Which Mac Mini?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by P'sGG, Jul 20, 2011.

  1. P'sGG macrumors newbie

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    Alabama
    #1
    I am considering a new Mac Mini. I am not a gamer. This Mini will run 2 data base programs and I will use it with my HDTV for movies and TV. It will also be used with OSX 7 server which will be accessed by no more than 2 notebooks at any time. Question: do I need the extra graphics power of the $799 model?
    Thanx!
     
  2. archer75 macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    For the HTPC aspect of it I would go with a 6630m.
     
  3. P'sGG thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    Thanks

    I thought that would be the case. Thanks. This new territory for me.
     
  4. danielsmu macrumors regular

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    #4
    Respectfully disagree. By HTPC, I'm assuming the OP will be streaming files (up to 1080p max resolution). The base model should be more than Powerful enough to handle those tasks. Since OP says he's not a gamer, the 6630m seems like overkill to me for HTPC needs.

    Would genuinely be interested in hearing your thoughts on why the 6630m would be needed for HTPC though.
     
  5. profets macrumors 68040

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    Mar 18, 2009
    #5
    I agree with this as well. I do like the value in the 6630m, but if I was placing the mini as an HTPC the intel HD3000 is more than capable for any video/HD playback.
     
  6. panzer06 macrumors 68030

    panzer06

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    #6
    If this is correct then the server version would be fine and provide 1TB plus of space.

    Cheers,
     
  7. mrrippey macrumors regular

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    Apr 7, 2009
    #7
    Im thinking to do the same. I think the $599 one is more than enough since the old Mini ran as a HTPC just fine and this is much better. I would however put more memory (4GB) so things dont get bogged down. The memory upgrade (not thru Apple) is likely to be something like $75 and your time to install.

    For $125 more (assuming you agree you need 4gb RAM, else $200 more) you get a better CPU, more memroy and better graphics.

    -Rippey
     
  8. archer75, Jul 20, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2011

    archer75 macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    Well it really depends on how the onboard Intel performs in HQV tests or if it can handle the HD audio. Depends on a persons needs. It's not always as simple as just playing 1080p. It's how well it plays it. Been running an HTPC of some sort of a decade now.

    On my HTPC the bare minimum card I could use at the time was the Radeon 5570 due to some image quality issues with the lower end Radeon cards(lack of Vector Adaptive Deinterlacing). I also have an onboard Intel G45 chip that couldn't quite handle some 1080p scenes such as the birds scene in planet earth. Also the scene in Toy Story 3 where they are about to be burned up, that scene has a lot of bits of trash that are all moving that choke a G45 and even my 5570 can barely handle it.

    And I also want HD audio bitstreaming of DTS-MA HD/Dolby True HD. Need a Radeon for that. Intel should be able to, depends on if Apple gimped the audio output as previous mini models couldn't do it.

    Now i'm not 100% sure what the onboard Intel can handle on this new mini or what it's limitations are but the Radeon 6630m should be able to handle all that. (Edit - seems the Intel doesn't allow perfect 23.976)
    Again, it depends on a persons needs.

    Here are some additional details on the Intel 3000 but has part of the Sandy Bridge CPU. Not sure if the mini is a Sandy Bridge as well of if the Intel is a seperate chip but this is from anandtech:
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/4083/...-core-i7-2600k-i5-2500k-core-i3-2100-tested/7
     
  9. cfedu macrumors 65816

    cfedu

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    #9

    +1
     
  10. danielsmu macrumors regular

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    May 5, 2010
    #10
    Thanks for the detailed reply! Great points about the HD audio bitstreaming as well. The new mini will be my first HTPC, but in the research I've done, I couldn't find many details on *any* apple setups being able to handle DTS-MA/TrueHD so I had already written those formats off in my mind.

    I believe your reports on the classic Planet-Earth-Birds-Scene stress test, but I'm surprised to hear you had trouble as I've read reports elsewhere that people can stream that scene in 1080p on a 2010 mac mini without issues.

    Like you said though, it's totally up to what the individual user needs in their HTPC and hopefully the OP has more than enough details to make that decision now :)
     
  11. archer75 macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    Well that 2010 mini is also using a Nvidia 320? Or was it a 330? Can't remember but either way my issues stemmed from the Intel G45 onboard video. I know the Intel 3000 is better but i've never tested it myself and haven't really researched that particular card much beyond the anandtech review I posted above.

    But there is an excellent HTPC forum here: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forumdisplay.php?f=26

    And they even have a Mac subforum. It's a great resource.

    And honestly, if you are just rocking a TV with no surround sound(or a small room/small setup) the HD audio won't mean much to a person. I do have a large room with a 7.1 setup and I can definitely hear the difference in the audio so it does matter to me.
    For me I would say the audio is more important than the picture, in my opinion of course.
     
  12. danielsmu macrumors regular

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    May 5, 2010
    #12
    $75 for 4GB of RAM seems a bit high to me. I found 4GB of 1333Mhz notebook RAM on Amazon just now for $37. I think you're looking at closer to $160-170 more for the next level model if you're set on upgrading to 4GB of RAM. (which may still be totally worth it to you; just wanted to clarify)
     
  13. danielsmu macrumors regular

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    May 5, 2010
    #13

    I'm 99% sure the 2010 mini used a 330m. Thanks for the AVS forum link as well. I've visited them before, but I got most of my info from the Plex forums (my HTPC front-end of choice).

