Building a media server questions

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Weerez935, Oct 28, 2013.

  1. Weerez935 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2012
    #1
    I'm considering building a media server following tonymacx86 guide for the deluxe mini (m-itx) build but I've never built a computer before so I have a few questions.

    I'm considering this route because I use a MacBook Air for school as a main computer and would like to have a computer that is always on to run hazel rules, filter mail, and store media. The current Mac mini would be a decent choice but I wouldn't be able to rip my dvds without an external optical drive and the storage capacity is limited. I have a 27" monitor already setup that I use as a dock for my air. I'm just conflicted on what I actually need. I was considering a quad core i5 or i7. The i7 seems like overkill but I was wondering how much faster handbrake would work. I was also debating discrete vs integrated graphics. I use pixelmator and iMovie occasionally so I assume integrated would be fine but am open to suggestions. I'm also curious for those who have experience if a hackintosh is reliable for backups. I plan on having 3 1 terabyte drives and an ssd boot drive so I have plenty of room for backups, ripped movies, music, photos etc. I have iTunes Match so my music shouldn't be in jeopardy but I am curious on the reliability of these types of setups for media servers. From what I've read it seems like a viable solution.
     
  2. DaPhatty macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    #2
    I recently built a media server using a 2.4Ghz Core 2 Duo Mac Mini with an Nvidia GeForce 320 and built in optical drive. To address the storage issue, I bought a MiniStack from http://www.macsales.com. If you prefer to use a newer Mac Mini, the Mini Stack Max comes with an optical drive. All you have to do is provide a large drive for storage. It's an elegant and inexpensive setup if you go the used Mac Mini route.
     
  3. linds15 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2012
    Location:
    Great White North
    #3
    is there an advantage of just getting a normal external hdd? i get its not as elegant...but much cheaper
     
  4. DaPhatty macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    #4
    I was going for elegant. After having a Windows based HTPC in an ATX case for years, I wanted my setup to look clean and minimalist. :)
     
  5. Weerez935 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2012
    #5
    I like the mini stack idea and originally considered that but honestly the two things pushing me to the hackintosh server setup are:
    1. It looks like a fun challenge
    2. It offers a lot of flexibility and power cheaper than a mini and a mini stack. For about the same price as a used mini I can have quad core i7 haswell, optical drive, 3tb hdd, 64-120 ssd.

    My concern is based on the stability because I'd be using this to backup my MacBook Air, wife's macbook, all our movies, photos etc
     
  6. DaPhatty macrumors member

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    Jul 12, 2008
    #6
    I steered in a different direction, primarily because I had already dipped my toes into the Hackintosh pool a while back. While I found the hackintosh process challenging and rewarding once accomplished, I ultimately felt like I'd invested too much effort into something that was going to sit on a shelf and host files. I've already done that on the Windows platform and I really wanted a taste of the "it just works" Apple platform.

    That said, I was very surprised at how functional a 2010 Mac Mini could be at hosting video files via iTunes. I can play 1080p content via Wifi to an Apple TV 3 with no problems whatsoever. Keep in mind that my Mac Mini has a Core 2 Duo! Is it the latest technology? No. But does it need to be? Ultimately, that's a personal choice we each have to make. In my environment, however, it works surprisingly well.
     
  7. linds15 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2012
    Location:
    Great White North
    #7
    gotcha. my setup is a mac mini + 3TB WD external drive. eventually want to run a DAS but dont need it yet
     
  8. Cinephi1e macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2012
    Location:
    Northwest Ohio
    #8
    I would suggest that a media server should be bullet proof or there will be a lot of unhappiness in the family! Use the Mac Mini for the main server and build the hackintosh as a supplementary one. I used to use a Windows machine as the server, but it was much better after I switched to a Mac Mini.
     
  9. Weerez935 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2012
    #9
    Thanks for advice guys. Not sure what I'm going with yet.

    Why did you find the mini better? What particular hiccups did you find in the hackintosh.
     
  10. DaPhatty macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    #10
    I spent quite a bit of time getting the audio and wireless NIC to work properly on my hackintosh. That was a major PITA. Much later I discovered an issue with the CPU support itself. Long story short, I couldn't jailbreak my iPhone with my hackintosh because the CPU clock was off somehow.

    Admittedly, this was in the early days of hackintosh's so I'm sure the process has improved since then. But I've done my share of PC building. There's something appealing about buying a Mac that just works. Maybe I'm just getting old. :)
     

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