New mac-mini now good enough for HD?

loafer27

Active Member
ok from a little bit of research it seems the new mac minis come with an integrated intel GMA 950 as well as a 1.66 core duo processor

the specs of the 950 gfx chipset look promising

any thoughts?


Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 950 Graphics Core 256-bit graphics core running at 400MHz

Up to 10.6 GB/sec memory bandwidth with DDR2 667 system memory

1.6 GPixels/sec and 1.6 GTexels/sec fill rate

Up to 224 MB maximum video memory

2048x1536 at 75 Hz maximum resolution

Dynamic Display Modes for flat-panel, wide-screen and Digital TV support

Operating systems supported: Microsoft Windows* XP, Windows* XP 64bit, Media Center Edition 2004/2005, Windows 2000; Linux-compatible (Xfree86 source available)


High Performance 3D Up to 4 pixels per clock rendering

Microsoft* DirectX* 9 Hardware Acceleration Features:
Pixel Shader 2.0

Volumetric Textures

Shadow Maps

Slope Scale Depth Bias

Two-Sided Stencil


Microsoft* DirectX* 9 Vertex Shader 3.0 and Transform and Lighting supported in software through highly optimized Processor Specific Geometry Pipeline (PSGP)

Texture Decompression for DirectX* and OpenGL*

OpenGL* 1.4 support plus ARB_vertex_buffer and EXT_shadow_funcs extensions and TexEnv shader caching


Advanced Display Capability Up to 2048x1536 resolution for both analog and digital displays

Consumer Electronic display (Digital TV) support

Display hot plug support to automatically detect new display connection while system is operating (CRT and DVI)

Two Serial Digital Video Out (SDVO) ports for flat-panel monitors and/or TV-out support via Advanced Digital Display 2 (ADD2) cards or Media Expansion Cards

Intel Media Expansion Cards available providing TV-out and PVR capability

Multiple display types (LVDS, DVI-I, DVI-D, HDTV, TV-out, CRT)

Dual screen support through ADD2 digital video devices

HDTV 480i/p, 576i/p, 720i/p and 1080i/p display resolution support

Interlaced Display output support

16x9 and 16x10 Aspect Ratio for widescreen displays

2x2 Panel Scaler


Stunning Video Playback High Definition Hardware Motion Compensation to support high definition hi-bitrate MPEG2 media playback

Up and Down Scaling of Video Content

High Definition Content Decode - up to two stream support

5x3 Overlay Filtering.
 
Did you puul than info form the Intle website?....sthere graphics chipsets are pretty decent, some people underestimate it, that's really all you need for HD, never new there is a core DUO in a Mac Mini, might have to get one....
 

2010

Active Member
Yep, the Intel minimac's look promising, especially if Vista/MCE will run on them!
 

ccparkhill

Active Member
By the time you add in the cost of a couple of USB DVB tuners, a copy of MCE 2005, MCE keyboard and remote is it worth it?
 

HMHB

Distinguished Member
Exactly my thoughts, this seems very much over-priced to me for what you are getting. Have a look on the Apple UK shop and see what you get for your money with the bare minimum spec and then start to add a better hard drive and more RAM, you will soon be over the £700 mark and still have a computer with only a 100GB hard drive and "reasonable" graphics. OK so it looks very nice, but I'm not convinced to be honest.
 

jont

Well-known Member
Hmmm ... I'm disappointed that they haven't openedup Front Row for an EyeTV -type plug in ... would have made the package much more useful than just playing dvd's or ripped files ...

Pleased that they have switched to an optical output at last though ...

Jon
 

Yakboy

Active Member
I'm very interested in this as possible video playback device... my only real concerns are:

-Is the CPU fast enough for HD playback? I don't think most video decoders are multi-threaded are they? so we'll only be running against one core...

And....

-is the DVI out on it and the intel graphics chipset supporting it any good at all for video? I've only ever read about nVidia and ATi chipsets.

Because if the answer is yes to both (well at least a 720p yes to the first) then this is a very quick and easy HTPC to buy and more importantly it will look sooo good you won't need to hide it away in a cupboard.

Other concerns though.... Front Row... how customisable? plug-ons available?
 
JohnG said:
Exactly my thoughts, this seems very much over-priced to me for what you are getting. Have a look on the Apple UK shop and see what you get for your money with the bare minimum spec and then start to add a better hard drive and more RAM, you will soon be over the £700 mark and still have a computer with only a 100GB hard drive and "reasonable" graphics. OK so it looks very nice, but I'm not convinced to be honest.

What you don't understand is your paying for the portability, a Mini ITX PC board of the same spec "Intel 915G Chipset" would cost £200 lone for just the bare motherboard, add to that £200 for the CPU, £100 for the case and PSU, and £80 for the DVD RW, another £30 for the Bluetooth and Wifi Module, £60 for the hard drive and your going into the £800 mark, I priced up a mini ITX PC Pentium M build a month or so ago and and hit around the £700 mark, so it really is not a bad price, it's just tat the components cost alot of money, that's what you don't realize..oh and as for the USB tuners, if you had any common sence you would ditch the internal bluetooth and wifi antenna, as I assume it's miniPCI add just add a mini PCI Analogue or DVB-T tuner instead, yes they do make them in that form factor, is it only me who thinks along those lines?...:)
 

HMHB

Distinguished Member
I do know how much components cost and I also still think this is overpriced for the performance you are getting.
 

