Decision for a Media Server - Pro w/ RAID, or Mini w/ a NAS?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by GJSchaller, Mar 11, 2008.

  1. GJSchaller macrumors newbie

    GJSchaller

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Location:
    White Plains, NY
    #1
    My old Windows-based iTunes library is reaching its max capacity (My roommates and I rip everything we own to stream it up to the Apple TV on demand). The 500 GB setup I have is not enough, and it's on Windows XP - time to move to a Mac!

    I am trying to decide between two basic setups:

    • A Mac Pro with 3 extra 1 TB Hard Drives, and a RAID card (for RAID 5), giving high performace and 2 TB of storage.
    • A Mac mini with average specs, and a NAS to hold the data - most likely a Netgear ReadyNAS RND4000 with 4 1TB drives, for 3 TB of storage and some additional features (like built in DNLC and iTunes server capabilities).

    I've already weighed some pros and cons - the Mac Pro would definitely outperform the mini for ripping and other tasks (as a general household PC), but is more expensive. The mini + NAS has more storage and a lower cost, but lower performance and is more complex (2 boxes to manage instead of one unified system).

    Has anyone done the comparison already that can shed some light on this, and / or give advice on why NOT to take a certain path?

    Thank you for your help!
     
  2. MSD401 macrumors 6502

    MSD401

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2006
    Location:
    Ogden, UT
    #2
    im not sure i can give advise but I would think cost would be the most limiting factor, I would imaging you could pull off the mini set up with significantly more storage before even reaching the entry price of a mac pro... What about running something a bit older if the main purpose is a media server like on older G5 or even a dual G4?
     
  3. GJSchaller thread starter macrumors newbie

    GJSchaller

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Location:
    White Plains, NY
    #3
    I don't want to say "Cost is not an issue," but I view my Mac Purchases as investments - I prefer to buy new, and get a long life out of it (AppleCare included).

    I also prefer to go with the Intel chips, if I can, because of the huge performance boost and the fact that all the other Macs in our house are Intel based already, so we have a lot of software that is UB or Intel-only.

    That being said, an older Quad-Core Xenon is not a bad idea. Still, is there anyone with input on a single-system vs. NAS & mini setup that can offer input? I'm looking for some more technical details on the pros and cons of each setup.
     
  4. digitalnicotine macrumors 65816

    digitalnicotine

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Location:
    USA
    #4
    I am leaning more towards the MP. The reason is, the trend is moving towards having a large portion of our media on hard drives, rather than disk media. In an Apple household, this is even a clearer trend. The MP will do an excellent job of streaming your library, as well as just about anything else you decide to throw at it. It also allows for further storage space via externals if that ever became necessary.

    The MP will also be upgradeable to future wireless cards down the line, processor upgrades, ram upgrades, and higher capacity hard drive upgrades in the future.

    Some cons will be the fact that it's huge compared to the mini, but that may not be an issue for your setup. Also, the cost is significantly higher, but you get a lot more computer as well.

    If you plan to use the MP for other things besides being your network server, have the storage space and funds, it seems to me a solution that will last at least 5 years. The mini will do the job, is cheaper, but won't last as long, and won't likely be used for much more than it's designation.

    Basically, either way you go, you'll be good for a while. :) Hope that helped some. Good luck with your decision.
     
  5. GJSchaller thread starter macrumors newbie

    GJSchaller

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Location:
    White Plains, NY
    #5
    Upgradeability is something I had not thought about - good point! Given we're a house of techies, that is a very valid consideration. (Not to mention which, the mini keeps having rumors of its demise, and has not been update in a long, long time...)

    It also made me realize that I only have to deal with one vendor for support, if something goes wrong - Apple, as opposed to both Apple AND Netgear.

    Space is not an issue, as it will be replacing a WinXP tower that is currently there, and roughly the same footprint.

    Thank you - that made the decision a lot clearer!
     

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