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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am looking to build a media server which will be hooked to my network.

Sound quality and silent operation are really important. I will be using external DACs, so I'd like to have clean digital output for sound. I am less fussy about picture quality, so DVI/HDMI output all I need.


I would like to be able to access my library as well as the internet. The remote control can be a small wireless keyboard.


Although I regularly use windows, it was recommended to me that I should look at a Mac Mini, as it may provide all that I'm looking for at a reasonable cost.


My questions about the mac mini are:

1) Is it fast enough for HD video?

2) How noisy is are its fans?

3) Is the Apple wi-fi keyboard the best option for remote controlling the mac mini?

4) Will I be able to use programs like Boxee to access my collection, or am I limited to iTunes?

5) Do I need to use 1 gigabit ethernet connection or will 10/100MB connection do just as well?


My other alternative is to build a silent PC with good sound and video cards.

1) What are some options I have in terms of a wireless keyboard / controller?

2) What are recommended video and sound cards for my needs?


At the moment, I do not stream TV or HDTV signal (I don't watch TV at all). But in the future, I may wish to record some programming. Will the Mac and Windows PCs both give me the flexibility to do that?


Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
 

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As for the answers to your questions, I have 3 mini's in HTPC duty. So I guess I might as well answer your questions.


1) Yes. Including archived Blu-rays

2) Not noisy at all.

3) It depends on what app you use. If you use Plex or FR, then you could use a Harmony remote (which has a Plex setting, but can also work as a regular apple remote) for most functions. If you want the control of a keyboard, I find that the Logitech Dinovo and Dinovo Mini work quite well, as they both have trackpads on the kb (as opposed to the Apple wireless kb)

4) Yes. Boxee works fine (though I prefer Plex)

5) 10/100 will work fine for most any streaming (including hi-def).


There are mac options for HDTV recording. EyeTV is the most frequently used one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks NewOrlnsDukie,it appears that the Mac Mini will be a good option.


Here are a couple more questions about the mini:


Will the optical audio out be as good a source as audio output by an HDMI connection? Sorry for being picky, but sound quality is really important to me. I want to make sure that the source signal is not compromised in any way by my choice of the server.


Do I need a new 2009 Mac Mini for my purposes, or will older models do just as well? Recall that the only purpose of this computer is to access my library. Is the processor speed important here? It seems to me that the ethernet speed would be the only bottleneck.


Pardon my ignorance, but I'm not sure where the HTPC forum that you mention resides.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by moosik /forum/post/17045238


Thanks NewOrlnsDukie,it appears that the Mac Mini will be a good option.


Here are a couple more questions about the mini:


Will the optical audio out be as good a source as audio output by an HDMI connection? Sorry for being picky, but sound quality is really important to me. I want to make sure that the source signal is not compromised in any way by my choice of the server.


Well, it won't be able to pass or decode the hi-def audio codecs of Dolby TrueHD or DTS-MA that you see w/ Blu-ray, as it doesn't have an HDMI output. But it is able to pass DTS and DD tracks in bitstream format (ie, bypassing the mini's DAC entirely)


Do I need a new 2009 Mac Mini for my purposes, or will older models do just as well? Recall that the only purpose of this computer is to access my library. Is the processor speed important here? It seems to me that the ethernet speed would be the only bottleneck.

You want a 2009 Mini. The old GMA9500 GPU for the Mini was pitiful. With the new 9400M, you will get vast improvement.


Pardon my ignorance, but I'm not sure where the HTPC forum that you mention resides.
Here ya go.
 
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