Advice on desktop purchase

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by jebrand, Feb 10, 2014.

  1. jebrand macrumors newbie

    Feb 10, 2014
    My out of date iMac is on its last legs and before I make the next jump in my purchase I wanted to validate a setup I was thinking of using.

    Here are the main things I need out of this system:
    * ability to share photo library across multiple users and devices (ATV, iPad, iPhones)
    * ability to share music library across multiple users and devices (ATV, iPad, iPhones)
    * some photo editing (I currently using Photoshop)
    * in the future I plan to do some video editing for home videos
    * web browsing is the primary use for the desktop along with some word processing
    * kids gaming (nothing serious)

    If I went for a direct replacement and purchased a new iMac its looking like around $2000 CAD w taxes. Instead of this option I’m thinking of setting up a storage solution like a NAS and purchasing a Mac Mini to replace my desktop computer. Cost is a serious factor for me which is why I’m trying to find a cost effective solution that is flexible for the future.

    I plan to have the Mac Mini and NAS both directly connected to my network.

    Here are my concerns:
    * will there be latency with iPhoto on the Mac Mini because the library is on a remote drive
    * my current iMac (2008) doesn’t support direct connect to the Mac Mini, is it going to be a painful experience trying to use my iMac as a monitor?

    I realize my setup is not very exciting but was hoping people can weigh in with their experiences to provide guidance to help with my approach.

  2. CH12671 macrumors 6502

    Dec 29, 2013
    Southern US
    The music library can be shared through iTunes home sharing. But iPhoto sets up a proprietary library, and I don't believe you are going to be able to access that library on an ATV or other devices without using which case I see no need for the DAS or NAS for your setup.

    I'm sure if I'm wrong someone will correct me. It's been a while since I've worked with iPhoto as I use only Aperture and PS now. And I refuse to own an iPhone. I do have iPads, but have never done them this way.
  3. El Hikaru macrumors regular

    Dec 3, 2013
    For the first question

    My Mini has internal SSD and HDD.
    Processes within SSD are fast and comfortable.
    I save some files into external drive attached to the Wi-Fi router, and it takes a few seconds to open files when I first access. Once the external drive's disc spins, the time difference deceases from a few seconds to "some noticeable delay" but I can live with that.
  4. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Jan 1, 2008
    I consider a mini and a NAS to be somewhat redundant, as the mini with some drives can do most (all?) that a NAS can do and it is easier to manage one box than it is to manage two. Everyone has different needs of course.

    As previously mentioned, iPhoto no longer shares photos on the local network. Photo sharing via iCloud works well for me but I would like to have local capability. iTunes will share compatible content with all your Apple devices.

  5. slayerizer macrumors 6502a

    Nov 9, 2012
    I'm not sure why you need a NAS! You could hook up one external 3tb (for data and one for backup) if you need more space but that's it!

    Mini to ATV :
    The ATV can only connect to one computer at a time, so if you bind the ATV to
    the mini, you will get music & pictures coming from that source.

    IOS to ATV:
    If you want to stream music, video, pictures from your iphone/ipad to the mini, it's best to use Airplay.

    Mini to iOS:
    To share from pictures from the mini to the ios devices, you have to share them from photostream
    Audio sharing:
  6. Alrescha, Feb 10, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2014

    Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Jan 1, 2008
    The Apple TV does not need to bind to anything - it can play content from a number of computers using Home Sharing. Similarly, a number of devices can send content to the Apple TV.

  7. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    As others have questioned, why not just attach an external drive? That will offer the best performance on the mini and can still be shared with other devices on your network (and a mini performs much faster than a NAS for other devices as well).

    Sell the iMac and buy a separate display. An iMac as a monitor would be a power hog and have much lower reliability.
  8. slayerizer macrumors 6502a

    Nov 9, 2012
    the ATV needs to bind to the home sharing via an account. The ATV can only connect to one home sharing account at a time.
  9. CH12671 macrumors 6502

    Dec 29, 2013
    Southern US
    OK, so I've done a bit of digging and home sharing will share an iPhoto or Aperture library. You can share the entire library, or just certain events. So should get you what you are wanting. However, why the NAS is still the question. I think you are crippling the whole setup. Just go with a second hard drive (or fusion option) or, if that isn't enough space, DAS over USB 3 would be plenty.
  10. jebrand thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 10, 2014
    Thanks this is exactly the level of info that I needed.

