A type of housekeeping question - Imac & Mac mini

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by portena, Jun 7, 2008.

  1. portena macrumors member

    Apr 9, 2008
    We are about to go on an extended period of leave, meaning our Imac G5 will need to go into storage. We have bought a Mac Mini to temporarily fill in the Imac's duties while on our travels and when we get home the mac mini will then take up post as entertainment hub.

    How to handle the interim however has got me a little perplexed. I would ideally like to have a direct replica of the Imac's contents on the mac mini, but given that the mac mini has only 120gb and 2mb RAM to the Imac's 300gb (of which 200gb are used) & 4MBRAM I'm obviously going to need to prioritise. Also to consider is the fact that the Imac also runs intensive video editing applications which the mac mini will struggle with.

    More crucially perhaps is that we will want our music and photos (itunes and iphoto) on the mini exactly as it is on the imac. The ipod will need to synch to the mini as it does with the imac, and we will also be adding new music and photos to those libraries during this period. When we retrieve the Imac from storage, I'd like to be able to synch them in some way - so that the new files are added to the old library, without manually having to re-copy everything.

    Is what I need to create a "network", or "sharing" or "synching", or something else altogether? And on a related note, what is the best way to transfer the files from imac to mini? Firewire to firewire (in target disk mode), ethernet to ethernet, bluetooth or airport? This leads on to my final question, which is how we will remotely synch movies/photos/music to the mini once the mini it is installed as entertainment hub.

    I'm a total noob in this area so any help gratefully received.

  2. sambapati87 macrumors member

    Jun 27, 2007
    I would suggest investing in a large external hard drive and moving your iTunes and iPhoto libraries from the iMac to it. This would also get around that hard drive space problem. When you return, reconnect the drive and the iMac will recognize the new media.

    Does anyone know any reasons why this shouldn't work?
  3. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    One way to handle this is to:
    1) Buy an external HD that is at least as big as the iMac HD. Not an expensive item, if ~$100 doesn't scare you off. I'd suggest Firewire, but USB will work too.
    2) Clone the iMac HD to the external. Carbon Copy is recommended often, and I use SuperDuper. This will create an exact copy of the iMac HD onto the external. If you are paranoid, either buy two externals, or one that is large to be partitioned into two volumes that are each big enough. A single 500GB HD will do nicely.
    3) Unplug the external, to keep the contents safe.
    4) delete everything on the iMac that you don't need on the Mini. You will need to bring the the iMac HD down to no more than 100GB - if you don't you plan on adding anything to the mini later. If you plan to add files to the mini, then leave room for those too. A program called Grand Perspective will show you graphically show all your files by size.
    5) Migrate your iMac to your mini. All the remaining files will be transferred, with your settings and preferences. Including your iPod music, etc.
    6) Travel away with the mini.
    7) When you return - hope that Apple has perfected a "merge" feature. If not format the iMac Hd, and then "Migrate" the mini back to the iMac. Then you just need to copy back from the external the files that you need. Your music and photo library on the mini (now on the iMac) will be the latest version you won't need the music and photos from the external.

    I haven't actually done this (I've migrated and it worked great for me) - but perhaps others can elaborate or comment.
  4. portena thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 9, 2008
    gee those are both good options, thanks guys. I do have several back up hard drives including one that solely acts as Time Machine, so I've got some space to work with. SOunds good. (though would be nervous about the migrate/delete scenario, just because such things always are!).

    And how about the mac mini as entertainment hub - how is it possible to synch remotely from imac to mac mini? I know the apple TV does it from within itunes...

    Thanks again

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