Finally ordered my mac mini server

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Ruahrc, Sep 1, 2011.

  1. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    Finally ordered my new mac, a 2011 mini server. I debated going with the discrete GPU so I could play a few games in windows, but ultimately even the 6630M would not be sufficient for my gaming tastes, so I will most likely build a separate gaming PC. This mac mini, however, will get dual screens and be my main machine for general usage and photo editing.

    I ordered 8GB RAM (already using it in my laptop) and opted for the 2x 750GB HDD BTO option. I will replace one of the HDs with an OWC Mercury SSD, and put the spare in an external enclosure.

    I know these kinds of threads don't really have a point but I'm excited :). Now just to wait until next week when it will be delivered...

  2. Sdevante macrumors 6502

    Dec 12, 2008
    I, for one, rather like these "pointless" threads because they are full of excitement! I was so stoked to finally get a Mini after about 1.5 years of waiting, and a month later, I'm still excited to come home from work and doodle the internet on my new computer.

    Glad to see you are excited about your new purchase and already got some extra bits and pieces lined just gotta bide your time for a week! :)
  3. MadDragon1846 macrumors regular

    Mar 23, 2011
    Lol I know how you feel. I got an email earlier today saying my mac mini has been dispatched! :D

    Its apparently gonna turn up around the 12th though... -_-

    The site advertised the express delivery, but when I was ordering my mini, there wasnt the option, just the standard delivery :(

    Ah well, guess the wait wont kill me... I hope! :eek:
  4. gigaguy macrumors 65816

    Apr 19, 2010
    I also just bought a mini server after reading and waiting for a month now. I ebayed a sealed server with the dual 750gb drives and a sealed Superdrive for $1025 + a CC discount. we'll see if it arrives ;) after Labor Day. I have 8gb Ram already ready.
  5. Ruahrc thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    Yeah waiting will be tough, I was sorely tempted to buy the stock dual 500GB version because it is carried at the Apple Store, but I decided I would be better served in the long run by waiting for the BTO. I already made several orders previously to get new cabling and today ordered the SSD (splurged on the 240GB instead of the 120GB I was originally going to get. The SSD was expensive, but I bought a 256GB SSD a few years ago for my MBP and never once regretted the money I spent on it. Ordered an external optical drive today too (for random software install, or to play back DVDs/blu-rays because I bought an external blu-ray drive).

    I guess I should go console my wallet. It's been a pretty painful few days for it :)

  6. sam2428 macrumors 6502

    Mar 8, 2011
    Houston, TX
    Awesome man! I'm thinking about pulling the trigger on one myself.

    What kind of blu-ray drive did you get? And how will you be playing back blu-ray movies?
  7. tbayrgs macrumors 603


    Jul 5, 2009
    Yeah, I was also considering the upgraded dual 750 GB drives but unlike you, I just couldn't wait and decided drop into my local Apple Store and picked up a standard Server build and just RAID 0 the two drives for a nice speed bump. If I'd have had any sort of patience, I couldn't saved even more $ by getting it through Amazon but, oh well, just didn't want to wait for my new toy. :D

    Regardless, considering the new machine replaced a late 2007 Macbook, I couldn't be happier with performance boost, especially with my blu-ray rips/encodes.
  8. shortcut3d macrumors 65816

    Aug 24, 2011
    I ordered from Amazon and received it with Apple Wireless Keyboard and Touchpad. It was less than the Mini direct from Apple.

    I upgrade both drives which required a full tear down. I was a little disappointed by the build quality. The rubber grommets on the wifi panel were sucked through and mangled. Plus one heat shield screw was over tight on it's pillar.

    The next issue was the BT keyboard is not recognized for setup. I had to use logitech dinovo mini to finish the setup. I made clean boot disk from my Lion iMac and they were not accepted so I ended up having to do a Internet recovery. Ouch!

    See signature for final upgrade configuration.
  9. mdgm macrumors 6502a

    Nov 2, 2010
    shortcut3d, you can create a recovery partition USB key from the new Minis. A full Lion install DVD won't work. The recovery USB key would still download Lion from the net if you were to reinstall Lion from it.

    However what I'd recommend is cloning the original boot hard drive (e.g. using SuperDuper) to an image and then restoring that. Also by cloning the original boot hard drive if you do this before doing initial setup you can restore the Mac to how it was from the factory.

    What I did was to boot new 2011 Minis into Target Disk mode (holding T on boot using a USB wired keyboard) on first boot and then used SuperDuper on an older Mac connected via Firewire to clone the boot hard drive to an image.
  10. xraydoc macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    I like these threads, too. I'm interested in how others configure their machines for their uses.

