iMac 27" as OSX Server vs Mac Mini + Thunderbolt Display

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Azeworai, Oct 2, 2011.

  1. Azeworai, Oct 2, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2011

    Azeworai macrumors newbie

    Jan 29, 2011
    I'm a little unsure of which to get for my needs so I'm posting here to see what others think. Please help by adding in Pros and Cons for the two setup I have. Feel free to choose any of the range for the 27" iMac or the Mac Mini's...

    What I have for the context of this post:
    2011 MBP
    2011 Time Capsule

    My Needs:
    I'm looking into getting an osx server machine to: host my virtualbox vm's (trac, sugarcrm), local dns/dhcp server (should I? I have a 2011 time capsule), mail server, wiki server, wired print/scan server(will it work? cannon mp460), iPhoto and iTunes main Library(shift most of my media to the server and manually copy/share some favourites to my MBP). I need an external display for my mbp.

    The cost and spec of 27" iMac(1) seems better than Mac Mini + Thunderbolt Display Combo(2) but will the iMac be a better server? (power wise or simplicity of use)

    Pros for iMac(1):
    Spec seems better
    Included trackpad + Keyboard
    1 set of wireless keyboard+trackpad should be easily switched between the iMac to the MBP

    Cons for (1):
    One point of failure for external display + server
    Not sure if Target display mode would be a hassle to setup with the MBP

    Pros for Thunderbolt Display + Mini combo (2):
    Simplicity for connecting/disconnecting MBP to Ethernet and display
    External display and server are separated = no 1 point of failure.

    Cons for (2)
    For the cost, the iMac seems to represent more performance for value.
    Need to buy another wireless keyboard (I have a Razer Mamba)
  2. Kasalic macrumors regular

    Jan 20, 2011
    Mac Mini as a server hands down, run it headless once it's set up and it'll sit there forever (well maybe not forever but you understand my meaning).

    The one thing I don't see you mention is the cost of running the server 24/7, and trust me, the Mini takes a lot less power than the iMac, and will generate way less heat too. You can use the thunderbolt display to set it all up and then use it with the MBP. Controlling the server via screen sharing is a doodle on an internal network, I even access and control my home server from the office via VPN. In terms of power the Mini is plenty powerful enough for your requirements.

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