MAC mini for a HTPC? - Page 7 - AVS Forum
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post #181 of 352 Old 01-21-2005, 09:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by anthonymoody
PS - I'm 'switching' now - setting up on the network to transfer files has been a snap
Congrats! If you don't mind me asking, what was the final straw that prompted the switch?

"I feel more now like I did than when I first got here."
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post #182 of 352 Old 01-21-2005, 09:25 AM
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I’m also very curious about the superdrive’s DVD noise, specifically if the standard Combo drive is any quieter.
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post #183 of 352 Old 01-21-2005, 11:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by tommylotto
Exactly. Mac can generate a 1080p desktop, but I know of no way to interlace it to make it 1080i. SwitchResX won't do it. If someone knows how this can be accomplished on a Mac, I and many other would be very greatful.
The Mini has an ATI Radeon 9200, so interlacing is not impossible. You just need a hardware utility or ATI driver support for it.
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post #184 of 352 Old 01-21-2005, 11:38 AM
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This is what someone needs to make: Mac MINI HTPC add-on

Same form factor device that sits under the mini and connects via firewire. It would have firewire, TV tuner(s), optical audio out (in?), more storage (160GB+ 3.5" HD), and a VFD display on the front.

Some enterprising company could pull it off... or maybe Apple? :)
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post #185 of 352 Old 01-21-2005, 02:56 PM
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OK, I now have a miniMac in hand. Boy is this thing small and, well, *cute*. It's fully loaded--faster processor, 1 GB, etc.

Sadly, neither my Waveterminal U24 or my El Gato EyeTV 500 will arrive today as slated (damn weather). :(

As soon as I get home from work tonight, I'm planning on hooking this up to my 42" Panny TH-42PWD6UY plasma via the Panny DVI card. I've got an Edirol UA-1D for USB audio out (as well as an M-Audio transit) to try as well. Hopefully I will get this guy playing iTunes off a WinXP shared network drive tonight at a minimum.

Anyone have any Qs they want answered right off the bat? Anything I should try?
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post #186 of 352 Old 01-21-2005, 03:01 PM
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I'm sure we'd all love to hear if it can handle HD, and how loud it is ;)

Someday maybe I'll actually WATCH my projector...
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post #187 of 352 Old 01-21-2005, 03:07 PM
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FBOW, this particular miniMac has been placed into the hands of a Mac novice. Happy to try anything and report results, but you will have to tell me where to find a playable HD file and what specifically to do...

Note also that my Panny is an EDTV. It takes HD feeds, but doesn't display full HD res. Not sure that is a problem in terms of running a test for anyone, unless someone tells me different.

As a freaky audiophile, I'm also very interested in the noise factor. I do stereo only--so can't test DTS/5.1 either. Used to have a Theta Casablanca, but got rid of it in favor of a dCS upsampler and DAC, so I can decode PCM only. If someone really cares, I could haul the Theta up and see if it locks on a DTS signal.

What should I look for in terms of assessing this thing as a DVD playback unit?
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post #188 of 352 Old 01-21-2005, 03:13 PM
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You may try downloading VLC from videolan.org and testing out some of the video filters when playing DVD's. A word of warning though, the VLC preference pane is very unintuitive and I believe it only accepts changes on one page at a time.

You can download HD content from http://www.divx.com/hd but don't download their codec. Get the 3ivx codec from http://www.3ivx.com as it is much better on the CPU.
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post #189 of 352 Old 01-21-2005, 03:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by chrisbirkinshaw
The $1000000000000000000000 question......


How loud is the fan?

It has a fan? Seriously. Does it? I haven't heard it come on yet and the HD has been spinning non stop for the last 24 hours transferring files (still at it - 32GB down, probably another 20GB to go...).

xmltok I will try that though not until I finish my file transfer (sorry!)

jaysoffian I'd rather not install ********** but I'd happyily test the clip if you can get it to me elseways (again, after the file transfer - sorry!)

murrays the straw that broke the back was simple - price. If I hate it, how hurt can I get reselling it? Not very I suspect. Plus as of this month my PC is exactly 3 years old so psychologically spending a little $ on a new computer doesn't seem so bold :)

b.greenway I have the combo drive not the superdrive. Can't comment on how it is compared to the super drive as I haven't heard the superdrive sorry.

mattsoft - LOVE your idea. I'd buy one. Make the storage RAID...

Anyway sorry I was away from the forum all day. As soon as the transfer is done and it's set up the way I want I'll test the HD - promise! Unless someone beats me to the punch :)

TM

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Double True!
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post #190 of 352 Old 01-21-2005, 04:07 PM
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anthonymoody, how would you describe the noise from the combo drive while playing/spinning a CD/DVD? quiet, bearable, loud, annoying?


