How are the iMac's for use as a Media Server for iTunes

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Wicked1, Aug 23, 2011.

  1. Wicked1 macrumors 68040


    Apr 13, 2009
    New Jersey
    I was thinking of getting my wife a refurb since it is all in one and using her iMac as the media server for the house. I just do not know how these hold out being on most of the time, and I will plan on getting the Applecare for sure since these are complicated systems to fix and work on. Right now I use a 2009 Mini but I am concerned about the power draw between wha the mini uses and imac uses

    Is anyone particular model better then the other, looking at 21.5 refurbs
  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Does she really need an iMac? Is there something wrong with the Mini? Or does she need her own computer? While the iMac is great, it may not be the best media server due to power draw and the fact that the display is part of it. It will, however, work fine as a media server if that is what you're asking.
  3. rayyu882 macrumors member

    Jan 18, 2010
    I used to have my iMac do that and later I found out how much power it consumes I switched to a MacMini.

    There is nothing wrong with the iMac on 24/7, I did it for about 1 1/2 year, but it does use a good amount of power.
  4. dXTC macrumors 68020


    Oct 30, 2006
    Up, up in my studio, studio
    My iMac is the main media server for my house; it serves two :apple:TVs.

    If you're worried about 24/7 power draw, then I would consider pairing it with an Airport Extreme Base Station-- the latest model with simultaneous dual band, which is often available in the Accessories section of the refurb store-- as your main network router. The AEBS has a built-in Bonjour proxy that will wake any Mac with Snow Leopard or later for network access such as :apple:tv streaming (while leaving the screen off to save power), then allow it to go back to sleep after the transfer is done. It works quite well.
  5. Wicked1 thread starter macrumors 68040


    Apr 13, 2009
    New Jersey
    No she has a mini, but is now complaining about the fact the monitor, mini, keybd, and mouse take up a lot of room on her desk, but the power draw is the reason I have the mini as a media server, I think after these ideas, we will stick with a Mini and maybe I will take it and give her my uMB :eek:
  6. cdavis11 macrumors 6502

    Aug 31, 2009

    I run an early 2009 24" as my media server. I run two aTV 2s from it and it does just fine. I leave it running 24/7 and have had no problems in going on 2 years.

    I set the screen to power off after 5 mintues, disks stay running.

    I found that wake on LAN with the new AEbs is nice in promise, but I had a lot of lag issues when using it. Went back to just leaving the imac running with screen shut down, and all is well.
  7. Omne666 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 16, 2010
    Melbourne, Australia
    How bad was it? I've been using it (24" White iMac 2006) for 5 years now. Did a power calc on it about a year ago and and at the price I pay, running at a average 100W, its costing me less then 0.50c per day to leave it on.

    What I love is its never crashed on me, though a restart every month has helped keep things speedy. (This is outside of restarts due to updates etc)
  8. Kcdude24, Aug 23, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2011

    Kcdude24 macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2011
    Can you share the configuration for this? Is this in the AEBS setup? I have the latest TC and :apple:tv. I want to be able to have my :apple:tv wake my iMac to stream via iTunes.
  9. rusty2192 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 15, 2008
    My Late 2009 21.5" iMac is on 24/7 serving up files for both my :apple:TV and also for my wife to just grab movies via OSX's built in file sharing from her MBA. The screen just turns off in a short period of time and disks never stop. I did just have a hard drive failure, but I'm still not sure if it was caused by hardware or software (invalid node structure).

    I don't worry too much about power costs, but then we have some of the lowest power rates in the country here in Kentucky.
  10. Lycorisu macrumors newbie

    Aug 20, 2011
  11. jljue macrumors regular

    Feb 4, 2011
    Brandon, MS
    Yep, my 2007 iMac was pretty much the same way until I sold it. I don't remember how much it cost to keep it running but it was a lot better than leaving my Pentium 4 PC running all the time, especially when I was in the middle of a video editing project and didn't want to wait for the PC to slowly boot up. The iMac could be shut down or be put into sleep mode during a project, but out of habit, I left it on in the middle of projects.

    A 2009 Mac mini is now my iTunes, file, and backup server while my late 2008 MBP is my do-it-all workhorse.
  12. so-marc-said macrumors newbie


    Jul 1, 2009
    Glasgow, UK
    I have a 27" 2010 iMac that is always on and is used as my main itunes server for apple TV.

    Never had a problem with it regarding being used as an itunes server, and I have the display set to go to sleep after 5 mins so I don't see power use being a huge issue.

    Would definitely recommend.
  13. rowley macrumors 6502


    Dec 16, 2008
    London, UK
    I have a mac mini being the media server to laptops and iOS devices in the home.
    Power consumption mini is only 40% that of of previous media server (an HP DX2000), so I am more than happy with my setup.

    Apple says:
    imac 2009 Power consumption Idle: 98W Max: 241W
    mac mini 2009 Power Consumption: 10W Max: 85W

    HP says:
    dx2000 Idle: 130W Max :250W
  14. rayyu882 macrumors member

    Jan 18, 2010
    I just made the switch, so I can't really tell yet. When I used my iMac, I did put the display to sleep and leave the disk running.

    Mid 2009 iMac maximum continuous power: 241W (21.5-inch models); 365W (27-inch models), so max power is 365w for my iMac, the MacMini that I just got has the maximum continuous power of 85W. So I would assume the different should be worth it enough.

    Also the iMac is pretty hot in temperature around the body of the machine when on 24/7, I have it on a desk which the airflow around it wasn't an issue already, which the MacMini run much cooler then that. Now I turn the iMac on only when I do photo/video editing.
  15. Moccasin macrumors 6502a


    Mar 21, 2011
    Newcastle, UK
    Am interested in this discussion as I too am considering either set up.

    I have a 2010 MBA as my main machine at the moment. As I only have a pretty poor viewsonic monitor from my pre-Mac days - really irritating picture noise - I don't really do serious computing work as the MBA often sits downstairs in front of TV etc. I have a ReadyNAS in my front room behind my TV (connected directly to my broadband router) which I would like to move out to my study.

    The power issue is increasingly important (both from cost and the desire to do my bit in limiting energy use) so am interested in the relative power usage of an iMac vs a mac mini with Thunderbolt ACD display. From what I'm reading, the mini and ACD is more efficient. Clearly with a 2010 MBA, the display is less useful than if I had the 2011 model.

    So am thinking of:
    - mac mini with current display
    - upgrading to ACD later
    - running iTunes on mac mini attached to NAS for backup and storage
    - ATV2 (or 3 when released) providing wifi link to iTunes and streaming to TV/sound system. I can already get BBC iPlayer through my HUMAX Freeview HD box.
    - broadband router moved to hallway to plug into primary telephone socket

    I also want to buy a new receiver for my surround sound speakers and to take all my HDMI outputs and a single input to my TV.

    All guidance appreciated.

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