Should I buy a new mini today? (Unique circumstances)

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Captainobvvious, Apr 25, 2014.

  1. Captainobvvious, Apr 25, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2014

    Captainobvvious macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2010
    #1
    I am aware we are on the cusp of an update. Possible 1-3 months away maybe as little as 4-5 weeks.

    These will only be used to run Plex on my two TV's (With one running the media server) and maybe some light emulation gaming or something.

    Anyway... I recently bought two Amazon Fire TVs and have been generally happy but I figured making the jump to the mini would offer me more flexibility, stability, power and longevity.

    Now I have a 30 day return window on the Fire TVs and I have Apple store financing through the Barclay card they say is only good for another two weeks.

    So I have the approaching return window for the Fires and a looming deadline for the financing.

    For what I am using it for would it be THAT bad of an idea to buy today?

    I'm not sure if I am looking for you guys to talk me into this or out of this :)

    Also, an extra question: Does the iMac 2013 and the current mini use the same RAM?

    I am going to be upgrading my iMac and will be taking out the two 4GB sticks and if so I can put them in the mini.
     
  2. barkmonster macrumors 68020

    barkmonster

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2001
    Location:
    Lancashire
    #2
    Go for it! Get XBMC and OpenEMU installed on it and you have a fine media centre and multi-system console emulator (and a Mac of course).
     
  3. Captainobvvious thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2010
    #3
    I'll tell ya I have used XBMC for years and Plex has been SOOOOOOOOO much better for me... Definitely gonna get the emulator though!
     
  4. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #4
    Who knows when they will actually be updated? If they suit your wants and are satisfied with the price you may as well get them.

    Personally I'd build two cheap media center PCs. Then put the money saved towards 4TB hard drives. You're experience won't really be much different between Windows and OS X. If you're just going to watch movies and shows. Along with some game emulation. Then if you wanted to in the future you could always throw a good video card in their for modern games.

    For the server I'd make it a quad core. I tried making my Plex server a Core 2 Duo from parts I had lying around but it choked on the high bitrate 1080p content I ripped from BluRays. Apparently Plex doesn't use GPU acceleration for h.264 content.

    Luckily I had a Core 2 Quad CPU laying about so I popped it in and can handle it all. I'd hoped to save power using the Core 2 Duo.

    Also I'd disable the Plex transcoder. Even though it says it is only supposed to run when the receiving device can't play the video. I found it always ran.
     
  5. El Hikaru macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2013
    #5
    Media Center

    Mini might not be a sutable media center byitself. The user intereface by that amazon box or Apple TV is better than a fully functional computer. Imagine, you already have a bottle of beer at one of you hand, remote control is the natural fit for the other hand.
    You might wanna have a computer, Mini or not, to keep media library in addition to that fire box.
     
  6. Captainobvvious thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2010
    #6
    I should be able to keep the Plex app open full screen and use an IR remote with the Mac mini shouldn't I?
     
  7. famous600 macrumors 6502a

    famous600

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2010
    #7
    Correct but I'm confused in your train of thought. Why do you need TWO minis? Or did I misread?
     
  8. Captainobvvious thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2010
    #8
    One for my living room and one for the bedroom.
     
  9. Jambalaya macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #9
    Do you really need two Mini's, that just seems overkill - how about 1 plus an Apple TV to stream from the Mini to the second bedroom TV. You can do your gaming on the main tv and/or do some gang via mirroring on the second tv driven from your iPhone/iPad ?

    EDIT: Also how about using the iMac as the server with two ATV's ? Also the ATV is due an update but I suppose you would be less worried about a discount on the ATVs as they are cheaper so you can afford to wait
     
  10. famous600 macrumors 6502a

    famous600

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2010
    #10
    Yeah your going about this all wrong. I have ONE mini connected to my main living room
    Tv. That runs xbmc and a plex media server. The plex media server will serve our ios devices as well as the rokus in the bedrooms. One mini is more then enough! I have the 2.5 and experience ZERO issues with plex serving multiple devices and watching a movie at the same time from the DAS.

    BTW the ATV can not natively support plex
     
  11. blanka macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    #11
    If it is pure as media-server: get a Gigabyte U1037 Celeron board.
    It is passive cooled, 10 watt power use, 2 gigabit connectors, 3 SATA connectors and only 70 bucks. You can combine it with say 2 3,5 inch drives, a small SSD for booting. With excellent Linux software, you can equip both TV's for the price of one mini with 6TB of storage. Linux XBMC has a very nice iOS control app.

    Sure you can use the iMac RAM in the Mini: Apple uses DDR3 SO Dimms on all Macs except the dumpster can.
     
  12. barkmonster, Apr 26, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2014

    barkmonster macrumors 68020

    barkmonster

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2001
    Location:
    Lancashire
    #12
    Plex has better codec support but it fills your system drive up with metadata for it's pointlessly graphic interface. I don't need artwork and a synopsis of every movie and show in my media library, I just need a list of them, in user selectable folders to scroll through, click and play. XBMC remote on the iPhone is a bonus too. I think for what it's worth neither are perfect because Plex is bloated and flat out refuses to see certain movie files even if they're codec-identical to the one below them in the same folder and XBMC can struggle with certain audio codecs like Dolby 5.1 etc... but lets you add any folders you please and sees all media files whether it can play them or not.
     
  13. famous600 macrumors 6502a

    famous600

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2010
    #13
    Maybe because my files have all been converted to m4v but even before that I have never ever had a problem with xbmc or plex. Occasionally plex will want me to switch transcoders but other then that never a problem with XBMC. For a nice HT interface that is easily customizable xbmc is the way to go
     
  14. Captainobvvious thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2010
    #14
    I agree that you're correct that I don't need two.

    I had been running Plex server on my iMac but when I would restart or boot to windows or whatever it would kick everything off on my wife and people sharing the server. So the mini being 100% dedicated should solve that problem.

    I think one mini in the living room and the Amazon Fire TV in the bedroom should be fine.

    It's gonna suck if the new mini launches days after my 14 day return period is over.
     
  15. famous600 macrumors 6502a

    famous600

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2010
    #15
    If the fire tv has a plex app then you are golden. My Mac mini with attached drobo 5D run 24/7. Shut them down once a month to clean any dust etc.
     

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