    Also, I think the previous gen minis couldn't even attempt streaming HD Audio formats, but again this is my first HTPC so I can't say with any degree of certainty. Here's a link I found on apple support forums that seems to back this up. If that info is correct, the new mini might not support those formats even if the new hardware could potentially handle it.

    I'm running a 5.1 setup myself in a small to mid-sized room and while I can hear the difference in True HD blu-rays, I'm working on converting everything into digital format and a 1080p DTS/Dolby 5.1 RIP is good enough for my ears given the tradeoff in file size from an uncompressed blu-ray rip.

    Out of curiosity, are you planning on picking up a new mini for a HTPC or are you using a more powerful BYO option?
     
  14. archer75, Jul 20, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2011

    archer75 macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    No, the previous mini's couldn't do the HD audio. :(

    No, i'm not going to get a new mini for a HTPC. It's too spendy for that and I already have a machine I built that works quite well. Two HTPC's in the house actually. One for the kids, one for us adults.
    I wouldn't mind one to use as a mail server. I'd actually like to set it up so I can be my own cloud.

    I also rip blurays and store them on my server and stream them to my HTPC. I also keep the HD audio in the files and re-encode the movies to a smaller file size but most are still indistinguishable from the original(except comedies and animation, I shrink those down a bit more). So my rips average about 8-10gb in size. Some smaller, some bigger.
     
  15. Mr Rogers macrumors regular

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    Hong Kong
    #15
    Do you even need the new model

    I'm totally underwhelmed by this upgrade, particularly lack of discrete graphics in server and no quad core in high end model.

    FWIW's.

    I use my 2010 2.4Ghz as a media centre and play a huge amount of HD content, its connected to my LCD 42in Philips Cineos via a LG 3D HTS - I have had no problems running 10G HD files with multiple sound options, be they regular AVI's or MKV's.

    Have yet to try and play any true Blue Ray content - files are too large to DL at 20-30G's and TV only displays 1020i/p content any way - 720i files actually look great.

    So, don't discount the 2010 model, if you need to upgrade, get system with discrete graphics and upgrade to i& for a little future proofing - as for optics, can do without - don't upgrade RAM via Apple, don't upgrade HDD, you can purchase a 3T WD FW800 at 7200RPM for less than US$200 and boot from that, a 2T FW800 external is about US$125 and you can boot from it, thus, no need to run internal HDD.

    Shame about lack of four core in high end MM and lack of discrete graphics in Server - Apple would have had a winner had this been achieved/included.
     
  16. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    #16
    can't be done the internal power supply is 85 watts max. the gpu is 15 watts and the quad is 45 watts 60 watts out of 85 watt psu will not work.

    bring back the brick for the 2012 update. problem solved! the brick does 110watts
     
  17. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    #17
    What is needed for the 2012 mac mini update?

    delete
     
  18. mrrippey macrumors regular

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    Apr 7, 2009
    #18
    I didnt know it was that cheap....wow...

    -Rippey
     
  19. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

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    #19
    Can anyone confirm if the 2011 can?
     
  20. Sdevante macrumors 6502

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    #20
    I think your logic still holds; as stated in another thread, my debate comes down to base model + 8 gb ram at about $80-$90, or about $110 or so over that to upgrade to the midlevel Mini with 4gb ram but dedicated graphics and marginally better cpu.

    I am leaning towards the extra $110 and taking a 4 gb hit on ram to have better graphics.
     
  21. archer75 macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    Well until someone gets a hold of one of these....

    I'm sure anandtech will review it soon.

    However to get HD audio(assuming the hardware supports it) you have to be running windows on it. And using very specific software.
     
  22. mrrippey macrumors regular

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    Apr 7, 2009
    #22
    me too...The only thing i run that is intensive is Parallels and I run it on a 13"uMBP with 4GB and it runs fine so it should run nicer here.

    -Rippey
     
  23. Mr.C macrumors 601

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    Apr 3, 2011
    Location:
    London, UK.
    #23
    According to the following page on Apple's site the HDMI out can do multichannel audio which I presume refers to HD audio. As it's on Apple's site I imagine it works under OSX.

    http://www.apple.com/macmini/specs.html
     
  24. archer75 macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    It could merely mean 5.1 audio. Not necessarily HD. Though if it aderes to the same specs as other Radeon cards and apple hasn't gimped it in any way then it should work.
     
  25. cfedu macrumors 65816

    cfedu

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    Toronto
    #25
    you get 2.35 more GB of ram with the ATI card since the ATI card will not use system ram. don't quote me on it.

    If i where to upgrade ram on the base model I would go used for 20$ or 8GB for 50$, It's a tough call to get the upgrade unless you think you will need it or can afford it.

    At first I thought yes 100% get it, but the one thing I want more then performance and value is low noise. if the faster cpu and GPU will make more noise I say get the base model or get an iMac.

    Save the 200$ buy 20$ of used ram and get an SSD. super quiet, super faster. Connect the 500 GB hard drive with a USB enclosure and hide it in a sound proof box.
     

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