Thanks
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post #191 of 352 Old 01-21-2005, 05:45 PM
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Just got it hooked up to the Syntax Olevia (via DVI) last night. Needed to use SwitchResX to get 1280x768. However, I'm still tweaking the settings.

http://idisk.mac.com/bruintoo/Public/DSC00392.jpg

http://idisk.mac.com/bruintoo/Public/DSC00391.jpg

http://idisk.mac.com/bruintoo/Public/DSC00395.jpg
-Bruin
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post #192 of 352 Old 01-21-2005, 05:52 PM
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I got mine yesterday. (FedEx was a day early. Yippie.) It has no fan. Or, if it has one like my PowerBook, it hasn't gotten warm enough to spin up yet. The ComboDrive is quiet. Right now the noise in my setup comes from the fan on the LCD RPTV.

The thing is like butter. Looks sexy and is perfect for my HTPC setup. I am a happy Mac user. :D
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post #193 of 352 Old 01-21-2005, 08:16 PM
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OMG I'm drooling. Gotta get in the game some how. I might have to do it a different way bruintoo have you tried pushing it yet?

AT HAMMOND ROBOTICS WE'RE BRINGING THE FUTURE ... HOME
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post #194 of 352 Old 01-21-2005, 08:17 PM
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OMG I'm drooling. Gotta get in the game some how. I might have to do it a different way bruintoo have you tried pushing it yet?

AT HAMMOND ROBOTICS WE'RE BRINGING THE FUTURE ... HOME
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post #195 of 352 Old 01-21-2005, 08:20 PM
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Still waiting on somone to try playing HD Files. You can get mpeg 2 transport streams from here:
http://www.dvico.com/hdtv/download.asp

VLC should be able to play those files...
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post #196 of 352 Old 01-21-2005, 09:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by JakiChan
I got mine yesterday. (FedEx was a day early. Yippie.) It has no fan. Or, if it has one like my PowerBook, it hasn't gotten warm enough to spin up yet. The ComboDrive is quiet. Right now the noise in my setup comes from the fan on the LCD RPTV.

The thing is like butter. Looks sexy and is perfect for my HTPC setup. I am a happy Mac user. :D

Which model the 1.25 or 1.42 wondering if the extra 10% boost causes the fan to run more, also how much memory? Is 256 fine?


Test Your Display,
Tips for Large Monitor Use
: 720p, 1080p Test Patterns, Tips Just Click Here
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post #197 of 352 Old 01-21-2005, 09:28 PM
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Come on guys where's the feedback? I'm doubled over in pain to get some info. Those screen shots look good but how about a screen shot on a 51 incher? A RPTV? I gotta see it.

AT HAMMOND ROBOTICS WE'RE BRINGING THE FUTURE ... HOME
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post #198 of 352 Old 01-22-2005, 08:26 AM
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Here's a little feedback. It is quiet. Mine has the superdrive, and I can hear it occasionally when it seems to be changing tracks or whatever. Does make some noise when it first loads, but probably not worse than my Theta David.

I was hoping to test more functions last night, but got into problems with even connecting to the internet. Turns out my router, for whatever reason, wasn't handing out IP addresses the way it was supposed to. Finally fixed that, but I still can't get audio out of either an Edirol UA-1D or M-Audio Sonica. The Edirol is recognized as a USB device, but not the Sonica. My DAC shows its locking on a 48 kHz signal, but 0 bits of data are getting passed. The Edirol is supposed to require no drivers--suppsed to rely on the core OS-X audio drivers, but it doesn't seem to be working...

I plugged the DVI into my Panny and it didn't seem to cause any hiccups. I haven't downloaded SwitchX yet, so I seem to be stuck with 1024 x 768 for the time being. I need to look up what the right resolution really is...

Anyway, was planning on trying the HD feed next. Obviously, won't be able to tell you anything about the audio track...
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post #199 of 352 Old 01-22-2005, 08:58 AM
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Well, I downloaded the White Noise and Shark Tales HD avis off the referenced site and installed the 3ivs divx thing and was able to play the clips. The QT window was larger than my display area, however, so I installed SwitchResX. Unfortunately, I have no idea how to use SRX and no idea of what settings to input into it to get a full screen view. What is HD X x Y resolution?

Anyway, the White Noise clip is kind of the wrong one to DL and test, since its mainly, well, white noise. Can't tell if something bad is happening or not. The first time I played the shark tales clip I had some problems with blocking--guess that isi dropped frames? The second time I played the clip, I didn't see any problems. The fan did kick on during playback, however, and it is clearly audible from my seat, about 9 feet away. If you saw my prior post, I've got no audio right now, but I would think the fan would be noisy enuf to hear during quiet passages.

Some good, some bad.
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post #200 of 352 Old 01-22-2005, 09:29 AM
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If you press Command-I while QuickTime is running you can get an information window that will tell you of dropped frames. Command is the Open-Apple key. I run my PowerBook full screen to my plasma set with 1280x768, my native resolution is 1024x768. You might also try downloading VLC (http://www.videolan.org) or Mplayer OSX (http://mplayerosx.sourceforge.net/) and testing the clips with them.
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post #201 of 352 Old 01-22-2005, 09:31 AM
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This is a great topic.... I look forward to Tiger being released... thats when the fun will really begin!

