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Mac Mini As Plex Player


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#1 LongChair

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 04:34 PM

Hi everyone,

I have using plex for a while and I'm very happy with it.

I have been lokking on this forum for the best possible plex player to hook up on my HD TV and stream movies from my NAS.
I need something very silent, with low consumption and with very low maintenance needs.

From what I have read, Mac mini would be the best option.
I don't want the mac mini to do anything else than playing plex.

I am not used to the mac world really, and I am not sure which mac mini to get knowing that I need to have the cheapest player possible able to run & stream movies.
My NAS is a DS713+ running a 2.13 Ghz Dual core Atom. I can have PMS run on the NAS, but it wont be able to transcode everything from what I have read on this forum.

So I guess I would use the NAS as server and then the Mac Mini as a player.
What would be the minimum processor / RAM requirement to have a mac mini play flawlessly basically anything ?

I have seen some affordable 2Ghz 2009 mac mini versions, but not sure this would be enought to transcode properly 1080p movies.
If anyone can get me some feedback, that would be appreciated :)

Found an issue with RasPlex ? : Please file an issue here, guidelines are here

 

RasPlex Dev Team
Mac Mini Mid 2010 + PHT
Raspberry Pi + raspbmc / rasplex
Synology DS713+ : 2 x 3To running PMS
Samsung 65" Plasma.


#2 jmerrilljr@gmail.com

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 05:13 PM

Hi everyone,

I have using plex for a while and I'm very happy with it.

I have been lokking on this forum for the best possible plex player to hook up on my HD TV and stream movies from my NAS.
I need something very silent, with low consumption and with very low maintenance needs.

From what I have read, Mac mini would be the best option.
I don't want the mac mini to do anything else than playing plex.

I am not used to the mac world really, and I am not sure which mac mini to get knowing that I need to have the cheapest player possible able to run & stream movies.
My NAS is a DS713+ running a 2.13 Ghz Dual core Atom. I can have PMS run on the NAS, but it wont be able to transcode everything from what I have read on this forum.

So I guess I would use the NAS as server and then the Mac Mini as a player.
What would be the minimum processor / RAM requirement to have a mac mini play flawlessly basically anything ?

I have seen some affordable 2Ghz 2009 mac mini versions, but not sure this would be enought to transcode properly 1080p movies.
If anyone can get me some feedback, that would be appreciated :)

I have the 2009 Mac Mini. Pretty much dedicated to PMC and PMS. I don't use a NAS. It all works really well. No issues at all. I use Screen Sharing on my iMac to do any maintenance.

#3 LongChair

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 05:20 PM

I have the 2009 Mac Mini. Pretty much dedicated to PMC and PMS. I don't use a NAS. It all works really well. No issues at all. I use Screen Sharing on my iMac to do any maintenance.


Which version of the 2009 mac mini do you use ? As far as i have seen on the after sales market, it seems that the processors & RAM can be different.

I am not familiar with mac environement but is there any way to remote access a Mac Mini from a PC ?

Found an issue with RasPlex ? : Please file an issue here, guidelines are here

 

RasPlex Dev Team
Mac Mini Mid 2010 + PHT
Raspberry Pi + raspbmc / rasplex
Synology DS713+ : 2 x 3To running PMS
Samsung 65" Plasma.


#4 adriandb

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 05:49 PM

I moved from a late 2009 Mini that I repurposed as an OS X Server machine. It worked fine but did have issues with some transcodes. High bit rate files could also cause it to struggle. Given that most people are ripping content to less and less compressed files it may not be a good option long term.

2012 Mac Mini - 2.5GHz dual-core i5 - 8gb RAM - Mac OS 10.8 | Sans Digital TowerRAID TR5UT+B RAID 5 (5 x 3TB) | Onkyo TX-SR608 | LG 55" LED LCD (55LW5600)


#5 jmerrilljr@gmail.com

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 06:04 PM

Which version of the 2009 mac mini do you use ? As far as i have seen on the after sales market, it seems that the processors & RAM can be different.

I am not familiar with mac environement but is there any way to remote access a Mac Mini from a PC ?

The processor is 2.53GHZ with 4GB of RAM. When I worked in a Windows environment I used VPN and Remote Desktop to access my Macs.

#6 davek0974

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 06:56 PM

Using a late 2009 mini here, works well, I have a wired Ethernet network to my server upstairs which is a late 2010 mini.

#7 LongChair

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 10:29 PM

Ok so looks like late 2009 mac mini is the base config fromwhich it starts to work.

I guess a cpu above 2ghz is required for proper transcoding.

As these mini are running core2 duo, do you guys run them under OSX or windows for plex ?

I have also read that the 2009 mac mini did not handle the audio throught the display port -> hdmi is that correct ?

Found an issue with RasPlex ? : Please file an issue here, guidelines are here

 

RasPlex Dev Team
Mac Mini Mid 2010 + PHT
Raspberry Pi + raspbmc / rasplex
Synology DS713+ : 2 x 3To running PMS
Samsung 65" Plasma.


#8 jmerrilljr@gmail.com

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 10:48 PM

Ok so looks like late 2009 mac mini is the base config fromwhich it starts to work.

I guess a cpu above 2ghz is required for proper transcoding.

As these mini are running core2 duo, do you guys run them under OSX or windows for plex ?

I have also read that the 2009 mac mini did not handle the audio throught the display port -> hdmi is that correct ?

You will need a dvi to hdmi cable for video and a toslink to optical cable for audio. My environment is all MAC.

