Purchasing Mac Mini for HTPC

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by msugarpants, Jul 23, 2010.

  1. msugarpants macrumors member

    Jan 4, 2005
    A guy locally has a 1.5 single core with 2 gigs of ram for sale at, what I feel is a reasonable 250$. I noticed it is a vga hookup. I use VGA on my G5 imac and sometimes display it on my HDTV via hdmi adapter. it looks ok, but not as good as my previous gen MBP via mini dvi. Will this version of mac mini look inferior when watching programs compared to the previous and current gen Mini?

    it has wireless G. can i update to wireless N with a usb adapter in the back? seems simple enough.

    Do you think 250 is a good deal? I will be connecting many hard drives to a hub which connects to airport in another room, and using the mac mini mostly as a more powerful ATV. It will all be connected via ethernet.

    I assume the single core does support snow leopard?

    i am buying this in 48 hours unless you convince me otherwise. Thanks everyone!
  2. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    Personally, I wouldn't buy it. VGA is low quality, and will look about the same as your iMac. The Core Solo minis were woefully underpowered, and would not likely live up to your expectations. The newest mini is by far the best suited to HTPC use out of any that have been made, and the previous (Core 2+9400M) aren't too bad either.
  3. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000


    Nov 20, 2007
    Don't waste your cash; save for the new mini with HDMI.
  4. phairphan macrumors 6502a


    Sep 21, 2005
    Reject Beach
    This Mini has DVI, so you won't need to worry about the VGA issue. However, I agree with alust2013. The Core Solo minis were underpowered. You didn't say what type of content you watch, but it would not surprise me if you run into playback issues with that processor.

    The new Mini offers the best connection option for a HDTV (HDMI built in), but they're a bit pricey. I suggest picking up any of the two 2009 vintages of the Mini. You'll save a bundle vs. a new Mini and it's unlikely you'll run into playback issues. Plus, Apple supports hardware-accelerated playback of H.264 on the 9400M and programs like Plex are beginning to adopt it. This should give you a little breathing room for the future.
  5. wordoflife macrumors 604


    Jul 6, 2009
    I wouldn't buy it. 1.5ghz single core? That is going to be really slow (and I can only assume it's a powerpc - which won't support leopard)

    And if it really is a powerpc g4, then compared to the new ones, it's going to be very very slow. $250 is too much. I wouldn't even buy it for $50 because of the old technology.
  6. msugarpants thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 4, 2005
    it is intel based and I will be watching DVD's I ripped, so...mostly TS files. I also occasionally used handbrake to save more room....going for the best combo of file size and quality. I play vids using VLC. I have a PPC G5imac with little to no playback issues that I have seen, but thats not on a 60 inch screen. i assume it will support a DVI to hdmi converter, but only 1.1 vs the modern standard of 1.3

    It will not be used for any ilife apps. just media and some web content. But thanks for the advice! I don have the cash to get the newest or previous gen, so I may just wait. Wish i could try it out first! I want to see it in action...and see it choke if its gonna.

    thanks again. any other opinions would be great.
  7. msugarpants thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 4, 2005
    how bout this comparison: 1.5 core solo mac mini vs. ATV hacked/flashed. All drives on network, connected thru ethernet, not wireless (but with the option of streaming wirelessly). both same price points approx.
  8. Velin macrumors 65816


    Jul 23, 2008
    Hearst Castle
    No. The Mac Mini was just updated one month ago at Apple, with multiple cores, HDMI, and minidisplay, all for only $700 or so.

    I'd take that $200 and put it towards the vastly superior new Mac Mini, versus some old used machine that doesn't even have the ports you need. Plus, VGA sucks. It really does suck.
  9. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    Yes, it'll work just fine for that purpose. Just don't move into HD and you'll be good to go. You should consider using Handbrake to save space and it will provide the Dolby Digital (m4v) or DTS (mkv) audio, so you can use Plex or XBMC for playback and easily get 5.1 surround through its optical port. Use the DVI connection if possible, but if not VGA is perfectly fine, too.
  10. Giuly macrumors 68040


    $150 is a good deal - because you need to put a 2GHz Core2Duo T7200 for $90 and 2x2GB DDR2-667 for $80 in there to make it useful.
  11. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    Really unnecessary for the OP's intended use. The cpu replacement in a Mini isn't for the uninitiated.
  12. Dave Braine macrumors 68040

    Dave Braine

    Mar 19, 2008
    Warrington, UK
    I have a 1.5 core solo(and yes it's Intel and yes it runs SL) Mini, with 1 gig of RAM, hooked up to my TV via a VGA input. I use it to watch EyeTV recordings and also BBC iPlayer programmes.

    It works fine for me with no playback issues.

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