Mac mini Frequently Asked Questions
If you are new to the Mac mini or even Apple Computers in general, you may have some questions you want answered before you spend your time and hard earned money on a dedicated Media Center. This list of Frequently Asked Questions discusses a majority of the questions I have received over the years in regard to Apple Media Centers.
General Usage Questions
Can I keep the Mac mini on 24/7?
Yes, computers these days don’t really need to be shutdown ever as long as you make sure that the fans do not get blocked. Shutting down and unplugging is recommended while your away. You can also sleep the computer through the remote.
Is the Mac mini quiet?
Yes, very and it is one of the most reliable computers Apple has ever made.
Should I turn it off in a Thunderstorm?
Yes, unless you have an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), which has a battery backup and software support to shut the computer down properly. This is also recommended for large hard drive arrays.
Does the Mac mini only function as a Media Center or can I use it as a normal Mac, Games?
While the main use will probably be for TV, media related software, or Games it is not limited in any way.
From 2011 the Mac mini no longer comes with a CD/DVD burner, why?
The first reason is that you may not need it, secondly we sell a Samsung DVD/Cd drive for under $50 and you also have the option of a Blueray Player.
What is the maximum amount of RAM that my Mac mini will support?
The 2013 Mac mini supports 16GB of RAM despite what Apples website says.
What kind of hard drive fits inside the Mac mini?
The 2013 Mac mini uses a 2.5″ SATA drive. It is also capable of having a second hard drive added to it with out add on kit.
What is the largest hard drive that fits inside the Mac mini?
The largest capacity that fits in the Mac mini without any problems is 2x 1TB .
Is my Mac mini a 32 or 64 Bit Machine?
The 2013 Mac minis hardware and software is fully 64-Bit. If you are purchasing an older Mac mini you can tell by what kind of processor it has. Mac minis with Core 2 Duo processors are 64-Bit and models with Core Duo processors are 32-Bit. 32-Bit machines are not recommended if you plan on watching any high definition content and cannot run Mountain Lion OS.
Audio & Video
Does the Mac mini support 720p/1080p output?
Yes. Using an HDMI cable to connect your Mac mini to a TV with an HDMI input you can output 720p (1280 x 720), 1080p (1920 x 1080) and several other resolutions in between. Using a DisplayPort/Thunderbolt port you can output a resolution of 2560 x 1600 to a capable monitor.
What Mac mini do I need to playback 1080p material?
Any Mac mini produced later than 2009 can playback 1080p and Blu-Ray material. Models that have a processor that is a 2.26GHz Core 2 Duo or LOWER may have trouble playing back 1080p content but should be fine with 720p.
Does the Mac mini support surround sound (5.1/7.1/DTS/etc)?
The 2011 Mac minis support 5.1 surround sound output and DTS passthrough using an Optical connection (SPDIF). Due to the limitations of SPDIF, higher bandwidth audio tracks are not supported (7.1+).
How do I get an optical output (SPDIF) from my Mac mini?
You need an inexpensive adapter, see the Connecting the Computer’s Audio to your Television section.
Can I get another screen running my mac Mini Media Center?
Yes, using wireless HDMI sends Audio, Video and Remote IR.
I have a iPad can I send video to my Mac mini?
Yes Airplay is built into MAc OS 10.8 and previous os has third party software is available.
Can I access movies from my Mac Mini on my iPad?
Yes, and with a faster upload from your ISP, like cable or Fiber broadband you can stream movie to your iPad on broadband anywhere in the world.
Can I playback Blu-Ray movies in OSX?
Yes. Please check the playback section for more details.
Older Mac mini Questions
My Mac mini does not have HDMI out, if I get a Mini-DVI/DVI to HDMI Cable will that work?
No, the only Mac minis that support audio and video over HDMI are the 2013 to 2010 Mac minis. If you have an older Mac mini you will need to separately connect the audio and video.