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crotalus99
Jun 4, 2008, 12:54 PM
I am in the process of setting up my system. I want to eventually have a couple of ATVs around the house, so I am going to make an older PPC Mac Mini as the dedicated Mac and use a Drobo for the storage. I have a Time Capsule with 802.11N to connect to the ATV.

My question is once a movie is connected to the ATV does the movie then stream straight from the Drobo or does it go to the Mac and then out to the ATV?

I ask because I have 2 options with this setup.
1) Router with the Drobo connected to the USB port and the Mac connected via ethernet

2) Router with Mac connected via ethernet. Drobo connected via USB to Mac


Does it even matter? I ask because they will all be on the same shelf so I have the option.

Thanks.



dynaflash
Jun 4, 2008, 01:32 PM
Any movies that you stream from a remote hard drive go to the mac running iTunes first, then out to the atv. So if your remote storage is on your network, your network would need to support the movie bandwidth x 2. Personally I would hook your drobo directly to your mac via usb and only stream via the network one way from the mac to the atv.

kornyboy
Jun 4, 2008, 01:36 PM
Wirelessly posted (iPhone: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/4A102 Safari/419.3)

It is all controlled through iTunes since the AppleTV is synced with your iTunes library. iTunes will always have to be running on your Mac Mini. ATV will ask iTunes for the movie and it will know where the movie is stored and stream the data to the ATV. I have a similar setup with my powermac (connected via Ethernet), time capsule, external HD, and AppleTV and it works great. Good luck!

Consultant
Jun 4, 2008, 03:28 PM
Hook up external drives to your server Mac.

Drobo sounds way overpriced to me though.

nittany
Jun 4, 2008, 05:23 PM
Given that in either scenario you're going to leave the Mini on continuously, you might want to consider using it as your home server, rather than just as your iTunes content server. By doing this, all of the computers on your network (I'm presuming there will be more than one) will be able to access the Mini and whatever is connected to it (physically or logically). Sure, you can accomplish this in a NAS-like fashion by connecting the Drobo to your router, but I think you'll find it easier and more useful if it was connected to your Mini.

Given that the connections from your iTunes server (the Mini) to the router will be wired, I'm curious as to why you would then switch to wireless from there to the aTVs. As I've posted in the past, the day I switched my household to a wired network was one of the best ever. 10G-rated cable is marginally near zero compared to cat 5 or 5e. Sure the aTV only sports a 100 megabit port, but that's today, who knows what the next hardware version will bring (as you may know, the current Macs all sport 1G ports). Anyway, switching to a wired network (if you can) will nearly eliminate the question of where to hang the Drobo storage, as the speed of the network will overcome a lot. That's much harder to do wirelessly - especially when signals get dropped, etc.

Still, if I were in your situation, I'd connect the Drobo directly to the Mini. It reduces traffic on the network and will also reduce the time before your music, movies, TV programs, etc. show up on the stereo/monitor connected to your aTV. Unfortunately, it looks like the Drobo only connects via USB. That's okay, but it would be better if you could connect via Firewire, as its sustained data transfer rate is much faster (even for Firewire 400) than USB2.

As someone said above, the Drobo seems too expensive for what it is - a RAID enclosure. I don't know how much data you want to store, but another route to consider is http://g-technology.com/Products/G-RAID2.cfm. I don't work for these guys, but I have used many of their products and found them rock solid and nicely packaged with higher grade interfaces (e.g., Firewire 400/800, eSATA). For example, their 1TB RAID product lists for $449 compared to the Drobo enclosure (no drives) which at Newegg http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822240001 currently costs $445.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate.

One final note: If you plan on deploying multiple aTVs, then I think you should consider the impact on your network of using them simultaneously - especially if part of the network is going to be operated wirelessly.

err404
Jun 6, 2008, 01:35 PM
As other have said:
The Mini may be to slow to be a primary desktop, but makes an excellent 24/7 home server. It's very energy efficient due to the laptop parts (it pays for the price premium from it's power savings). It has plenty of performance for file sharing and any other network services you might need.

The Drobo requires a $200 addon to make it a NAS device, save the money and just use it plugged into the USB on your Mini.

