Mac mini questions for a new Mac user

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by radtechy, Nov 10, 2014.

  1. radtechy macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2014
    #1
    I wanted a MBP or a MBA but they are too much money IMO so this seems like the best value plus I can get a desktop without needing a desk (HDMI on TV).

    I just have some questions if the base 4 gb of ram 2014 model will do what I need. I heard Macs are efficient and can do more with less hardware than a windows machine. I have done a lot of searching for the needs that need performance and I think it will do it but I know zero about how macs handle hardware.

    1. Basic needs of email and web etc I'm not worried

    2. DVD ripping & converting (I found software that is comparable to DVD shrink for windows...please recommend any apps)

    3. Does Apple support VOB files? (I use a hard drive for my blue ray to play the VOB rips to not have to re-encode them)

    4. itunes....with even a 2.x something, i5 and 6 gb of ram my iTunes runs like crap on my windows when downloading app updates and starting to play video files (iPad and iPhone syncing isn't bad)

    This is the big one.....

    5. Is the process hard of moving my data from windows to mac

    6. I have 3 external HD's 2 are WD passports 1 older 1 newer and the 3rd is a laptop HD in an USB 3 enclosure....all of them are formatted for windows so how would I go about getting everything off reformatting the drives and reloading the data back on?

    Thanks in advance for any and all help/suggestions. I can't wait to make the conversion over.
     
  2. cornerexit macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2014
    #2
    Doing the same thing as far as the external drives. All my chit is on a WD external drive formatted with NTFS. I plugged it into the mini and it's not writeable. So you can just copy everything off the drive onto your macmini then decide what you want to do with it.

    You can copy your data from the WD's to your mac. Then reformat the external drive for mac. Then move your data back from the mini to the external hard drive.
     
  3. gooser macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2013
    #3
    it sounds to me like you need a 2010 mini. it was the last year that had an optical drive in it and can run the latest software.
     
  4. radtechy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2014
    #4
    Mac mini questions for a new Mac user

    Thanks corner!!! I didn't realize it was that simple as long as it will read the WD's then I format it and move it back that's cake. I didn't know if the to systems would have to be linked

    ----------

    Gooser......I'm gonna get the Apple slim drive I can't see myself buying a 4yr old technology system. When you said "it can run the latest software" do mean the latest mac os or the apps for ripping?
     
  5. Celerondon macrumors 6502a

    Celerondon

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2013
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    #6
    Moving, Reformatting, and Reloading Is Not Mandatory

    There are several solutions for the HD format issue. One popular method does not involve moving, reloading, or reformatting anything. Your Mac already has read permission for Windows (NTFS) drives. Paragon NTFS for Mac 12 allows your Mac to read and write to NTFS volumes with no concerns about the native drive file system. When faced with a situation similar to yours, I installed the Paragon driver and promptly bypassed the issues raised by your # 5 and # 6.
    Last year when I bought it the Paragon package cost less than $25. According to their web site it costs less than $16 at this time.

    http://www.paragon-software.com/home/ntfs-mac/
     
  6. dazed macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2007
    #7
    I use handbrake to rip my DVDs to m4v for importing to itunes, and makemkv to rip blurays to mkv's and handbrake to convert them to m4v.

    IF you get a mini with no drive then I'd suggest an external Samsung bluray drive rather than the official apple drive. I've been using mine for the last year with no issues.


    The mini is a great machine (although the 2014 version is a disappointment to many on here).
     
  7. crazzapple Guest

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2014
    #8
    If you are doing a lot of ripping/converting, you will benefit from quad-core. If you are in the US, sign up for one of the refurb notification websites to grab a 2012 quad-core i7 for $589. You can then add ram (up to 16GB) yourself.

    If you get a 2014 you better make sure you get the right amount of ram for how long you plan to use the machine, since it's soldered on. Good luck.
     
  8. mr.steevo macrumors 65816

    mr.steevo

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2004
    #9
    Please, don't get the base mini.

    I got the base 2012 mini with 4GB of RAM thinking "No big deal". iPhoto ate every bit of RAM I had whenever I looked at a photo and made the computer feel molasses awful. My wife, who couldn't care less about speed, began complaining about the sluggish mini. I removed one of the 2GB RAM modules and put in a 8GB module for a total of 10GB and the computer runs fine. Given that the new mini has soldered in RAM spend the extra money to bump up to the next mini (2.6Ghz).

    Or better yet, follow crazzapple's advice.
     
  9. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2014
    #10
    Pair 4 GB RAM with a 5400 RPM HDD and you've got one slow machine. Not to mention Apple trying to keep it that way for its entire life. Thumbs down for the base 2014 Mac mini.
     
  10. radtechy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2014
    #11
    Thank you all the data moving & seemed like it would be the biggest hassle but being able to read NTFS that's fine
     
  11. Jambalaya macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #12
    I have found RipIt (first 10 rips free then $10 licence I recall) much better than Handbake for the initial rip. I use Handbrake for format conversion and you can queue them up to run overnight if you have multiple. I have a 2009 machine and don't feel underpowered CPU wise for similar use.

