External storage for iTunes server

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by jonathanbruce, Apr 2, 2014.

  1. jonathanbruce macrumors member


    Mar 22, 2012
    Hastings, East Sussex, England
    I'm pondering about setting up a dedicated machine for just iTunes to run on 24/7 and what would be the most fastest and reliable storage there is.

    Would appreciate everyone's view on this.

    At the mo I am using my old(ish) MacBookPro 13" (July'12) and a My Book 2TB (1tb for iTunes, 1tb for TimeMachine).
    Sometimes I have issues with loading onto my AppleTV and it has to load twice, I am curious whether or not to change and get a 512gb/1tb external ssd just for iTunes. Would I benefit from this? Also since I have Thunderbolt would a Thunderbolt drive be reliable? especially since I have it running all the time.

    Should I change my old laptop for a new MacMini instead ?

    An interesting dilemma, don't you think ?!?
  2. mk420v macrumors newbie

    Apr 16, 2012
    I don't think your hardware is the problem. I run a near 1TB iTunes library on an old 2004 1.25GHz G4 eMac w/2gb ram. Some of the Bluray rips are over 7GB, and there is tons of movies/music/tv shows/podcasts. The slow loading issue you're having is probably related to network connection speed. I would suggest wiring both your iTunes server computer and your Apple TV. Or at least hard-wire your iTunes server - this will make quite a difference.

    If you want to change hardware I think a Mac Mini permanently connected to a TV is what you probably want. The overall speed of the drive and interface don't really matter except when you initially load all your media onto it. I built a hackintosh into a case the size of a dvd player and it's our permanent media computer - we love it. If you get a Mac Mini, look into running Plex media server at the same time as iTunes for increased sharing to smart tv's, game consoles, and computers without iTunes. Also look into airserver. It is an $11 (totally worth it) application that enables airplay streaming on OS X. It's just like streaming audio/video/screen share to the AppleTV except that it accepts multiple streams at once. So far we have screen shared 6 OSX/iOS devices simultaneously.
  3. jonathanbruce thread starter macrumors member


    Mar 22, 2012
    Hastings, East Sussex, England
    Ok. My old Laptop (2012 MBPro 13") is using the gigabit-ethernet to my HomeHub 5. Then it is wifi to the Apple TV which is also an early 2012 model, so it could just be the wifi then. Especially since the ethernet on Apple TV is only 10/100. I do have a lot of films though, I checked earlier on to find out that just on films I have 380gb, on the TV Series I have 180gb, and the biggest killer is 488gb of Music.
    There must be a way of changing target location of say the Films so I can have them on a SSD... would that be better? Will iTunes let me do that? If that is so then I will need to get a USB3 hub.
  4. plinden macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2004
    Yes, you can just drag and drop the movies onto an external HD and iTunes will remember the location, but I think mk420v is correct in that the speed of your external HD is not your problem, assuming the hard drive is working properly. You need to check network performance. 100Mb/s wired ethernet should be more than sufficient even for HD video.

    If you can play a video from your MyBook on your Mac without problems, it should be fine to the Apple TV, so you should try that - your external HD might be having problems, but an SSD is overkill for external storage.
  5. Cubytus macrumors 65816

    Mar 2, 2007
    Remember the AppleTV is just the final receiver of just one streamed movie. I assume that's why Apple never found necessary to upgrade it to 1Gbps. On the other hand, your server must be able to stream fast, to different clients.

    How many HD movies do you expect to stream at a time? Songs?

    Storing movies on a SSD? Sure, if you've won the lottery to afford a 1TB+ SSD. Otherwise I think a RAID0 setup of rotating drives would push movies on the LAN while cutting precious seek time for simultaneous large file access.
  6. IlikeMacsSoMuch, Apr 2, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2014

    IlikeMacsSoMuch macrumors 6502


    Dec 30, 2009
    Blainville, Province of Quebec
    My set up is the following: mac mini 2010, standard hdd, no ssd, with a 2TB firewire 800 external drive that contains my iTunes library. The mac mini is pluggeg into my router ( except for our iPads and iPhone, everything is hard wired network wise). I have three sons, and while the elder is always on youtube with his iPad, my twins are often watching 2 different movies from the mac mini each on their own iPads and it always works flawlessly. But, the only purpose of the mac mini is to be a media server. It has an Elgato EyeTV hd plugged into it as well.

    Is your MBP's only purpose only to serve media? If so, by selling it you could probably buy a refurbished 2012 mac mini and have an even better setup than I have.

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