Mac recommendation

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by akero, Jul 11, 2011.

  1. akero macrumors newbie

    akero

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2011
    Location:
    Lexington, KY, USA
    #1
    I am a long-time computer user, who currently uses two Windows laptops, two desktop stations, and an iPhone 4 and several varieties of iPods. My partner uses a first-gen iPad.

    I am looking at another unit for my bedroom -- mainly to play videos (MKV/AVI), listen to some some music, and do web surfing from my bed (while I'm in it!). I have been looking at both iMacs and Mac minis today since I like the Apple stylings and since I cannot seem to find a single small-form factor PC to build that I like. Some of the Shuttles almost work but they're still too big IMO and I'd still have to haggle and patch together the components to go inside. (All this stuff has to fit on top of a cherry nightstand.)

    I literally want to wake up, check email, or watch a "No Reservations" episode as I drift off to sleep. I can also envision wanting to SSH into the box as needed, which I do with regularity now with my main Windows 7 server at home.

    I like the form factor of the Mac mini and will wait until the imminent refresh if I do end up getting one. When looking at the iMac as the other Apple option, I wonder what happens to the cinema display once the mobo and processor become dated? Seems like such a waste just to chuck it all out.

    If I do end up down the Mac mini road, I then wonder if I need the 27" cinema display, which is what I'm leaning toward.

    I have been very hands-on and have built myself several PCs over the years.

    Obviously I'd like to spend as little as possible to achieve my modest goals for this set.

    Any insights? :D
     
  2. Tulpa, Jul 11, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2011

    Tulpa macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 11, 2011
    #2
    From what I understand you can use the iMac's display as a monitor after the CPU craps out. That would be a pretty expensive monitor, but at least you don't have to throw it out.

    As for comparing the mini and the iMac, we really have to wait for the mini to come out to make an intelligent comparison, but the mini is highly unlikely to have a quad core i5 like the iMac does. Though for what you're talking about the i3 should be more than enough. TBH the current C2D mini would probably be enough.

    Another alternative after the refresh, of course, is to go to the Apple Refurb Store site and snatch up a discounted 2010 mini when it appears.

    The only issue with the videos is that there's no native WMV player for the Mac anymore (or at least I'm unaware of it if it does exist). You need to have flip4mac convert it to a QT format which is seriously slow on a C2D and probably not much better on the i3 the new mini is likely to have. It should be relatively fast on an i5-equipped iMac though.
     
  3. dolphin842 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    #3
    You don't need to convert. There's a free Flip4Mac quicktime plugin that lets you play WMV in any app that uses the QuickTime framework. When Microsoft stopped working on the Mac version of their media player, they just paid Flip4Mac to give their codec out for free to everyone.

    To the OP, if you don't already have a display, a refurbished 27" iMac would easily get the job done (so long as you don't get the '09 Core 2 Duo / 9400m model). You can indeed use the 27" as an external display, but it requires that the iMac itself is powered on, so you'd still be out of luck in the event of something like a logic board failure.
     
  4. Tulpa macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 11, 2011
    #4
    Yes, but you can't jump forward in the video while using the F4M plugin. At least it never lets me do so (unless it's already processed the part of the video I want to jump to, but with the C2D it barely keeps up with the video playing)
     
  5. willieva macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2010
    #5
    For watching movies, listening to music, or checking email in bed, it's tough to beat an ipad. You can use it just as an ipad, or to stream to a large screen as well.
     
  6. TheAnalogue macrumors member

    TheAnalogue

    Joined:
    May 12, 2011
    Location:
    Clearwater, Fl
    #6
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

    I'd say Mac Mini and a decient sized tv with an HDMI interface. This to me is the best option for you, a Mac mini is powerful enough for you, and what you want doesn't require the resolution of the Apple 27" LED cinema display.

    In fact I would discourage the 27" because of how small the text will be. A TV with a decent resolution will have larger pixels making things easier to read from a distance. Don't get me wrong, the 27" is a great display, I have 2 hooked up to my Mac Pro.
     
  7. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Location:
    Boon Docks USA
    #7
    A refurb 2010 mini or a refreshed mini and a 34 inch lcd tv on the wall will work for you. Use the HDMI port to connect to the tv. Should work for what you want to do.
     
