What Mac Mini do I need for HTPC use ?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by FrenchPB, Oct 24, 2013.

  1. FrenchPB macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2005
    #1
    Hello,

    Which Mac Mini would you advise me to buy for use as an HTPC (high quality 1080p video playback, very large video files) ? I'd mainly use it to watch videos, internet browsing, or listening to some music.

    I'm wondering which processor to get for my needs, and how much RAM should be added in the Mini for a comfortable use.
     
  2. opinio, Oct 24, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2013

    opinio macrumors 65816

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    Mar 23, 2013
    #2
    For purely watching movies (even large mkvs), internet etc any current mini will be more than enough. 8GB of RAM is probably all you need although you could get by with 4TB for what you suggest your use is. That sort of stuff is not really RAM or CPU intensive.

    BUT...

    If you plan to transcode DVDs or large movies to say mp4 or m4v for iTunes etc then you will want the 2.3GHz quad i7. If you are going to do a lot of transcoding then maybe even look at the 2.6GHz quad.

    If money is not an issue then get the 2.6GHz i7 quad with 16GB of Corsair Vengeance RAM with a Fusion drive or SSD (i.e. top of the line). You won't need it but it is a cool talking point and good for showing off with.

    A few forum members will say wait for the next mini, but then you might only wait weeks or it could be months even over half a year so who knows. Then your thread will turn into a 'when the next mini is due to come out' thread. Just watch :)
     
  3. mdgm, Oct 24, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2013

    mdgm macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2010
    #3
    Get a Mini with a quad-core CPU (any one of these would do). 4 GB RAM minimum.

    Can comfortably play Blu-Ray. I have a Blu-Ray drive connected to my 2011 Mac Mini Server and it handles Blu-Ray fine.
     
  4. blanka macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    #4
    Any Mini from 2009 and later is suited for your needs. So 2GB RAM, Core2Duo 2.26Mhz and Nvidia 9400M is fine. Every new model is overkill.
     
  5. mdgm macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2010
    #5
    I have had trouble playing back 1080p video smoothly on a Mac Mini 2009 2.53Ghz with 4GB RAM.

    I would go with a quad-core especially if you occasionally want to convert 1080p video to another format.
     
  6. corvus32 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #6
    I agree. A quad i7 is definitely overkill.

    The Intel NUC (D54250WYK), which is aimed at HTPC and everyday tasks, uses the same Haswell ULV processor as the MacBook Air.
     
  7. FrenchPB thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2005
    #7
    Would there be a store that sells brand new previous gen Mac Minis ?
    This computer will only be an HTPC linked to my big screen TV, my 27-inch iMac will remain my main computer and be used to encode videos.

    The Minis will only be used to watch sports and tv shows, and that's about as intensive stuff it will be asked to do.
     
  8. blanka macrumors 68000

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    Jul 30, 2012
    #8
    Then you use the wrong software, or rely on a crappy network connection.
     
  9. rcp27 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    #9
    I use exactly this model as my HTPC and have no problems with it including playing back 1080p content. There was discussion on the Apple TV/home theatre forums in the past about whether this hardware was adequate, and I believe an issue was identified relating to Real Audio (I may be misremembering the exact audio format/codec that caused the trouble), and that if you used a different one, this cured the playback problems. I certainly have no problems with this mini, and will continue using it for this purpose until it dies.
     
  10. mdgm macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 2, 2010
    #10
    I use a wired network with Cat6 cables using gigabit ethernet. My network is more than adequate for streaming video.

    The software I'm using is good, so that's not the issue.
     
  11. blanka, Oct 26, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2013

    blanka macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    #11
    Then it must be fluid!
    If you use VLC and think that is good, then try again. VLC sucks.
    I would not get quad for converting either. 99% of the conversions are done for crappy media-players like an Apple TV or iTunes on a iPad. Either get a device that handles your downloads, or download media from Apple itself if you like there restricted eco-system. For the price of a Mini 2012, you buy a 2009 one and 5 media players that handle everything for every TV in your house.

    I use a 2009 mini as HTPC, and things like MakeMKV to store BluRays as MKV on the harddrive are running perfectly and fast, they are limited in speed by the BR drive, not by the processor.
     
  12. ioannis2005gr macrumors 6502

    ioannis2005gr

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2013
    Location:
    Europe
    #12
    Ha! Ha! :D it's an extravagant habit!!!

    How many TV sets do you have in your house?

    ...and how many monitors? :rolleyes:
     
  13. mdgm macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 2, 2010
    #13
    Well each to his own. I expect my next Mac Mini will have a quad-core CPU.
     
  14. blanka macrumors 68000

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    Jul 30, 2012
    #14
    I expect my new mini to be a quad core at least too, but I won't put it to simple labour like HTPC use. New mini's are powerful workstations suitable for all use.
     
  15. ioannis2005gr macrumors 6502

    ioannis2005gr

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    Aug 10, 2013
    Location:
    Europe
    #15
    I agree!
     
  16. kappaknight macrumors 68000

    kappaknight

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2009
    #16
    My 2009 mini can play 1080p just fine. However, if it's running Plex and is wanting to serve to a number of players/mobile devices at the same time, having a more powerful machine wouldn't hurt. ;)
     

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