Which Mac Mini for Plex

Mannaerts

macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 2, 2010
76
32
Belgium, Antwerp
Hi there,

I recently sold my Windows i5 GTX 970 gaming desktop which i used lately only for streaming Plex and casual use.

But i was always sold on the Mac Mini and with the refresh i'm finally buying one, but i'm wondering which one.

What it's priority is:

- Plex 4K streaming
My former pc had to do alot of transcode (HEVC) to my Sony A1 (Android TV) and it buffered quitte long imo so i hope this can be reduced. I don't know if it has to do with the server (Mac Mini) or client (Sony TV).

So i was wondering in which processor i need to invest, i3, i5 or i7?

I tend to keep the Mac pretty long, about 6 years, and i only intent to play Magic The Gathering: Arena on it if it ever comes available on MacOS.
Maybe some light Photoshop in the future but don't keep that in mind as i'm buying it in purpose of Plex and casual browsing and mailing.

Thanks already!
 
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archer75

macrumors 68030
Jan 26, 2005
2,698
1,235
Oregon
For video work you want the i7. Plex will need it. This is one of the things I use my mini for.

The buffering and transcoding tells me your Sony doesn't support HEVC. This has to do with the client, not the server.
You should get yourself a ATV4k and use infuse. Infuse connects to Plex server. There won't be any transcoding.
 
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ElectronGuru

macrumors 65816
Sep 5, 2013
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Infuse connects to Plex server. There won't be any transcoding.
Emphasis on this point. Transcoding is a sw problem and can be fixed with better sw. infuse and nPlayer read most formats just fine without it. Even from a nas to an iPhone. So plex should be bringing more to the party than just file delivery.
 

Mannaerts

macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 2, 2010
76
32
Belgium, Antwerp
I think you’d be fine with the i3 for plex, having said that....

You want to keep it 6 years
The i5 base model also gets you 2x storage

I’d be going for the i5.
I agree but the i could also be buying a Samsung T5 which is alot cheaper but my first thought was also the i5. I just thought that maybe i could save some money if i bought the i3
 

ktcifone

macrumors member
Oct 30, 2009
48
27
Im currently Using stock i7 32GB 512GB model.
Im currently running 3 streams at 1080 over a home network without lags.
CPU is only 3% temps are fine.
i was over 50% on my old 2012 i7 custom system.
 
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Mannaerts

macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 2, 2010
76
32
Belgium, Antwerp
Hmm it seems like nobody has the i3 as i’m not getting any answers on whether it can handle 4K Plex or not.

I’m not into a i7 as it would be overkill for my needs, so i would consider the i5 if Plex would gain from the 6 cores.
Otherwise i can get a i3 + Apple TV 4K for the same price.
 

archer75

macrumors 68030
Jan 26, 2005
2,698
1,235
Oregon
Im currently Using stock i7 32GB 512GB model.
Im currently running 3 streams at 1080 over a home network without lags.
CPU is only 3% temps are fine.
i was over 50% on my old 2012 i7 custom system.
My guess is it’s not transcoding. PMS will tell you for each stream. Direct stream/play uses almost no power and can be served from anything.
Plex doesn’t transcode everything. And with a client that has full support for your media it won’t transcode anything.
Take a look and see.
 

archer75

macrumors 68030
Jan 26, 2005
2,698
1,235
Oregon
Hmm it seems like nobody has the i3 as i’m not getting any answers on whether it can handle 4K Plex or not.

I’m not into a i7 as it would be overkill for my needs, so i would consider the i5 if Plex would gain from the 6 cores.
Otherwise i can get a i3 + Apple TV 4K for the same price.
Plex can use all the cpu you can give it. The more the better. For transcoding.
If it’s not transcoding then it doesn’t matter.
 

TheGreatDave

macrumors newbie
Jun 11, 2013
17
0
I have an i5 and my Xbox has needed some VC1 flies transcoded.

1080p super high quality transcoding (20MBps) worked without any issues. Reading the files off an external USB 3 drive.