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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

imac or mini in the Living Room for a newbie?


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snowfocus8
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Looking for advice: Should I get a mini or an iMac as my living room system?

When I get home from work, I want to watch DVDs, check my email, and surf a bit...without dealing with Windows cr@p that I put up with at work all day.
I'm not a gamer, and don't do DVR so it's really going to just be a DVD, iTunes, and basic internet machine. That's all I do at home. Currently, I just boot up my laptop for email and the like when at home.

I thought all this was pointing me at a nice mac mini as my first mac. Looks cute next to a tv, digital audio out to a stereo. But, after reading so many reviews that say for good DVD playback, I should really upgrade the RAM to 1GB or even 2 to compensate for the shared video RAM, and then getting a bit larger hard disk, it really pushes the price up into the iMac range. Especially with some of the refurbished iMac deals. And since you can get dedicated video RAM, bigger and faster harddrives, and the core 2 duo in the iMac, I'm really wondering if it's not the better solution as my main computer, even if it's really just for entertainment purposes?

What's the downside to using an iMac as my home theatre/LR computer? besides the possible asthetics of having a 17" screen somewhere near my already big LCD (something that won't be a problem later with iTV i guess), I don't see much of a downside. Unless I'm missing something and using the Dual-Monitor support would be be bad with an LCD-TV running DVDs?

Thanks for all your experienced advice! I'm really looking forward to having a mac at home.
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ARC

 
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hey, i was in your situation before since i bought a 42' plasma, and was considering about getting a mac mini but finally thought, hey if im gona spend this much on a mac mini then why not spend a little more and get a imac. but thats just me.
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Audio.Trench

 
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I'd say go with the Mini.. that way you can add your own screen, as ARC has mentioned, a 42" plasma.. I have a similar setup where I use my Xbox 360/TiBook as my "home theater."

The video goes into my 21" Widescreen LCD HD monitor, and the audio goes from each source, into a Logitech 5.1 Console Adapter to my Logitech X530 Surround speakers.

If you purchased the iMac, you're "stuck" with the screen size, so to speak. So I would suggest getting the Mini, or even a slightly older PowerMac.
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snowfocus8
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But the iMac can run 2 screens...it's own and a second monitor. I was going to use my LCD TV as the second monitor (using the Mini-DV out to DVI-in). Won't that work? Or would it just be a mess? The mini is certainly the easier solution it seems.
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That should work, as I use the DVI output on my TiBook to connect to my LCD Monitor. It also detects my monitor as a second and extends my desktop, unless I plug it in when it is closed, then it acts as the main display.
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I've been using mac mini with 30" LCD and Arcam HiFi for the past 3-months. It's good for music playback. DVD playback is okay except for problems playing different regions, I beleive this can be solved by using different DVD software. DVD burning, I beleive there's at least 1 piece of software that can back up your DVDs, but not tried that yet. The power supply consumes 12W even when the mini is turns off completely, you must flick switch on wall.
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surfwax95

 
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I'm selling my Mac Mini Core Duo if you're interested. I bought it for the same reason you want one and it works beautifully. However, I also have my PowerMac hooked up via DVI for editing and I've found that I use that more for everything...the Mac Mini just sits there for the most part.

Send me a PM if you're interested!

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Alexis

 
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Mac Mini.

Unless you're rich of course :-)
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snowfocus8
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I'm kinda surprised, I thought people would be pushing toward the iMac. But thanks for the tips. I'm glad to see the predicted problems with DVD playback on the shared-video RAM macmini aren't really a big deal. I'm definitely not rich...and doing this on the cheap. But, I've found 17" refurb iMacs with Core 2 Duo and the 7200 RPM HDs for about the same price as the upgraded 1 or 2GB RAM Core (1) Duo minis. So I wanted to check my options.

Aesthetically, the mini is a cleaner option. But I didn't want to sacrifice the upgraded computing power just for better looks. I'm not pimping my apartment.

Probably should wait till after christmas too? Any chance they'll upgrade the Minis to Core2 Duos? (like the recent MacBook change?)
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surfwax95

 
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PM sent, snowfocus.

I really don't see the need for an iMac if you're going for the whole "media center" thing. I mean, the TV will end up being the monitor anyways, right?

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mr g5

 
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Look at it this way, do you need to core 2duo?

-internet does definetly not need a core2duo

-email does not need a core2duo

-music does not need a core2duo

-dvd playback will work with a core2duo if you put in about 1 gig of RAM

for you needs you would not see a huge inprovment with a core3duo based on what you said you will be using it for.

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surfwax95

 
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What? Core3Duo?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by surfwax95 View Post
What? Core3Duo?
c'mon surf you know what he meant, right?
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mr g5

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surfwax95 View Post
What? Core3Duo?
lol didn't catch that

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fleurya

 
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Honestly, if I was looking for a home theater computer solution, I would go with a Windows w/ Media Center. For a home theater setting, it has many advantages over Macs. Plus using an Xbox 360 will give you even more options like the iTV will offer.
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