    I bought a 2.5GHz i5 mini with the AMD graphics. It's running two 20" Apple cinema displays and I like to have smooth Apple UI effects. I know it's just eye-candy, but I still like it to be fluid.

    I test drove one at my local Apple store. It was a base 2.3GHz Intel graphics model and it had a single 27" display connected to it. It was a bit choppy for things like Mission Control and Launchpad, so I opted for the discrete graphics. Very smooth UI effects even on both displays, so I'm happy. I'm not doing any 3D/gaming on it, so I'm not concerned about the 256MB VRAM.

    I've got an OWC SATA-II 120GB SSD pulled from another machine that I'm using as a boot/OS/apps drive and the stock 500GB drive is now for data storage. Right now the SSD is in a FireWire 800 case (still faster than the stock mechanical HD) but when I have time I'll tear down the machine and install them both internally. Already ordered and received the necessary SATA cable but haven't had the time yet to take everything apart.

    Lastly, replaced the stock RAM with 2 x 4GB modules for good measure.

    As an email/Word/Keynote/PowerPoint/PDF/web/Parallels/Osirix/Microsoft Remote Desktop workstation, it's awesome (and dead, eerily silent, too).
  11. Ruahrc thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    Got my mini server yesterday! Spent a lot of time re-running cabling around as I brought a 2nd monitor onto the desk.

    First impressions:

    1) replacing the HD seems pretty straightforward. I pulled the stock 750GB to clone it pre-initial-boot. The tough part is getting it back in- it would be a lot easier to do if you disassemble further and slide the logic board out a little. I had to reach in with a tool to help support the drive in order to get it lined back up with the rubber grommets. I will have to replicate this process tomorrow when my SSD arrives.

    2) I'm actually a little surprised (and a little dissapointed) at how audible it is. It's not the mini itself, rather the dual 7200rpm HDDs in it. It's definitely not loud, but clearly audible- I also might be a bit more sensitive to these things after enjoying a few years of blissfully silent computing with SSDs. Also could be a factor of where my mini is located w.r.t. sound reflections and whatnot (even though it is quite far from where I sit). I will see if it quiets down some with one HD replaced with SSD, but I am actually considering dropping to a 5400rpm drive instead of the 7200rpm, or putting my other 256GB SSD in it. The fan operation, however, is dead silent.

    3) Lion blows. I mean seriously blows. My experience with it so far leaves me with the impression that it is very unpolished and buggy. Windows users used to joke about Macs being "fisher price computers with fisher price OS", and I would disagree with that statement. Until Lion- which definitely feels decidedly "fisher price" in several key areas over SL. Apple is supposed to be the company that obsesses over elegance and UI- yet there are so many user-unfriendly and inconsistent aspects about the UI that it's maddening. I can only hope that things improve with time but it's almost enough to make me want to keep the "real work" on my SL laptop... but this rant is not really fit for the mac mini forum :)

    4) Maybe I am just missing the point, but the "server" application seems for me (a home user) to be a bit redundant. Seems like it's a more conveneient/centralized location from which I can adjust a variety of system settings, but not that useful. Fun to play with though- I will definitely need to learn more about what I can do with my new mini, and how I can actually leverage some of its "serving" features for myself.
  12. heliocentric Guest

    Nov 26, 2008
    How's the fan noise under full load?

    I'm sure with a 5400rpm hd and a ssd in it the hard drive noise won't be a factor.

    Any idea how the hd3000 in it performs? Because I think they are under clocked in MacBooks...dunno if the same apples to mini's.

  13. ABTsportsline macrumors newbie

    Sep 7, 2011
    Haha, that's what most of us say every time we leave the Apple store. :D

    Congrats on the purchase Ruahrc! Your concerns and issues are exactly why I went with the SSD-only in a non-server model. Server was overkill as I can run that on the standard mini. Like you, I am used to the SSD drive's quiet operation. Are we too spoiled? :p

    Looking forward to hearing how your upgrade process goes!
  14. tbayrgs macrumors 603


    Jul 5, 2009
    Heliocentric, you certainly have some kind of obsession with Mac mini fan noise--if I see you posting in any thread, its about this issue.

    First a correction--the mini servers aren't burdened with the same 5400 rpm drives found in the other minis, they come with 7200 rpm drives, even the base model.

