Designing a simple media server

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by JCT, Apr 23, 2010.

  1. JCT macrumors 6502

    Jan 5, 2004
    Tucson, AZ
    Hi guys,

    So I want to set up a basic media server to store all of the family's media files. Basically combine all of our iTunes music libraries (no syncing of iPods -- that will remain with the individual libraries) and a very large collection of ripped DVDs (all done with Handbrake to aTV format). Eventually I would like to setup some file backup, but for now, just test things using media.

    We currently have a wired network that is setup in roaming mode with 2 AEX modules that gives us great signals throughout the house.

    The current aTV is hooked up to the big plasma on the first floor and wired into the network. We are considering adding a second aTV to the TV on the second floor if I can get all of this working.

    The goals are:

    1) to be able to stream all movies to the plasma TV via aTV
    2) wirelessly stream movies to an iPad (Air Video?) or laptop
    3) wirelessly stream music to the iPad or laptop or
    4) wirelessly stream music to a Squeezebox radio

    I have two unused Macs at present, a PPC Mini (the original) and a G5 Quad. Either of them can be turned into a media server. Energy wise I obviously prefer the Mini, but the only way to extend the storage on the Mini is via FW400 and I am worried about throughput. The G5 has an e-Sata hard disk array that has lots of available fast storage.

    I figured that the server Mac will be hardwired into the network and live on the first floor.

    So, never having done this I would appreciate some design and configuration input and if you guys think the Mini + FW400 would do the job, let me know....

    Thanks a million,

  2. ReggaeFire macrumors 6502

    Mar 19, 2003
    The FW400 throughput should not be a concern for your uses (the bottleneck isn't the firewire, that will push out about 280 mb/s, more than enough for a compressed movie). Streaming the music would be no problem for the mini or the G5 (if your combined library is on the large-ish side, say above 30,000 tracks, RAM may become an issue). AirVideo might be the sticking point, if all your files are in the correct codec it shouldn't need to transcode it, but if did need to transcode it would bring that mini to a stop.

    I would experiment with the mini first, it's a more elegant solution, however one of that vintage might hit a wall with RAM usage.
  3. JCT thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 5, 2004
    Tucson, AZ
    I completely agree about the elegance of using the Mini -- spent the morning fiddling. Only to discover that this really *is* an original Mini (can't believe I used this for a year as my sole desktop while I was undergoing my final Win -> Mac conversion). Holy cow, 1 GB RAM, no 802.11 "n" and no Gigabit ethernet. Too crippled I fear.

    So I'm setting up the Quad as a test bed -- it has 4GB RAM, Gigabit ethernet and 802.11n. Plus the big e-sata setup. But lord it sounds like a plane taking off. That's a good point about the Air Video transcoding, I think the aTV ripped stuff should be fine but I will test.

    If this all works well then I think I will just plan on sucking it up and buying a new Mini, that's great to know about the FW, in that case I could just move the SATA drives from the e-sata setup on the test G5 into a dual FW enclosure and be done with it.

    Thanks again, Reggaefire -- we're both oldtimers here, it seems!


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