View Full Version : Time to buy some stuff

01-06-2013, 10:44 AM
Yes you read that right. I'm finally looking at entering the realm of the modern Mac. The old G4 tower is still working fine, but just getting too old.

So here's the plan:

Kris has a mid 2010 15" MacBook Pro. It's a beauty, but a bit much for her needs. Thinking of getting a newer Air (probably a refurb like the Pro was), and trading her for the Pro. Good idea?

Also recently bought a 50" plasma TV, and a Blu-Ray player. The player is network capable, but klunky & slow in that regard. Looking at getting a Mini to stream HD content to the TV off the LAN & internet. How much Mini do I really need to do this? Any advantage to getting the server model? Storage options?

Have also been looking at refurb/used Mac Pro, but think I'll wait a while on that since there are rumors of possible updates to the line.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

01-06-2013, 12:11 PM
I just went through the buy a new one... our main needs and uses might be different.

The MacBook Pro is a good versatile machine as you know.

I like the mini - My new 21.5" iMac does not have the screen space I really wanted. I often wonder if a 24" monitor and Mac Mini would have been a better choice.

That said I love this iMac... I think the Fusion drive really boosts it.

I really don't think you need "all that much" mini for a TV. But you want it to keep up. Need a fast internet. You don't find cheap, used Mac's. :rolleyes:

01-06-2013, 01:43 PM
With a MBP or a MBA, you dont need a Mini to run a TV. Either of those will do the job nicely.

Or, if you don't want to plug in your MBx into the TV, how about a Apple TV? Seems a real waste of a Mini just to run your teli.


01-06-2013, 03:08 PM
AppleTV gets my vote. Much cheaper than even a used mini I bet..

01-06-2013, 03:09 PM
Or, if you don't want to plug in your MBx into the TV, how about a Apple TV? Seems a real waste of a Mini just to run your teli.
Agreed, I tried to justify a mini for the TV. My excuse was a backup computer. :rolleyes: But dang a mini's an expensive TV do hickie. So if just TV...

I might have to check Apple TV as I'm dumping my cable as soon as SuperBowls over. :D

01-06-2013, 03:26 PM
Have looked at the Apple TV, and wasn't all that impressed. It is cheap, but suffers from some of the same issues as the Blu-Ray i.e. klunky interface. Also the Mini would act as a server for the LAN as well as TV duty. Need to look into that more I guess to see just how capable the Apple TV really is.

We went to the Apple store in Simi today so Kris could get her hands on an Air. She's OK with the smaller size, and lack of connectivity. Got an inquiry in with my sis as to their reliability (she works at the Apple store in Monterey). Still researching, but it looks like I may have the MBP soon.

Then comes upgrading my recording hardware so I can rid of this boat anchor PCI setup.

01-06-2013, 05:26 PM
I vote for the AppleTV for TV too. I have one, I got it to test Airplay with a iPad which works well. We use it for rentals, watching youtube, showing photo and videos from Macs and iDevices, etc.

Using the Apple remote is kind of pain, so we often just you use Apple's Remote app for iPhones or iPads, which lets you control an AppleTV. The most handy thing about using the app is you get to use the (virtual) keyboard, handy for things like searching on youtube.

What server duty do you have in mind for the Mini? The server version of the Mini has the advantage of coming already with 2 HDs -- Damien can give you pointers on what it's like to add another HD to non-Server Mini. Looking now at the Apple Store, you can't BTO a 2d HD in a non-Server Mini.

When I bought my 2011 Mini Server, I think the 4 core i7 was only in the Server. 4-core i7 + 2d HD is why I got it. I got the default config and didn't BTO because a local Mac authorized dealer was opening and was discounting standard Macs.

Plus with Mini Server, you get to play around with Server app. :D Did I ever spend months with Server before finally setting it up to mt liking -- only to have Mountain Lion released like a week afterwords. :rolleyes: I just bit the bullet and went with ML + Server once the coast was clear for ML on the Mac clients. Only services I use are:
DNS - because you have too. :D
File Sharing
FTP - because my multifuction scan/printer hates ML's SMB.
Open Directory
Profile Manager
I've got Profile Manager set up on the two 13" MBP, which I mainly did for Mobility accounts and Home syncing. I also configured a few set up things, e.g. login options, printer, etc.

Why didn't I just hook the Mini up to the TV? Because they're in different rooms. The Mini Server replaced the G4 MDD, which only one member of the family was using regularly for email, internet, and occasional Word document and I'd use occasionally for transferring photos of cards to the HDs. While I know it's not "best practice" to have local users do local activity on a server, my Mini is doing double-duty nonetheless. Non-server activity is really light; it seemed overkill to buy another computer for the sort of activity that we were doing on the MDD and do now on the Mini.

I bought the Mini Server to replace the MDD with the idea that I'd get to see what Server was like and if I didn't like it I'd just install OS X client on it. Although I don't use many services, I've come to rely on them nonetheless. So Server on the Mini is staying.

01-06-2013, 05:44 PM
Server duty for the mini would be backing up 2-3 other Macs, as well as streaming video/music over the LAN. Would just get a multi-bay Burly to handle storage via FW for now with possible TB option later.

If the Apple TV had the ability to use a wireless keyboard/mouse I'd be all over it, but unless I'm missing something the only option is to use some type of i-device or laptop. Not the most elegant solution IMHO. The Blu-Ray already does the scroll-n-select spell thing though it also has annoying folder nesting/file format limitations. I wasn't expecting much for $80 anyway.

