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fanless mini-pc for streaming itunes

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by potatis, Dec 4, 2011.

  1. macrumors 6502


    Does anyone run or can recommend a cheap, small and fanless windows computer that can be used for running iTunes and serving material to :apple:tv?
  2. macrumors 68040


    I do not think with any of the HTPC type pc's you will find anything that is fan less only because all of the chips get too hot. I think the mini with an SSD will be as quite as you can get, but if it uses the cpu it will kick the fan on regardless.
  3. macrumors regular


    I have an Acer Aspire-Revo 3700 (Model: Acer AR-3700). It does have a fan, but the amount of heat and noise is insignificant. Very quiet and very low heat. I've been very happy with it. Now, it isn't the fastest thing in the world as it has an atom processor, but I have a huge library with very little lag on the AppleTV.

    I'd easily recommend that. Though, you'll want an external HD or NAS to pull the data from as the included drive is kinda small... Most of the heat also comes from the drive, so I'm planning on switching to an SSD as soon as is feasible.
  4. macrumors newbie

    How about a NAS with the iTunes server? WD ShareSpace as one of the options...
  5. macrumors newbie

    Hm, does anyone know about solutions that can do video streaming as well? the WD just streams audio, like aac and mp3.
  6. macrumors 601


    I'm disappointed that Apple doesn't offer any home iTunes Server. The software and computing power required to send files to computers running iTunes is minimal, they probably could (and should) add an iTunes server inside their Airport routers.
  7. macrumors 68030

    No NAS can stream video directly. This is because the system that they all use to do this is the old Airport Express firecore (I think that's what it's called) protocol that only supports audio.
  8. macrumors newbie

    Didn't know it strems only audio... xbmcfreak.nl got quite a lot of options for small MS based PCs - should be an alternative then...

    (however JB + NAS sounds easier to me)...
  9. macrumors 6502


    I'll have to check it out then... is it as quiet as the mac mini? I suppose I could buy a mac mini, but it's a bit too good looking/expensive to just have as itunes server, and the old g4 cube is a bit big and undiscrete by today's standards. Do you manage it from another computer with a shared iTunes library?
  10. macrumors member

    ATV1 running Leopard.

    Cheap ($50-100 on eBay)
    Small (footprint of unibody Mac Mini, about half the height)
    Fanless? Not quite but stick it in an entertainment center or put it in a server closet and you'll never hear it.

    You can add as much external USB storage as you like. Mine idles around 15 watts and never goes much about 18W under heavy file transfer.
  11. macrumors 6502


    Hm, yes. But how easy is it to install? Already have the AVT1 but was going to use it with the TV. I suppose there's no hack that lets it run iTunes behind the ATV interface? Then it could serve itself so to speak.
  12. macrumors 68030

    There are fanless HTPCs. Shuttle does a few.

    Eg, this one. Not to difficult to install an iTunes server onto this.

  13. macrumors 68040

    You could also just use an old laptop. With the lid closed and screen off, most of them will only draw 5-15w, and if you choose wisely, fan noise is minimal. I'd suggest an old Thinkpad T series, which tend to have reasonably quiet fans and utilities that are widely available to manually control that speed even further.
  14. macrumors 68000


    A netbook like this would be my recommendation as well. You may get a really good deal on an older netbook that has a 8 or 16 GB SSD system drive, which is just big enough to hold XP and the iTunes executable and will make the netbook even cooler. Plug in a USB external drive big enough to hold your library with room to grow, and you're golden.

    Keep in mind that whatever you choose as your "server" does not have to be in the same room as the :apple:tv, so that you can put the "server" as far away from your TV as practical. I can, however, recommend wiring it to your router with an Ethernet cable to get around any Wi-Fi signal issues and reduce heat even further.
  15. Bill.the.Cat, Dec 6, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2011

    macrumors member

    The ATV interface runs on top of some version of OS X Tiger (10.4), so I would imagine there might be a way to have it work. I long ago ditched the ATVOS on my ATV1's so I don't remember clearly, but in stock form don't they already allow library access to other devices on the network? That to me would suggest that iTunes is already running, you would just need a way to manage it--again if it's already sharing you should have limited management abilities via iTunes running on another machine on the same network.

    Anyway, it's really very easy to install 10.5.8 if your only concern is running a quiet, low-power iTunes server. You just need two small Torx screwdrivers and a PATA to USB interface for 2.5" PATA drives.
    You can also set it up for other server duties, I also use mine as a central GoodSync repository via SFTP.

    [Edit]: Those of you more familiar with netbook offerings: what is the cheapest netbook out there? I assume just about anything can run Windows XP and seem to occasionally see them going for ~$149 new. One of these could also be hacked to run Leopard if you don't care about video and will hard-wire to the network (no worries about drivers for wi-fi).
  16. macrumors regular


    Sorry, I think you misunderstood. The Acer Revo isn't a netbook. It's what's referred to as a nettop. It's a PC that's about the size of an ATV1.

    I did a fresh install of Win 7 just to clear out the bloatware, but it runs fine right out of the box. It comes with a wireless keyboard and mouse. I have it sitting under my ATV. I use an HDMI cable to hook it to my TV. If I need to import something, I bring it up on the TV and work. Otherwise, it just sits there and chugs along without any complaint.

    I run a scheduled task on the Weekend to restart it, just to keep things fresh...

    The model I have was around $300 and has 2GBs of RAM and an atom processor... It's a nice little box, with a lot less fuss than install OSX...
  17. macrumors 68000


    I stand corrected.
    I saw the words Acer Aspire and assumed a netbook. I might just have to take a look at this Revo thing...
  18. macrumors regular

  19. macrumors newbie

    Time Capsule - Mini PC


    So I have a problem. I have a 1TB time capsule and would like to store my Itunes library on it. From this I would like to access it from my iphone and iPad, as well as my macbook (when I am at home). I can use the remote app on the iphone and ipad but can't access the time capsule. What I really need is the smallest possible PC that will load iTunes, connect it to the time capsule HDD and use it as a server.

    Any suggestions on what micro PC would do this?


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