    If you can afford a better model go for that, 8GM RAM will definitely run better and the new models are not post purchase upgradable RAM. The 5400 rpm HDD isn't great but you can get quicker drivers and run them externally and/or change out the internal one. I would not buy a 2010 machine just to get an inbuilt DVD drive, if I was going used it would be a 2012 and an external drive.
     
  12. radtechy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2014
    #13
    I got the mini. So far it seems cool I'm just having an issue with the screen resolution.

    I'm hooking it up to a 40 inch Samsung via HDMI. It looks beautiful except that that when I open things from the system preferences or safari everything is too small then I tried changing the picture size on the TV along with the resolutions in the settings (1080p, 1080i, 720p, & 1056x564 are my choices)

    And either the home screen is too tiny or the programs are too big I can't get a happy medium for both. And I tried the under scanning thing.

    Please help
     
  13. Cassady, Nov 13, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2014

    Cassady macrumors 6502a

    Cassady

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2012
    Location:
    Sqornshellous
    #14
    [Edit: Tapatalk dropped my original reply in the wrong thread. That, or I'm losing my mind]
     
  14. Cassady macrumors 6502a

    Cassady

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2012
    Location:
    Sqornshellous
    #15
    Same boat. Put up a thread about it yesterday- but so far no replies.

    I bought a programme called SwitchResX, which allows for customisation of Resolution settings. Going to play around with it still - will pop something up if I hit the happy medium.

    My default settings also have my LG HDTV as a 24", when in reality, it's a 46".

    [Edit: I am losing my mind. At least it's been fun! :D]
     
  15. Jambalaya macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #16
    What do you mean by everything is too small ? Maximise Safari and use CMD+ to increase font size. I run my Mini to a large HD TV and use max windows for everything, some apps like Mail the menu text is a bit small but mostly I am using Safari or streaming videos.
     
  16. radtechy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2014
    #17
    Mac mini questions for a new Mac user

    When I say that things are small. It's like the menu for system preferences is barely readable and I'm not that far away from the TV. And the on home screen the top menu bar and the dock I can't see, but then when I shrink it down using the overscan the system pref menu (for example) is even smaller to read.

    Since my post I've been using the switch res app and I'm using the 1600x900 preset and set the defaults for safari and chrome for zooming and larger font, along with mail, and some other stuff and made the dock bigger and it's much better.

    I would still like more resolution though but I read if you use a custom size and it's not supported you can get a black screen and I don't have another monitor to plug in and then how will I be able to see what I need to do? But also I think it's BS that I have to buy an app so I can get the mini to work with my display
     
  17. Tinmania macrumors 68040

    Tinmania

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    Location:
    Aridzona
    #18
    Unless I am missing something nothing is actually smaller than if you were using a 1080p display sitting right in front of you. The issue surely has to be the distance to the TV. That is why there are interfaces designed just for that kind of usage, with large text and whatnot (e.g., XBMC). Apple used to have one themselves, but it has been discontinued (Front Row).

    That said I would run at the TV's native resolution, presumably 1080p. Anything less won't be as crisp. You can make the font size larger in most apps.

    Where you can't make the font size larger you can use zoom (the default is control plus mouse scroll). You can turn that on in Settings->Accessibility->Zoom. Very useful and you can use it only as needed. I would only check "Use scroll gesture..." box. "Smooth images" should already be checked. Zoom style should be fullscreen.



    Michael
     
  18. radtechy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2014
    #19
    As I tinker with it more and more I'm starting to see how it works.

    But that 1600x900 for the computer use is pretty crisp I can't notice much difference. But if I put on Hulu and stream video it's a bit choppy then I use the switchresX to change it back to 1089p and it looks perfect. What is the XBMC? The switch res is like 18 bucks but I have it free for another week. So if there are any free alternatives please let me know
     
  19. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2014
    #20
    Retina DisplayMenu has been my go-to for two years and it's completely free. Don't let the name fool you, it works fine with non-retina as well.
     
  20. radtechy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2014
    #21
    I was having trouble finding this app. I found something with a similar name but I'm not sure if it's the same. Can you please post a link. Also I'm looking for a free blu ray player app
     
  21. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2014
    #22
    Since you're not concerned about Retina I should have suggested this app instead: http://itunes.apple.com/app/display-menu/id549083868
     
  22. radtechy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2014
    #23
    Thanks for all the help. And the display menu is awesome. Does exactly what I need and it's free I'm gonna upgrade to pro so I can get rid of all the resolutions I don't use from the list
     
  23. Crosscreek macrumors 68030

    Crosscreek

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    Nov 19, 2013
    Location:
    Margarittaville
    #24
  24. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #25
    I wouldn't recommend less than 8gb of RAM in -any- new Mac bought in 2014.

    Also, I suggest you consider the "mid-level" Mini as your "starting point".

    $200 more than the base, you get the 8gb of RAM standard, and a CPU that is almost twice as fast.

    If there's any way you can swing that purchase, it will pay off for you in the days to come.

    You'll need an external DVD/CD drive, but they can be found "for cheap" these days.

    Moving your data shouldn't be too hard, but it would be a -lot easier- if you can take the hard drive you're using now and mount it to the Mac using something like an external USB enclosure or USB3/SATA dock. If you live near a brick-and-mortar Apple Store, I believe they can help.
     

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