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Getting a new HTPC: Intel NUC or Mac mini?


Junior Member
Jan 3, 2014

I've been reading up on what to get for a new HTPC. I prefer the Mac mini's design and OS, but there seems to be a few issues with Intel HD 4000 and 24p playback (actually, with any pre-Haswell chip). I have a few questions about 24p and how that actually works on HTPCs. I want to get judder free playback of 24p, but I can't seem to understand exactly how this all relates.

AFAIK, pre-HD 5000 chips will not deliver judder-free 24p playback, because it's actually driving the display at 23,973 Hz instead of 23,976 Hz. This will result in dropped frames. But it sounds like such a small amount. Will I notice it?

Also, on the 2009 Mac mini I had previously I was able to use SwitchResX to setup OS X to output exactly 23,976 Hz on old NVIDIA hardware. At least, that's what the prefpane said, and I couldn't see any dropped frames. I think, however, audio was drifting. But how exactly does the Intel hardware issue relate to something that can be seemingly fixed in software?

Lastly, both Plex and XBMC now supports matching video speed to display refresh rate. Even though it doesn't mean that I will gett true 24p, it should at least mean judder-free playback. And once again, is this tiny speed-up of the video big enough to notice?

I'm thinking about an Intel NUC 54250 or a Mac mini.


Nov 27, 2001
Honestly, I don't even worry about the refresh rate of the monitor/TV, and I never notice any weird anomalies.

I do use a NUC for one of my HTPCs, and my only complaint is that the fan is a little loud. Although, do keep in mind that my definition of "a little loud" is very subjective. It's pretty quiet for what it is, but my NUC is in my bedroom, which is pretty much dead silent. The fan noise is a little whiny, which I think makes it worse. Personally, I'm waiting for a passive case for the Haswell NUCs, so I won't have to put up with it anymore.


Senior member
Nov 3, 2008
The 2:3 pulldown that takes place to show 23.976fps on 60hz screens varies in its annoyance. During any panning scene it is very noticeable and the match display option in XBMC has cured it. Providing your TV is capable of operating at 24hz I would definitely recommend using this option.

For me the difference between 23.97x and true 24fps does not cause observable dropped frames. you lose 1 frame from 24 every 40 seconds. Even looking for it I struggle to spot it.

XBMC has a few options to keep audio/video sync. each option uses a different technique and has a different downside so you can have a play around.

My main HTPC uses Intel HD2000 and after a playing with the software options it is possible to get great playback at 24fps with no judder and audio/video in sync.