I have a Mac Mini (Mid 2011) with 2,3 GHz Intel Core i5 8 GB RAM with SSD, that I use to watch videos. The machine is great in all respects, except if I play 1080p encoded with H265 or VP9, the fan goes to full speed (and CPU tops around 100%). 1080p at H264 plays fine without fan noise.

What is the minimum upgrade that will let me play any current 1080p file without audible fan noise? I realise the problem is caused by a slow CPU / lack of GPU support, which means replacing the entire unit, which I am willing to do. So which (second hand) Mac Mini is strong enough for this?

  • From my understanding, Apple has had hardware accelerated H.264 decoding since 2008 or so, but has only added hardware H.265 decoding in the last couple years to newer devices. I don't believe Apple has had intentions to support VP9, as demonstrated with Safari and lack of YouTube 4K support. – drivec Jun 19 '18 at 14:18
  • Aha! So there's politics at work. Well, to hell with VP9, then. This article says something about HEVC support in Macs after 2015, but a more precise answer would be appreciated. fstoppers.com/gear/… – forthrin Jun 19 '18 at 17:43

You won't do that with a Mac Mini. The latest Mac Mini uses a Haswell cpu (core gen4) which provides acceleration for H.264/AVC 8-bit, VC-1, MPEG2 and JPEG.


H.265 = HEVC = MPEG-H Part 2 = standard

x265 = encoder (and not the only one which exist).

  • So even the latest Mac Mini doesn't have support for H265? Well, then no point in upgrading then, if you're right. Thanks in that case. However, HEVC = H265, not H264. Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Efficiency_Video_Coding – forthrin Jun 19 '18 at 17:46
  • Ah, yes. This is a mere typo. Thx. – LoliconSuspect Jun 19 '18 at 18:10
  • If a future Mac Mini gets H265 support, someone might post an answer indicating this. – forthrin Jun 19 '18 at 19:29
  • It's more about Mac Mini getting an newer gpu. – LoliconSuspect Jun 19 '18 at 21:14

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