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The mini mac

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by jon stallard, Jun 6, 2005.

  1. jon stallard

    jon stallard
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    It's not a new thread I know but having searched through this forum, a lot of threads end a few months ago which means either:

    A/ Anyone that's used a mini mac for HTPC is dead happy with it.

    or

    B/ They've taken advantage of it's miniscule size and toe poked it out of the nearest window!

    Well, despite my love hate relationship with MCE2005, I'm convinced that the only way to go in the living room (and bedroom) for a truly fullfilling AV experience is via a computer.

    So being very fortunate enough to be able to afford to do this, I've ordered myself a mini mac to try out what this minimal and mostly silent computer can do. I've had size issues with my HTPC, it's huge but worst of all is the depth. It wont fit any of the 3 AV units I've got for instance. So even with a rats nest of USB boxes and cables, I'm at least looking forward to it fitting one of my units.

    So can I ask for any comments from those that have had theirs up and running for a while please (mini mac that is)?

    Aside from any software issues, I note the almost total lack of mac enabled Digital TV tuner apart from one (forgot the name) which is best part of £250 and in order to get a digital audio out (SPDIF) I've yet to come across a USB sound device to use (although I'm not sure where to look on the web - and what a shame that I have a creative USB soundblaster device with SPDIF in and out that cannot apparently be used with a mac).

    I suspect these issues will be solved at some time but any help at the moment would be gratefully received.

    My brother has only used macs for the past few years and is convinced I'll be saying how I wished I bought one years ago. Then again, he's a 40 year old hippy :)

    Cheers,
    Jon.
     
  2. markxtc123

    markxtc123
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  3. Pbryanw

    Pbryanw
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    Bought myself a mac mini a couple of weeks ago (linked to my monitor via KVM switch) to play about with.

    First impressions are that the OS does not feel as fast as XP but my XP machine is 3GHz whereas the mini is 1.42GHz.

    Using it to play movies reveals the biggest drawback - while movie playback is adequate it doesn't compare to my XP machine running TheatreTek with FFDSHOW. Without FFDSHOW the quality's similar to TheatreTek but the Apple software's not as flexible. And there's no way to use FFDSHOW on the mac.

    If you want tv you can try:http://www.cancomuk.com/products/searchresults.lasso?code=56735&show_detail=Elgato%20EyeTV%20Wonder%20Analog%20TV%20Tuner%20Mac%20USB2&fromlist=yes for £111 - it's only analog though.

    For SPDIF try M-Audio Sonica Theatre at £99:
    http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_gb/SonicaTheater-main.html

    Overall though I'm happy with my Mini - it's very, very quiet, boots quicker then XP, very stable and it does the simple things well. I haven't got used to the fact it doesn't allow you to maximise windows to fill the screen. The closest I can get is by hiding the dock. This quibble apart I like it - but comparing macs to pcs is like comparing apples to oranges innit. :)
     
  4. jon stallard

    jon stallard
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    Interesting replies. It was explained to me that you cannot compare processor speed between an XP machine and a mac. Apparently the mac processors do things differently (well they would, wouldn't they). I've absolutely no idea if this is true of course cos my mac mini hasn't turned up yet.

    To be honest, theatretec and all the other programs are one of the reasons I'm fed up with media PC's, if it won't work straight away, then what's the point unless you enjoy pain, total devastation and a machine taking the **** out of you all the time :) And as for MCE2005, not only will XP not allow me to watch a DVD using component to my TV - copyright don't you know - (it's a brighter picture than VGA despite painfully slogging through the pc's and tv's settings) but it then disables my DVD player! what? Bill Gates, are you having a laugh or what. My 3 year old Tosh DVD player has component out, plays back superbly and is totally unafected by a team of septics all protecting each others arse (the film industry and how it's shooting it's foot off with these new copyright protections - why not make the bloody DVD's cheaper?)

    Ahem ..... right, just got that off my chest :)

    Thanks to Valhoudini and MarkXTC123 for the links, I'll keep an eye open for anything new myself as well as grill my macman brother. What strikes me (and I might be wrong in this assumption) is that if Apple Macintosh had spent as much time and money on Media PC development as microsoft, we may well have an entirely different set of gripes by now. For instance, not trying to get a widescreen CRT to work (just don't bother, buy a modern TV set :)) but rather what colour should we paint the cute little box with an embossed apple on it to match the living room decor.

    It'll never happen of course but it would be a damn sight less painful.

    cheers,
    Jon.
     
  5. Pbryanw

    Pbryanw
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  6. cwick

    cwick
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    For USB sound, try the M-Audio Sonica or the Transit. Pretty cheap and they do the job if all you're after is digital out.

    For Digital TV I'm using an Elgato EyeTV 410. A bit pricey, but it works well and the integration with www.tvtv.co.uk is excellent when you've forgotten to set a recording (assuming you're near an internet).

    Worth a look if you've got a bluetooth phone or PDA is Salling Clicker - cheaper than a Pronto Pro if nothing else :)
     

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