Purchasing Mac Mini for HTPC


macrumors member
Original poster
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!


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.


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.


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.


macrumors member
Original poster
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.


macrumors member
Original poster
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.


macrumors 68000
Jul 23, 2008
Hearst Castle
Do you think 250 is a good deal?
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.

Cave Man

macrumors 604
it is intel based and I will be watching DVD's I ripped, so...mostly TS files.
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.

Dave Braine

macrumors 68040
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.