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Buy/build a HTPC - recommendations?

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jimfisheye

1K Club - QQ Shooting Star
Joined
Jan 8, 2010
Messages
1,215
I looked into this unit a bit more. Using the serial number I was able to confirm the following on this Mac Mini I was looking to use as a media player. Mac Mini Mid 2011. 2.5Ghz i5 cpu, 8GB memory, AMD Radeon HD 6630M 256MB graphics, Max OS X Lion 10.7.5.

Maybe I can find install Linux on this hardware? Or maybe I can see if Parallels (Windows) will run on it. Anyway, this is becoming a fun project.
Go for that 2011 machine! That will be modern current gen experience. It runs up to the latest OSX 10.15 Catalina. I recommend installing 10.13.6 High Sierra though for max compatibility with all 3rd party apps. Up to you though. I think all the usual suspects for media players are up to speed with 10.15.
That machine has 2x 2.5" drive bays and supports up to 16GB ram. 8GB ram is more than you'll ever use for home theater though.

PS. If someone is trying to tell you that machine only supports 10.7, they're misinformed or trying to up-sell you.
PPS. You can install any OS you please on one of those. OSX 'just works' the most and requires the least DIY tech.
 

jimfisheye

1K Club - QQ Shooting Star
Joined
Jan 8, 2010
Messages
1,215
As much as I want to bad mouth Kodi Media Player for the disaster that is its GUI, it works. And by that I mean it works for the "ringer" formats. DTS2496 for example is decoded fully (where many media player apps only decode the core dts portion). Channel formats other than 2.0 or 5.1 work correctly.
 

blitztorte

Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2016
Messages
45
Go for that 2011 machine! That will be modern current gen experience. It runs up to the latest OSX 10.15 Catalina. I recommend installing 10.13.6 High Sierra though for max compatibility with all 3rd party apps. Up to you though. I think all the usual suspects for media players are up to speed with 10.15.
That machine has 2x 2.5" drive bays and supports up to 16GB ram. 8GB ram is more than you'll ever use for home theater though.

PS. If someone is trying to tell you that machine only supports 10.7, they're misinformed or trying to up-sell you.
PPS. You can install any OS you please on one of those. OSX 'just works' the most and requires the least DIY tech.
I have clicked on "Software update" and do see the Mac Mini replying with "Software update doesn't have any new software for your computer at this time". So if the OS can be upgraded I assume it needs to be done in a different manner.
 

jimfisheye

1K Club - QQ Shooting Star
Joined
Jan 8, 2010
Messages
1,215
I have clicked on "Software update" and do see the Mac Mini replying with "Software update doesn't have any new software for your computer at this time". So if the OS can be upgraded I assume it needs to be done in a different manner.
Avoid the App Store. They try to gaslight you into buying new hardware nowadays.
There are download links...


This guy Dosdude1 from the Mac Rumors forum has a page and has created patcher apps to undo the blacklisting of compatible "unsupported" models. dosdude1's Personal Web Server - Software
You don't need to patch anything for that model but the patcher tool also includes a convenient download tool. You can download directly from Apple's server with it and then quit the patch tool and make your USB stick installer normally.

I recommend making a USB stick installer.
Just running the installer app (it comes as an app FYI) and letting it update usually works.
Booting to the USB installer and pointing it to your hard drive with an older system already installed will do an update. This usually always works.
Booting to the USB installer and pointing it to a blank freshly formatted drive does a clean install. This ALWAYS works!

Tip: If you use the migration assistant to migrate an old system account to a new clean install, be aware that it always assumes upgrading to a newer system. If you try to use the migration assistant to copy an account from a newer OSX install to a clean install of an older OSX, it will crash.

Clean install from a USB stick created installer to a freshly formatted drive ALWAYS works.
 
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