Intel Mac Mini

Apple has just introduced the new Mac Mini Solo and Duo (dual core processors). Interestly, the new Mac Minis sport digital optical audio inputs and outputs. No longer are Mac Mini owners limited to using USB transfer devices to getting digital audio output. Read some of the details here:

Obviously, Steven Jobs has picked up on the idea of using the Mac Mini as a media hub. The new Mac Mini even sports a matching remote control for navigating media tracks and controlling volume.

I am so glad I have waited on buying a new PC for my next digital transport. Coupled with a FireWire drive or Network Attached Storage (NAS) device, I am now ready to take the plunge into a hard drive transport.
Good for youo and congrats.
Now, if they would just put a decent video board in it....
Too bad they are using the combined digital/analog minijack, which restricts
the use of interconnects to Monster cable and the use of DACs with optical
inputs. On the positive side it sports an optical digital input as well!

Other than that the Mini has been on my list as a media server for a while.
Add a quiet harddrive with fanless, heatsink enclosure and one should have a
nice media center. The remote sounds like a great feature as well.

Apple is certainly taking things in the right direction.

Apple is certainly taking things in the right direction.
Restock (System | Threads | Answers)
Agreed. Somehow, it just makes sense that Apple would be at the forefront of integrated computer/home entertainment.

Hopefully, they'll license their proprietary technology to high end consumer electronics companies so the concept can flourish.

What, am I dreaming?! :)
I'm considering getting the new Intel Mac Mini as a HT media server. I am planning on adding an external HD to up the storage to 500 Gigs (to start). Has anyone done this already?

I'm curious on what kind of DVI to Component (or DVI to HDMI) cable I will need as well as the best utilities to rip DVDs to files which will work best. I don't have a lot of experience ripping DVDs to file to maintain video and audio quality.

Restock - Van den Hul makes a Toslink cable (OPTOCOUPLER Mk II) that is terminated with a miniplug to a Toslink. I haven't tried it yet, but I plan to with a new Intel Mac Mini. My guess is the Van den Hul is a better cable than the Monster.

A few thoughts, fwiw.

Those who are not sold on "rolling their own" with a monitor should consider the iMac G5 -- it's a gorgeous thing and dead quiet. Probably not much more expensive than the mini, once you factor in the cost of the monitor, mouse and keyboard.

Ted -- I've used the external drives w/ my iMac G5. Works wonderfully. I know nothing about ripping DVD's though -- just music.

The optical output on the mini seems like a great option for someone who already owns a DAC w/ an optical input. If you're starting w/out a transport or a DAC, and like the idea of PC audio, I'd strongly recommend a USB DAC over toslink -- from that perspective it's a step backwards.
Gary, very good suggestion. The VdH sounds like a very good option.

As hard drives are bcoming more and more affordable, this will be the most interesting path to go. Interestingly there are nice compact hard drives available for the Mac mini, that are exactly the same size and stackable and most importantly use a heatsink instead of a fan for very quiet operation. I saw one such 300GB drive for CDN$300 last week - very tempting. Add the Mini for $600 and we have a great digital transport for less than $1k.

I just got my system setup today to stream music from iTunes on my Mac G5 wirelessly via Airport Express to my EMM Labs DCC2 DAC. I use a Wireworld Toslink cable with an adapter that allows me to map the regular Toslink terminator on my Wireworld cable to a mini-Toslink plug that can plug into the Airport Express. The sound is absolutely superb!!! So, the folks who end up with the Mac mini as their music hub are in for a real treat.
Ggil: Regarding Van Den Hul optical cable, I also found it and couldn't be happier with the find...considering I don't have it yet. I'm not sure if I caught them at the wrong time or the demand just isn't there yet, but the optical->digital mini cables have been on backorder for almost a month now. I received an update over the weekend that they will ship from Holland this week and then to me once the U.S. distributor gets them in. The cost is ~$85 for 1/m., which seems to be a steal considering the VH optical cables are held in such high regard. So get your order in now so you'll have it when you need it. I'll post my findings in a seperate thread after it arrives. I will be using with my Airport express.