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Which mac mini would be best for high bitrate 1080p playback?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi,

I have been searching the internet for days now and i can not find a clear answer to my question. This is it:

I want to play high bitrate 1080p video (think untouched bluray quality) and i'm trying to decide weather to get a dual core i7 2.7ghz mac mini with a discreet videocard, or a 2.0ghz quad core i7 mini server with only the integrated intel hd 3000. Software would be vlc or Plex. Which one would you wise people recommend for the job? Or are both of these incapable of doing this?
post #2 of 6
You get what you pay for.

Though a C2D and 9400M is more than capable of playing 1080p.
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post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Yes, but even a C2D with 320m has trouble playing some high bitrate 1080p material.

I would think that a single 2.7Ghz core is more powerful than a single 2.0Ghz core, and this matters because many applications don't support multiple cores. (Is there logic behind this? Could someone confirm this?) And i also read somewhere that the integrated Intel Graphics 3000 produces image quality that is not as good as even the 320m, meaning things like colors blending together and other things.

I think i'll just go with the 2.7Ghz.
post #4 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetcancer View Post

I would think that a single 2.7Ghz core is more powerful than a single 2.0Ghz core, and this matters because many applications don't support multiple cores. (Is there logic behind this?

The quad-core models overclock active cores (some to over 3GHz) when others are unused so the quad-core would be fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetcancer View Post

i also read somewhere that the integrated Intel Graphics 3000 produces image quality that is not as good as even the 320m, meaning things like colors blending together and other things.

I think i'll just go with the 2.7Ghz.

I reckon you'd be able to correct most colour problems, maybe even this one:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1348096

by adjusting your colour profiles. The HD3000 will also support hardware accelerated decoding just like the dedicated GPUs:

http://developer.apple.com/library/m...67/_index.html

The Radeon GPU does have a lot more power though and supports GPU computation so if any software is developed to take advantage of it, it will offer substantial improvements.

The Radeon GPU is more of an improvement over the HD3000 (100%) than the quad i7 is over the dual-i7 (35%) but the GPU model might generate more heat making the fan run more.

I reckon the entry i5 with HD3000 would probably be suitable for a media centre and would run the coolest. The Core 2 Duos are 2 generations old. The Sandy Bridge chips are double the speed so any model should be capable of handling Blu-Ray rips. As long as the format it's ripped in is supported by the hardware-acceleration feature, it'll be smooth.

You can always take a USB pen with a partial rip into an Apple store and try it out on any of the laptops or Minis.
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
thanks for your reply Marvin, lots of interesting thoughts.

Also about the heating issua, won't the quad-core also generate more heat than a dual-core? Probably not as much a difference as between the hd3000 and radeon gpu though.
post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetcancer View Post

Also about the heating issua, won't the quad-core also generate more heat than a dual-core? Probably not as much a difference as between the hd3000 and radeon gpu though.

Yeah I'd expect the quad to generate more heat than the dual-core. Here, some people are saying under maximum load, the quad ramps the fans right up to 6000rpm:

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1204950

The Engadget review of the base model said that it stayed quiet under heavy load, although not likely to be maximum load:

http://www.engadget.com/2011/07/25/m...view-mid-2011/

The base model CPU is 35W whereas the quad is 45W and the Radeon 6630M is 10-15W, which means the middle model and quad are both drawing 30% more power under load than the base model.

I'd expect the Radeon model to be the worst because the GPU in the other models is on the same die as the CPU so it can much more effectively control the power draw.
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