    It definitely sounds like a NAS is not needed.

    Looks like Mac Mini is my route, only thing left to decide is to buy now or wait a couple weeks to see if there is a March announcement. :)


    That sounds like the most intelligent move. I will have to add that to my shopping list.

  11. slayerizer macrumors 6502a

    Nov 9, 2012
    for audio/video sharing from Mac mini to iOS I recommended two applications, I think they are not needed.

    you can do this:


    With iOS 5 and later, tap [Music or Videos] > More... > Shared or tap iPod > More… > Shared with earlier versions of iOS.
    Select a shared library.

    iPad and iPod touch
    To listen to shared music:

    With iOS 5 and later, tap Music > More... > Shared or tap iPod > Library with earlier versions of iOS.
    Select a shared library.
    To watch shared videos:

    Tap Videos > Shared.
    Select a shared library.
  12. Donka macrumors 68030


    May 3, 2011
    I dumped my home NAS and went with a Mac Mini with an external drive connected via USB 3.0. Works a treat and you can install NAS software on the Mini if you need/want full NAS functionality. I just used my NAS for Movie content so installed Plex on my Mini but you can just enable file sharing on the Mini for accessing content on the external drive. As others have said there are other ways to share content such as Home Sharing.
  13. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    [[ my current iMac (2008) doesn’t support direct connect to the Mac Mini ]]

    I think this is incorrect.
    Does the iMac have a firewire port?
    The current Mini does, and the two Macs should be inter-connectable via firewire.

    But let me ask you -- why do you think a 2008 iMac is outdated?
    What, specifically, is wrong with it?

    I'm guessing that your internal HDD is severely fragmented and nearing capacity, leaving the OS little "headroom" in which to operate.

    I suggest you:
    - Get an external drive
    - Offload to the external old movies, music, pics, etc. (things that are seldom-accessed)
    - Backup the internal drive (cloned backup using CarbonCopyCloner would be my choice), boot from the backup, run a disk defragger/optimizer on the internal
    - Do a clean install of the OS, then use "Migration Assistant" to bring your stuff back over. Doing so will clean out fragmentation and create a large contiguous area of "free space" for the OS to use for cache files, etc.

    Having said that, the Mini is well worth considering, too.
  14. jebrand thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 10, 2014
    I think you nailed it. I believe the HDD is messed up badly as space is not being reallocated even after I remove files.

    My plan is to clean all data in prep for a new desktop (ie. Mac Mini) and before the purchase I will try a clean OS install.

    In regards to the 2008 iMac as a monitor I read it on the Apple forums, here is the specific response for reference:

    First off, the iMac must be a late 2009 model or newer

    in order to use it in target display mode. If this is the

    case, then if it is a non-Thunderbolt version, you would

    simply need a MiniDisplay Port->Mini Display Port cable.

    If the iMac has a Thunderbolt port, it can only connect to

    another Thunderbolt equipped Mac and will need a Thunderbolt

    cable. This is the only way it will work.

    If the iMac is an early 2009 or older, the only way it will work

    is via screen sharing over a network or some other VNC type

    package. These models do not support Target Display mode.​


    I understand most of what you are saying and just want to playback my interpretation to make sure I got it correctly.

    The remote drive will act as data storage as well as Time Machine backups. If the Mac Mini dies I'm covered because the remote drive has everything in the backups. If the remote drive goes down I will have NAS setup on my Mac Mini for redundancy and can recover everything from the remote drive on a new drive (if necessary).

    Does that sound right?

  15. Donka macrumors 68030


    May 3, 2011
    I don't have time machine running to back up to the connected external drive but you can certainly set it up this way too. That way your external drive acts as a data drive and a back up location. Or you could add two external drives and have one purely as a back up of the Mac and the other external drive for redundancy.

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