Considering a mac mini

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by 250gb, Apr 3, 2011.

  1. 250gb, Apr 3, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2011

    250gb macrumors newbie

    Mar 12, 2011
    I keep a giant PC desktop for TBs of storage. I keep it on overnight for downloads and etc but it's a bit too noisy. How quiet is the mac mini compared to a macbook or mbp?

    I would need a 4 bay NAS if I were to replace my desktop. Are there any good suggestions? (Drobo is out of questions b/c of its unreliableness and difficulty to recover data). It would be nice if it has either USB3 or Thunderbolt (which the next mini will probably have) in addition to GB Ethernet. I guess another solution is to use the Mini as a download buffer and move the files to my desktop the next day. [Answered]
    EDIT: Since most people said NAS will be noisy anyway I'll just use my PC desktop for remote storage and encoding tasks. It doesn't need to be always on.

    If I replace a mini drive with a 2.5" 750GB drive, will it increase noise?

    Also, please be objective, but are there any equally quiet cheaper PC solutions for a quiet download server? I don't need firewire or optical drive, but USB 3 would be nice.
    EDIT: with that said, quietness isn't the only thing i'm looking for. I do want OS X for better window management and ease of running scripts. I've heard of hackintosh but I don't care to deal with driver issues at least for now.

    If a new mac mini is to have a thunderbolt port, can it support data and display at the same time? What about 2, or even 3 displays?

    Are they any speculations for a mini update, other than that it's 'overdue' ?

  2. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    Don't know about the timeline for an update, but a mini will be basically silent, however, the NAS will still probably make a fair amount of noise, so I'm not sure what you would gain there.
  3. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    You could build yourself a very quiet pc, big fans are quieter than small ones for the same volume of air. Mini is all about the form factor.
  4. dolphin842 macrumors 65816

    Jul 14, 2004
    As alust2013 points out, the NAS will be what you hear. One advantage of building a silent PC is that, because the hard drives are in the PC case, you can better mitigate their noise as opposed to sticking them in an external box.

    If you ever foresee re-encoding media on the fly (Plex/XBMC/etc) or just encoding a lot of dvd media, it would also be good to have a more powerful CPU (i.e. avoiding the Mini).

    Assuming you bring the drives, a bare bones dual-core Sandy Bridge PC can be had for under $500, quad-core for about $600. Extra investment may be required to minimize noise (better case/fans/heatsink/power supply) but then again, if you use the integrated sandy bridge graphics, the default noise level will likely be lower than your current setup.
  5. smithrh, Apr 3, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2011

    smithrh macrumors 68020


    Feb 28, 2009
    i have a Mac mini server, it serves 8Tb via external drives in RAID 1 configuration.

    It's next to silent. I also set my drives to spin down when not it use, so the externals aren't spinning unless they're needed. It's absolutely silent when not in use.

    I would think the next iteration of the Mac mini is going to have quite a bit of horsepower, I'm fully expecting it to be my transcoding media server. My current one has only just enough horsepower to do it continuously, I'd like for it to have a bit more headroom. That is, I'd rather see it at, say 20% cpu load vs. 95%.
  6. dolphin842 macrumors 65816

    Jul 14, 2004
    Based on the Handbrake tests I've done at the apple store, the new dual-core sandy bridge chips in the MBP have roughly a 2x improvement over the 2.4GHz Core 2 currently in the stock 2010 Mini (54 vs 27 fps for SD high-profile h264). Unfortunately Barefeats testing has shown that the integrated Intel graphics are a little worse than the 320M.... I'd like faster encoding myself but the 320M is limiting enough as it is.
  7. QuantumLo0p, Apr 4, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2011

    QuantumLo0p macrumors 6502a


    Apr 28, 2006
    Anything you can fit inside the current Mini probably won't do much to increase noise. My UPS, which was originally purchased to power my old Powermac dual 2.5 LC, an Apple Cinema Display, router and modem, has a fan that is louder than than my Mini. I don't think fan control software does much to increase the noise either. The Mini's fan is not a conventional PC case fan.

    Personally I would build a silent PC before building a Hackintosh. I seriously considered it at one time but I am not willing to tinker with the driver issue either. I have all my apps I need in OS-X and do not even need Boot Camp. The few games that my household plays run fine in OS-X; 30-50 fps is fine for me so getting 100 fps isn't exactly a concern I lose sleep over. You did not mention the iMac as an option so I assume you are approaching the Mini as a cost measure.

    I can agree with smithrh to a point albeit a bit more cautiously optimistic. Apple seems to really hold back sometimes on hardware jumps. It would not surprise me if they threw in a mobile quad core2 chip or something like that, rather than a current mobile i quad.

    As for Thunderbolt, I wouldn't hold your breath for the next Mini refresh but more surprising things have been known to happen. The main considerations for the Mini are size, power and cost. Although Apple has been criticized for what some people consider to be too steep a price and the Mini isn't known for being a do-it-all-powerhouse; that's not the class its in.

    IMO Apple could sell a more powerful Mini with a current mobile quad cpu, Thunderbolt and a SSD along side the typical Mini configuration. Sure it would cost more, probably in the iMac range, but it could be the Mini that Mini power users have been asking for.

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