external storage for media server: FW local drive or gigabit E network drive?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by mcgarry, Sep 29, 2007.

  1. mcgarry macrumors 6502a


    Oct 19, 2004
    First, an apology-- I searched for an answer to this, but I think the terms are too general. But this must have been addressed somewhere else, so sorry I missed it.

    Setup: I have a Mac mini connected to an EyeTV unit and a TV. This serves as both my normal TV (watch, record, timeshift live TV programs, plus export them to iTunes as necessary) AND as an iTunes media server, sending music, photos, TV shows, movies, etc. to other computers on my LAN as well as playing them back on the connected TV via FrontRow.

    Problem: the Mac mini can only hold so much, especially given its 2.5" internal HD spec. So it's time to expand its storage into the 1 TB range. Given the priority of being able to access iTunes content (video and music) on both the mini itself (for playback on the attached TV, controlled via FrontRow) as well as other computers on the LAN, am I better served with an external drive connected directly to the mini, via FW400, or with a networked (gigabit E) external hard drive, connected only to the router?

    If the latter, will any ethernet-connected HD work, or do I need something special like this LaCie, which advertises its "iTunes server" capabilities? Can FrontRow access TV Shows, etc, stored on a networked HD?

    I'd rather not have big HDs connected directly to the mini, sitting right beside the TV, for noise and aesthetic reasons, I have to admit, though there are some nice fits-just-under-the-mini options, too.

    Thanks for your help!
  2. Flynnstone macrumors 65816


    Feb 25, 2003
    Cold beer land
    I've used a 15 foot Firewire 400 cable and put the external hard drive in another room.
    Couldn't hear that hard drive at all. Or see it. :)

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