AVS Forum banner

21 - 39 of 39 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,896 Posts
I was considering the idea of having a Mac Mini 2014 as a secondary computer, specifically for my bedroom computer, and for developing iPad Apps, and that leads to mind the wonder what the best bang for the buck config would be for this. For now, since I'm aware that Apple no longer allows for user upgradability anymore, that I'm going to have to make some sacrifices to get a Mac Mini for around the $1K USD mark, and have it last as long as I can, which won't exactly be as easy to do as the previous gens of Mac Minis that did allow for that upgradability that Apple took away this gen. Seems to upgrade to a Fusion 1TB and 16GB RAM would put me well over that $1K, obviously, but...that's about how far I'm willing to stretch. That might be the only good way to have a Mac Mini to do what's expected of it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
973 Posts
I was considering the idea of having a Mac Mini 2014 as a secondary computer, specifically for my bedroom computer, and for developing iPad Apps, and that leads to mind the wonder what the best bang for the buck config would be for this. For now, since I'm aware that Apple no longer allows for user upgradability anymore, that I'm going to have to make some sacrifices to get a Mac Mini for around the $1K USD mark, and have it last as long as I can, which won't exactly be as easy to do as the previous gens of Mac Minis that did allow for that upgradability that Apple took away this gen. Seems to upgrade to a Fusion 1TB and 16GB RAM would put me well over that $1K, obviously, but...that's about how far I'm willing to stretch. That might be the only good way to have a Mac Mini to do what's expected of it.
I would look for a used or refurbished 2012 Quad Core Mini.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,896 Posts
I would look for a used or refurbished 2012 Quad Core Mini.
Well, I was going to say that there's hope that Apple will come out with a Skylake version of the Mac Mini, but for the price of maxing out a Haswell Mac Mini, I'm probably tempted to just go with a 5K iMac with a Skylake CPU, base 8GB and a 1TB Fusion, and upgrade to better quality RAM afterwards (considering that this is probably one of very few Macs with user upgradability). That seems to be what Apple is really pushing people to get anyway.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
72 Posts
Reviving this thread... this is of a particular interest to me and would really like some help / advice:
I have recently invested a lot of money into setting-up a high-end home theater including Sony's VW520ES projector, Marantz SR7010 AV receiver, 5.4.1 ATMOS speaker setting, etc. One thing I did not pay attention to was my HTPC, which is a late 2014 Mac Mini with 2.8GHz i5. I am an apple user for years and all my "IT" stuff is Apple - both at work (macbook air), home (mini), ipads, etc. I like the fact that all just works well together.

One extra piece of information, that may be important: for playback of video I use VLC or Plex and a MacGo bluray player, streamed from my Synology NAS server (I remux my blurays to NAS in a mkv format, for simplicity).

HOWEVER, after setting up this system, I am not too impressed with the performance of this set-up. Sony VW520ES on its own is amazing. But playing e.g. Gravity with ATMOS-encoded audio, I do not really hear any precise sound positioning... yes, there is sound above the head, but not as impressive as I've been reading about.
Also even the 1080p video playback was very choppy at the beginning before I added some hacks (which I googled for) through the Terminal and then the playback was OK. I tried some 4k UHD videos (TimeScapes) and it is unwatchable - choppy to the extreme.

So, reading more and more about the MacMini capabilities, I'm realising this is probably my bottleneck? Is it at all processing HD ATMOS sound properly or is this already some struggle by Marantz to give me a better sound positioning even though it is getting just lousy audio from VLC/Plex playback on Mini? Will Mini ever be able to process proper 4k UHD content?

If this is the bottleneck, please advise what is best to invest into to complete the set-up properly.
1) should I invest into a MS windows-based HTPC with dedicated graphics card etc.? This will probably be the least expensive option...
2) with OS X based solutions: does OS X at all provide good processing of HD audio and video, with ATMOS etc.? If yes, do I understand correctly that Mac Pro is pretty much the only machine capable of doing this properly? This here in Europe is around 3.000 EUR (3.300 USD), which is a lot just for a HTPC...
3) I currently use HDMI out of my Mini... should I be using Minidisplay port and an adaptor to HDMI to connect to my Marantz??
4) any other idea how with a software tweaking I could improve this?

