Mac OS X - Media Center choice question : MBP vs Mac Mini vs ATV

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kimitschu Offline
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Question  Media Center choice question : MBP vs Mac Mini vs ATV
Post: #1
First of all, hello to all and thanks in advance for your feedbacks/opinions/ideas and others this thread would bring up Smile

Here is my actual setup :
- Plasma TV (Panasonic TX-PF46ST30)
- Macbook Pro 15" 2010 (i5 2,4 / 4Gb / IntelHd + nVidia GT330m)
- XBMC Eden
- Lion 10.7.3
- Drobo connected to the MBP by firewire.

XBMC works flawlessly and the MBP plays everything I throw at it, mostly 1080p mkvs'.

My predicament :
When XBMC is simply launched and updating the library, the MBP CPU runs high and the fans start throttling at 4000rpm.
When watching big 1080p files (eg. StarWars BD rip or Disney BD rips) the CPU peeks at 70°C and the fans go to 6000rpm.
Speedfan control is installed but seems to have no effect.

I know that having the MBP closed and connected to the TV in station mode doesn't help with it's heat management, and I've abandonned the idea of having it run quieter.

So I décided to replace the MBP with either the latest Mac mini or the latest Apple TV.

But here is where I need your combined help : the MBPs' fans running at 6000rpm is a disturbance and a growing pain when watching movies.

My primary concern is the noise factor.

I have read a fair amount of threads and came up with the following issues :
- Mac Mini i5 + AMD GPU : good solution overall, but I need some feedbacks of owners of this solution concerning the noise factor and performance.
- Mac Mini quad core i7 + Intel HD : obviously overkill CPU wise but assures that is should play everything beeing throwed at it, but seems rather noisy. Any feedbacks on that ?
- ATV jailbreaked : obviously silent because fanless, but limited performances when it comes to 1080p content. Has anyone tried out the latest ATV3 and it's performance ?

Additionnally concerning those who went through similar endeavour of switching MBP based mediacenters for something else, I'd love to have details and experience returns Smile
(This post was last modified: 2012-03-21 15:21 by kimitschu.)
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hmol Offline
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Post: #2
4Gb will not do it, you need to increase that at least to 8Gb.
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kimitschu Offline
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Post: #3
Thank you hmol for your reply, however as I said the actual performance of my MBP is sufficient, no slowdowns, no lags, no issues, it reads everything I throw at it perfectly.
My only and foremost problem is : the noise.

Unless something escapes my rudimentary hardware knowledge, upgrading from 4 to 8gb will not solve this fan noise issue.

Anyone else has some experience feedback on switching from a MBP to one of the latest Mac mini or newest ATV as mediacenter ?
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ecafracs Offline
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Post: #4
I've had XBMC running on a Mac Mini for about 12 months now. It also runs a Plex Server to dish out media to iPads etc. And it's running the usual suspects, sabNZB, sickbeard et al.

It only has 2GB of RAM and I think from memory - core duo 2 CPUs. It doesn't miss a beat and I've never heard any noise from it at all.

So from a performance perspective, a i5 or i7 with 4GB or 8GB would probably be more than sufficient.

Not sure if the newer models generate more noise but they may dissipate more heat - so make sure there is enough room for air to circulate a bit.
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Ned Scott Offline
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Post: #5
(2012-03-21 16:51)hmol Wrote:  4Gb will not do it, you need to increase that at least to 8Gb.

Absolutely not true. XBMC can't use more than 4GB of RAM because it's a 32-bit application. I run XBMC v11 on old Apple TV1's that only have 256 MB of RAM (running Linux) and they run like a champ. My other HTPCs have about 1-2 GB of RAM.

You can make easy links to the XBMC wiki using double brackets around common XBMC words: [[debug log]] = debug log, [[Video library]] = Video library, [[SMB]] = SMB , [[userdata]] = userdata, etc
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Ned Scott Offline
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Post: #6
MacMini > Apple TV 1 (w/BCHD and linux) > Apple TV 3 > Apple TV 2 > Apple TV 1 (no hardware mod)

You can make easy links to the XBMC wiki using double brackets around common XBMC words: [[debug log]] = debug log, [[Video library]] = Video library, [[SMB]] = SMB , [[userdata]] = userdata, etc
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kimitschu Offline
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Post: #7
Thank you for your replies folks Smile

I'll be lurking for some Mac Mini 2012 experience feedbacks concerning noise & use factors then; unless some miraculous events happens with the ATV3.
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xostas Offline
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Post: #8
I have a Mid 2007 mac mini 1,83 with 2gb ram 80gb SSD 10.7.3 osx (it began with leopard) and it plays flawlessly not only XBMC Eden 11 but i also have on it Eyetv with elgato dtt tv tuner (for watching Live TV) and remote buddy for controlling everything. The mini is connected to a 42" LG Plasma, a Benq projector and the sound goes to a Pioneer DTS 5.1 with optical fiber. The mini is also a server for AirPlay with AirServer and Air Video Server (another application for online video play). All i can say is the system is absolute! No crashes, no slow downs, no lags, no noise, no anything.
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jpf55 Offline
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Post: #9
(2012-03-26 10:58)xostas Wrote:  I have a Mid 2007 mac mini 1,83 with 2gb ram 80gb SSD 10.7.3 osx (it began with leopard) and it plays flawlessly not only XBMC Eden 11 but i also have on it Eyetv with elgato dtt tv tuner (for watching Live TV) and remote buddy for controlling everything. The mini is connected to a 42" LG Plasma, a Benq projector and the sound goes to a Pioneer DTS 5.1 with optical fiber. The mini is also a server for AirPlay with AirServer and Air Video Server (another application for online video play). All i can say is the system is absolute! No crashes, no slow downs, no lags, no noise, no anything.

How difficult and expensive was it to install the SSD ?

[Image: sigpic_40821_de64ff3d5cbbcb955be34459103dba35.png]
iMac 27" 2.93gHz i7, OS X 10.9.4
SymLinked to
MacMini 2.3gHz i7, OS X 10.9.4
Running Eden 13.1 and Transparency! 6.0.7 on both computers
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xostas Offline
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Post: #10
Not so much expensive as difficult !
If i remember right the cost was around 100 euros, but to change it... jeez..

I had follow those instructions to the letter and everything went well.
The most difficult part for me was the first step, to open the mini.
Everything is packed inside but if you follow the steps all will be ok.

http://soledadpenades.com/2007/11/01/diy...isk-drive/
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