It not the cheapest or the fastest, but the advantage of the Drobo is simplicity. They do have some decent deals going on right now if you buy it with the drives. If you are looking for easy to manage fault tolerant bulk storage, it makes a lot of sense; however this is not a device for heavy duty video editing.
I don't have one, but it's my understanding that the performance is just under the max sustainable for USB. Right now, there is no point in supporting Firewire, since the current internals are too slow to justify it. (There are rumblings of a eSATA version in the works, but for bulk storage of videos, it hardly matters)

gwsat
Jun 6, 2008, 01:49 PM
I use my Time Capsule as a repository for my iTunes movie files, which I make available to it with alias files. These are then available to Apple TV via streaming or syncing, either one. It works well.

err404
Jun 6, 2008, 05:13 PM
The problems I see with the TC are that it is not as fast as a USB drive hosted from a Mini and it is not fault tolerant.
The TC is good as a backup device, since if it dies you still have the original, but you have no protection if you're using it as a primary source for data.

Over the years, I have had three hard disks completely die on me.
Always remember: Drives do fail

hotzenplotz
Jun 6, 2008, 05:42 PM
As others suggested, use you mini as a central hub for all your media needs. I've got mine stashed away in a closet with a 2.5TB array hooked into it. Two ATV's pull media to the living and bedroom, np (over gigabit ethernet).

gwsat
Jun 6, 2008, 07:50 PM
The problems I see with the TC are that it is not as fast as a USB drive hosted from a Mini and it is not fault tolerant.
The TC is good as a backup device, since if it dies you still have the original, but you have no protection if you're using it as a primary source for data.

Over the years, I have had three hard disks completely die on me.
Always remember: Drives do fail
I realize that keeping a bunch of data files on a TC without having backed them up is working without a net. In my case, though, about 90% of my MP4 movie files are also on a FireWire drive, which i used to store them before I got the TC. I plan to add a 1 TB USB drive sometime and attach it to the TC, in order to create a permanent archive for my data files. In the meantime, I only have 5 or 6 movie files for which i don't have backups. That's no big deal, it seems to me.

nosduh
Jun 11, 2008, 09:56 AM
Ok....not sure if any of you are having the skipping problems, but this thread seems to be at least somewhat related to performance and I wanted to ask you guys for your opinion.

I have a MBP acting as my iTunes server. I have iTunes configure to NOT import content when I add it to my library. This way it does not try to copy it to my MBP when I add a movie to iTunes. The MPB is connected via gigabit ethernet.

The movies are located on a Buffalo 4TB NAS connected via gigabit ethernet.

My Apple TV's are also connected via gigabit ethernet, even though they are only 10/100.

All of this is going through a Linksys 24 port gigabit switch.

About half the time when I play a movie and it is streaming it, it stutters and skips really badly. Sometimes I can pause it for a minute and unpause it and it goes away. Sometimes I have to exit the movie and re-start it. Sometimes I do all of that over and over and it still does it.

It is not the format, because another time I will play the same movie and it will play through the WHOLE thing fine.

I am not doing any backups or large file copies during movie playback.

Any ideas? Any questions?

killerwhack
Jun 11, 2008, 10:00 AM
Any ideas? Any questions?

I have a terastation pro and there is an option to set the packet size.

I have ours set at the largest setting. Did you look at that ?

hotzenplotz
Jun 11, 2008, 10:03 AM
...

The movies are located on a Buffalo 4TB NAS connected via gigabit ethernet.

...

Is there a way to measure the actual ethernet speed of your Buffalo NAS? That is the first place I would look.

nosduh
Jun 11, 2008, 10:11 AM
I have a terastation pro and there is an option to set the packet size.

I have ours set at the largest setting. Did you look at that ?

I have looked at it but honestly have not read enough to feel comfortable jacking with it. Do you have the same skipping problem or no?

What little I read seemed to indicate that if you have other non-gigabit devices on your network it could cause issues. So I left it default.

If you are not having the problem I will check it.

As to checking the actual ethernet speed of the NAS....not sure. I will do some research.

Thanks for the feedback. :)