Newbie to Mac mini as HTPC - Question RE Handbrake

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by LawDog1180, Jul 6, 2013.

  1. LawDog1180 macrumors newbie

    May 13, 2013
    Okay, i'm totally new to video encoding, etc. I have a 2011 Mac mini (2.3 i5) that I originally purchased solely to use as a second computer/desktop (I also have an 08 non-pro macbook). I had all the necessary peripherals and it was a cheaper option than a new MB. I say all that because I realize my machine isn't ideal as a HTPC, but I didn't purchase the machine with that purpose in mind.

    Now, this summer I have tried my hand at ripping my DVD library (and I quickly discovered how taxing Handbrake can be on the CPU). The method of conversion that I use (and actually totally plagiarized from a user on this forum) is MakeMKV --> Handbrake (ATV3 preset) --> Subler --> iTunes. On my Mac mini, Handbrake was running at about 300% CPU, and I uhhh, was uncomfortable with that number (visions of melting my processor and burning my house down flashed through my head). My MacBook did the same process at around 180% CPU (2 Ghz Core Duo). I did some research on this forum and found that high percentage wasn't necessarily a bad thing, but the process takes around an hour and I didn't like the idea of my processor running that hard that long, so I quit converting the files after doing 2 movies on each machine.

    Also, I start law school in the fall so i'm not planning on devoting much time to all this in the immediate future, I really just wanted to get familiar with the process so that I could hit the ground running in the future (and to know exactly what type of machine i'll need to properly convert my entire library). My plan going forward is to periodically convert my DVDs (and eventually my blu rays when i purchase a drive) to MKVs as I have time (because this process seems to be much less intensive, at least according to activity monitor), and to store them away in an external somewhere until I have the time and means to really hit this hard in the future. But there are about 10 movies that I'd like to go ahead and convert between now and school starting just so I can have access to them through my apple devices.

    Sorry for how long winded this is, I just wanted to fully explain myself before I ask my question: is it harmful to run my computer at such high CPU uses for an extended period for the sake of 10 or so of my favorite movies? I realize this could cause overheating, but how real of a threat is that? I'm totally new to this and I definitely don't wanna fry anything for a hobby that i've take up this summer. I assume that for no more than i intend to do, it shouldn't be a massive deal, but I figured i'd consult people who actually know what they're doing with all this.

    Thanks in advance for your help, and for all the help you guys give from posting about this subject in other threads! It's a huge help to newbs like me!
  2. The-Pro macrumors 65816

    Dec 2, 2010
    dont worry about it at all
    CPUs are designed to be able to run at full capacity 24/7. If they truly overheat theyveill shut themselves down at the predefined temperature so that nothing gets damaged.
    Its impossible to melt your CPU.

    I converted 600 DVDs using handbrake. 400 on my macpros and 200 on my now replaced 2010 15" i7 MBP. the CPU of the MBP was running at 380% on average (handbrake using as much a possible) and the temperature was usually around 95 degrees celsius. No problems occured from it. I was using this MBP as a rendering station for 3D renderings. It had max CPU usage for about 22hours everday for nearly 3 years. always running at 95 degrees on average. Its still running strong and have now sold it.

    Seriously, dont worry about heat and CPU usage.
    If you do want your mini to run siginificantly cooler then stand it on its side and take the bottom cover off. On my 2010 mini that makes about a 20-25 degrees celsius difference when using the CPU to the max.
  3. LawDog1180 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 13, 2013
    Thanks so much! I always hear that you "definitely need 4 cores" if you're gonna be doing a lot of converting/encoding, and obviously they'd be much better and faster. I just wanted to be sure that didn't mean you shouldn't do it with anything less. I appreciate the help!
  4. The-Pro macrumors 65816

    Dec 2, 2010
    Nope, its just that its the sweetspot for performance as handbrake encoding speed is totally reliant on the cpu performance. You can do it fine with a core 2 duo if you have more time
    on your hand and patience.
    but seriously dont worry about using the cpu to the max. like I said it runs alot cooler without the bottom cover
  5. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    yeah lost of people will say buy the quad mini to do it and yeah the 2011 or the 2012 quadswill be 2x to 3x faster then your machine.

    but sleep is your friend so set up a decode a half hour before you go to bed and when you wake up it will be done.

    a quad will cost 700 new if you find a deal. that is a lot of money for some people.

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