I cannot think of more questions, but please help how this should be set-up properly.

many thanks in advance!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
973 Posts
Reviving this thread... this is of a particular interest to me and would really like some help / advice:
I have recently invested a lot of money into setting-up a high-end home theater including Sony's VW520ES projector, Marantz SR7010 AV receiver, 5.4.1 ATMOS speaker setting, etc. One thing I did not pay attention to was my HTPC, which is a late 2014 Mac Mini with 2.8GHz i5. I am an apple user for years and all my "IT" stuff is Apple - both at work (macbook air), home (mini), ipads, etc. I like the fact that all just works well together.

One extra piece of information, that may be important: for playback of video I use VLC or Plex and a MacGo bluray player, streamed from my Synology NAS server (I remux my blurays to NAS in a mkv format, for simplicity).

HOWEVER, after setting up this system, I am not too impressed with the performance of this set-up. Sony VW520ES on its own is amazing. But playing e.g. Gravity with ATMOS-encoded audio, I do not really hear any precise sound positioning... yes, there is sound above the head, but not as impressive as I've been reading about.
Also even the 1080p video playback was very choppy at the beginning before I added some hacks (which I googled for) through the Terminal and then the playback was OK. I tried some 4k UHD videos (TimeScapes) and it is unwatchable - choppy to the extreme.

So, reading more and more about the MacMini capabilities, I'm realising this is probably my bottleneck? Is it at all processing HD ATMOS sound properly or is this already some struggle by Marantz to give me a better sound positioning even though it is getting just lousy audio from VLC/Plex playback on Mini? Will Mini ever be able to process proper 4k UHD content?

If this is the bottleneck, please advise what is best to invest into to complete the set-up properly.
1) should I invest into a MS windows-based HTPC with dedicated graphics card etc.? This will probably be the least expensive option...
2) with OS X based solutions: does OS X at all provide good processing of HD audio and video, with ATMOS etc.? If yes, do I understand correctly that Mac Pro is pretty much the only machine capable of doing this properly? This here in Europe is around 3.000 EUR (3.300 USD), which is a lot just for a HTPC...
3) I currently use HDMI out of my Mini... should I be using Minidisplay port and an adaptor to HDMI to connect to my Marantz??
4) any other idea how with a software tweaking I could improve this?

I cannot think of more questions, but please help how this should be set-up properly.

many thanks in advance!
Hey, if you want HD Audio support, you can't use OS X - it doesn't support it - probably never will. You can use a Mac Mini but you will need to install OpenELEC (Linux) with Kodi, or OpenELEC with the new Plex Media Player (PMP). I don't have a Plex Pass so I don't have access to PMP so I use OpenELEC with Kodi and a plugin for Kodi called Plexbmc that allows Kodi to work with my Plex Media Server library.

You can get OpenELEC here...http://openelec.tv/get-openelec

It works great for HD video and audio including Atmos playback.

I can't help you with 4K video, although I do know that it doesn't playback nicely on my 2014 Mac Mini as there's no GPU acceleration for HEVC or H265 decoding built into the Intel drivers for Linux. A windows box with NVIDIA GPU might work, but I don't know.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
631 Posts
Hey, if you want HD Audio support, you can't use OS X - it doesn't support it - probably never will. You can use a Mac Mini but you will need to install OpenELEC (Linux) with Kodi, or OpenELEC with the new Plex Media Player (PMP). I don't have a Plex Pass so I don't have access to PMP so I use OpenELEC with Kodi and a plugin for Kodi called Plexbmc that allows Kodi to work with my Plex Media Server library.

You can get OpenELEC here...http://openelec.tv/get-openelec

It works great for HD video and audio including Atmos playback.

