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Just thinking about next Mac and whether a mini might be good


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#1 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 05 September 2015 - 05:15 AM

I was at my sister's house the other day and I did ultimately decide to go ahead and grant access to my Steam library to him. In a different thread here, macdude had made a joke about the "terrible loss a VAC ban could mean" as in no loss at all really. After I read that I thought to myself, you know? He is right. Who cares if the kid gets me a VAC ban anyway not that I think it is likely but if he did so what? I don't even like multiplayer on shooters on Steam for reasons I won't get into here.

Anyway, back on topic here while setting him up I observed he has a very cool gaming station put together for himself in his room. He has a Windows PC under the desk and an Xbox next to his screen which looked to be around 24" maybe or more. This screen was really cool in that it had its own remote and with it you could select the input which could be television or VGA, etc. and so he had both the PC and the Xbox connected to this thing and it is easy to switch between them. He also had a nice Logitech surround speaker system with subwoofer setup. I don't know how that gets shared between systems or even if it does. He wasn't home at the time to ask.

In any case, seeing that made me think about how I might like doing something similar next time around and if I did that, a Mac mini would be fine for my OS X computing and even a lot of the old classics games and less demanding OS X games I own. I think I'd want a PS4 myself although with the money saved not buying an iMac I could have both consoles and it would be tempting as I loved the first two Halo games and would really like to play the rest of them.

Anyway, seeing that just got me thinking about options for the future. By the time I am ready I'd expect there would be a least one mini refresh that would include a Skylake CPU with more powerful onboard GPU, etc. I own a ton of older stuff that would run just fine with something like that anyway.

The nice thing about a setup like this is that is so flexible and expandable over time. For example, initially I could just get a mini, screen, PS4, Bose Companion 5 sound system and good to go. I could at any time down the road add an Xbox if I wanted or a Windows gaming PC for that matter. In a scenario like that the longevity of the Mac would increase significantly I think too as running new or any demanding games would not be a factor thus it should last me a lot longer just running basic apps, Logic Pro X, etc.

I'll have to think about it and also see what hardware Apple releases between now and when I want to upgrade. For the time being I am good with what I have but it is fun to think ahead about potential improvements. It is possible that a Steambox could become a desirable thing at some point as well.
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#2 Frigidman™

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Posted 05 September 2015 - 07:10 AM

Sure, go for it.

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#3 the Battle Cat

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Posted 05 September 2015 - 09:43 AM

View PostFrigidman™, on 05 September 2015 - 07:10 AM, said:

Sure, go for it.

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#4 Frigidman™

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Posted 05 September 2015 - 09:49 AM

*Clank*

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#5 macdude22

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Posted 05 September 2015 - 09:58 AM

This monitor is sweet as hell and has DVI, Displayport, and HDMI. Jus sayin.

http://www.amazon.co...r/dp/B00B2HH7G0

That's what I got. I'm gunna replace the Macpro at some point with a mini. And then set the mini on my pc i drug up from the basement to save space on mer desk. And yer still got an HDMI port left for a PS4 or xBox (I might get a xBONE because Crackdown 3 looks so gal damn tits)

I want to want an iMac but the only iMac that fits my needs is the friggin 3k top ender. Maybe Apple will surprise us with a 21 incher that has a decent GPU but I'm not hopeful these days.
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#6 Frigidman™

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Posted 05 September 2015 - 11:04 AM

I gots that monitor, I can attest to it being quite nice (for LCD tech). The higher refresh is night n day vs being stuck to a max of 60. It lets a lot of games race onwards in fps when they can and things get really smooth when it does. Even moving the mouse around the screen is smoother feeling, less gaps between the cursor. Has enough input ports, all the right kinds too. Can even be upgraded later with some gsync kit which may or may not even be needed, as once I see a game allow the 144hz mode, the tearing issue is almost completely gone anyhow.

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#7 mattw

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Posted 05 September 2015 - 11:34 AM

If the speakers are anything like my Logitech Z-5500's then they have multiple inputs you can switch between.

