MacBook Pro as a HTPC

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by deliveryguy, Aug 4, 2009.

  1. deliveryguy macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2009
    #1
    Hi guys -

    I'm sure this has been asked before, but I haven't found anything relevant to my situation. I've been doing some laptop hunting and I was originally going to stick to the PC world, but I think I might take the leap to the good life. I'll be using my laptop for day to day use, academic apps (XP), and as the heart of a Home Theater setup.

    I have a few concerns:

    Video capability. I would like to power a 46" LCD at 1080p with the little guy - what would be the minimum suggested hardware to accomplish this? I would also like to push a visualizer to the screen; I know this is very GPU demanding and I'm concerned that a non-dedicated card won't be able to handle this.

    Audio capability. I'm interested in pushing 5.1 Surround to the HT speakers through a receiver - would you suggest getting an external sound adapter?

    I'm looking to spend the least money possible, but I want to enjoy these pleasures fully without issue, so any suggestions are valuable.

    Thanks for your time :).
     
  2. geoffreak macrumors 68020

    geoffreak

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    #2
    You do not need a dedicated GPU to power a large display. 1080p is actually a low resolution and the 9400m can easily power a 30" ACD.
    One of these can connect the MBP to your TV.

    One of these and a surround sound system with optical in will be needed for surround sound.
     
  3. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    #3
    I use my 17" 2.8GHz mbp as my main computer and HTPC on a 52" Sony Bravia XBR4.

    It works flawlessly and very very fast. I can use both screens as well when laying down on my recliner chair. 17" mbp on my lap while a movie is playing on the 52" at the same time with no lag and very buttery smooth with the 9600m gt card.

    Oh and use Plex player under OSX for the movies. Nothing beats Plex!!
     
  4. deliveryguy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2009
    #4
    Good info - thanks for the confirmation. I was especially worried about the visualizations, but it sounds like a 9400m would be a reasonable "minimum". Thanks guys :D
     
  5. geoffreak macrumors 68020

    geoffreak

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    #5
    I would advise a Mac Mini instead of a MBP if you want a permanent HTPC.
     
  6. deliveryguy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2009
    #6
    I need a laptop, and I won't need the HTPC when I'm not there, so I figured I could hit two birds with one stone by making sure my laptop can handle the demands of my HT setup. This will actually be the first laptop I've ever purchased :p.
     
  7. geoffreak macrumors 68020

    geoffreak

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    #7
    While you are at it, you will want to look at Plex and Handbrake ;)
    Also, invest in a 500GB WD Scorpio Blue HDD for the MBP and a firewire external to handle your media.
     
  8. deliveryguy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2009
    #8
    Uh oh - I was planning on just using a regular external enclosure/dock with my movies on it for the HT media. I figured since I can "stream" like that on my desktop, the laptop's video playback wouldn't suffer. Would my USB 2.0 enclosure not cut it? Thanks :D
     

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