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#276583 - 01/03/2006 02:58 new Intel-based Mac Mini
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3655
Fully loaded, with 2GB of RAM and a 120GB disk, a universal DVD burner, and nice touches like gigabit Ethernet and S/PDIF audio out, it's still only $1300 or so. Is this the ultimate home theater PC?

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#276584 - 01/03/2006 03:06 Re: new Intel-based Mac Mini [Re: DWallach]
hybrid8
carpal tunnel

Registered: 12/11/2001
Posts: 7738
Loc: Toronto, CANADA
Definitely NOT the ultimate home theater PC. If you mean utimately small, perhaps. Which is neither good nor bad I suppose. It really depends on how you want to fit the system into your home theater and how you plan to arrange your storage. 120GB is not nearly enough for anything beyond a marginal interest in home theater/video. $1300? Everything except the extra 1.5GB of memory and larger disk comes standard in the new Mini at $799. It's a $500 premium for those two things? Wow.

Since the machine goes so well with the software I'm developing, I'll probably pick one up sooner or later - though I still wish they were a little cheaper. The lower end system is about the same price as the previous model once you factor in the new extras (WiFi & BT standard).

Too bad the onboard graphics suck soo bad. I mean, the ATI 9200 in the old model was nothing to cheer about, but this is not much of an upgrade (slower in a number of tests according to Apple in fact). With an X1600 in there the system would be a lot sweeter. Though even with the slower subsystem, it should be plenty of pixel power for video and audio playback, especially when much of the previous bottleneck was CPU-based video decoding power.

Get your HDs and memory from third party vendors if you don't mind cracking the case open yourself.

Bruno
_________________________
Bruno
Twisted Melon : Fine Mac OS Software

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#276585 - 01/03/2006 04:04 Re: new Intel-based Mac Mini [Re: DWallach]
matthew_k
pooh-bah

Registered: 12/02/2002
Posts: 2287
Loc: Berkeley, California
I'm tempted, but without a good DVR solution it just isn't enough for the price. I havn't looked into third party osx DVR solutions, but one integrated into front row would certainly be nice. Of course, they'd probably need to add some buttons to the remote, and steve's so proud of his five button remote that probably isn't going to happen.

That said, they're great little desktop machines. With the upgrade they're certainly a lot more price competitive with a dell box.

Matthew

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#276586 - 01/03/2006 04:15 Re: new Intel-based Mac Mini [Re: hybrid8]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
Well, Apple has not yet seen the Intel chips be cheaper than the PowerPC chips, which is unfortunate. But I imagine that the system runs cooler. Not that that's such a big deal for the Mini, as opposed to the laptops, where it is. I imagine that the move to the Intel chips on the Minis is just a result of being a closely related architecture to the laptops. The additional memory is probably just to hide the additional cost.

That said, I can't imagine anyone having a homebrew home theater PC actually keeping the data on the direct-attached storage on that PC. At the very least, it's difficult to upgrade and back up. You can also easily reach a maximum amount of storage, whereas remote filesystems can be expanded indefinitely. Also, more direct-attached storage means more heat. So I don't see smallish hard drives being a concern. Although, it probably is the largest laptop hard drive available.
_________________________
Bitt Faulk

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#276587 - 01/03/2006 04:19 Re: new Intel-based Mac Mini [Re: DWallach]
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7858
Loc: Seattle, WA
One thing the Mac Mini does really well is that it is a very quiet and small system for driving a TV. I have the PowerPC one attached to my DLP TV, and unless it is spinning a disc full speed when initially inserted, it is otherwise not noticeable. It's one big reason I gave up on the XBMC and also XBox 360 media solutions.

I do admit though, I haven't replaced my ReplayTV with it though. Automatic commercial skip is still a big feature for me, and the ReplayTV still does that well. The Mini is used for MP3s, DVDs, playback of internet videos, and lastly video podcasts.

The new unit interests me because it can have a Core Duo chip in it, meaning it should be able to do higher then 480p H.264 unlike the PowerPC Mini. It also has the 5.1 output built in, has gigabit ethernet, and Front Row without hacks. They are shipping a new version of Front Row on it that supports the iTunes sharing of music and videos, so storage locally is no longer a huge issue. I already run mt-daapd on my music server, and it should hopefully be a small change to have it also do video. Though currently Front Row works fine following a symlink in the Movies folder to a network share.

