My 2010 Mac Mini experience.

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by littfam, Dec 24, 2010.

  1. littfam macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    #1
    On November 22, 2010 I decided to do something I have always wanted to do, and that was to buy and use a mini as a HTPC. I have and still do use an apple tv, and have always owned and used macs at home, so using the mini was something that (for me) came with a very small learning curve. The first thing I did after buying the mini (same day) was purchase Vizio 42" from Wal Mart, that had a deal too god to pass up, to replace a dead Samsung 46" that samsung said that they would replace for free (arrived at my door just a couple of days ago). When I got home I set everything up with the mini and the Vizio.

    My set up was:

    Mini 2010 2.4 with 2 gig ram - HDMI to Vizio HDMI running plex.

    after two weeks there were some problems occuring such as two or three computer freeezes (reboot required), a beach ball or two, but really didn't think too much about it. basically the mini didn't have the same feel as my 4 year old 2.16 macbook, but was working just fine. It seemed slower and very slightly more sluggish I guess?

    Then last week I came home from work, and changed the input on the vizio from tv to the mini input to access my desktop, and the tv was reporting "no signal". after unsuccessfully trying to wake the mini, I went over to my entertainment center to re-boot the mini. I found that the mini was extremely hot. I powered down the mini and immdiately attempted a reboot, but was unable (not even safe mode would work). the mini would not complete the boot up and would just hang part way through the boot up with still nothing on the display. I confirmed that the mini was not booting up by attempting a screen share that would not make a connection, and even inserted a dvd to a drive that was lifeless. I turned off the mini and let it cool down for 1 minute (I'm impatient I guess) and then rebooted it. It made it farther this time in the reboot and I was able to see the apple logo and white screen for about 5 seconds, then it froze again and display went dark and tv reported "no signal". I let the mini cool for ten minutes this time, and rebooted the mini where it seemed fine for about an hour. I left it idle at the desktop, and watched it off and on for some time, then saw the display flicker off and on with some colored snow in between. this got more frequent in the space of about 45 seconds, then no display again at all and the mini gets real hot again, and reboots hangs again and again. I was able to cool down the mini so I could get my photos off the drive and do some quick house keeping and even ran a drive test that reported ok and reset pram created another user account with same problems exhibited. Now the mini is in service, and I called and they replaced logic board and and hard drive and I will pick it up next week and give it another go. Possibly there is some handshake issues with HDMI. I'll try the Samsung this time.
     
  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #2
    Many people use their minis hooked up to their tvs via hdmi and have no issues. This is likely a fluke hardware failure and apple is clearly fixing it.
     
  3. cocacolakid macrumors 65816

    cocacolakid

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2010
    Location:
    Chicago
    #3
    I use that same model 2010 Mac Mini with 4gb of RAM as my everyday computer and media center.

    I found that using Plex was a nightmare. Plex would freeze up and not respond to my remote control. The Mini did not freeze, just Plex, which would respond to keyboard inputs and allow me to close the program, but it would stop responding to the remote control a few minutes after starting to watch a show.

    I switched to using Boxee instead and everything is fine now.
     
  4. littfam thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    #4
    Yes I am definitely giving boxee a try when I'm up and running again. Will it handle 1080 BD mkv rips?
     
  5. littfam thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    #5
    My gut feeling is that plex was the culprit in all of this. I know that sounds kind of crazy, but as they say we sometimes know our own body better than the doctor.
     
  6. cocacolakid macrumors 65816

    cocacolakid

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2010
    Location:
    Chicago
    #6
    Yes, no problem.
     
  7. tom.bcn macrumors newbie

    tom.bcn

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2010
    Location:
    Barcelona, Catalonia
    #7
    I don't think it was Plex. I've got a similar setup (though I have gone up to 4GB of RAM), and have never had any heat problems. I use Plex all the time. I rarely even shut the Mini down (though I will start doing so more often: I want it to live!).