You could also consider a Harmony remote as you can then just program activities and press one button to switch everything, display, speakers and device.
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#8 Camper-Hunter

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Posted 05 September 2015 - 01:17 PM

View Postmacdude22, on 05 September 2015 - 09:58 AM, said:

http://www.amazon.co...r/dp/B00B2HH7G0
This monitor is sweet as hell and has DVI, Displayport, and HDMI. Jus sayin.
And a crappy TN panel. :ph34r:

I won't consider buying any display that hasn't an IPS and VA panel; I can't stand the poor TN viewing angles, I can't stand the way colours shift as you slightly move your head.

I like Dell Ultrasharp displays, but there are several good alternatives. If you have the money, go for a 27": 2560x1440 is *sharp*. 4K displays (at least those affordable for the average guy) have TN panels too, to be avoided.

#9 Frigidman™

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Posted 05 September 2015 - 01:34 PM

I wouldn't recommend buying any IPS panel because their latency and smudge factor is the crapbags. Not to mention at a high price. Unless you happen to be doing photo reproduction work, and shift in your seat every three seconds... the IPS aint worth it.

For gaming the TN and plain ole LCD do well, so long as they have no input lag, and their response times is on par to feed the rapidly changing graphics on time.

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#10 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 05 September 2015 - 08:15 PM

The linked monitor looks perfect for my needs and would be very nice should I add a PC at some point too given the refresh rate. I wish listed that and some other stuff on Amazon just now for future reference. Boy, the price on that screen is great too. What a deal. That is just what I had in mind and also just the size I'd like. For me, 27" is a little big I find but I wouldn't really want less than 24" myself. I consider that size to be ideal.

The Bose Companion 5's use a USB connector for their own DSP for best sound apparently although there is also a standard mini connector as well. I am a little confused about how to set things up so virtually everything just defaults to using the Companion 5's which is ideally what I would want. I just took a look at the PS4 and again at the screen and it looks like sounds goes via HDMI to the screen. I don't understand how you redirect the sound from the screen bypassing its weak speakers, directly to whatever you want to use instead. It does have a headphone out jack associated with the HDMI port (it seems to have just one of these?) so I don't know if that is the only option to run the sound into something else but it appears that way.

I know zip about home home theater setup, etc. and so zip about how to do this kind of setup too. I don't have anything connected to my present television for sound so I haven't ever tried to do something like this before.

Where the focus on this screen seems to be PC gaming although it does support other inputs, I wonder if that is why sound out is limited here versus a traditional television? I am just guessing as again, I don't have a clue here. It's all new to me.

One easy option that occurs to me though is to use the Companion 5s for my Mac and plug the Companion 20s I have now which are also very nice but not as nice as the Companion 5's into the monitor for its sound output. That's a little ugly as a solution but there is no added cost and the speakers are slim in width so I could tuck them back a little out of the way and that would work. Ideally I would like just using the Companion 5's for everything.

If I recall correctly (I am too lazy to go check now) but my television has some special digital audio out connector that I imagine works with various home theater stuff, sound bars and whatnot. I never looked into any of that yet.

Thanks for the feedback by the way. This looks like something I may very well do because I find 3 grand every 3 years for an iMac with a disposable screen kind of hard to swallow when I could probably put together a better more flexible setup for considerably less money that also lasts longer.
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#11 Camper-Hunter

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Posted 06 September 2015 - 12:32 AM

View PostFrigidman™, on 05 September 2015 - 01:34 PM, said:

I wouldn't recommend buying any IPS panel because their latency and smudge factor is the crapbags. Not to mention at a high price. Unless you happen to be doing photo reproduction work, and shift in your seat every three seconds... the IPS aint worth it.

For gaming the TN and plain ole LCD do well, so long as they have no input lag, and their response times is on par to feed the rapidly changing graphics on time.
Unless you're a pro gamer, a modern IPS panel is way fast enough for the average guy's reflexes. Don't believe the hype and marketing. All recent Apple standalone displays, iMac (except a low-end model) and MacBook Pro displays have been IPS, and I never saw someone complaining about gaming lag.

If you're really scared, buy a VA panel (PVA or MVA), they're a little faster I think and still have really good image, but the offering is smaller especially at large sizes.