The graphics chip is kinda disappointing, but it seems to be an upgrade above the 9200 slightly. For the cost and size of the system, I guess it is a good choice. Memory upgrades now will be cheeper, since it's using 2 memory slots instead of just one.
_________________________
Tom

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#276588 - 01/03/2006 07:24 Re: new Intel-based Mac Mini [Re: drakino]
Cris
pooh-bah

Registered: 06/02/2002
Posts: 1896
Loc: Leeds, UK
I have to say I am very tempted, in fact the Credit Card did come out at one point

My current PowerPC mini is a little under powered now I think, iPhoto is quite slow and editing in Final Cut Express HD is also not very good. I put this down to the slow 4200rpm HD, so I was think if upgrading that and putting the old 80Gb into the empeg.

It's all the comments about the intel gfx card that are putting me off. I have never really had an issue with their cards in the past, I never play games so as long as the desktop works well I'm fine. But I get the feeling Apple may change this in the future revisions of the mini, I wouldn't want to be stuck with intel gfx when everyone else has moved on. I find the 9200 one of the biggest bottle necks in the system I have, it doesn't do a very good job of running my Dell 2005fpw (no ripples etc...)

On the memory front, isn't it using laptop memory modules? If so I think we are already looking at the hardware for the new MacBook's so maybe Apple know what they are doing ???

I guess I will have to buy one and see, has anyone ordered one yet?

Cheers

Cris.

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#276589 - 01/03/2006 09:50 Re: new Intel-based Mac Mini [Re: drakino]
peter
carpal tunnel

Registered: 13/07/2000
Posts: 4141
Loc: Cambridge, England
Quote:
They are shipping a new version of Front Row on it that supports the iTunes sharing of music and videos, so storage locally is no longer a huge issue. I already run mt-daapd on my music server, and it should hopefully be a small change to have it also do video.

Yeah, I'm very much thinking of getting one for just that. What would be great (partly because of its size and lack of PCI, partly because of where the aerial is in my particular house) would be if, in conjunction with some kind of hack to mt-daapd, it could play DVB-T TV stations off a DVB-T card in a PC upstairs.

Or actually if it could just run a MythTV frontend using the Apple remote control. That would be good enough, whether on MacOS or Linux. Can you drive MythTV with just a 5-button remote, or do you need a wireless keyboard?

Peter

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#276590 - 01/03/2006 10:04 Re: new Intel-based Mac Mini [Re: hybrid8]
blitz
addict

Registered: 20/11/2001
Posts: 455
Loc: Texas
Quote:
It's a $500 premium for those two things? Wow.


All of a sudden I don't feel so bad about my original mac-mini. When I saw the press releases, I was kind of sick. I don't know why since I only use it casually (except for Photoshop).

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#276591 - 01/03/2006 12:02 Re: new Intel-based Mac Mini [Re: blitz]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11875
Loc: Sterling, VA
Quote:
When I saw the press releases, I was kind of sick

I was mostly sick about the "iPod Hifi." I'd love to see someone here defend that thing.
_________________________
Matt

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#276592 - 01/03/2006 12:09 Re: new Intel-based Mac Mini [Re: Dignan]
rob
carpal tunnel

Registered: 21/05/1999
Posts: 5315
Loc: Cambridge UK
Quote:
I was mostly sick about the "iPod Hifi." I'd love to see someone here defend that thing.

Well.. umm.. at least ours is a lot more macho



Rob


Attachments
276997-ion_ipa03.jpg (40 downloads)


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#276593 - 01/03/2006 12:12 Re: new Intel-based Mac Mini [Re: hybrid8]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13528
Loc: Canada
Quote:
With an X1600 in there the system would be a lot sweeter.


And then it could double as a desktop coffee warmer, too, but the required turbofans would spoil the atomosphere somewhat.

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#276594 - 01/03/2006 12:17 Re: new Intel-based Mac Mini [Re: Dignan]
tman
carpal tunnel

Registered: 24/12/2001
Posts: 5528
Quote:
Quote:
When I saw the press releases, I was kind of sick

I was mostly sick about the "iPod Hifi." I'd love to see someone here defend that thing.

What about the iPod leather case? It is interesting how they show it with a Nano being inserted the correct way up...

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#276595 - 01/03/2006 15:59 Re: new Intel-based Mac Mini [Re: DWallach]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30639
Loc: Seattle, WA
The Mac Mini that I bought in August was only 700.00 if I recall correctly. What does the more-expensive Intel version do that the current one can't?