    This sounds very much like the problem my white iMac has in the summer, with serious graphics glitches, freezes and boot failures. The problem there? Graphics card overheats. I won't replace the card but I have installed SMC Fan Control on it, as sound doesn't really matter in that particular room. (I obviously wouldn't want full fan spinning noise on an HTPC.)
     
  8. Uofmtiger macrumors 68000

    Uofmtiger

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2010
    Location:
    Memphis
    #8
    I had some major HDMI handshaking issues with my Denon Receiver and the mini. I never checked it for overheating, but it would freeze when I changed inputs on my receiver. I did some research and there were posts on the subject on AVSforum. They suggested that people with the issue buy a ~$100 Geffen HDMI Detective. I bought one and it fixed my problems.
     
  9. Tilpots macrumors 601

    Tilpots

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2006
    Location:
    Carolina Beach, NC
    #9
    Can't see how this is a Plex issue. Have you investigated your theory at all or are you just "throwing it out there?"

    I've been using Plex for a year with a late 2009 Mini and have never seen anything close to the problems you describe with my setup nor have I seen any types of similar claims on the Plex boards. If you do have information about a possible relation between your problems and Plex, please share.
     
  10. peterdevries macrumors 68040

    peterdevries

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2008
    Location:
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    #10
    I have tried both Boxee and Plex, and both were and are years behind XBMC. I'm not implying XBMC is the solution to your problem, but if you are trying different options anyway, I would give the new XBMC 10.0 a go. It was released just a few days ago and is absolutely fantastic. Especially compared to Boxee and Plex.
     
  11. littfam thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 7, 2008
    #11
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    I think I was probably premature in assuming that it was plex causing the issues I have had. The apple techs and all their wisdom diagnosed and replaced my logic board and hard drive. I have owned and purchased macs since about 1990, and this was the first one that was defective out of the box. My new unit has been up and running for 48 hrs. Now and all seems good. I will monitor the set up for a few days and see what happens. I do believe it was a handshake issue with my vizio and mini, but why it happened is beyond me.
     
  12. littfam thread starter macrumors regular

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    #12
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    Yes I will give xmbc a try tomorrow. I'm really interested in giving that a go. Plex is pretty to look at, but lacks a bit in functionality.
     
  13. littfam thread starter macrumors regular

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    #13
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    Interesting finding today. After receiving and running the repaired unit, everything has run smoothly. I have run plex nonstop, and have been using iTunes as well. I noticed tonight that while running plex in space 2, and running iTunes with visuilizer in space 1 my mini dimmed the monitor with no way of bringing the display to normal brightness and then a mini freeze up requiring a re boot. I first noticed these problems in the beginning once I started using spaces to navigate from plex to other spaces. This is definitely a plex issue for me I feel. I will try running both in same space and see what happens
     
  14. Tilpots macrumors 601

    Tilpots

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    Apr 19, 2006
    Location:
    Carolina Beach, NC
    #14
    I've read about issues with Plex and spaces, try this

     
  15. Jasoco macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 28, 2006
    #15
    Having tried XBMC, I can honestly say it has nothing on Plex/Nine. XBMC still uses a terrible scraper and has a file manager inside the TV interface. Plex/Nine finally gives it a real "scanner" that works much better than any of the other "scrapers" and a native OS X GUI for the media library. It's amazing.

    [​IMG]

    All the other programs, including Plex/Eight, XBMC and Boxee use clunky GUI's inside their interface that's meant for viewing on TV. The GUI Plex/Nine has is amazingly easy to use and so much faster for managing extreme amounts of media. If you were still using Eight, I'd say give Nine a try. It's even come a long way since its release in September.

    Not sure what you mean by "lacks in functionality". I've used all three, and Plex/Nine is the best IMHO.
     
  16. slipper macrumors 68000

    slipper

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2003
    #16
    Can you explain in further detail please
     

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