a 2 gHz Core 2 Mini/GMA950 with no stuttering, and every 1080p MPEG-4/H.264 video (e.g., Apple trailers) I've tried plays without stuttering in Plex. From all reports I've seen the nVidia Mini is even better.
     
  9. natebookpro macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 25, 2008
    Location:
    Maryland
    #9
    Not sure if this will help....

    Im not sure about using htpc but I have a Powermac G4 dual 800 w/ 1.2GB ram and use it to stream to my Apple TV and MacBook. I have downloaded a couple of the free HD shows off iTunes and they have streamed fine to my MacBook. The G4 is at about 30% cpu usage doing this, it really doesnt take much to stream media. Now on the other hand if the G4 had to play the media then stream it im pretty sure it would catch fire. If you are just talking about streaming I would think it would be fine, especially if it is an intel mini.
     
  10. 3N16MA macrumors 65816

    3N16MA

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    Jul 23, 2009
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    #10
    If your only going to be doing DVD rips and photos 1GB will do but 2GB would be nice so you can unlock the 256MB. If you plan on doing 720p or 1080p you definitely need more than 1GB. I have a FW800 external raid enclosure, and a Hauppauge HD PVR hooked up to my mini it also runs eyetv 3, PLEX, and various games. 1080P and 720p content play great with 4GB.
     
  11. Chris Rogers macrumors 6502a

    Chris Rogers

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    #11

    Hmmm, I kind of understand what you're saying. So if I played my media through Quicktime instead of Plex, then I would notice the difference?

    You have only 1GB? What do you mean by you can play ALMOST all?
     
  12. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #12
    Yes, Plex uses ffmpeg for playback, which is far more efficient than Quicktime. But Plex can't handle iTS DMR'd video.

    Early on I did. It now has 3 gb. Some of my Blu-ray rips have very high bit rates (35-40 mbps) and some have variable frame rates (above 35 fps at times). These are really taxing on the 2 gHz Core 2 Duo processor. If I use Handbrake to transcode to CQ of 62% (h.264 at about 10-12 mbps) and constant 24 fps they play just fine.
     
  13. Chris Rogers macrumors 6502a

    Chris Rogers

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    #13
    What is the CQ setting in handbrake?

    Do you use Plex?

    Thanks! I know these A/V threads/comments aren't really official unless you're invlolved :p
     
  14. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #14
    CQ is "constant quality". When set at 62% I cannot tell the difference between a 1080p Blu-ray rip and a 1080p MKV transcode on my 10 foot screen. I use Plex exclusively for my HTPC setup. On the rare occasion that I rent a movie from Apple I use Front Row from within Plex for playback (to get around DRM).
     
  15. sagew macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    #15
    Been using my Mini on my 52" Sony for about four months. Used it for about a month on 1gb, then bought a 4gb kit from newegg for $48.

    System is much more stable (I have to reboot less often) with 4gb. I use Plex and also Slingbox. Do some browsing. Smooth as butter...Kinda take that for granted with Apple after my transition 2 years ago...

    I say try it with 1gb, the upgrade is not too hard if you're patient and careful, and I bet you'll end up with 4gb.

    LOVE the mini for HTPC use though!
     
  16. sagew macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    #16
    P.S. I got the MS bluetooth mouse 5000...Got sick of losing the pairing on it and returned it and got the mighty mouse. Best decision yet, haven't had to re-pair in a couple months
     
  17. pmcmvp thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2009
    #17
    actually im going to buy the 1G version first and try it out, i found a place that will charge $30 service charge to upgrade the ram for me with my own bought ram (dont have to buy from them surprisingly)
     
  18. pmcmvp thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2009
    #18
    just bought it! But I have no keyboard, mouse, or dvi to hdmi cable yet! (which ill get tommorrow). What keyboard you guys are using? Im either planning to get the apple wireless keyboard and mouse, or maybe the logitech mini thing.. Whats good?
     
  19. rgarjr macrumors 603

    rgarjr

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2009
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    #19
    congrats on your new mini. Some people use the Apple bluetooth keyboard and mighty mouse and others use the dinovo mini. Others dont even use nothing but the apple remote.
     
  20. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

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  21. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #21
    Alright. Because of this thread I dug out my old 1.66 gHz Core Duo (not Core 2 Duo) Mini that has the GMA950 chipset (64 mb shared vRAM), 2 gb of RAM, OS X 10.5.8 and Plex 0.8.1. I played several minutes of several 1080p videos and, other than 1 or 2 dropped frames at the very start, it play the movies without any trouble at all.

    These movies were Blu-ray rips transcoded with the current Handbrake snapshot (svn2592) with the following settings:

    1. Apple TV Preset
    2. Video changed to 1920 by xxx
    3. Constant Quality setting (60.78%)
    4. MKV container
    5. 24 fps
    6. Audio track 1 as passthrough (AC3 or DTS); track 2 off
     
  22. Chris Rogers macrumors 6502a

    Chris Rogers

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    #22
    Dinovo Edge (Mac Edition) is great the Dinovo Mini isn't officially for Mac. And it's small. You will be dragging and dropping files btw. IMO the bigger one is better.
     
  23. pmcmvp thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2009
    #23
    just wanted to update, ive had my mini for about a week and I can say 1G is enough if Im just using plex to watch movies etc. If i try to do anything else, like ripping a dvd and watch a movie, the movie keeps studdering, maybe because im also trying to use the disk when ripping?

    ANyways, for watching movies through plex, i say 1G is enough.

    Will still upgrade one day thou.
     
  24. Krafty macrumors 601

    Krafty

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    #24
    Indeed.
     
  25. Chris Rogers macrumors 6502a

    Chris Rogers

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    my house
    #25
    Yeah, I wouldn't watch and rip the same DVD at the same time.
     

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