Here is a new site you may be interested in:

http://www.machtpc.com
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post #202 of 352 Old 01-22-2005, 12:40 PM
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Duh, guess SwitchResX is irrelevant when using DVI. Anyway, got the Transit working with the appropriate drivers from M-Audio. Figured out how to resize the playback screen for VLC and QT. Doesn't seem to drop frames unless I'm doing something else simultaneously. Still don't seem to get audio out of the QT for the previews, but I'm not getting audio from iTunes, and even figured out how to get iTunes to import stuff off a Windows XP share w/o copying the files to the Apple drive. The visualizer on a 42" plasma is very... er... trippy.
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post #203 of 352 Old 01-22-2005, 12:46 PM
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Cool!
Now we need to get you some MPEG-TS files to test. :)
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post #204 of 352 Old 01-22-2005, 01:29 PM
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I just picked up a mac mini a few hours ago...

I have the 1.42ghz model, stock 256MB of RAM.

I had to use switchres to add my projector's (HS20) native resolution which wasn't automatically detected, even though I am using DVI.

I'm trying LotRClip2.mpg but it's skipping a lot using VLC. top is reporing tons of pageins/outs so I suspect it may be limited by RAM or disk speed. I just tried quitting all the other applications and it ran a little bit better but still skipped some.

It "feels" very fast, much faster than my 1ghz powerbook. I tried to measure the loudness with my SPL meter but it didn't register the minimum 50db at 1cm away. It's not silent but it's inaudible from about 2' away in a silent room.

- Mike
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post #205 of 352 Old 01-22-2005, 01:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by T u r b o
I just picked up a mac mini a few hours ago...

I have the 1.42ghz model, stock 256MB of RAM.

I had to use switchres to add my projector's (HS20) native resolution which wasn't automatically detected, even though I am using DVI.

I'm trying LotRClip2.mpg but it's skipping a lot using VLC.
I suggest getting a 1 GB memory stick but not from Apple.

Regards,
Joe


Going "over the top" with OTA, Netflix, Drobo FS and Apple TV!
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post #206 of 352 Old 01-22-2005, 01:34 PM
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I believe there is a lot of hardware MPEG-2 decoding power on our Radeon chips we are unable to use because Apple has not opened up a pathway for developers.
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post #207 of 352 Old 01-22-2005, 01:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by edesilva
Duh, guess SwitchResX is irrelevant when using DVI. Anyway, got the Transit working with the appropriate drivers from M-Audio. Figured out how to resize the playback screen for VLC and QT. Doesn't seem to drop frames unless I'm doing something else simultaneously. Still don't seem to get audio out of the QT for the previews, but I'm not getting audio from iTunes, and even figured out how to get iTunes to import stuff off a Windows XP share w/o copying the files to the Apple drive. The visualizer on a 42" plasma is very... er... trippy.
For the Transit issue, see this thread (fourth one down).

Regards,
Joe


Going "over the top" with OTA, Netflix, Drobo FS and Apple TV!
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post #208 of 352 Old 01-22-2005, 01:52 PM
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Quote:
I suggest getting a 1 GB memory stick but not from Apple.
and two putty knives. :D
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post #209 of 352 Old 01-22-2005, 02:06 PM
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Well, I played around with with SwitchRes X and got some custom video modes working.

They're not perfect and will likely require some tweaking to get it right depending on your TV but give them a try. (BTW, not responsible if you blow your HDTV if the timings don't sync on your TV, but they work on my Loewe Aconda 30" via DVI-I -> VGA cable). The image could be scaled better in terms of too much overscan (on my set, the displayable pixel area is too wide to display completely on the screen) and centering, if someone is good at tweaking these timings, please give it a try and feel free to share:

(NB, numbers are Horizontal and Vertical parameters respectively, both Horizontal and Vertical Positive sync are NOT checked)

1920 x 1080i (1920 x 540p actually, but it seems to display at proper proportions):
Pixel Clock 45.836
Active 1080, 540
Front Porch 36, 1
Sync width 108, 3
Back porch 144, 15
Scan rate 33.506, 59.939

I don't know if there is a 1920 x 540 60 Hz built in or if it showed up after I set this custom resolution, but that's what shows up in my list of resolutions and that works as well.

These pre - defined settings that show on my Aconda also seem to work, though the aspect ratios seem off (everything is short and fat and too little overscan)
640x480 60 Hz
720x480 60 Hz
800x533 60 Hz

Hope this helps someone, plesase send me a e-mail if you can get things tweaked better for the Aconda.

Dave
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post #210 of 352 Old 01-22-2005, 03:33 PM
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For anyone in the NYC area who wants one, the Apple Store Soho on Prince St. has them in stock, (or at least did, at 2:45 this afternoon). I was there to pick up iLife '05.

I can't believe how tiny they are -- no matter how many pictures I saw nothing prepared me for the reality. Amazing design!

Ted
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