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Mac mini video review

Our Mac mini video review shows that this tiny PC makes a great living room media centre. Video shot and edited by Dominik Tomaszewski.

Ultra-compact in size, ultra-low in power consumption, and crucially quiet to use, the Apple Mac mini makes a compelling media centre when matched with the right peripherals and software. Its performance is much faster than a box this size deserves and the built-in graphics card provides gaming horsepower too.

Although not specifically designed as a Media Centre PC, the tiny Mac mini’s diminutive proportions, elegant design, excellent performance and low power consumption all add up to a formidable piece of hardwarefor the living room.

Tested under Windows, WorldBench 6 returned a score of 123 points, which is slower than much of the competition but more than needed for our purposes. Gaming performance was excellent too. In the Windows video transcode test, though, AppleBoot Camp drivers don’t allow accelerated compression, so a time of 8 mins 33 secs is lower than that from systems that allow full hardware transcoding.

Mac mini video review

Alternatively, it’s easy enough to navigate to your media and apps within the standard OS X interface. When displaying on a large screenacross the room, just set resolution down to a level that lets you read text and icons – for example, 1024 x 640 works well on a 30in screen viewed from six feet away.

Missing from the mini now is an optical drive, so to play CDs or DVDs you’ll need to hook up an external model such as the Macbook Air SuperDrive which we’ve included in the price. Blu-rayis less straightforward. There’s no native Blu-ray support within OS X, but you can use third-party apps like Mac Blu-ray Player. Or rip the disc first, removing obstructive encryption, then play films directly with video apps like VLC.

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