Mac Mini HTPC needs?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by ClemsonDV, Jun 13, 2012.

  1. ClemsonDV macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2012
    #1
    Looking to retire my old 2006 Macbook (2 GHz, 2 GB Ram 667 MHz) as my media server. It streams to my iPad, iPhone, and Apple TV. One fan is blown, the battery is factory...so almost dead (on charge forever now)... and it is buffering and quitting when i watch 720p files on the TV it is directly connected.

    Now one thing may be to just leave that thing be and get a new AppleTV for my TV display, but I think I need an upgrade bad.

    I am trying to figure out which Mac Mini would do what I need. (2010 or 2011 versions). Plainly the newer ones are better in most aspects, but I am a little price conscience as of late do to other things.

    I normally just stream videos and download/convert videos from this media computer. I am not sure if I need a very processor heavy Mac Mini or should I go cheaper and get a lower grade processor but amp up the RAM. Buying 4-8 GB of RAM is not out of the question. I'd love a new one with the direct HDMI port, but I have read the DVI/HDMI of the 2010 model still outputs well at 1080p.

    Summing up:
    1)Old model Mini or New?
    2) Focus on RAM or processor?


    Any helps is appreciated.
     
  2. AtomicEdge macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2009
    #2
    I have a 2011 model running as my media server and I upgraded the RAM to 8gb because it only cost me like £30.

    To be honest, it does feel like the thing is a little under used, but then I am able to use the spare processing power to encode video.

    The HDMI socket is definitely a bonus, if only to allow me to move it around to other screens easily.
     
  3. whoiare macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2011
    #3

    There isnt enough information here. First off, are you strictly using files in itunes? or are these files avis and mkvs etc and you use a third party program like xbmc or plex?

    the mac mini question: all you really need if you are strictly using it as a itunes server is any mac mini with at least an intel processor. This includes even earlier mini's than the unibody designed ones of 2010 and 2011. Changing the memory in these versions isnt the easiest. However they will still do the job...you may find them even cheaper and snow leopard is all you will ever need. These 2009 versions will still output 1080p using the mini DVI to HDMI dongle like you mentioned. They also maintain the CD/DVD drive.

    If all of your content is in itunes already then get with the ATV3 for your tv and keep the mini separate. Id also look into external Firewire 800 drives to keep your itunes/media separate from the mini internal drive.


    one other thing is how your apple tv is connected and what is your LAN setup...buffering could be partly the macbooks fault and partly because your running on wireless. i do know that the ATV1 will choke on some 720P files and others it plays just fine if its plugged in via ethernet and the files are formatted correctly
     
  4. ClemsonDV thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2012
    #4
    I use a JB'd Apple TV2 and Plex as a server. My AppleTV does not choke, the computer chokes...skips...pixelates any movie that taxes the system (again, the guy is old and broken).

    If i am encoding/converting/downloading via torrent/streaming to all my Apple units, do I need some beefy processor or will RAM be better to focus on. I'd love a 2011 model, but if a 2010 model is $300 cheaper and does the job. I think i may go that route.

    Router does need some updating while I think about it. Asus NRT-12 but it is causing me problems as well. I use the old macbook to watch TV/Movies on my 46" TV in the living room. The computer heats up and chokes, the computer taxes on processing the mkv files with VLC at times.

    I know I am at a point where i need an upgrade... just need to know to what.
     
  5. maturola macrumors 68040

    maturola

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #5
    I would recommend building your own HTPC as server and maybe even as replacement for your ATV/ROKU on the main TV (And moving the ATV to a secondary tv). Unless you can get a great deal in a old mac mini.

    You don't need much to run the server, before I upgraded my HTPC, my server was a Core 2 Duo, 2.4Ghz, 4GB RAM Dell Inspiron.

    now for $400 - $500 you can build a small server, that can even support 3D blueray playback (if you ever want to upgrade to a 3D tv). Look for AMD Llano setup.
     
  6. ClemsonDV, Jun 17, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2012

    ClemsonDV thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2012
    #6
    How much are we talking for system that can handle torrents, streaming apple Tvs, converting files for remote streaming, and playing 1080p files on a local tv?

    I admit I am an apple homer and I love OSX, but money is all tight as of late. I love having everything interoperable with AirPlay and OSX and iOS

    If I can get all that in something that's not Mac, I will be game.
     
  7. maturola macrumors 68040

    maturola

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #7
    it all depend on what you want, storage, wireless, etc. etc.

    I build mine for $400, 4TB storage, AMD A6, it does everything you mentioned without any issues.
     
  8. ClemsonDV thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2012
    #8
    Any chance you can list out how you built yours. I've never attempted an buildout from scratch. Just minor mods. I'd love to keep it $350 or below.
     
  9. maturola macrumors 68040

    maturola

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #9
  10. donrsd macrumors 6502

    donrsd

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2011
    Location:
    South Florida
    #10

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