2011 Mac Mini Server Questions

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by drpje2000, Aug 7, 2011.

  1. drpje2000 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2009
    #1
    I need advice from this forum. I am thinking of purchasing the 2011 Mac Mini Server. I am using my computer for FileMaker Pro 11 database, streaming music and videos to my Apple TV, Handbrake, and web surfing. No video games at all. The server will be used as my main computer. I have a lot of videos and music stored on my 1 TB Time Capsule as well as Firewire 800 external hard drives.
    I noticed that OWC has hard drive upgrades which will give me more storage.
    One option would be to purchase the base Mac Mini and upgrade the RAM to 8GB and upgrade the hard drive to a larger single drive or with a cable add a second hard drive. How much of a difference will there be between the 5,400 rpm and 7,200 rpm hard drives? Is it better to have the internal hard drives instead of using a Firewire 800 external drive. The cost of external hard drives are very reasonable. Will there be a significant performance increase for my needs in the server processor as opposed to the base model. I also want the computer to be silent and not overheat. Will the server run the fans louder and produce heat due to the dual hard drives and faster processor. I would like some input from those of you who purchased the server in regard to performance, noise, and heat. Thank you very much.
     
  2. indg macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2007
    #2
    yes the server is a little louder due to base fan speed of 2300rpm vs 1800rpm on the non-server minis. and when the fan spins up to 5000-6000rpm when transcoding video, you'll definitely hear it. but the great thing about the mini is that unlike an imac (which has 4 fans), you don't have to keep it on your desk where you can hear it. put it in a cabinet or somewhere out of sight if it bothers you too much.

    any of the minis should be sufficient for your needs. choose the mini that matches your price point. don't spend extra upgrading the cpu or hdd in the $799 model; just move up to the server model. 7200rpm drives should be about 30% faster than 5400rpm.
     
  3. drpje2000 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2009
    #3
    Thanks for the reply indg. I am leaning toward the server and upgrading the RAM to 8 GB. I plan to purchase the server from Mac Mall to obtain a discount and save on the tax. I can purchase the RAM from Amazon. Is it worth upgrading the hard drives to 750 GB?
    I was concerned that with two hard drives and the faster processor the Mini server would be loud and hot. Where did you obtain the data on the fan speeds. Will SMC fan control help? Thanks
     
  4. indg macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2007
    #4
    i use my server as a single-user workstation, not so much as a server. i wanted performance so i just raid striped the internal drives. 1tb store is plenty for me and i have external hdd's for backup and additional storage needs.

    you can use third-party fan control apps, but can't set lower than the base fan speed set by the firmware.
     
  5. DesertSilver macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2011
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #5
    I bought the Mini 2.5Ghz i5 and am thinking switching it for the server model. Is it confirmed that the fan speeds are 2300rpm vs 1800rpm? My concern is that the server's noise will be more noticeable compared to the Mini on my desk now.
     
  6. Mak47 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2011
    Location:
    Harrisburg, PA
    #6
    They do run at about 2300, but unless you're really listening for it, it's sitting right next to your head or you're working in complete silence there is no noticeable difference.
     
  7. DesertSilver macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2011
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #7
    Thanks, that is reassuring that you're saying there is no noticeable noise difference, which I believe to be the case.

    I don't do much gaming, but it's really too bad the Mini Server doesn't have the AMD GPU since I really hate that the debate is between distinct graphics + slower (but adequate) CPU or integrated graphics + better CPU. Hard drive space isn't a factor since I use a NAS, although the sever does have faster drives.

    Well, I ordered the server from Amazon so hopefully I don't regret going away from the distinct graphics. With the price difference being only $130 from what I paid for the i5 2.5 to the Server, it still made it a tough choice for me. Funny thing is that I ordered it, cancelled it 10 minutes later, and then ordered it again because I'm still going back and forth on my decision.
     
  8. Mak47 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2011
    Location:
    Harrisburg, PA
    #8
    If you don't do much gaming, then the discrete graphics aren't really doing anything for you.

    Some will have us believe that the integrated GPU is incapable of performing even the most basic of tasks--it is actually quite a capable solution. If you're gaming, that's a different story, but for anything else you've got nothing to worry about.

    Besides that, there have been a bunch of other quirks and glitches associated with the system switching between the GPU's on other machines. This just sounds like an unnecessary headache if you're not a gamer.

    Down the road, there will also likely be external GPU options available via Thunderbolt, if you decide you'd like the best of both worlds.
     
  9. OTACORB macrumors 6502a

    OTACORB

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2009
    Location:
    Central, Louisiana
    #9
    Like I've said in another thread. I purchased the 2.5 i5 with the AMD GPU because I initially felt having the discreet GPU was important.

    I have since purchased the 2.0 quad-core i7 with the built in HD 3000. For everything that I do the HD 3000 works just fine. From ripping, to creating graphics, web site design, photo and video work and I've not missed a beat. Depending on what I am doing I have certainly appreciated the quad core.

    I think HD 3000 is getting a bad wrap with little or no evidence just because it is integrated.

    One thing I did notice switching which I don't understand is on my HP LED 2311X monitor the text is actually more crisp, which certainly pleased me.

    The 2.5 core i5 was shipped back today and I am pleased as I can be with my decision to switch.
     

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