Mini as Plex Client

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by evilpaddy, Aug 8, 2012.

  1. evilpaddy, Aug 8, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2012

    evilpaddy macrumors regular

    Aug 2, 2012
    I am streaming content from a Plex Server running on a 12.7TB RAID5 array courtesy of a Synology Diskstation to my TV however the results are less than satisfactory using the TV's in built media player app. I was looking about buying a Mac Mini for the primary role of being used as a Plex client with some light internet browsing/email and worst case scenario some video transcoding.

    I assume the mini has gigabit ethernet - I'm currently moving the data from a USB to ethernet dongle and it's taking forever!

    Given the likely CPU and GPU bumps in the 2012 mini, is it worth the wait for my usage?


  2. blevins321 macrumors 68030

    Dec 24, 2010
    Winnipeg, MB
    Minus the video transcoding requirement, a 2009 used Mini would be terrific your the uses that you mentioned.
  3. cvaldes macrumors 68040

    Dec 14, 2006
    somewhere else
    I concur with blevins321. A 2-3 year old Mac mini should be fine for the application you've spec'ed out.

    Every Mac produced over the past 5-6 years has included Gigabit Ethernet. It's not a recent hardware addition. My nearly six-year-old MacBook has Gigabit Ethernet.
  4. codymac macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2009
    No need to wait - pretty much any of them will be fine although transcoding may be painful.

    Stick with 2010 & up if you need HDMI with audio and use wired ethernet if your media isn't attached to the mini.

    I'm using a 2010.
  5. Ifti macrumors 68000

    Dec 14, 2010
    I wasnt really happy with the way Plex server ran on my Synology. Just used too much CPU for my liking, which I prefer to keep free for other tasks. Hence my plan is to buy a MacMini Server to use as the actual Plex server, as well as a client for direct playback onto my TV (so a HTPC as such).
    The Mini will stay on 24/7 anyway and will also serve the Plex clients on my iDevices, as well as do some light video transcoding.

    Although at the moment Im using the media player on my TV, which is connected directly into the network and takes content from the DLNA server on my Synology, I am also not happy with the media player's layout etc - although the speed etc is perfectly for, even for full HD movies, since everything is hard-wired via gigabit ethernet.

    Personally Im waiting for the next Mac Mini refresh, since although I dont need its full power for now, I want something that will last me well into the future. I also dont want to buy a Mini now, knowing a refresh is due.
    Give me Ivy Bridge, HD4000, and USB3 ports and I'll be splitting with my money! In a quad core server iteration, that will make me a happy bunny ;)
  6. comatory macrumors 6502a


    Apr 10, 2012
    I use Mac mini 2009 as a Plex Server and for that purpose, it's working great. I do some transcoding on it here and there, ripping DVD in Handbrake works great although due to the processor it isn't superfast.

    But it works! My lady uses is for light internet tasks (email, FB, streaming from youtube).

    So my advice to you: save yourself some money and get a used 09 mini because for me personally, it does everything I want it to do.

    - 1080P MKV files: check
    - simultaneous stream serving (I'm streaming video to more devices at once): check

    It also serves as torrent box. My stuff is on USB 2.0 drive connected to mini and I don't have any wires at home, it all happens wirelessly via Wifi-N (I have Time Capsule as my router), that means I usually have to wait around 5-15 seconds for the content to buffer up but the library loads up quickly on clients.

    Seriously, don't spend money on new mini for this... I'm so glad I bought myself a used unit at fraction of price and it works great. It's just lots of peeps around here are early adopters and they think they need the latest hardware but truthfully, I think for the tasks you have the new mini would be overkill.

    Oh I didn't mention I have gamepads connected to it so I also use it as a gaming system (SNES etc) on occasion :)
  7. evilpaddy thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 2, 2012
    Cheers for the advice guys.

    I'm in no rush as the TV streams fine - I'll likely pick up a refurb one as above, but if the refresh will be out in the next few weeks then the refub cost is likely to drop.

    @ Ifti: I have a DS1512+ - not found it to be CPU or RAM bound yet - still have just the 1GB in there. What are you using?
  8. Ifti macrumors 68000

    Dec 14, 2010
    I have a DS1511+ so have a slightly slower CPU then you.
    The CPU usage wasnt anywhere near 100% or anything but I'd prefer to keep the NAS box free from processing if I can and move it onto other devices. I have plans of introducing IP cameras etc as well soon so want to keep things as free as possible for stuff like that I guess (plus its an added excuse to get the Mac Mini ;) ) lol

    Im also in no particular rush as my TV streams fine as well, its just the impatience in me I guess!
  9. evilpaddy thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 2, 2012

    Im using SNAnzbd, SickBeard, CouchPotato and Headphones on mine. All automagically integrated into Plex. Probably one of my best purchases.

    I'd love a mac mini, but it seems overkill for a dedicated Plex client! That being said, it's only money and they are cheap enough! - I'll hang on for a SSD in the refresh though. I have some video that needs transcoding and wouldn't want the DS1512+ to do that... :)
  10. mikepro macrumors 6502

    Sep 3, 2010
    Why not get a Roku and use that as a Plex client for 1/10th the price of a Mini? Mini for client seems waaay overkill.

    I use my 2009 Mini as my Plex server, and also running SABnzbd, Sickbeard, Couchpotato, media on a USB2 external drive. Client is my TV's Samsung Plex client app. Works great.
  11. noobish895 macrumors newbie

    Aug 11, 2012

    The roku's a great little boxes for Plex, esp if you have the server to do the hard work, plus they're only £99/$99/similar.

    Plus you can use the plex youtube plugin to watch youtube stuff on the TV if you want.
  12. DustinT macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2011
    I've got a mid 2011 Mini serving a Roku and it works lovely. There's all wired ethernet between the devices and it's just rock solid.
  13. AuroraProject macrumors 65816


    Feb 19, 2008
    Right there
    I'm thinking he meant to run the mini as a Plex SERVER, not the client. The Synology boxes have a hard time transcoding into something the Roku understands. If you put a Mini in as the server it grabs the file from the Synology, transcodes it and sends it on to the Roku (or tv app).
  14. Che Castro macrumors 603

    May 21, 2009
    im not a fan of plex
    if your movies are mp4 or mkv you can just muxed them using iflicks and put them in itunes ,and watch via apple tv

    this way you dont have to connect the mac mini to the tv

    edit: this is an old ass thread

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