Upgraded My Mac Mini - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 08-11-2012, 11:20 AM - Thread Starter
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I pulled the trigger and upgraded my C2Duo Mac Mini to the 2011 Mac Mini (2.5 GHz i5) w/ the AMD Radeon 6630M dedicated graphics processor.

I probably didn't need to spend the extra $200 for the extra memory (4GB vs 2GB) the faster processor and dedicated graphics card, however, I wanted to make sure I can play any high bit rate video file I want.

I can now finally play Blu-ray discs ripped to .mkv format without dropping frames. This works well in Plex and the new DVDfab Blu-ray player.

The new computer is also a bit faster opening files, booting, and shutting down. Also, Apple's migration assistant is nothing short of amazing. All my data, apps, and profiles were copied over to the new Mini.

Looks like I will have a lightly used C2Duo Mac Mini for sale soon on Craigslist.
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post #2 of 10 Old 08-16-2012, 09:45 AM
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I did the same (including getting the high end Mini as insurance) and it improved Plex performance tremendously for me. Congrats!
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post #3 of 10 Old 08-18-2012, 01:32 AM
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For the "ultimate" Mac Mini HTMac, you could also replace the HDD with a SSD and add an internal optical Blu-ray drive ! smile.gif
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post #4 of 10 Old 08-18-2012, 06:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_Malloy View Post

I did the same (including getting the high end Mini as insurance) and it improved Plex performance tremendously for me. Congrats!

For me the latest version of PLEX still doesn't play smoothly, XBMC seems to work much better for both DVD and Blu-Ray playback.
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Originally Posted by geeji View Post

For the "ultimate" Mac Mini HTMac, you could also replace the HDD with a SSD and add an internal optical Blu-ray drive ! smile.gif

No need for me to install an SSD drive on an HTPC, I wouldn't be able to use the additional performance for anything. The internal 500GB HDD works fine. I already have an external DVD/Blu-ray drive so I've got that covered as well. I see no reason to go beyond the 4GB of RAM in the machine as I don't think going to 8GB would improve performance either for a machine that only rips and plays back movies.
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post #5 of 10 Old 08-18-2012, 07:59 AM
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No need for me to install an SSD drive on an HTPC...The internal 500GB HDD works fine...I wouldn't be able to use the additional performance for anything...I don't think going to 8GB would improve performance either for a machine that only rips and plays back movies.

Have you ever used a Mac with 8GB of RAM and an SSD as a boot drive?

You might feel the way you do at the moment if, as you say, you plan to just rip and play back on a single display, but if that Mini hosts your iTunes library and you do iTunes home sharing with other devices, or if you start to multi-task or record HDTV or transcode those rips or serve files to other devices while you're also using the Mini for playback in the home theater, believe me, both of those upgrades make very real differences. Just ripping and just local playback, I agree with you, 4GB and your stock 5400rpm drive are fine: I found the 5400rpm drive plenty fast for my toughest blu-ray rip and ripping isn't challenging in the least system resource-wise, no amount of RAM or CPU will speed up a rip-locked external blu-ray drive. MakeMKV is going to take roughly the same amount of time with whatever RAM or drive you have.

But, it costs less than $40 to go to 8GB of RAM and everything about OS X and iTunes improves afterward, everything is more smooth and efficient. I understand if there's some trepidation about opening up your still under warranty Mac to install an SSD, if that's the case try booting a 2011 Mini off an SSD, even over firewire 800, it is noticeably superior to the internal 5400rpm drive if you ask anything of your machine beyond mere rip and playback. And booting that Mini off an SSD over Thunderbolt? OMG as the kids like to say. (If you do go SSD, since there's room for two drives inside, it's a good strategy keeping the stock 5400rpm drive as a bootable clone of your system.)

Don't for a minute think your HTPC experience wouldn't significantly benefit from doubling the RAM or booting from an SSD; do both and you'll wonder how you ever managed previously.
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post #6 of 10 Old 08-19-2012, 05:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info. I may consider some upgrades in the future.
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post #7 of 10 Old 08-19-2012, 05:05 PM
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I just picked up the base model mini, After pulling one of the 1 gig sticks and installing an 8 gig it runs beautifully. I have no issues playing full bd rips locally while streaming another full rip to my iPhone. With 16 gig kits for just a little under a 100.00 there's no reason to be running less than 8 gigs of ram.
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post #8 of 10 Old 08-21-2012, 02:29 AM
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sounds tempting. Maybe I'll find a cheap refurb when Apple does the 2013 refresh. I like my Minis (both late 2009) for HTPC purposes with Windows 7. Just wish it handled HD audio better.

Needless to say, I don't care about OSX or the optical drive. I use the drive about twice a year. I have slim external blu ray burner and works great in both Windows and OSX.
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post #9 of 10 Old 08-21-2012, 07:31 PM
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I have the 2.7 GHz mini and i put an OWC SSD boot drive in mine and also kept the 500 gig drive in it as well. I also installed the 8 gigs of RAM and let me tell you it is O so nice but I am a speed junkie who knows if I really needed it.
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post #10 of 10 Old 08-25-2012, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_Malloy View Post

I did the same (including getting the high end Mini as insurance) and it improved Plex performance tremendously for me. Congrats!

Did you get the server version? I have the 2010 server which works great but I have been thinking of getting an i5, 8gig, 750gig 7200rpm HD version. The 7200 rpm drives seem to make quite a bit of a difference, though not as much obviously as an SSD version.

Philip
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