I can't help you with 4K video, although I do know that it doesn't playback nicely on my 2014 Mac Mini as there's no GPU acceleration for HEVC or H265 decoding built into the Intel drivers for Linux. A windows box with NVIDIA GPU might work, but I don't know.
Question for you: when you install OpenELEC on a mac mini did you have any difficulty using the built in IR receiver? I use an Intel Nuc for HTCP duties but gave my brother my old 2012 Mac Mini and may want to go the OpenELEC route for him to make it function more like a console but I don't want to have to monkey with getting IR to work.

I remember at one point I tried to install Windows 7 on my mac mini and use Kodi on the windows side of things to get HD audio codecs working (they did), unfortunately I guess Apple does not support or release drivers for the IR receiver for Windows so I was unable to get it working on Windows.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
973 Posts
Question for you: when you install OpenELEC on a mac mini did you have any difficulty using the built in IR receiver? I use an Intel Nuc for HTCP duties but gave my brother my old 2012 Mac Mini and may want to go the OpenELEC route for him to make it function more like a console but I don't want to have to monkey with getting IR to work.

I remember at one point I tried to install Windows 7 on my mac mini and use Kodi on the windows side of things to get HD audio codecs working (they did), unfortunately I guess Apple does not support or release drivers for the IR receiver for Windows so I was unable to get it working on Windows.
No problems using the IR on the Mac Mini with OE. It worked out of the box with my Harmony Remote. It seems to work with the same commands as Plex. So in Harmony, if you add a "Plex Media Player" as your Mac Mini Kodi device, it will control it perfectly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
631 Posts
No problems using the IR on the Mac Mini with OE. It worked out of the box with my Harmony Remote. It seems to work with the same commands as Plex. So in Harmony, if you add a "Plex Media Player" as your Mac Mini Kodi device, it will control it perfectly.
Cool, thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
72 Posts
Hey, if you want HD Audio support, you can't use OS X - it doesn't support it - probably never will. You can use a Mac Mini but you will need to install OpenELEC (Linux) with Kodi, or OpenELEC with the new Plex Media Player (PMP). I don't have a Plex Pass so I don't have access to PMP so I use OpenELEC with Kodi and a plugin for Kodi called Plexbmc that allows Kodi to work with my Plex Media Server library.

You can get OpenELEC here...http://openelec.tv/get-openelec

It works great for HD video and audio including Atmos playback.

I can't help you with 4K video, although I do know that it doesn't playback nicely on my 2014 Mac Mini as there's no GPU acceleration for HEVC or H265 decoding built into the Intel drivers for Linux. A windows box with NVIDIA GPU might work, but I don't know.
Many thanks for the reply. I read more about OpenELEC and looks the way to go!
Now I only need to figure out how to do a dual-boot Mini, so that I still keep OS X for a while and can boot into the OpenELEC to get used to it. Not much is written for dual-boot set-ups for late 2014 Minis, but I'll try. If anyone knows a link to a tutorial, I'd very much appreciate!
Cheers!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
973 Posts
Many thanks for the reply. I read more about OpenELEC and looks the way to go!
Now I only need to figure out how to do a dual-boot Mini, so that I still keep OS X for a while and can boot into the OpenELEC to get used to it. Not much is written for dual-boot set-ups for late 2014 Minis, but I'll try. If anyone knows a link to a tutorial, I'd very much appreciate!
Cheers!
I briefly looked into dual-booting and gave up. It wasn't trivial and I didn't really need OS X on my Mac Mini anyway. It will be a challenge but I don't think it's impossible.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
631 Posts
Many thanks for the reply. I read more about OpenELEC and looks the way to go!
Now I only need to figure out how to do a dual-boot Mini, so that I still keep OS X for a while and can boot into the OpenELEC to get used to it. Not much is written for dual-boot set-ups for late 2014 Minis, but I'll try. If anyone knows a link to a tutorial, I'd very much appreciate!
Cheers!
The way I have seen most do it is simply to install openelec onto a thumb drive boot onto the thumb drive to make sure you are going to like it.

@virtualrain edit: NVM, I didn't see your post on the second page here.

