Base 2014 Mac Mini booted externally for basic HTPC

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by FrankFrankson, Dec 6, 2014.

  1. FrankFrankson macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2014
    I am thinking of getting a Base 2014 Mac Mini (AU$620) and booting it from a LaCie D2 Thunderbolt 2 external hard drive (AU$580) and to attach this to my loungeroom TV, I only want the Mini to do simple tasks such as VLC playback of video, iTunes music playback and streaming, I already have a 15" rMBP with good stats which I have been streaming to an Apple TV but it annoys me and I want something direct and independant plus I require a home storage option.

    My hopeful goals from this are
    - improved start up speed and hard drive write speeds
    - increased harddrive space to act as a central repository for my many TBs of photos, movies and TV, currently spread across numerous 2TB portable drives
    - this system would also allow for future (RAID style) duplication with a purchase of another LaCie D2 Thunderbolt 2 as they have 2 Thunderbolt ports allowing daisy chains

    My questions are

    - Whether there would be any real benefit from booting such a low end system from the LaCie 7200rpm drive through Thunderbolt 2 rather than the onboard 5400rpm drive?
    - Could there be benefits from booting a base 2014 4GB Mac Mini from any other kind of cheaper external drive that wouldn't be better spent on upgrading aspects of the Mac Mini?

  2. redheeler macrumors 603


    Oct 17, 2014
    Yes, there will be a slight increase in system speed. Not as much as an SSD, but noticeable.

    8 GB RAM is an upgrade you should get on any 2014 mini, otherwise it will not be nearly as future proof.
  3. jdphoto macrumors 6502


    Jan 13, 2014
    I agree with this statement. While memory compression in OS X is helpful, I still feel 8GB is the minimum to go with these days. Especially in non-upgradeable systems.
  4. FrankFrankson thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2014
    Thanks guys for the response,
    The 8GB problem is an issue I am having trouble resolving mentally.

    Will 8GB be needed for the Mini to operate as a basic media centre, for say, the next 2-4 years?

    Their Mac Air 11" are still 4GB off the shelf so hopefully Apple won't render all their 4GB machines as unusable in that time, but I could be wrong. I have as you suggest future proofed my laptops as I have an Air 11" with 8GB ram and rMBP 15" with 16GB ram, it made undeniable sense with those purchases.
    If I do upgrade the base model to 8GB ram then the price goes halfway to the middle spec and then should I get a much better spec machine for another A$130? Their pricing is incredibly crafty, as now I would be getting towards a grand for something I'm still not that overly impressed with.
    I'm leaning more to the thought that it may be better to spend as little as possible, get the 2014 4GB base model, save my money and consider getting a future proof version if Apple do something serious to the Mini in the next few years.
  5. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf

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