Yakboy

Active Member
a fair point meansizzler. I did the same thing of pricing up a Pentium M build and found it to be ridiculously expensive (mainly the CPU cost in my case).

I think the mac mini is fairly priced and if it can do the video trickery we all require then it could be an ideal solution.
 

rob_finch

Active Member
Have already placed my order for the Core Duo model! :D

No reason to install MCE or anything else on it, comes fully loaded with OSX and iLife which will perform most/all of your multimedia needs, and Front Row which has a lovely iPod-style remote to control your playback. Not sure how customisable FR is, but sure it will play back most of your content with a little 'help'.

I don't see any issue with it playing back HD content, the GMA950 chipset (able to borrow up to 224Mb system RAM) combined with a dual core chip and SATA hard drive should be enough. Guess I'll find out in 13 days!!
 

parky43007

Active Member
I would be interested to know how you get on with HD!
 
rob_finch said:
Have already placed my order for the Core Duo model! :D

No reason to install MCE or anything else on it, comes fully loaded with OSX and iLife which will perform most/all of your multimedia needs, and Front Row which has a lovely iPod-style remote to control your playback. Not sure how customisable FR is, but sure it will play back most of your content with a little 'help'.

I don't see any issue with it playing back HD content, the GMA950 chipset (able to borrow up to 224Mb system RAM) combined with a dual core chip and SATA hard drive should be enough. Guess I'll find out in 13 days!!

but it said it was available for next day shipping?, also it's 80MB of onboard ram not 224MB which is for the PC, while 80 is for the mac...
 

jont

Well-known Member
parky43007 said:
I would be interested to know how you get on with HD!

My G4 1.42 plays back 720p HD QT clips fine at the moment ... guess the DualCore will be more than adequate ...

J
 

parky43007

Active Member

rob_finch

Active Member
meansizzler said:
but it said it was available for next day shipping?, also it's 80MB of onboard ram not 224MB which is for the PC, while 80 is for the mac...

yeah e.t.a. on their website for my order is March 14th, had hoped it would be here in 2-3 days, guess there was a bit of a rush for them! I think 224MB is the max it can use from the onboard vram and system ram combined.

parky43007 said:
I would be interested to know how you get on with HD!
parky43007 said:
The mac mini doesn't meet the minimum.
Is for H.264 High Definition (HD) Playback though.

I'm fairly confident it will play HD, no issues I read on this forum with the Intel chipset as such. Read the recommendations on your link, but I've also read that someone in the US took one home from the Apple Store there and played two 1080p streams back at the same time with no issues. I'll let you guys know for sure when I've got it, but I'm not worried.
 

cwick

Active Member
I'd suggest that those Apple numbers are bogus - that they quote the same minimum clock speed for both PPC and Intel suggests it's simply a typo, or they're covering their arses (sorry, managing expectations).

And since my 1.5Ghz G4 powerbook is quite happy with 720p Quicktime HD (ok, maybe 5% frame droppage at most), I'd expect any of the Intel based Macs to cope comfortably with 720p. It certainly does jibe with all the 2-5x faster claims we see from everyone, independant benchmarks and Apple alike.

If it was my dollar, I'd be pretty comfortable paying out on the basis that they'll be just fine. Bet they'll be loud though when the fans kick in :)
 
J

jon stallard

Guest
720i quicktime trailers play fine on my 'old' mac mini and to be honest, the dual core jobbie sounds just the ... er, job. All the issues that prevented me from running my existing mac mini in the living room seem to have been overcome bar one (well it might be but I can't find out).

The mac mini has a very limited (I think) monitor support unless you download a thrid party application which I have and found to have caused more problems than it fixed. So, does anyone know how likely this latest model will be able to drive a 42" hi def plasma screen?

Personally, I'd have preferred a more traditional size case, similar to say a powerbook but without the screen and keyboard (i.e. that envelope size) but you can only please some of the people some of the time eh.

Otherwise, it looks ace.

Jon.
 

wywywywy

Active Member
Does anyone know if the new Mac Mini has one (like the old one) or two memory slots?

Thanks.

EDIT:
Sorry please ignore me >__<
I forgot it is all dual-channel now...
 

HMHB

Distinguished Member
On reflection this morning maybe I'm being a little harsh on the little Mini :D I was looking forward to the release of this machine but was not very happy when I saw the price of it. I'm sure I read somewhere that Dell are releasing a Core Duo laptop at about this price so I was hoping for something cheaper to be honest.
 

Ger

Active Member
Guys, Looking for some pointers here. I have never used a mac, but like what I see in the mac mini to connect to my LCD in the living room for video playback, internet/email, making DVDs from camcorder footage, iChat........ However, the only point that would stop me form buying at the moment is the lack of a TV tuner. If I am paying this much I would like to have a tuner in there too to cover all my needs. I have done some searching and there are mac tuners available, but some are very expensive (eg. EyeTV) while others get dodgy reviews. Anyone have any opinions here?

Obviously price is a consideration, but I also want to be able to record TV at up to full MPEG2 DVD quality.
 

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