  8. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #8
    I have a 2009 2.66 c2d with a 32 lcd.. you could use a 2009 2.26 c2d

    with a 32 inch tv just fine or a 2010 2.4 c2d would also work,
     
  9. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    Location:
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    #9
    I have never heard of an actual CPU crapping out. Usually something goes wrong in the logic board. When this happens the display doesn't work anyway, so you can't use it as a display for another computer.
     
  10. obsidian1200 macrumors 6502

    obsidian1200

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2010
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    #10
    I was about to say something like this. If the OP wants to mainly watch TV/Movies in his bedroom, there are cheaper alternatives to the Mac Mini with small form factors; most set-top boxes will fit the bill. I think some of them even have email applications that you can download for them. A little more research on the subject might be beneficial.

    That being said, there's no doubt that the mac mini would be more than good enough to handle what you want it to :)
     
  11. logandzwon macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2007
    #11
    Most people treat their macs like cars. When you want a new one sell, not trash, the old one. They usually last about 10 years. Last year my daughter's 1st grade classroom had 14 year old iMacs in active use.

    Also, the newer iMacs with display port can be used as monitors.
     
  12. Apple... macrumors 68020

    Apple...

    Joined:
    May 6, 2010
    Location:
    The United States
    #12
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

    The iPad would be a great alternative, and so would the MacBook Air. Ever looked into those?
     
  13. MJL macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2011
    #13
    I politely disagree.

    I am into high end audio and I have tried a number of different PC platforms and everytime I found music to have stuttering, artifacts etc when CD's were ripped on a windows platform. Why do you think 90% of sound engineers do use a Mac?

    The reason for this is relatively simple: a PC uses a BIOS which is a 16 bit bottle neck. The Apple uses EFI and this has a marked impact on the HDD performance. Take an identical CPU with identical FSB and identical HDD in an Apple envrionment and in a PC environment and then notice the difference in HDD performance. It is also a known fact that M$N build in deterioration of music when copying music CD's.

    I have not found a desktop that is more silent than the Mac mini, would have seriously considered the ASrock Vision 3D but it is not available in our country so if something goes wrong I have no repair facility available.
     
  14. obsidian1200 macrumors 6502

    obsidian1200

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2010
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    #14
    I agree with the point on Windows. My CDs never came out as well in XP as they did in OSX.5.

    However, when I said other set-top boxes, I was referring to devices such as the Boxee Box, the Apple TV2 (or 1 if the OP wants to hunt for it), the Roku Box, and the WD Live, none of which use a Microsoft OS out of the box. For simply playing back content, especially in a bedroom environment, I would think that these devices would work just as well as the Mac Mini. Of course, this is assuming that the OP has digitized their movie and music collection in its entirety.

    The Mac Mini is only a better choice if the boxes mentioned don't offer applications to perform the tasks he/she also wants to do. If the OP does want to rip new content using the device he/she is looking to purchase, I'd recommend the Mac Mini. However, I don't recall there being any mention of such tasks in the original post.

    Sorry for any confusion. I wasn't aware that set-top boxes were commonly used to refer to Windows machines :)
     
  15. obsidian1200 macrumors 6502

    obsidian1200

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2010
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    #15
    Just a quick note on that: for the 2010 27 inch iMacs, this is true. However, with the iMacs that have thunderbolt ports (2011), only other thunderbolt-equipped devices can use the iMac in target display mode.
     
  16. akero, Jul 16, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2011

    akero thread starter macrumors newbie

    akero

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2011
    Location:
    Lexington, KY, USA
    #16
    @MJL:

    I can assure you my Windows 7 x64 boxes rip music flawlessly -- everything I have thrown at them has been ripped perfectly. How do I know this? I use dBpoweramp (http://www.dbpoweramp.com). The music is ripped and compared to a known hash using the AccurateRip database (http://www.accuraterip.com). The result is bit-perfect.

    I prefer to use dBpoweramp over Exact Audio Copy (EAC) since it is set up out of the box. It knows the correct drive offsets so I don't have to look up anything.
     
