Mac mini 2014 1.4Ghz as Media Center

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by cbn01, Oct 25, 2014.

  1. cbn01 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2014
    #1
    Hi

    I hope that some of your clever minds can answer this question.
    I want to build a media center from a mac mini, but not sure if the cheapest 2014 model can run what I need.

    I just need to run HD movies/series, and maybe I'll get a tv tuner later on.

    Would it be better to get the $699 model to be on the safe side, or should the $499 model be good enough.

    Thanks
     
  2. Darby67 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2011
    Location:
    the corner of Fire and Brimstone
    #2
    Yes it should have zero issues playing HD video. Are you speaking about stuff available at Apple or other media acquired via Blu-Ray? It won't have much power for HandBrake, but playing won't be an issue.

    But really models going back to about 2009 could do most of this as well and the 2011 and 2012 models are more than capable of all of it. The mid-tier 2014 would be a rather expensive option if this is the only purpose you will have.
     
  3. gugy macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2005
    Location:
    La Jolla, CA
    #3
    On the same note I am wondering if the Mini 2014 base model can handle being a media center (without transcode anything), file server and Time Machine backup center for all my Macs.

    Thanks
     
  4. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    #4
    Time machine and file serving is required virtually no CPU not does media center stuff (more GPU dependent). It would be fine.
     
  5. gugy macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2005
    Location:
    La Jolla, CA
    #5
    Great! Thanks for the tip.
    Would have my main drive switch to a SSD improve performance and wake up from sleep mode faster? I understand the new Mac Mini still allow you to replace drives but not RAM.
    All my media/server/TM files will be locate on HDD external enclosures connect by either TB or USB so maybe it might not make much difference after all to have the SSD just to hold the system files.
     
  6. Ray2 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2014
    #6
    The ssd will make for a much nicer user experience. I have a 2009 mini dedicated as a media center. Plex, iTunes and photos. Moving to a 128 gb ssd (using 40 gb of the drive with a very large Plex library) speeded up everything except waking externals when media on a sleeping external drive is selected.

    It also allows me to keep the mini on at all the time with a scheduled start and shutdown. With a spinner its useless to leave it on full time as the lag is the drive waking.

    For circa $75 for a Crucial MX100, it was well worth the money.
     
  7. gugy macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2005
    Location:
    La Jolla, CA
    #7
    OK,
    Yeah, I have a spare 120gb SSD that I was thinking in putting on the Mini. My media library is over 1TB, so I am stuck using external HDD. I could use SSD, but the cost will be too high.
    So the set up I am thinking is the Mini and a TB external enclosure that would hold around 6TB drives that would keep my media, working files and Time Machine backups.
     
  8. Mcdevidr macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2013
    #8
    I'm gonna have to bite the bullet on one too. I just don't like running back up services and plex on my laptop. Makes me not want to undock it. I was gonna wait for a refurb, but I can't anymore. I'll upgrade the drive when the warranty expires.
     
  9. Ray2 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2014
    #9
    Why? For media I can run 1080 on a directly connected tv and simultaneously stream 1080 over to the other side of the house over Ethernet with FireWire 800 drives. Probably could do it with USB. You don't need I/O speed for video files. Just about anything will do.

    If you want faster backups, dump TM. I schedule my backups in the wee hours, couldn't care less how long they take.

    I'm dealing with 9 tb (without backups) and anything that spins and holds data works fine.
     
  10. gugy macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2005
    Location:
    La Jolla, CA
    #10
    Just because the Mini has TB ports. I have looked at some external enclosures and the premium for TB is high. But you are right, I could get away with USB 3.
    No need to spend that money on it.
    What enclosure do you recommend that is quiet? I like the ones that have the Mac Mini form factor.
     
  11. cinealta macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2012
  12. Ray2 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2014
    #12
    Agree. For your needs just about any mini will do. I would much prefer FireWire over usb3. Its dead reliable and fast enough.
     
  13. WilliamG macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2008
    Location:
    Seattle
    #13
    No OSX-based machine is worth it these days for a media machine. It can't even do 24p since OS X doesn't support 23.976hz.

    But if you don't care about that (or HD audio etc) then yes, it'd be fine.

    At least the new Haswell minis can be run in Windows to do both the above, but at that point you're better off saving your money and getting an Intel NUC.
     

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