iMac as Media Server AND Home Computer?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by AndrewMRiv, Nov 21, 2013.

  1. AndrewMRiv, Nov 21, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2013

    AndrewMRiv macrumors regular


    Oct 29, 2013
    Hello, all. I was wondering if using an iMac as my media server and Home Computer at the same time would be smart, worth the money, energy efficient, and if this would have a reasonably long lifespan if left on 24/7.

    My plan is to have the iMac connected to my AirPort extreme router with home sharing enabled as well as a way for my MacBook (and possibly Mac Mini at work) to access iTunes and all of the files remotely when I'm not at home.

    I would want a thunderbolt hard drive with a very large capacity attached which would store my thousands of movies and songs. I would want these to be available to be streamed from anywhere on my MacBook/iPhone/iPad Mini as long as I had an internet connection.

    Additionally, I would want an Apple TV in a couple of different rooms to be able to have access to the content.

    On top of all of that, I would be syncing my iPad and iPhone with the computer. I take a lot of pictures on my iPhone, so I would be dumping all of my photos into iPhoto on the iMac's thunderbolt hard drive to clear up space on my iPhone.

    In addition to that, I also am a musician that records little demos in garage band and bigger projects in Logic Pro and there is also the occasional video editing done in iMovie (or larger projects in Final Cut Pro). So this machine would need to be able to take quite a beating in terms of CPU and RAM usage without overheating or lagging.

    I also am a blogger and web designer and would be doing all of my photoshop and coding work on here. I am an IT student in college and would be doing other coding from here as well.

    My questions are:
    1.) Is it possible to do all of this? Can I have my iMac on 24/7, automatically woken up when accessed from the network, and safely available for remote access?
    2.) Would leaving it on 24/7 consume an excessive amount of power?
    3.) Would it overheat since it would be doing A LOT of different tasks at the same time? I build gaming PCs too and am used to liquid CPU cooling and have never owned an iMac, Mac Mini, or Mac Pro. Only MacBooks which I don't abuse too often.
    4.) If this all worked out, how long would my iMac's projected lifespan be? I would be spending a lot so I would hope for a Machine that would not die on me too soon.

    I love the design of the all in one iMac and cannot get myself to stop toying around with them at my nearby Apple Store. I currently have a powerful Hackintosh built, but the ease of use and the full Mac OS X experience just isn't there. I would love to save up for a nice iMac if this is possible.

    Thank you.
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Yes, you can do all of this with any Mac model quite easily. I use a Mac mini for a similar setup.
    No, it won't overheat unless there's a defect or if you do something like blocking the vents. In such a case, your Mac would automatically shut down to prevent damage. All Macs are built to handle the workloads you described with no problems.
    That depends, for the most part, on how well you take care of it. You'll most likely replace it to get upgraded specs long before it would die. 5-6 years or more is very reasonable to expect.
  3. tbolt11 macrumors member

    Jun 20, 2013
    I am planning on doing the same thing with a maxed out 21.5" imac.

    Should work nicely for me as the 4770s will work extremely well for plex transcoding while being very efficient.

    Question for MR: can i program the iMac to ONLY sleep from like 1am-7am? I want it running 24/7 with only the display sleeping when im not using it.
  4. jg321 macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2012
    My 2013 iMac is sat in my study doing exactly this. Not had it that long, but it's doing a wonderful job.

    My only issue was that it sometimes doesn't wake up from sleep when I'm using "Back to My Mac" from work, or the accessing the shared iTunes library on the ATV3 in the bedroom. My resolution to this was to stop it from sleeping!

    I've rebooted this thing probably three times in just over a month. Once to upgrade to Mavericks, once because I didn't know the shortcut for "sleep" and accidentally pressed the shortcut for "shutdown". Can't remember the other time I rebooted it actually!
  5. AndrewMRiv thread starter macrumors regular


    Oct 29, 2013
    Thank you very much! I was worried because I had heard that older iMacs (I think maybe 2009 or even 2011 models were known to overheat. Perhaps it was only in older models or maybe they were user issues).

    Good luck with yours! I'm pretty sure that in Settings > Energy Saver > Schedule would let you make the iMac automatically power down/sleep at scheduled times.

    Thank you! Do you not feel it overheating or anything? Thank you.
  6. RedReplicant macrumors 6502a

    Mar 31, 2010
    Well, food for thought - my 2009 iMac has the stock hard drive in it. SMART data on the HDD says the thing has been powered on for 29440 hours... that is 3.4 years of power on time for my iMac. It's perfectly fine.

  7. IA64 macrumors 6502

    Nov 8, 2013
    Same thing here. iMac late 2009 online since Feb 2010. Never shut down except twice where I had to replace the screen.

    Still working great except for the screen, it's full of smudges.
  8. jg321 macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2012
    Nope, no overheating at all. The only temperature I can see on iStat nano is "Memory Controller" and "Memory Bank 1". Both showing as 21 degrees currently.

    Current uptime is 11 days (since I pressed the restart keyboard shortcut by accident!)
  9. citivolus macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2008
    I'm doing the exact same thing with my late 2009 iMac 27" for the last almost four years. I also connected the video out to my HDTV via mini-dp to hdmi connector and am running an app called Air Server to allow airplay just like an Apple TV. I run XBMC to host my media. I have a webcam mounted to the HDTV and run a long USB cable to the iMac to run Skype from the living room as well. I control the whole setup via an app called Hippo Remote from my iphone. The iMac is in my basement office so the whole setup is clean and silent. Love it!
  10. AndrewMRiv thread starter macrumors regular


    Oct 29, 2013
    Thank you for all of your input.

    It seems to me that there would be no flaws in what I would want to be doing.

    Based on what I've gathered, the older iMacs polycarbonate, not aluminum) iMacs were the only ones with overheating issues and that I would be fine as long as I didn't stupidly cover the vents.

    Thank you.

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