Latest Addition - A1176 2GHz Mac Mini HTPC

G’day AppleTalkers,

My latest acquisition… after some time of seeking to upgrade “Marge”, my PPC Mac Mini HTPC… is this rather worn looking ex-French 2007 2GHz Core2Duo Mac Mini + accessories for $66 off eBay. Yay.

Hoping at least to be able to move on from “SD” video files and up to 720p or so… :slight_smile: (My TV isn’t full HD, so it’ll do for a while…)

Currently on Marge I use Frontrow, though may revisit the search for all-in-1 front-ends again… I’m going to rip my DVDs (probably keeping them in their Video_TS folders), so that may play a part in my decision making.

Haven’t even had a chance to plug it in yet (7 year olds + Skylanders = compromise + good daddy), but planning to run 10.6.8.

The Mini came with a DVI to VGA adapter/cable… Would I be right in thinking that my existing DVI to HDMI adapter/cable would give better results on a TV screen?? Is it even worth comparing results?

With this, I’ve finally moved on from PPC…! (Well, once I sell the 2 PPC Minis and G5 tower…)

Thanks,

cosmic

Nice upgrade, cosmic. Out of interest, how do you know it’s ex-French? What exactly determines the nationality of a computer, anyway? Certainly can’t be manufacturing origin…

What’s with the funky power adaptor?
Assuming the power brick itself is 110-240V and there is no power conversion going on, you can get a figure 8 cable for only a few bucks:

Otherwise welcome to the otherside (of PPC AND mac forums ;)).

Personally I use Kodi (formally XBMC) as my front end. A brilliant and easy to use media player (and if your stuff is named well it will auto scape all the meta data too).

When it comes to conversion video_ts is nice and exact, but a high quality MKV from handbrake can carry multiple audio/subtitle tracks in a smaller package… although you do loose all the DVD extras if you care about these things (I don’t).

g’day bennyling

The previous owner told me when I picked it up. :slight_smile: And the keyboard is French… apparently… Azerty… with a silly old fashioned return key… And the brick-to-wall cable is… well… Euro - hence the big -

g’day The_Hawk,

As the Mini is French, it’s got French prongs, so the guy sold it with the converter he was using. I could have just dug out the one I used to use with my TAM… Still have it somewhere - though in later times as you’ve suggested, I just replaced the wall-to-computer cable with an Aussie style one…

Not sure the figure 8 cable would fit??? Be a bit tight I imagine…

Ohhhh Kodi is XBMC… Gotcha. Might give it a go… was the most “close” option I’ve seen in days gone by. Presume it can only be better now.

I do want the DVD extras… I already have err, some of the DVDs on my cloud as AVI files, though they aren’t all up to the grade… hence deciding to rip the DVDs to get the best footage I can…

I guess now I’ve finally moved on from PPC, Apple’s gotta announce a change to a new chip maker… :wink: Either way, here’s hoping at least the forum side of things will be a good transition…

cheers,

cosmic


Happy. Pig. Shit.

Just watched the BBC’s webcast “Night of the Doctor” in High Def for the first time… (albeit on a non-HD tv, but still…) It can certainly handle 720p without an issue, and Night of at 1080p ran pretty smoothly too - all from a “worse” location in terms of wifi.

The machine doesn’t chime on startup, so at some point I’ll open it up and re-seat the RAM seems I know the previous owner did the upgrade himself… Also gives me a chance to blow some compressed air through it.

For me the front end is Plex. Love it :slight_smile:

Only if your time holds no value.

Ahhh, you need an IEC C5/C6 adaptor like this one:

Dell laptops tend to use them too if you happen to see one about.

$7 at Jaycar

http://www.jaycar.com.au/Power-Products-Electrical/Distribution-%26-Interconnect/Moulded-Leads/3pin-Mains-Plug-to-IEC-C5-(clover-leaf)---1-8m/p/PS4120

What do you like about Plex in particular?

