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New Mac Mini as a HTPC

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by Dr House, 1 Mar 2006.

  1. Dr House

    Capodecina

    Joined: 17 Oct 2002

    Posts: 13,223

    Location: London / Prague

    Apple have launched 2 new mac minis. I have wanted a HTPC for ages and this look to fit the bill. I was looking at the faster one and attached a couple of USB drives and get rid of the NAS.

    The Mac book pro should arrive within the next few days so I think they will be quite good together.

    Anyone got any opinions?
    ----------------------

    The new mini sports the Apple Remote with Front Row, up to 2 GB memory, Intel GMA950 graphics processor, DVI connector w/ VGA out option, Slot loading optical drive, up to 120GB hard drive, built-in gigabit ethernet, analog and digital audio, USB & Firewire ports, iLife '06 and Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger.

    1.5Ghz Intel Core Solo Model: $599
    1.5GHz Intel Core Solo processor
    2MB L2 Cache
    667MHz Frontside Bus
    512MB memory (667MHz DDR2 SDRAM)
    60GB Serial ATA hard drive
    Combo drive (DVD-ROM/CD-RW)
    Built-in AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth 2.0
    Apple Remote

    1.66Ghz Intel Core Duo Model: $799
    1.66GHz Intel Core Duo processor
    2MB L2 Cache
    667MHz Frontside Bus
    512MB memory (667MHz DDR2 SDRAM)
    80GB Serial ATA hard drive
    Double-layer SuperDrive (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    Built-in AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth 2.0
    Apple Remote

    All Mac mini models also include an integrated Intel GMA950 graphics processor with 64MB of shared DDR2 SDRAM(1), 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet, four external USB 2.0 ports, FireWire 400 port, optical digital and analog audio in/out, and built-in mono speaker.
     
  2. BoomAM

    Capodecina

    Joined: 5 Jul 2003

    Posts: 16,214

    Location: Atlanta, USA

    Very nice for the 2nd one.
    If its got component and/or HDMI outputs.
    That could make a very very good home video hub.

    ##edit##
    Just been reading this page:
    http://www.apple.com/uk/macmini/

    It has optical outputs! :D
    If that can do HiDef video smooth through the frontrow software, then i might save for one.
     
    Last edited: 1 Mar 2006
  3. Jeff Crawly

    PermaBanned

    Joined: 26 Jan 2006

    Posts: 172

    For the price of a MAC mini you could build a much better/faster PC based Media-PC ....FACT!
     
  4. FreeStream

    Capodecina

    Joined: 10 Apr 2004

    Posts: 13,375

    Oh thats helpful. PC fanboy are we?


    Anyway, bit on the expensive side but, very good machines :) If I needed a HTPC it would be first thing I would go for!

    Conc
     
  5. Jeff Crawly

    PermaBanned

    Joined: 26 Jan 2006

    Posts: 172

    Not at all! Just not in the habbit of paying more for something that does the job less efficently/well. But hey if you want to use a MAC as a media-pc because it looks good or is kool then go ahead, no skin off my nose! I'll spend less and have a better media-pc that handles all HD-Video.

    P.S) Also if they are as noisy as the MAC's I have used then they are hardly ideal as a media-pc!!
     
  6. FreeStream

    Capodecina

    Joined: 10 Apr 2004

    Posts: 13,375

    job less efficently/well? lol, my mac has never crashed while doing video editing. Can I say the same for the PC? oooo no. I dont care if its 'cool' or good looking my G4 is under the desk anyway. It does the job without complaining. Also the mac Minis I have used are silent unless your gaming/high load, but then its not audiable above the movie/game sounds.

    Conc :)
     
  7. Eliot

    Soldato

    Joined: 29 Mar 2005

    Posts: 5,792

    ive never really seen a loud mac, (not that ive seen many mind)
    Jeff are you aware that 800 dollars is around 500 quid??? I odubt you could do a lot better than those macs, and it degfinatly would be as cool/small surely?
    Edit: Making Spec out of interest.
     
  8. james.miller

    Capodecina

    Joined: 17 Aug 2003

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    Location: Woburn Sand Dunes

    £500 is a lot of money. you could build an mid-high end gaming rig for £500. Not to say the mini mac's dont look great, but come on.
     
