A closer look at the Mac mini

1080p bliss

Well, that didn’t take very long.

Okay, I said that I wouldn’t pay $599 for a Mac mini. I didn’t— I paid more than that. One core and 512 MB RAM wasn’t going to cut it. Well, I was just going to get a 512MB model, but when I was at the checkout counter, the Apple store guy looked and said… “Oh, I’m sorry. I grabbed the 1 GB one. I’ll have to go get the other one.” Then, I heard myself say, “Oh— 1 GB? I’ll take it.” At least I think it was me. It was my voice, but I just don’t recall thinking it through first.

So, our TV now has a couple of processors attached to it. I think it’s happy now. The thing is a 1080p LCD display, and I’m thrilled and amazed that the mini took one look at it and said, “Hey, you can do 1080p! So can I!”

And so it can. Full screen 1080p trailers from Apple play without a hiccup. Color me impressed. The jury is still out on how well it works with the latest and greatest games, but all the ones I have now (that have been updated as Universal Binaries; yes, a short list) play very well. It is a game console. Time to find the Universal Binary for MacMAME.

I’ve been copying my media over to it and it will be the new permanent hub for my aging 3rd-gen iPod and a 250 GB external firewire drive I bought a while back.

The Apple retail store where I bought it was even offering some free-after-mail-in-rebate printers— I picked the Epson Stylus CX4200 with a built-in scanner. Even if I don’t use it as a printer, it’s a decent scanner.

Universal Binary support is quickly coming to all my favorite software. I’ve been loading them up. So far, we have:

  • Quicksilver
  • TextMate
  • Adium X
  • iTerm
  • Cyberduck
  • Camino 1.0 (official FireFox UB isn’t available yet)
  • Quake 3 Arena

There are others yet to be installed, but these were at the top of my list since I use them all the time. The other apps I use all the time are the iLife apps which are already Universal Binaries.

I’m always amazed at how easy it is to get up and running on a new Mac. .Mac makes it especially easy with transferring my contacts, calendars, bookmarks and keychain. I’ve not had a real need for the synchronization support with .Mac, but now I do.

So there you have it. Chalk up another win for Apple. I hope I just hope I can pay this off before the 12” MacBook Pro comes out.



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bdc said:

Is that a Westinghouse HD Monitor that you hooked the mini to? Does it work fine at 1920x1080?

Brad Author Profile Page said:

bdc: Yes, it is and yes it does. 1920 x 1080 works just fine. Both for Mac OS X and when running Windows under BootCamp.

steve said:

How do I get 1080p out of my mini?

I've got a 1.83gHz Mac Mini connected to a Sony 52" XBR3 using a cheap DVI to HDMI cable. I can change the display to 1080i, but "p" is not listed.

How are others getting 1080p?

Brad Author Profile Page said:

@steve: I'm using a DVI cable myself. It may be an issue with the converter cable. I found someone mention that they got 1080p output using a VGA cable. Have you tried that?

steve said:

SwitchResX lists 2 resolutions of 1920x1080 with no indication of "i" or "p." I selected the 2nd one in the list and the Sony says that it is 1080p.

Where can I find some content that will demo the difference between "i" and "p?"


This article was published on March 4, 2006 8:46 AM.

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