#9 mshe

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 10:55 PM

Or, perhaps you can try a Windows nettop instead... they're probably cheaper than a Mac Mini.

Or Android TV player with the Plex Android app?

#10 itsmrjon

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 12:30 AM

I personally use a 2011 mac mini (base model with i5) as my server/client. It's honestly amazing.

The setup is as follows:
FreeNAS 8 holds all the files
2011 Mac Mini acts as server/client in the living room
Jailbroken ATV2's on all other TVs running Plex as clients

I've run a stress test on the mac mini to see exactly how much it can handle at a time and this is what it can do:
1) Can run handbrake + client watching a bluray (cannot handle streaming on other devices at the same time)
2) Can watch bluray on client + 2 apple TVs watching bluray + iOS watching bluray at same time (cannot scan at the same time)
3) Can watch bluray on client + 2 apple TVs watching bluray + content scanning at same time
4) Can watch bluray on client + 2 apple TVs watching SD + iOS watching SD at same time + scanning

If you plan on turning it into a whole home solution (with multiple other clients in the house) the mini is the best route. I've been considering moving up to an i7 mini in the future to get a little more out of it.

#11 LongChair

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 09:20 AM

Well From what I have read, nettop are a bit underpowered to make proper transcoding.

I have looked into the used mac mini market and The Core I5 minis are quite expansive.
I have found some Core 2 Duo 2.26 Ghz around 250€, but i'm wondering if that would be enought to properly play & eventually serve the files.

Found an issue with RasPlex ? : Please file an issue here, guidelines are here

 

RasPlex Dev Team
Mac Mini Mid 2010 + PHT
Raspberry Pi + raspbmc / rasplex
Synology DS713+ : 2 x 3To running PMS
Samsung 65" Plasma.


#12 mrchris76

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 05:05 PM

I have a late 2009 Mac Mini dedicated to running PMS and Plex Client, with all my media sitting on an AFP share on a Synology DS213+ NAS. Connects to my LG telly via HDMI and optical to the AV receiver. Works flawlessly. Also have SabNZBD, Couchpotato and SickBeard running on same box. Couldn't recommend one highly enough :D

mrchris76

#13 mattnad

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 06:14 PM

Well From what I have read, nettop are a bit underpowered to make proper transcoding.

I have looked into the used mac mini market and The Core I5 minis are quite expansive.
I have found some Core 2 Duo 2.26 Ghz around 250€, but i'm wondering if that would be enought to properly play & eventually serve the files.


I'm using exactly that model for my server, upgraded to 4Gb ram. It works fine for most of my media I have some very high bit rate 1080p titles (peaking at 25 Mb/s) that can cause problems with jerky video sometimes. Depends on what device it's going to and what local bandwidth that's at work.
Mac Mini 2.0ghz x 2 & 2.26Ghz • 8Tb Storage via Synology DS-410 over 802.11n WiFi network • Panasonic 720p 50" Plasma • Toshiba 1080p 40" LCD • 120" Projector Screen with Epson 1080p 6100 projection • 7.1 AV Denon Receiver • Samsung Blu Ray Player • Pioneer BD RW Player • Roku XDS

#14 LongChair

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 09:43 PM

Ok then i,ll try to target at least a 2.26 core 2 duo, 2.53 or 2.66 would be nice, then 4go of ram seem reasonable.

Last question is : are all mac minis equipped with an IR sensor for the remote ?

Found an issue with RasPlex ? : Please file an issue here, guidelines are here

 

RasPlex Dev Team
Mac Mini Mid 2010 + PHT
Raspberry Pi + raspbmc / rasplex
Synology DS713+ : 2 x 3To running PMS
Samsung 65" Plasma.


#15 JonnyV 2.0

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 11:07 PM

Ok then i,ll try to target at least a 2.26 core 2 duo, 2.53 or 2.66 would be nice, then 4go of ram seem reasonable.

Last question is : are all mac minis equipped with an IR sensor for the remote ?


Yes all have the IR.

You can also pick up a PS3 Bluetooth remote and purchase a program called Remote Buddy. Great combo that gives you a lot more options versus the standard Apple remote.

#16 LongChair

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 04:56 PM

Okay,

Finally found a used mid 2010 2.4Ghz core 2 duo mac mini. Will extend its ram to 4Gb, should be a good Plex player for the living room plasma :)

Found an issue with RasPlex ? : Please file an issue here, guidelines are here

 

RasPlex Dev Team
Mac Mini Mid 2010 + PHT
Raspberry Pi + raspbmc / rasplex
Synology DS713+ : 2 x 3To running PMS
Samsung 65" Plasma.


#17 adriandb

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 05:34 PM

Okay,

Finally found a used mid 2010 2.4Ghz core 2 duo mac mini. Will extend its ram to 4Gb, should be a good Plex player for the living room plasma :)

Great find. It should work well for you.

2012 Mac Mini - 2.5GHz dual-core i5 - 8gb RAM - Mac OS 10.8 | Sans Digital TowerRAID TR5UT+B RAID 5 (5 x 3TB) | Onkyo TX-SR608 | LG 55" LED LCD (55LW5600)


#18 LongChair

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 05:43 PM

By the way one last question I have :

Does the Mid 2010 mac mini outputs audio via the HDMI connector or do we still need a toslink cable to get the digital audio ?

Found an issue with RasPlex ? : Please file an issue here, guidelines are here

 

RasPlex Dev Team
Mac Mini Mid 2010 + PHT
Raspberry Pi + raspbmc / rasplex
Synology DS713+ : 2 x 3To running PMS
Samsung 65" Plasma.





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