[quote=“cosmichobo, post:1, topic:980”]
The Mini came with a DVI to VGA adapter/cable… Would I be right in thinking that my existing DVI to HDMI adapter/cable would give better results on a TV screen?? [/quote]

[quote=“iain, post:6, topic:980, full:true”]
Correct, if the TV is capable of using HDMI, use it.[/quote]

[quote=“cosmichobo, post:1, topic:980”]
Is it even worth comparing results?[/quote]

[quote=“iain, post:6, topic:980, full:true”]
Only if your time holds no value. [/quote]

Thanks for putting this in exactly the terms I needed to hear it! :slight_smile:

With regards the power cable… Thanks - will have to buy one sooner or later (to help resale of the PPC Mini/s). I’m currently using the one that was with the PPC Mini, which itself is a non-Apple cable too.

Plex is easy to set up. I have tried to use Kodi/XBMC on many occasions but I just don’t seem to get it. It takes more fiddling for those of us who are not tech nerds, and in the end, the result isnt any better. Seems to me Kodi is more about style and plugins. I just want something that works off the bat. I used Plex on my jailbroken ATV2 for ages, then PlexConnect on the 3, and on the mini, its PLex Home Theatre. You still need to be running the server, thats no big deal. During setup, you simply point the server at the location of your media and its a done deal. There are some plugins, I usually only install those relating to metadata fetching.

If I had to summarise: Simple, and easy.

Thanks kyte :smile:

As a teen, I’d prob be all over complex and pretty… (Just gotta look at the Doctor Who HyperCard database I made), but simple is good these days.

I second this. The ability to watch whatever you want where-ever you want is just amazing.
In my house (there’s 5 people) we have 5 TVs (2 using Apple TV, 2 using Mac mini’s), 5 iPads, 5 iPhones and 5 laptops. Everyone can watch something, pause it and move to the next device and resume - and my favourite, our iPhones and iPads act as remotes. No more “where’d you leave the remote” or couch diving.

In the setup/get-up-and-running side of things, it’s all pretty basic. The 3 Mac minis run 10.10 (10.8 for the eldest circa 2007) and Plex Home Theatre for the front end. One of the minis has 2x 750gb WD hard-drives and a LaCie Rugged off to the side. The rugged holds media (which is backed up to another drive of the same type) while the internal holds music/iPhone backups (which are configured for over-the-air sync when phones are on charge - saved my butt before!).
The Apple TVs receive media from Plex by AirPlay on an iPad or iPhone. I’ve considered running the DNS hacks, but I haven’t had time to play around and get it running - not sure I’m going to bother with it considering there’s talks of a native app.

Mmm, ok, finally a meaningful update.

Optical

The DVD drive seems to be b-a-d… Lots of whirring/clunking, doesn’t mount, ejected the disk to find scratches on it (thanks leon! wasn’t an important disk).

I gather running a cleaning disk through it is pointless?

Will the optical from a G4 Mini fit this 2,1 Intel model?

Video Playback

So, my earlier tests have proved unfounded… I’ve since tried some other 720p and full HD content, and there’s frames dropping/full on stalling… particarly mkv files. In fact, I’ve never had luck with mkv on any Mac… is that a common issue?

At this point… although pleased that I can use this new box for web based video (ie iView and other freeview playback services, YouTube, etc), I really wanted at least 720p… so I’m thinking I’ll polish it up, and sell it off with Marge and Homer… try make close to $300 to get myself a last-optical-drive Mini…

My 2010 2.4GHz Mac Mini plays content just fine, although it’s used on the kids TV these days so I haven’t looked closely at it in a while. How are you testing for performance, dropped frames and all that??

Admittedly your machine is only sporting an Intel GMA 950 vs the much more powerful Nvidia GeForce 320M with dedicated memory. From what I read that GPU should cope with 720p but it’s borderline.

If I didn’t have the Mini and it was just for media playback sort of duties I’d be looking at a low end Intel NUC or one of those PC on a stick things. Sure it’s Windows, but when you’re booting into a front end anyway… well, who cares :wink: I haven’t looked into them in any detail, but at around $200 they do look sort of tempting.

In terms of dropped frames - I just gauge this by eye. Sometimes it’s obvious - even the wife n kids notice… Sometimes it’s not so obvious but would still drive me crazy. (I’m half way there anyway)

Before I make any rash decisions I’ll rule out it being a WiFi issue by trying to hook up one of my PoE boxes…

The Mini mostly just does playback of avi’s etc… But also now things like ABC iView etc… and also as a video file acquisition box…

Don’t over complicate it, grab a USB memory stick or USB HDD and see if that solves the problem. Quick and easy!