Base model mini for server?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by dimme, Aug 17, 2014.

  1. dimme macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Location:
    SF, CA
    #1
    I am thinking of updating my 2009 mini server. I want USB3 for my 3 external drives I have connected to my present server. My usages for the server at present are...
    Central point for Crashplan backup
    Time machine backup for 2 macbook pros
    itunes server
    torrent downloading
    File server.

    I really do not need the second hard drive that apple sells for with the server model. So I am thinking the base $599 mini is all I need plus 16GB of third party ram. I will want to run this system for agh least 3 to 5 years.

    However I am not convinced I making the right choice, given the entry level model is a i5 processor. My other options are a refurbished mac mini server for $849 (plus 16GB of third party ram) or wait to see what the new mini (if ever) brings.

    Any opinions?
     
  2. chrfr macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    #2
    Nothing listed here will tax the CPU on the base model Mini, it'll do fine and you'd be unlikely to see a performance difference with the quad core model.
    The included 500GB disk is very slow so you may find you do want to change that at some point.
     
  3. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #3
    Your CPU will not see anywhere near top usage like chrfr stated. Aside from using a different drive as the main volume, I do not see a problem with the current model Mini at all. Another thing to note is that upgrading to OS X Server will be $20 and is not included with the regular Mac Mini models.
     
  4. Ray2 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2014
    #4
    I'm using a 2008 mini for a media server and taxing it way more than you plan to as I also render video on it. No issues. I forget which model it is, perhaps 1 notch above base.

    With USB 3 you might want to check if you will need to keep it on at all times. If its anything like my wife's MBA, the minute the MBA sleeps (not only hibernates) the drives disconnect and refuse to reconnect or even show up in DU. We've been through 3 different USB 3 enclosures and they all do the same thing. For a server, my leap forward is to stick with FireWire drives as they're fast enough.
     
  5. unplugme71 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    May 20, 2011
    Location:
    Earth
    #5
    I bought the $599 Mac Mini Model with putting my own dual-disk in RAID 1 and maxing out the memory and I somewhat regret not going with the quad-core CPU.

    I guess if you don't plan on virtualization, you'll be fine. But 2 cores just doesn't cut it with multiple VM's.

    However, as a standalone DNS, DHCP, and Open Directory server, it responds quick.
     
  6. dimme thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Location:
    SF, CA
    #6
    Thanks for the advice. I am still on the fence, I just hacked my 2009 mini and took out the CD drive and added a external ESATA. It sure would be nice to have USB3 for the other externals.
    Is adding a second disk straight forward? I would like something faster that the 5400 RPM apple offers? Otherwise I am think about a server mini I see on the referb page.
     
  7. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #7
    I, too, have the 2009 mini server. I run Plex server, Crashplan, TimeMachine server, and a Windows VM for Quicken, among a bunch of other services that aren't particularly demanding. Only upgrade was to 8GB of RAM and Mavericks Server. External drives are connected via FW800 or USB2 and the system runs "headless".

    I've been considering upgrading to a new mini, actually hoping for 2014 models to appear so that the current server would drop to $750 in the refurb store!

    As far as I'm concerned, the only reason to make the change is to get the USB3 and thunderbolt ports. Performance of the 2009 is just fine even though it has only a dual core processor. I know that the current (2012) base model would outperform my old one (6773 versus 3563 on Geekbench 2), but I really want quad core, especially with the VM might be beneficial -- I could use the server as my "Windows Machine" and get rid of VMs on my iMac.

    I think though that the sweet spot for server use is probably the $799 i7 model with upgraded RAM. The server model only makes sense if 2TB is all you will ever need. As soon as you need to go external, having 2TB in the box isn't worth it. I can't see springing for an SSD either -- it doesn't matter for streaming (based on my own experience) and booting and program launching is rarely done. It takes about 6 minutes for my server to completely boot up but I only do it once every couple of months when there is a new OS point release.
     
  8. irnchriz, Aug 29, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2014

    irnchriz macrumors 65816

    irnchriz

    Joined:
    May 2, 2005
    Location:
    Scotland
    #8
    I got a 2012 Mac Mini Server with 2 x 1TB disks and the 2.3GHz i7. I upgraded it to 16GB of RAM and had it running:
    DHCP & DNS
    Web hosting: Support ticket system website
    Mail hosting
    iTunes Home Sharing
    Time Machine backups
    Caching server
    and File Sharing

    I have since moved my website to a hosted server, the email to office365 hosted exchange, Time Machine backups to an AC Time Capsule.

    As it was no longer being utilised fully I picked up another Mac mini, this time the base i5 model, and set that up with the following:
    DHCP & DNS
    File Sharing
    iTune Home Sharing
    Caching server
    FTP/WFM File share
    and thats it.

    I took the i7 server, wiped it, replaced one of the 1TB disks with an SSD and now use it as a desktop where is quite happily runs VMWare Fusion, and a host of other applications. The only thing left to do with the i5 server is upgrade the ram from 4GB to 8GB as it can be a little sluggish when screen sharing and managing iTunes.
     
  9. unplugme71 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    May 20, 2011
    Location:
    Earth
    #9
    I've done it so much I can swap out drives in less than 7 minutes now. And that's being careful and double checking everything.
     
  10. dimme thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Location:
    SF, CA
    #10
    Are you referring to the 2012 (current) model?
     
  11. unplugme71 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    May 20, 2011
    Location:
    Earth
    #11
    Yes
     
  12. mvmanolov macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2013
    #12
    ditto, same here. it really is a breeze... the first time will take you about 30 min, maybe 45 because you'll be really careful as it is new to you. but after that.... it really is a joke how easy it is to swap drives not he 2012s :D
     

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