  9. Eliot

    Soldato

    Joined: 29 Mar 2005

    Posts: 5,792

    AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 3800+ 193.82
    Shuttle XPC ST20G5 Aluminium Barebones System - AMD 64 (Socket 939 £246.69
    Corsair 512MB DDR Value Select PC3200 CAS3.0 Kit £35.19
    Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 NCQ 80GB ST3808110AS SATA-II 8MB Cache 38.72
    Asus DVD-E616P1 DVD-ROM (Beige) 15.22
    Microsoft Windows XP Media Centre 2005 Edition 78.67
    Microsoft Windows XP Media Centre 2005 Remote Controller 23.44
    and the apple has airport express.
    mini mac = UBER bargain imo.
     
  10. Eliot

    Soldato

    Joined: 29 Mar 2005

    Posts: 5,792

    yes but its dual core, has Airport express and is freakishly small. on the uk site they are 550 quid for the best one.
     
  11. james.miller

    Capodecina

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    Posts: 19,407

    Location: Woburn Sand Dunes

    only if you want something extremely small.
     
  12. BoomAM

    Capodecina

    Joined: 5 Jul 2003

    Posts: 16,214

    Location: Atlanta, USA

    For £550 you can't get a dual core computer thats silent, has a DVDRW, Wifi, Bluetooth, has a remote & media software. And is that small.

    But thats becides the point and isnt what the thread is about. If a PC vs Mac debate is wanted, it'd be best to take it to another thread, and let people who are geniunely interested in a mac as a HTPC discuss it.

    I personally think that the dual core MacMini is something i might save for.
    If the video chipset in it can output to 1366x768 (the res of my HDTV), then im sold on it. But im not sure if i cant, i could never get my iBook to output to that res.
     
  13. Eliot

    Soldato

    Joined: 29 Mar 2005

    Posts: 5,792

    the spec i made came out at like 700, but then again i dont really know what im doing with htpc's. Btw i dont see the point in one my self, BecauSe of no hdcp, and no blu-ray etc etc etc.
     
  14. Eliot

    Soldato

    Joined: 29 Mar 2005

    Posts: 5,792

    could i see a example of a 550 small good pc? i have no idea what im doin with them :S
     
  15. Eliot

    Soldato

    Joined: 29 Mar 2005

    Posts: 5,792

    ive seen a slightly lower spec windows one that look almost identical for 700 quid. Well actually the spec thing is debatable. Its a single core 2ghz instead of a dual 1.66
     
  16. Jeff Crawly

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    Joined: 26 Jan 2006

    Posts: 172

    Just built the following Media-PC for a customer which totally creams the MACmini (which for your information struggles with some interlaced Hi-Def video)

    AMD Athlon 64 (ADA3800BVBOX) X2 3800+ Socket 939 Dual Core 2.0ghz
    DFI NF4 Infinity SKT939 nForce4 chipset Dual DDR400 PCI-E SATA ATX
    2 X Corsair (VS512MB400) 512MB, DDR400
    Leadtek WinFast PX6800-TDH256 GeForce 6800 256MB PCI-E SLI Ready
    Hitachi Deskstar T7K250 250GB 7200RPM ATA/100 8MB Cache
    Antec Black Overture II Quiet Media Case 450wpsu
    Benq 1640 (Black)

    Total components cost = £585 Inc VAT

    Yeah it's £35 more expensive but for that extra £35 you get a far far better media PC that can actually cope with High definition video!! Also it's a lot quieter than the MACmini which when under-load/trying to playing some Hi-Def video sounds like an aeroplane taking off!!

    Don't get me wrong I'm not a MAC hater, they have their place,, mainly in video editing due too the fantastic Final Cut Pro but as far as media PC's go they suck compared to an equally priced PC based setup.
     
  17. TheMooN

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 1,280

  18. Slinkie

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 21 Oct 2002

    Posts: 1,679

    Location: UK

    There's no mention at the cost of the OS here? So you would need to add that to the price too. Also it isn't wireless. So you haven't proven anything with the above spec.
     
  19. Dr House

    Capodecina

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    Location: London / Prague

    I do like the spec of that shuttle but I don’t think it will be cheap.

    I know the mac mini will not play HD however my plasma is not HD so that’s no a problem. The most important factors for me are :

    Looks!
    Silent,
    DVI
    Optical out

    It does seem to fit the bill the only thing holing me back is the intel graphics. With the student discount it should work out to around £500 which for the spec is not bad. Also remember that Macs have a very good resale value.
     
  20. Dr House

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    Location: London / Prague