Never Considered Mac Mini

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by r3dm4lcz, Jun 9, 2012.

  1. r3dm4lcz, Jun 9, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2012

    r3dm4lcz macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2012
    Location:
    LPL
    #1
    Having just moved house with the girlfriend, my current project is to kit out the house. Whilst we have loads of ideas for the interior and furniture (all the boring stuff), I'm sorting out the tech. I was originally going to have a NAS-like set-up (running Win08 R2), feeding out content to a few RaspberryPi/TV combos in the Office/Lounge/Bedroom(s) and our laptops and mobile devices via WiFi.

    But I've never considered a Mac Mini to be the nerve centre .

    Obviously I'm paying a slightly higher premium for it, as it's Apple and my preferred OS (no exp with Mac Server though). But I can justify these by using it as a separate box as well (via remote desktop). Are there any hidden features that spring to mind regarding either the hardware or software which I've not considered and thus make me say WANT!? I'll be keeping it for years, or at least the medium/distant future so how is the longevity? Is the WiFi within the hardware good enough to spread a standard British home (don't want connections dropping - only a 3 bedroom)?

    I know it's slightly vague but then again, I've not considered it until I sprawled through the 'post your desktop' thread and I noticed them everywhere. Therefore apologies if it's been asked a million times. I'm more interested in your experience with it, how you'd rate Mac Server (compared with Windows variant - I work with these everyday) and your general media server set-up. Cheers.
     
  2. DrakkenWar macrumors 6502

    DrakkenWar

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2010
    Location:
    San Antonio,Texas
    #2
    I guess I get the first get a go here..

    Sorry for a long post!

    I was an on the fence switcher for years. I started out with windows, found Macs, found Linux, and bounced around with them all for a grip of years. Hell, I have more MSP's that I would like to admit, Then came the CCNA and the CCNP. I drugged my days away at work with Windows machines and went home to the same headaches. Like I said, to try and find some respite I mucked around with my linux boxes. And yeah, it worked. But it was still a struggle, drop to cli, figure out a text file, read a man page, build from source to get past all the driver issues I hated about windows. Yet, when you think about it I was right back there.

    I had finally had enough last July. I sold my G5's, I sold all but one of my linux boxes and acquired my 2011 i7 Mini. It does everything you are asking for and more. Here in the states cable T.V. is just shy of a mafia graft. I wasn't willing to pay around $170 for 300 channels of meh. With Hulu+ and Netflix I have cut the bill to next to nil. Along with my library of ripped content on my mini and linux server. I can tell you without a doubt if you make the jump you will not be disappointed. Make sure you source some ram on your own. While 4gig will work for a solo rig, I would pour as much as you afford into your mini.

    These are rock solid beasts, and while some call them "entry level" mine continues to take everything I throw at it, without a stutter. I miss my G5's.But I do not reget this mini.
     
  3. r3dm4lcz thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2012
    Location:
    LPL
    #3
    That's cool, I was after a response like this. I'll echo your comments regarding mafia cable/satellite television providers. Unfortunately I lost the battle with my girlfriend regarding getting rid of it... but at least I get the sport still!
    I'm almost certain I'll buy one now after a little more research. I was considering a HP mini server (like £200), but after I throw in a wireless card, more RAM, couple of HDDs and graphics card... you're talking the price of a Mac Mini.
    Perhaps I'll have a look on eBay, see how much they're going for. As I said, I'll be happy with my new MacBook Pro for most things, but being able to RDP into another box for development or downloading stuff, I reckon even an i5 with 4GB of RAM would be sufficient. Hmmm.

    Interested to know about other people's media set-ups still. Thanks for the input :)
     
  4. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #4
    HERE is what I have found works for me

    I am USA based. I own a medium sized home. 3 tv sets and a computer monitor. I have cable-vision as my internet provider (15Mb speed down and 2 MB speed up) I have basic cable.

    I own 4 mac minis 1 diy pc and a nas. All tv's have a mini the computer monitor has a mini.

    The HT room has the diy pc along with the mini.
    The nas is in my attached garage.

    I have a very good HT with very high quality speakers.

    A 46 inch led sony. As much as I wanted to make and keep my home all mac I could not get the quality of sound and picture for the ht with a mac (other then a mac pro).

    My diy pc has a hd6870 graphics card. only 2 macs have a graphics card as good the top of the line iMac has a hd6970m card and the mac pro has a hd5870 card.

    So I use the minis for everything in the house except for netflix/bluray on the ht.

    Two minis are 2010 2.4ghz models two minis are 2011 2.3ghz models.

    Now if you own an apartment vs a home and are going to have less viewing areas you can use the server. It is good but the picture quality is not that of a hd6870 gpu.

    I really suggest waiting until the new models come out next week. the now models will have hd4000 graphics vs hd3000 graphics this may be good enough for quality sound / picture. A lot of people may trash this post but very few people have owned tested the following macs;

    all mac mini models from 2006 until 2011.

    a 2009 27 inch imac c2d 3.06 with top end graphics card.

    a 2010 quad core mac pro with top end hd5870 video card upgraded to a hex core cpu. (truly a nice machine but 3k plus)

    4 different macbook pros 2009 2010 2011 and a few macbook airs.


    As a movie music nut little bit of a gamer apple makes graphics quality very hard to enjoy on a large screen.

    A 27inch imac is not a large screen for a home theater.

    So you kind of need a mac pro to truly watch a large screen correctly.

    I have also found apple forces you to uses windows for proper blu ray. also forcing you to have a mac pro running windows.


    I also have windows on the 2 2011 mac minis which allow them to work well with my diy pc.
     
  5. JAT macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2001
    Location:
    Mpls, MN
    #5
    Honestly, Philip, if you want to improve your pic quality, you might start with the TV. Sony is really not putting much effort into anything these days. I would put at least 3 companies ahead of them in LCD tech, and almost any plasma ahead of most of those.

    You've spent a lot of money playing around with the most expensive route to sourcing your material. (NAS, many PCs, etc) Have you considered spending some of that on the actual display? Perhaps a big screen? A 46" is not a large screen, either.
     

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