IPS isn't only for photo work. My opinion is TN is only good enough for Word and Excel at work. ;) Granted, non-TN displays are more expensive, but a display can last for years and IMHO is a critical piece of the setup, often overlooked.

Oh, and one last thing: I'd recommend a matte panel, instead of those glossy ones (like the ones Apple loves) unless you like seeing your reflection a lot or live in a room without windows.

#12 macdude22

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Posted 06 September 2015 - 10:02 AM

I used to play NES on a 9 inch black and white tv with those 300 ohm terminals. Anything after that is gravy. The VG248QE looks good to my old, untrained eyes, and has the right mix of inputs for me. IPS, TN, CRT, litterbox. I dun care. Hell, remember the first generations of LCDs with their 25ms latency. Your mouse would just ghost across the screen.

I'm with dirty harry, 27 is a lil big for my desk but the 24 is just about right.

As far as sound goes on my current computer setup I'm just running an 3.5mm switch box to some passable logitech speakers. 2ch is good enough for me. I do have a pair of surround headphones if I really need the immersion.

http://electronicsusa.com/mk1and2.html

I'm easy to please, and I have to frak around at work all day I just want easy peasy at home. I'm sure my Roku TV is not the best panel either but it looks fine enough and I run everything into it via HDMI and one toslink cable out to a ZVOX 555. Good enough for government work and didn't cost me a whole lotta scratch. More scratch for me to spend on whiskey. Call me lazy, I THRIVE ON IT. :happy:
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#13 Frigidman™

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Posted 06 September 2015 - 12:10 PM

I do have the Logitech Z5500's for my HTPC living room machine... and they are very very nice. Such nice audio for movies and tv, I can hear everything going on. Plus at half bass, they are a thumpin already.

I agree on the matte screens. I paid extra on my laptop just to get that 'feature' (basically I pay to have them remove the glass !! LOL apple you ffffuuu...). Glossy aint good unless you sit in a black room with no light sources or light colors behind you.

I also agree with the 24" vs 27". 24" was a big step up from my 17", and it felt so darn huge for awhile. Now its just about right with minimal head movement to visually become engrossed in whats going on. This is all of course related to you sitting distance. If you sit far back, you do need a bigger screen. If you sit up close (like a laptop), then 17" is just fine enough.

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#14 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 07 September 2015 - 10:12 AM

I would recommend taking a read through the article I wrote a few months back: Best Mac Computer for Gaming 2015

It outlines all the best pricepoints for performance (gaming) focused Macs across the whole product line. The Mac Mini with the 2.6 GHz CPU and Iris graphics will be able to perform light gaming tasks, and is quite a bit more powerful than the base model iMac.
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#15 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 07 September 2015 - 11:12 AM

View PostSneaky Snake, on 07 September 2015 - 10:12 AM, said:

I would recommend taking a read through the article I wrote a few months back: Best Mac Computer for Gaming 2015

It outlines all the best pricepoints for performance (gaming) focused Macs across the whole product line. The Mac Mini with the 2.6 GHz CPU and Iris graphics will be able to perform light gaming tasks, and is quite a bit more powerful than the base model iMac.

I had taken a look at that before. I'll do so again for the mini info although I would not buy one before at least the next refresh anyway. Ideally whatever that winds up being will be able to run a lot of my current collection of games good enough to suit me as a great number of them are older less demanding titles. It would be cool if it could run the Blizzard games at reasonably decent settings at 1080p but I'll have to see what GPU, etc. is available in the next mini refresh whenever that is.

If I buy a mini, I would just BTO the top of the line for one to get the best longevity out of the thing.
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#16 Tetsuya

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Posted 10 September 2015 - 05:37 PM

The current Mini lineup is trash, IMO.  The previous generation "2012" swrver mkdel curb stomps anything in the current generation.

#17 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 10 September 2015 - 09:02 PM

I would not need nor consider one before another refresh anyway myself. I am looking forward to seeing what they bring out then.
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#18 Cougar

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 12:49 PM

I would not hold my breath that Skylake Minis will be a good deal in comparison to Skylake iMacs. The Mac Mini is the iPod Touch of the Mac line. But stranger things have happened.