Which Mac Mini for Handbrake + Media Center

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by adjohan, Dec 28, 2013.

  1. adjohan macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2012
    #1
    I'm just curious which mac mini is good for handling handbrake + serving as a media center?

    2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
    4GB memory
    500GB hard drive

    OR

    2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7
    4GB memory
    1TB hard drive

    Hard drive space is not a big problem since I will be purchasing a Synology NAS to store all my media files.


    Thanks!
     
  2. djc6 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2007
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    #2
    Handbrake will be 2x faster on the quad core. I often wish I had gone for the quad core solely for handbrake.
     
  3. adjohan thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 8, 2012
    #3
    How much faster is it though?
     
  4. djc6 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2007
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    #4
    Handbrake is multithreaded and will use the additional cores; I imagine it will cut the time nearly in half since double the cores... It took me two hours last night to encode a makemkv blu ray rip into iPad resolution, having it done in one hour would have been nice.
     
  5. adjohan thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 8, 2012
    #5
    Is it better to even wait for apple to refresh the mac mini? Seems like it's pretty much due for an update...
     
  6. adjohan thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 8, 2012
    #6
    is it worth to upgrade to SSD? Upgrading RAM by myself is a bit easier...
     
  7. scbond macrumors 6502

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    Oct 16, 2010
    Location:
    Nottingham, UK
    #7
    Is it really worth the extra cash just to get slightly faster rips done in a single application?! I'd say not really. You won't get double the speed for a start...plus my 2010 mini can still rip with Handbrake in a reasonably short space of time.
     
  8. sergiobaschi macrumors regular

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    Nov 30, 2012
    Location:
    Gothenburg, Sweden
    #8
    That's a weird question. For YOU it might not be "worth" it, but for another maybe time is crucial or cash is not an issue.
     
  9. scbond macrumors 6502

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    Oct 16, 2010
    Location:
    Nottingham, UK
    #9
    How is it a weird question?! Why exactly would time be an important asset when ripping DVDs? I mean, if it was you'd just play the movie from the disc.
     
  10. blanka macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    #10
    Why do you want to use Handbrake?
    The best media center mac is the 2010 one, 2009 one is OK as well.
    These allow to built in a BR player.
    But an external cheapass BR player is nice too. MakeMKV (to ofload BR's to your HD) is limited by the BR player speed, not the processor, so the Core2Duo's are fine, and a base i5 is more than enough too. So grab the base one. And focus on MKV playback on your devices, not in making stuff iTunes friendly.

    Forget DVD. It was the most stupid invention ever to store movies, customised for ancient crap CRT displays with 50 or 60 interlaced frames/second, totally incompatible with the 23.976fps utilised by the movie industry. Ripping DVD's with Handbrake is the biggest waste of time practised by this forum's members except maybe for posting on the forum itself ;).
     
  11. mpantone macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2009
    #11
    Some people would rather keep a large library of digital content accessible instantaneously, rather than wait for optical media to load, spin up, play, and eject.

    Do you load CDs every time you want to change artists/albums/songs?

    Even if you do, most people don't. That's why CD and DVD sales have been falling.
     
  12. sergiobaschi macrumors regular

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    Nov 30, 2012
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    Gothenburg, Sweden
    #12
    My point is that if I'm a millionare, I don't care if the i7 is either over-priced or more than I need. And on the other side, if I'm a poor student with no money at all, I might be happy with a C2D @ 1.8 GHz, even if it takes two days to rip a DVD. Most of us belong in the middle of that scale - but no one knows what I, or anyone else, think is worth for what.
     
  13. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #13
    Just a somewhat educated opinion here -

    Given that your media is going to be stored in a NAS unit, I can't see any reason to use Handbrake at all. DVDs are already compressed on the video side. By going through Handbrake, you are compressing yet again which diminishes the video. This might be however great for say - 'iDevice' use such as iPad or iPhone.

    If your goal is to serve up media to your TV, consider other software for this purpose. Both XBMC and Plex come to mind here and both are FREE.

    A nice set up would let your iTunes handle music and one of the above handle movie media files.

    I have a rather extensive archive of my discs in M2TS, VOB and MKV format.
    All are identical in size to the originals and remain on my NAS. VOB is what is used by DVD and the only difference is that I opted to take all the VOBs of the DVD and reconstitute into one large VOB. --- Title (date).vob.

    As for hardware - I tend to appreciate getting the faster of the two you mentioned and use XBMC or Plex with it for media playback.

    Things you should possibly acquaint yourself with -
    XBMC
    Plex
    the term EDID
    MakeMKV (requires payment)
    DVDFab (requires payment)

    Windows software (that runs in virtual) - AnyDVD, DVD Shrink (useful for merging vobs into one large vob file) EACto3xxxx (good for handling all sorts of unencrypted files with subtitles etc.) and TSmuxer. Only AnyDVD costs money.

    Caveat - if you plan on archiving any media that has HD audio (such as DT-MASTER), OSX will only output regular DTS from those files and not HD audio. The alternative is to install another OS such as Windows or Linux which will handle HD audio.

    Short cut - consider MakeMKV. Either do backup entirely or just MKV of the main feature. Done. Playback with XBMC. Music - convert CD to Apple Lossless, playback with iTunes. Done.
     
  14. Miat macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2012
    #14
    I looked at the same choice for the same kinds reasons.

    If you are just doing a few straight rips or transcodes, the i5 is probably okay. But if you are doing a lot of them, or any additional processing (especially deblocking) then the i7 is well worth it.

    I do some processing and chose the 2.3 GHZ Quad i7, and have never regretted it.

    From memory it was about $150 difference.
     
  15. SimonUK5 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2010
    #15
    It took me around 4 hours to encode to the universal setting in Handbreak, every episode of Breaking Bad> it took a while, but it didn't really bother me, i kept using my machine.

    I have the Baseline Mini.
     
  16. Jambalaya macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #16
    I have a late 2009 Mini which works fine for the same purpose, more than fast enough. Handbrake conversions can be queued up and left running overnight. I put in 8gb ram and 750 HDD myself without too much difficulty, the HDD runs at 7200 prm which I'm finding much better than prior 5400 drive. It's useful for me to have a mini with the internal optical drive for ripping DVD's although clearly you can do that with an external.
     
  17. adjohan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2012
    #17
    I still have a lot of DVDs that are not digitized yet but it seems like MakeMKV could convert DVD too, so would that be a better software to use instead of Handbrake?

    In terms of serving up media to my TV, I was definitely thinking of using Plex for that.

    As a side note I am currently using my really old 2007 macbook pro as my main and only computer, so I figured by having a Mac Mini to do all the transcoding plus act as an htpc seems like the way to go.
     

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