01-07-2013, 04:17 AM
You can't use wireless input (other than the remote) with the ATV itself but if you are screen sharing your Mac screen on the ATV you can. I sometimes use my Mac Mini on my home theater using this feature and I have used a wireless keyboard and (will as soon as I get one) use a wireless mouse. I know about the iDevice as mouse option and found they were not accurate enough for me to use

01-07-2013, 10:40 AM
I use a first gen unibody Mini (http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/mac_mini/specs/mac-mini-core-2-duo-2.4-mid-2010-specs.html) in the living room. Enough power to run the 40" HDTV fine.

A good fit as it was pretty low cost (used), bluetooth KB & M, dead quiet, and lets me run other stuff besides iTunes. I have a 1 TB USB 2 external for all media, which lets me run it a long way away in another cabinet. No space, heat or noise issues. The mini sits behind the TV in a built in, but I have a single USB extension dock poking out in case I need to plug anything in easily.

One of the reasons I run it is cause I use Pandora Jam (http://www.bitcartel.com/pandorajam/) to record heaps of music. This alone pretty much justifies the cost of the Mini for me.

I play with Plex (http://www.plexapp.com/download/plex-media-center.php), which is very cool, but find I prefer to navigate the desktop, even though many want a sofa remote only.

I also use the Mini to wirelessly sync and backup all iOS devices; it is always on, and this way I have one itunes library, one place for all back ups, one place for everything iOS. Used to have things sync'd to a hodge podge a machines, but it was too disjointed and painful to get the right stuff on the right playlist, and on the right device.

I could backup everything to a second external, but choose to use a NAS over the wireless, so it can be tucked away in a closet on the other side of the house, backing up all machines (including the Mini) via CrashPlan.

One thing I would really like the AppleTV over the Mini for: AirPlay video sharing iOS games for the kids. Gotta love no moving parts too.

01-07-2013, 06:38 PM
I had considered the NAS option too, but that leaves me with the crappy GUI on the Blu-Ray. Plex looks like a much better version of the Blu-Ray's GUI. I prefer the Mac OS desktop myself. Much faster to get to what I want.

If the low-end Mini will drive the 50" without issues I'll probably go ahead, and pull the trigger on that as well as the Air, and just wait to see if the Pro gets a long overdue update. Don't have any i-devices in the house other than a few pods, but that could change. Trying to keep an eye on the future here.

01-07-2013, 10:59 PM
Oh I took out the trash was there any thing else left for me to do?

Oh look, one of the most popular types of postings. Like who doesn't like to put there 2 cents in with this kind of decision. You sure you want the input?

So I do have the previous model of ATV, only supports 720p, ah but the new ones 1080p. Wouldn't mind the upgrade. I do understand the keyboard control desire. I've complained to the person that sits next to me about how clunky the darn controller is to use. BUT I would like to point out that with the latest version of software, the control doesn't seem so bad after all. But you know what you want there.

What I'm really wondering is, will said MBA be as loved with only a 13" screen? So it would seem that the upgraded Mac Pro, when it comes out, will be the best out come. And anyone still running their DA, definitely deserves a Mac Pro :)

01-07-2013, 11:49 PM
The Air isn't for me it's for the person who sits next to me who doesn't really need the screen real estate or graphics HP of the 15" i7 MBP with the anti-glare screen hence the trade.

I don't really need those things either most of the time, but sometimes.... and that could lead to actually needing them at some point if I get good enough. Not being being able to edit HD video on my own machine has dampened my desire to shoot video with my HD camera. The MBP is a good way to see if I should invest in a Mac Pro or spend that money on other things. The Mini, and the Air will be useful regardless of how that works out.

Always glad to have input on things like this. It often takes me in directions I hadn't considered.

01-08-2013, 04:11 AM
So I do have the previous model of ATV, only supports 720p,

There's a hack for thatů

01-08-2013, 10:35 AM
I think the base Mini is more than you need...a previous gen will work nicely, and leave $ for external storage. I love the current Mini design, except for HD access. A pain to be sure, and too many problems busting the heat sensor plug off the logic board. If Apple could resolve that, it would damn near perfect.

Anywho, server model is nice (if pricey) for a serious machine with decent internal storage.

I thought about serving media data from my NAS, but I too prefer the desktop for the whole family usage, so NAS is backups only.

01-11-2013, 03:45 PM
For anybody thinking of going the NAS route, maybe with ATV, these guys keep pouring it on:

Synology 4.2 Beta (http://www.synology.com/support/beta_dsm4.2.php?lang=enu). An impressive amount of change/improvement, especially the AFP and AirPlay.

01-20-2013, 12:29 PM
Macbook Air is in the house.

13" 2GHZ i7 8GB RAM 512GB SSD. What a sweet little machine! Transferring all Kris' stuff via FW off the Macbook Pro in TDM was fast, and flawless.

Working on transferring my stuff to the MBP right now.

01-20-2013, 12:41 PM

01-20-2013, 05:03 PM
Ditto! A very nice choice. I've seen those on the refurb page, often thinking to myself what a great unit. I'd get one if I had a even the slightest reason. But I haven't had one yet.

01-20-2013, 05:31 PM
Unfortunately MA from PPC 10.4.11 to Intel 10.6.8 not going so well. It appears to be pretty much useless in fact.

Looks like I'll be bringing things over manually. Ugh.

02-06-2013, 08:45 PM
Finally getting this thing sorted out. It's been fighting me a bit.

Finicky optical drive is now in an external USB case, and the original 500GB drive is in the optical bay. Seems happy, but I'll get a better optical for serious work. USB slooooww....

Thinking about going with some SSDs eventually.

One thing that troubles me is how hot this thing gets when it's chewing on heavy graphics. From what I've read this is normal, but I still don't like it.

Have also run into the current DU bug with 10.8 (https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4218970?start=0&tstart=0) on the Air. Hoping they fix this soon. I don't like not being able to repair backup drives.