I think I read that macs do not do so hot running without OSX installed as well but I cannot remember. It sounds like you are doing ok with it though. I am going to be attempting this for my brother this weekend as the mac mini I gave him continues to act up (I think it is OSX related, fresh install of Kodi didn't help).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
973 Posts
The way I have seen most do it is simply to install openelec onto a thumb drive boot onto the thumb drive to make sure you are going to like it.



@virtualrain edit: NVM, I didn't see your post on the second page here.



I think I read that macs do not do so hot running without OSX installed as well but I cannot remember. It sounds like you are doing ok with it though. I am going to be attempting this for my brother this weekend as the mac mini I gave him continues to act up (I think it is OSX related, fresh install of Kodi didn't help).

I run OE only off the Mini HD. No OS X or dual booting. I Setup the OE installer on a bootable USB as per the OE wiki and then boot to the USB to install (hold Option key on keyboard while starting the Mini to select the boot volume), once installed, remove the USB and reboot to the HD. Takes about 5 min ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
631 Posts
I run OE only off the Mini HD. No OS X or dual booting. I Setup the OE installer on a bootable USB as per the OE wiki and then boot to the USB to install (hold Option key on keyboard while starting the Mini to select the boot volume), once installed, remove the USB and reboot to the HD. Takes about 5 min ;)
Cool, thank you!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
i installed 3 systems on one mac mini (OSX and Windows 10 and Openelec on bootable USB3 ) so i used 3 operating system on my Mac mini :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,541 Posts
i installed 3 systems on one mac mini (OSX and Windows 10 and Openelec on bootable USB3 ) so i used 3 operating system on my Mac mini :)
How is openElec? I have never used it but only heard about it. How hard is it to create a bootable USB stick for this? I tried once and gave up because it did not work.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,541 Posts
I just wanted to update everyone on my Mac Mini 2014.

I bought it in mid 2015. The 1TB HDD 8GB RAM 2.6GHz i5 version. It works flawlessly. The HDD was slow though. So, during Black Friday sale, I bought a 1TB Samsung 850EVO SSD for $220 through newegg and followed the instructions in iFixit to replace the HDD. Everything went without hitch. Just make sure you have all the correct tools. It was actually quite easy to do it even though it took a while and you need to make sure you don't lose any screws. My Mac is super fast now. I store all my music and OS/apps in the SSD itself while eyeTV recordings and movie rips go into an external HDD (USB3). I use Plex. I have configured Plex to say I don't have a receivers with DTS or Dolby Digital capability. So, Plex converts everything to PCM5.1 or 7.1 through HDMI to my receiver. I rip my Blurays with FLAC preset using MakeMKV. It converts the lossless audio codecs into FLAC so that Plex can play them without any loss in quality. Have been very happy. I also use Audirvana for all my music and I use their A+ iPhone app to control it without having to turn on my projector. Love my setup.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
606 Posts
Just to follow up on my path to finding a solution on a Mac Mini that can bitstream HD Audio...

I've installed OpenELEC and Kodi on a 2014 Mac Mini which has proven very easy and rewarding. I don't miss OS X as it's an exclusive media player box and I only ever interact with it via the remote. It plays everything I've thrown at it, including bitstreaming Atmos soundtracks. Of course I don't have any 4K content, but all my high bit-rate 1080p stuff plays perfectly.
I'm assuming that this is the same virtualrain from the Macrumours forum ? You helped me out quite a bit in choosing a 4K display for my 2013 NMP. At any rate …

Ive been running a 2012 quad-core Mini HT for the last several years. I have all of my BLuRays ripped via MakeMKV to a large Thunderbolt "Raid". I use PlexHT which I used to like, but strongly dislike now since I think updates have made the UI more difficult to use.

I am seriously thinking of either installing a windows partition or OpenELEC. I have some questions about OpenELEC:

1) Is the install pretty painless ? Did you have to edit config files and debug the install at all ?
2) Do you think the TB port will be supported right off the bat ?
3) I will always be able to reboot back to OSX from a drive that has a clone of my current system, correct ?
4) Since your interest is audio, you may not be able to answer this, but I'm guessing I will still be plagued by the regular glitching caused by the poor 24p hardware support ?

Thanks if you can help !
 
21 - 39 of 39 Posts
Top