The Intel Mac mini: for non-gamers

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by roland.g, Mar 1, 2006.

  1. roland.g macrumors 603


    Apr 11, 2005
    One mile up and soaring
    I have read quite a bit in the last 2 days now on the new Intel Mac mini, with most of it being disappointment over the integrated graphics. I do agree that I was not real happy about that. There has also been a substantial amount of complaints over the new price points.

    But let's play devil's advocate for just a minute. To my understanding the G4 mini was $499 without Bluetooth or Airport which was a $100 bundle to add, so right there it is the same price with more ports, SATA, and a faster processor. So it seems somewhat equivalent, and as a big fan of wireless and Bluetooth, I wouldn't even consider leaving those options off, though I can appreciate that some might not like having to pay for them if they can get a stripped down version.

    Now I am not a gamer, and I would not be using it to play games, but rather mostly for things out of the iLife package and other apps of course. My concern with the integrated graphics is can the machine really push DVD and iTunes TV shows and other quicktime video to a monitor or HDTV, and what sort of performance will it give me in iMovie or FCEHD in both editing and playback. I don't want to ask the world of it, but I don't want to wait forever or get aggravated by choppy playback.

    From what I have read, though it is consuming RAM to run the video, upping the RAM can help alleviate that. The question remains as to what strain that will put on the processor (assuming Core Duo since the point of video editing in iMovie or FCEHD is to create DVD's). Supposedly the video is an improvement over the original mini, it's just not dedicated.

    Lastly, as far as a lack of things like Airport Express with video streaming and PVR's built into the mini. I understand that while that may be forthcoming from Apple there are several reasons that Apple has not released those products. 802.11m is the high bandwidth tech needed for video and it's not ready yet. In trying to sell you on the mini as a great TV computer they wouldn't want to give you the ability to stream to the TV via Airport yet anyway. Likewise, they wouldn't subvert sales of their TV shows by releasing a PVR product at this time. And with all that they can't trump the iMac with a mini/PVR and cannibalize the iMac sales. They certainly wouldn't be able to offer anything near the current price points that people already don't like going up with the add-on HDD space needed to offer a system like that.

    Anyway, any comments towards the video viabilities I mentioned would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
  2. bill4588 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 2, 2006
    Kennesaw, GA
    i honestly dont see why everyone's complaining. people seem to think that just because the mini has an intel chip that it's supposed to be an amazing do-it-all machine. But the mac mini is mainly for those who want the mac experience and want to run simple apps. If someone wants to play games or do photo/video editing, then they should get a better mac, not a mini.
  3. kiwi-in-uk macrumors 6502a

    Sep 22, 2004
    Can't answer your video question, but yours is one of the more balanced assessments I have read. I will buy a Mini later this year for my kids to use. HDTV is not an issue. Easy to use media apps (such as iLife) are.
  4. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    I too am not a 3D gamer, nor do I expect that my young kids (2 & 5) will be either any time now. The new mini seems quite a bit better than the old mini or my iBook for iLife, including iMovie. That said, I'm now leaning towards an iMac to replace our living room PC.

    To answer your video question. The $799 Core Duo box falls just short of Apple's own QT suggested requirements for displaying 720p (1280x720), but that could be because: 1) It didn't exist until yesterday 2) They are considering only H.264 compressed 720p.

    As a guess, it probably does fine at running MP4 in 720p and even 1080i since that's interlaced, but don't even consider trying 1080p. Note that many currently sold HDTVs have 720p native resolution.

    BTW. I think you also hit the nail on the head as to another reason why the resolution of the iTMS videos is currently limited. At <1MBps 240p these are easily streamed, even over 802.11b. I suspect that 480x480 2MBps MP4 (SVCD quality) would be fine streaming too, and would look better on any TV.

  5. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Mar 17, 2005
    London, UK
    As I've said in some other threads the Core Duo model should be able to display 1080p. I have a three year old P-M 1.7Ghz Dell which is two generations older than the Core Duos and only has one core. Yes I have a decent graphics card in it, well it was top of the line at the time, but it does not have any form of HD hardware decoding in it whatsoever, so its not a real advantage. Anyway, that old thing can play 1080p. It does stutter and would not be usable for anything more than to 'see what it looks like'. However, the new Core Duos are newer, have more technology in them like SSE3 and they have two cores!! If a Core Duo 1.66Ghz is unable to play 1080p smoothly then Apple needs to fire its Quicktime staff.
  6. gallivant macrumors member

    Dec 14, 2004
    It should be noted that this particular Intel Integrated chipset may really stink at gaming, but it's supposed to be built specifically for handling video really well.
  7. roland.g thread starter macrumors 603


    Apr 11, 2005
    One mile up and soaring
    Thanks. Yeah I have a Samsung DLP that I might connect with on occasion, but I would probably only use that for some playback as most of the time it would be connected to a LaCie 19" electron blue monitor. And as far as the video, I would probably be working with SD video editing for quite a while. I don't expect to be picking up a HD camcorder anytime soon. This is going to be replacing a 6 year old, yes 6 years old last month, G4 450 PowerMac. And I intend to use it as a stop-gap machine until mid to late 2007 when I will probably get a new Intel iMac or Intel Mac Pro (or whatever the PowerMac is then called) once they make the jump from Yonah to Merom or Conroe and start to really implement some of the other new features we may see like streaming video, etc.

Share This Page