Here's a specific question: Can it play the HD Gallery videos from the apple site here without frameskipping?
_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#276596 - 01/03/2006 16:10 Re: new Intel-based Mac Mini [Re: tfabris]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3655
The new Mac Mini appeals to me for several reasons:

- radically faster CPU (although it's a good question whether it can play 1080i/60 or 1080p/24 video -- that would be a deal-breaker for me if it couldn't)

- gigabit Ethernet (to talk to my RAID box, replacing my current Apple G4 Tower)

- built-in WiFi (if I wanted to drop one into my home theater)

The pricing is definitely twisted. Has anybody priced out what it would take to do your own memory upgrade vs. Apple's memory prices? Certainly, the HD upgrade prices are silly.

Meanwhile, it's entertaining to read about Fink on Intel Mac's. Sounds like you have to build it yourself, but that it appears to work.

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#276597 - 01/03/2006 16:50 Re: new Intel-based Mac Mini [Re: DWallach]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30639
Loc: Seattle, WA
Just to be pedantic, the $700.00 Mac Mini that I got had the built in G-wifi. Dunno what its wired ethernet speed is.
_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#276598 - 01/03/2006 18:31 Re: new Intel-based Mac Mini [Re: tfabris]
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7858
Loc: Seattle, WA
Quote:
Here's a specific question: Can it play the HD Gallery videos from the apple site here without frameskipping?


Yes. Common consensus seems to be the Solo version will do 720p, and the Duo will do 1080p without skipping.

I'm curious to see pictures of the insides. The Intel iMacs have a socketed CPU, where as the MacBook solders it directly on the board. If the Mini also uses a socket, it would mean it is upgradable to even faster chips, including possibly the Meron 64bit chips coming later this year.

Regarding the ethernet connection, the PowerPC mini had 10/100 ethernet. I am considering going to gigabit when I move, so this is nice to see.

The non hacked Front Row is a big deal for me too. I just have to resist the temptation of buying one now.
_________________________
Tom

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#276599 - 01/03/2006 19:12 Re: new Intel-based Mac Mini [Re: drakino]
Neutrino
addict

Registered: 23/01/2002
Posts: 506
Loc: The Great Pacific NorthWest
The Mini Mac would look really good in an application I have. I have never used a Mac and know almost nothing about them.
Here is my question:

I am thinking of using a Sanyo Z4 and a 60" screen in the bedroom. I test drove a friends Z4 in my viewing room and it performed very well on a 126" 16:9 screen. I currently have a 1.2 TB file computer that is just a PC running XP Pro with a 3ware raid card. Can I use the movies that are stored on the file computer via a Mini Mac? Would I have to modify the XP box to do it? Would I use Samba? Is it easy? If it will work it would be a cool solution. The Mini Mac would look good and it would give me a chance to play with a Mac!
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No matter where you might be, there you are.

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#276600 - 01/03/2006 19:34 Re: new Intel-based Mac Mini [Re: Neutrino]
tman
carpal tunnel

Registered: 24/12/2001
Posts: 5528
Quote:
Can I use the movies that are stored on the file computer via a Mini Mac?

Yes. You can mount the XP movie share on the Mac and then use the DVD player app on the Mac to play a set of VOB files in a dir.

Quote:
Would I have to modify the XP box to do it?

No. Just plain Windows file sharing will do since it doesn't need to know what the files actually are.

Quote:
Would I use Samba?

The Mac might use Samba behind the scenes but you don't need to fiddle with it.

Quote:
Is it easy?

Yes. I do this with a Samba NAS and my Mac mini. It is a bit clunky since you have to mount the share and then select the directory in DVD player. You might be able to find some nice front end that does this for you however.

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#276601 - 01/03/2006 19:41 Re: new Intel-based Mac Mini [Re: tman]
Neutrino
addict

Registered: 23/01/2002
Posts: 506
Loc: The Great Pacific NorthWest
Thanks Trevor! A frontend would be nice. I currently use Xlobby on the HTPC.
_________________________
No matter where you might be, there you are.

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#276602 - 01/03/2006 19:44 Re: new Intel-based Mac Mini [Re: tman]
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7858
Loc: Seattle, WA
Quote:
It is a bit clunky since you have to mount the share

To have it mount automaticially at log in, mount it normally, storing the login in the keychain. Then open System Preferences - Accounts - Login Items, and drag the share from the desktop to that window. Took me a bit to figure that one out, I used to use an apple script as a login item to do it.

