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Old Jan 31, 2009, 12:11 PM   #1
iceman575
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Can You Link 2 Mac Mini's?

This may be a stupid question but I cant seem to find anything about it by a basic web search. Would it be possible to link the boards of two mac minis, in essence creating a cheap imitation of the Mac Pro? It seems to me that if this were possible, you could have the benefit of multiple processors, two monitors, 2 hard drives at a fraction of the cost of a Mac Pro. Anyone have any thoughts?
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Old Jan 31, 2009, 12:28 PM   #2
lloydh
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Not easily possible, and two Mac minis !=Mac Pro.

You can create a distributed computing system using multiple Mac minis to share highly intensive workflows (video rendering, scientific etc.) over gigabit ethernet, but I don't think that's what you were really asking.
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Old Jan 31, 2009, 12:31 PM   #3
iceman575
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I might have overstated the effect of linking two mini's, but the idea would be for the two motherboards to share tasks as if they were part of the same computer.

Would the task sharing you mentioned via ethernet produce that effect?
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Old Jan 31, 2009, 02:09 PM   #4
Arne
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no it wouldn't.

two Mac minis won't help you at all in day-to-day tasks (exept you use both at the same time, like one for e-mail and one for whatever...., but you would need two screens, two keyboards, two mice, etc...

but there is no way to link two minis in order to get a snappier computer... you can only set them up to work together with tasks that take a lot of time (as mentioned, video rendering etc) and only, if the application you use supports it...

the reason is, that ethernet for example is far slower than the RAM-interface.
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Old Jan 31, 2009, 03:56 PM   #5
Ubundows
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arne View Post
no it wouldn't.

two Mac minis won't help you at all in day-to-day tasks (exept you use both at the same time, like one for e-mail and one for whatever...., but you would need two screens, two keyboards, two mice, etc...

but there is no way to link two minis in order to get a snappier computer... you can only set them up to work together with tasks that take a lot of time (as mentioned, video rendering etc) and only, if the application you use supports it...

the reason is, that ethernet for example is far slower than the RAM-interface.
Good question OP. Arne, isn't it possible to use the same for both if you use the wireless ones (I wouldn't know, don't own a mac yet)? It would be great to be able to just switch the wires at the side of your monitor and switch between systems.

In answer to the OP, doubt it. You could get two different macs, with two different monitors and do half your stuff on one and half on the other but other than sharing HD space and printer/faxes over ethernet, I doubt you can make them 1 system.
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Old Jan 31, 2009, 03:59 PM   #6
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The OS can use multiple processors, BUT they have to be on the same system. you basically would have two separate computers in one case; the only communication would be via ethernet. It's not a way to get a more powerful computer. When you have a true multiprocessor system, the hardware is designed to run on the same bus.
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Old Jan 31, 2009, 06:02 PM   #7
iceman575
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Would it be possible to link the bus?
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Old Jan 31, 2009, 06:11 PM   #8
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there's no way to link the bus like that; it's hardwired onto the board. Moreover, you would nee the right support firmware and bus hardware. Multi-processor systems are designed for that, a mac mini is designed as one processor (never mind multicore or anything).
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Old Jan 31, 2009, 09:04 PM   #9
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to make a somewhat makeshift version of what your talking about you could get a kvm switch which basicly lets you share a monitor a keyboard and a mouse with 2 computers via usb ports and the switch just lets you switch between them without having to change any wires around all you have to do is flip a switch
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Old Jan 31, 2009, 09:33 PM   #10
old-wiz
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to make a somewhat makeshift version of what your talking about you could get a kvm switch which basicly lets you share a monitor a keyboard and a mouse with 2 computers via usb ports and the switch just lets you switch between them without having to change any wires around all you have to do is flip a switch
That's not what the OP is talking about - he wants basically ONE computer to do multiple things by splitting the work to two cpus. He's not lookign for the Kvm idea.
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Old Jan 31, 2009, 09:55 PM   #11
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It would be much easier to just get two displays and two more arms.
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