    And regarding fan noise under full load, not going to sugarcoat it, the new mini server is loud as hell. Short of using only SSDs though, I dont know a computer that wouldn't have significant fan noise at full load for any period of time. I really don't understand this concern with noise though--guess my ears just aren't so sensitive, or that in comparison to my three crazy kids running around the house, it's relatively quiet :rolleyes:.
  15. MJL macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2011
    Bare metal and rubber can be sticky. Before fastening again wet the rubber with some water that has a little dishwashing liquid in it and the rubber grommets will not get mangled. As long as they are not torn it will still do the trick.
  16. DaffyDuck macrumors 6502

    Jun 18, 2007
    It's so bad that I'm considering selling my brand new Mini and ebaying an older one so I can run Snow Leopard so I can run Vine server again and get workable multi-user log in. My idea when planning to buy this machine was to have one account logged in for Plex use on the TV and remote logging into a secondary account for other use (Air Video server, Handbrake, iTunes, etc). It's completely unusable with more than one user logged in. I paid a lot of money for Apple Remote Desktop hoping it would prevent freezing but it's no better. As another act of desperation, I found and installed 10.7.2 beta and it's no better...perhaps even worse. Sigh.
  17. heliocentric Guest

    Nov 26, 2008
    Just curious, I have sensitive ears ;)
  18. marrzie macrumors regular

    Mar 9, 2011
    Me too. And I have a couple of kids running around the house but excessive fan noise does bother me.
  19. tbayrgs macrumors 603


    Jul 5, 2009
    Hey no sweat, really wanted to give you honest opinion about fan noise because I've seen quite a few comments claiming next to none and that's quite simply a bunch of drivel. I'm running a Handbrake encode of a blu-ray rip on my 2011 Mini Server as I type this and according to iStats, temp is holding at 189 F with exhaust fan spinning at 5500 rpm and she's making a whole bunch of noise. That being said, when I'm not at full load, I don't notice any sound--but I also have a Synology NAS parked right next to it and that makes more noise than the Mini.
  20. xheathen macrumors 6502

    Aug 5, 2010
    Damnit... honestly this really bums me out. The ONLY thing that has been staying my hand is the fact that you cannot run SL on it (which I friggin love). Every time I'm in the Apple store and I'm messing around with Lion it just doesn't feel good. SL feels amazing and I get how it's had a ton of time to mature, but Apple appears to be dropping the ball on smoothing Lion out so far.

    It really makes me consider picking up a 2.66ghz old Mini and adding to it or buying an iMac and use it as a 2nd screen :(
  21. Ruahrc thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    Well I got my SSD in a few days ago and installed it. For some reason it just wouldn't want to go back in (I think it is because it's more squared off than the HDD) so I slid the logic board out about a quarter inch and it made it really easy. If you are doing your own HD upgrade, it will make your effort a lot easier if you too slide out the mobo a little. You dont even need to go far enough to disconnect the power or anything.

    This things a screamer! I was getting about 500MB/s write and 530MB/s read at the max- that's significantly faster than even my older SSD. Also, replacing one of the HDDs seems to have helped with the noise- it seems to be quieter now- such that it has to be dead silent in my apartment for me to hear it. If my fridge starts up or if the AC goes on, it drowns it out. Also it could be that I am getting used to the noise as well but adding the SSD definitely did something. I have no complaints about the noise. Yes, at full bore the fan is really loud, but with my usage pattern I never get anywhere near that.

    Now I've got my system pretty much set up again- I messed around with various defile before my SSD arrived (clean install, migration assistant, etc) but when I installed Lion on my SSD I opted for the old fashioned way- manually installing and configuring my programs. In the past I would just sync preferences over MobileMe but there seems to be some inconsistency with Lion pulling prefs from SL setups (Which is what I have in the cloud). I run a clean system anyways so there were only a small handful of programs I actually needed to install.

    With the system a lot more "settled in" I am starting to get more used to Lion, but I still maintain that it is by far and away the worst version of OSX thus far and by far and away the worst part of my new setup. I can only hope that changes with time.

    Oh the last thing I have trouble with is the magic mouse. With the mini situated further from where I sit compared to my old laptop, the Bluetooth reception seems a little flakey. It's seriously not that far (4-5 feet at the most) but apparently there is just enough in the way that the tracking isn't totally smooth 100% of the time. I also have the Intuos4 wireless which is also Bluetooth but it doesn't seem to have the same trouble as the magic mouse. Maybe I will have to change mice which honestly wouldn't bother me all that much, aside from having to buy a new one. Maybe I should try my old mighty mouse to see if it has the same trouble.

    Well that's about all for now- I think this is the longest post I have ever typed on my iPod touch :)


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