Not sure of an easy way to do the VOB playback. I don't have enough storage to do VOB rips, so the few movies I have are H.264 transcoded.
_________________________
Tom

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#276603 - 01/03/2006 21:56 Re: new Intel-based Mac Mini [Re: drakino]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30639
Loc: Seattle, WA
Quote:
Not sure of an easy way to do the VOB playback.

Something in the back of my mind is tickling me, telling me that the built-in Mac DVD player software will simply play the VOBs off the hard disk just fine.

I don't know for sure why I'm thinking that, but I could swear I tried it at one point and it worked. Maybe I'm remembering it wrong, and I tried it and it *didn't* work....
_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#276604 - 01/03/2006 22:20 Re: new Intel-based Mac Mini [Re: tfabris]
Neutrino
addict

Registered: 23/01/2002
Posts: 506
Loc: The Great Pacific NorthWest
It seems to me that if the Mac can play DVD's through it's DVD playing programming it should be able to play VOB's, IFO's from a folder. I can't think of any of the commercially available PC based DVD playback programs that don't. WinDVD, PowerDVD, and TheaterTek all do. Of course, I'm an idiot when it comes to Mac's but it just seems like it should be "so".
_________________________
No matter where you might be, there you are.

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#276605 - 01/03/2006 23:52 Re: new Intel-based Mac Mini [Re: Neutrino]
tman
carpal tunnel

Registered: 24/12/2001
Posts: 5528
It can. I said I was doing so in an earlier post. You have to put the VOB files into a VIDEO_TS subdir tho. It used to be that it didn't care but an upgrade of the DVD app forced that change.

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#276606 - 02/03/2006 00:52 Re: new Intel-based Mac Mini [Re: tman]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3655
The zillion dollar question: can DVDs be ripped, compressed, cataloged, and managed by iTunes in the same fashion as videos purchased from the Apple online store? If they made it properly painless, then it would be a significant improvement. Of course, Hollywood would fight that tooth and nail...

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#276607 - 02/03/2006 00:52 Re: new Intel-based Mac Mini [Re: DWallach]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Well dammit. I wish I would have waited a week before buying my Mini.

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#276608 - 02/03/2006 01:15 Re: new Intel-based Mac Mini [Re: DWallach]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30639
Loc: Seattle, WA
Quote:
The zillion dollar question: can DVDs be ripped, compressed, cataloged, and managed by iTunes

I remember being in an Apple Store looking at the video ipod and hearing the salesman answer that very question from another customer. The salesman said "no."
_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#276609 - 02/03/2006 03:13 Re: new Intel-based Mac Mini [Re: ]
matthew_k
pooh-bah

Registered: 12/02/2002
Posts: 2287
Loc: Berkeley, California
If you've still got time, return it. Unless it was BTO in which case you're out of luck.

Matthew

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#276610 - 02/03/2006 03:27 Re: new Intel-based Mac Mini [Re: tfabris]
hybrid8
carpal tunnel

Registered: 12/11/2001
Posts: 7738
Loc: Toronto, CANADA
You'll have to use other tools to do that. Like Mac The Ripper.
_________________________
Bruno
Twisted Melon : Fine Mac OS Software

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#276611 - 02/03/2006 03:35 Re: new Intel-based Mac Mini [Re: hybrid8]
matthew_k
pooh-bah

Registered: 12/02/2002
Posts: 2287
Loc: Berkeley, California
But even then iTunes can't manage the VOBs. Front row would be a whole lot more valuble if it could access all your DVDs with the menus. Of course, that's not legal. So, it'll have to be some under the table solution which could plug into front row. Except there isn't any sort of front row api AFAIK.

Matthew

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#276612 - 02/03/2006 03:49 Re: new Intel-based Mac Mini [Re: matthew_k]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3655
Even without a FrontRow API, how does it find your iTunes Videos? Rather than DVDs, what if you've got assorted QuickTime files? Can it inhale those on its menus? That would be a fine start.

Cute / insidious hack idea: even if FrontRow doesn't have its own API, it almost certainly calls out to QuickTime to handle all its various media types, and QuickTime *does* have its own API. Thus, you've got a route to inject your own favorite content types into FrontRow.

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