  17. akero, Jul 16, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2011

    akero thread starter macrumors newbie

    akero

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2011
    Location:
    Lexington, KY, USA
    #17
    I'm still up in the air about purchasing. I have gone back and forth between buying and building my own Shuttle box and using a non-Apple 27- or 32-inch display.

    I am not the avg. PC user... I thought I had made that clear. I get perfect results from Windows and I really believe Windows 7 can be made *more secure* than a Mac. And, yes, I know how to do that, and what *not* to do.

    But... I do not want to get into a Microsoft vs. Apple debate.

    What I do like is the *style* and *form factor* of the Mini... and Apple's LED monitor seems very high quality. I just don't know if I am going to be able to *see* the screen from my bed. Videos are one thing, but can I read the text on icons and other text? That part has me worried.

    With Thunderbolt (God, do we really need another standard?) on the new LEDs, I guess I will wait a little longer. Then I could get a 2011 refresh of the Mini and LED.
     
  18. Tucom macrumors 65816

    Tucom

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2006
    #18



    With all due respect, that's more or less nonsense. A properly running PC will have no defeciency vs. a Mac when it comes to anything audio except for certain situations where the pipelining in OS X is more to far more effecient, but for simple CD burning Windows XP - and ESP. Windows 7 which I've found to be excellent for serious low latency audio production work, right up there with OS X - that would have no effect anyways.

    The BIOS being 16 bit (if it's still 16 the same way it probably was back then) has absolutely nothing to do with HDD throughput and the like -

    HDD throughput is JUST AS GOOD IN Windows AS IT IS OS X.

    Have you seen the benchmarks that prove all of that that you just said is false?

    There's the fact that a same spec'd machine running either Windows or OS X will perform nearly the same when it comes to HDD performance or any other I/O performance.

    And MS didn't build in "sound degredation" lol...I think you're thinking of the "Kmixer" in Windows XP which at the time of XP's release (far inferior to OS X back then) was a step up from 2000 and designed to be a managable audio bus for all things going on in the system, but this caused very unstable, bit-imperfect audio recordings and playback decoding which degraded the sound quality.

    Fix? ASIO.

    Now with Windows 7, the sound quality is just as good as OS X, esp. with a good sound card.


    There ARE aspects of the Mac that still make the average PC look ancient (EFI vs. BIOS, registry vs. none, etc.), but with UEFI becoming more prevelant in the Windows world that gaps closing (which is good there imo.)


    But yeah it's good to point out the facts there, yeah? That's that and there are benchmarks out there that prove aforementioned statems, with all due respect. Make sense yeah?
     
  19. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Location:
    Boon Docks USA
    #19
    I've read an article on the next iOS coming out. Talk of apple enabling the bluetooth capabilities already in the ATV2 to possibly use a bluetooth keyboard. If this does happen, would be the cheapest option to use. There are hacks out now to enable it too.
     
  20. obsidian1200 macrumors 6502

    obsidian1200

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2010
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    #20
    I'm not sure with the ACD, but I would *think* that you could adjust the resolution of the screen via the mac mini, making it display slightly larger at a lower resolution. If worst came to worst, most (I think all, but I can't say for sure) allow you to increase the size of the text within the application anyway. You can also increase the size of the icons displayed, too :) I wouldn't worry too much, other than how expensive the ACD is going to be (you pay for the quality, though). You can also just use and HDTV with a 1080p or 720p resolution; it'd be cheaper, and you wouldn't have any problem reading text from afar...

    With as much as you'd spend on the mini and the ACD, it'd probably be worth your time to check out the iMacs.
     
  21. AppleDApp macrumors 68020

    AppleDApp

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    #21
    Here are your options if you have a TV in the bedroom use an Apple TV or set top box (like boxee box or Roku) and an iOS device for web surfing(Airplay?)

    If you need a display 27" is most likely too small (how far away are you from the monitor) If you were thinking of doing a mac mini ACD combo forget it it's more cost effective to get the iMac or a mac mini with a third party display.

    You could build an HTPC but I think you mentioned it was a hassle. Also would be expensive.

    quite frankly why can't you just use a scrap pc with wireless keyboard and wifi to watch your shows?
     

Share This Page