Just bought a Drobo and a Mac Mini!! Help me prepare for their arrival...

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by BG-Mac, Apr 16, 2009.

  1. BG-Mac macrumors 6502

    Jul 31, 2007
    Alright so I finally bit the bullet and ordered a Drobo, 2 1TB WD Green Caviar HDDs, and the base $599 Mac Mini from Amazon. Everything will be delivered on Monday so I need to make sure I get all the prep work done this weekend.

    I've got 2 primary questions...

    1) What will be the most effective way for me to hook my new setup to my 46" Sony XBR2 LCD? A.K.A.... What cables do I need?! The Drobo comes with a FireWire 800 (I Think?), I've ordered a Mini DisplayPort to HDMI cable from Monoprice, and I already have a Monster HDMI cable. Am I missing anything? What's my best option for sound?


    2) Should I upgrade the Ram to 2GB from the stock 1GB? I'll be using it as a dedicated home iTunes server and ATV for my living room possibly running Plex.

    Thanks for any advice you may be able to offer. I'm REALLY excited about my new setup.. :D:apple:
  2. Capt Crunch macrumors 6502

    Aug 26, 2001
    Cleveland, OH
  3. glap1922 macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2009
    I have a Drobo and MacMini as well, but my Mini is the older version. I think you will be fine with only 1gb of ram as long as you aren't doing anything too crazy, but if the machine feels slow you might want to consider bumping it up to 2gb. I agree on the other posters recommendation for audio, just make sure your receiver can take the input.
  4. glap1922 macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2009
    I completely missed this part of your post before. I think you are correct and the Drobo comes with a FireWire800, but the Mini only has FireWire400. You can either get an 800-400 adapter/cable or just get a USB cable. I have my Drobo connected over USB to my airport extreme, and then set up the Drobo to automount on the Mini and my Macbook when I start up the computer. The only downside to this is I don't have access to the Drobo dashboard, but that isn't really necessary on an everyday need.
  5. Yvan256 macrumors 601


    Jul 5, 2004
    The new Mac mini only has FireWire 800 and the new Drobo has FW800 too.
  6. zedsdead macrumors 68040

    Jun 20, 2007
    With 1 gig of ram, the Nvidia 9400 only has 128mb of ram available. If you up the mini to 2 gigs of ram, it's gets 256mb of video ram.

    You might not need the extra power, unless you plan to watch a lot of HD material.
  7. BG-Mac thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 31, 2007
    Thanks for the advice guys. I've asked this question before, but If I take the mini into an Apple Store, will they upgrade the Ram for me in store while I wait? I know it would be cheaper to do it myself, but I'd rather not risk it.
  8. glap1922 macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2009
    I wasn't too upset about not having the new Mini, but now that you tell me it has FireWire800 i am a sad panda.

    I watch a lot of video on my Mini, 1.83 core 2 duo with 2gb ram and the crappy graphics and I haven't had any issues. From what I have read the processor matters more when watching video on the Mac in programs such as XBMC or Plex, so I wouldn't worry too much about only having a lower video ram count.
  9. BG-Mac thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 31, 2007
    Alright well I guess I'll see how it goes. Do Apple stores sell/install ram for the Mac Mini though? Just incase I decide I need it.... I'll be watching a bunch of iTunes HD (720p) content I've downloaded from iTunes. Not sure what I should do.
  10. glap1922 macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2009
    I'm not sure if the stores do that, or if they do what their cost is. If you are just watching itunes downloads you should be fine with what you have, but it may be worth doing just to avoid having to upgrade in the future. Good luck with your new setup!
  11. gcmexico macrumors 6502a


    Dec 22, 2007
    New York City
    very important question is how are you going to use your Drobo? are you just using it as a huge external? if so where will you be backing up your media files? if you want to use the redundancy, then you truly only have 1tb of space for movies and shows, I don't think that's enough...I have 4x1.5tb in my drobe, and I don't think that's enough:eek:
  12. CoolMe macrumors member

    Apr 26, 2008
    Would it not of bee cheaper to get the current offer on the drobo?

    £399 + FREE Drobo share, then buy the Hard drives and a ATV unit?
  13. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Look at the activity meter and see how much RAM is in use and if there is a lot of swap-outs. swap-in is normal. If you have enough RAM the "ins" will out number the "outs by a factor of about 10. If they are close you need more RAM. Why not wait and see how it goes

    If Apple does the RAM upgrade I'm sure they will charge the Apple price. If you do it, you can max out the RAM for under $100. It takes all of about 15 minutes to do a RAM upgrade.

    There is a trick to opening a mini. You need a couple putty knives but it's not hard and those are the only tools you need, not even a screw driver is required. It you own a mini then just buy a pair of putty knives for $2 each and keep them in your tool kit. You need then to change out any parts like a hard drive or CD drive.
  14. BG-Mac thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 31, 2007
    My understanding is that you cannot stream directly from a Drobo to an ATV. I could be wrong though.

    Thanks for the advice. My only concern with doing the upgrade myself is botching the enclosure. I've read reports of people doing this and not being able to close the lid properly afterwards.
  15. BG-Mac thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 31, 2007
    I'll be using the redundancy. 2TB will get me by for a month or two. In the meantime I'll be looking to get a deal on 2 more WD 2TB drives. Amazon has them at $299ea. at the moment, but I remember Best Buy having them on sale for $230 a week or two ago.
  16. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000


    Jul 1, 2004
    with redundancy and 2x1TB drives, you'll only have 1TB of usable space, not 2.
  17. akm3 macrumors 68020

    Nov 15, 2007
    Redundancy is good against drive failure but what if someone breaks in and steals the whole Drobo?

    You need more backup.
  18. Capt Crunch macrumors 6502

    Aug 26, 2001
    Cleveland, OH
    For me anyways, an additional backup failed the cost-benefit analysis.
  19. Bye Bye Baby macrumors 65816

    Bye Bye Baby

    Sep 15, 2004
    i(am in the)cloud
    It will be a great set-up.

    I enquired about adding RAM in the UK to a mini and the Apple Store says that they won't do it post-sale. Very strange. I have never re-enquired to see if it was bad info or not.

    Definitely need a mini toss link cable as has been said. The Sony Bravia have the toss link audio in connection on the back. At least mine do.

    You can stream from the drobo, it would be a good idea to move your itunes library on the drobo and point itunes at the drobo library.

    If you are going to use redundancy, the whole point of spending money on the drobo, then you will need to have a library no more than about 800 gigs. There is an overhead on the drives when using the redundancy option.

    Finally, if you can afford them, I would go with drives with a larger cache (32 meg), I have noticed that it has made a difference when streaming. the extra buffering for HD content has meant that I have never had any lags or problems. When I was first started using smaller cahed drives there were a few issues with juttering etc.

    Great set-up.

    If only would alow better access to the iTunes store from front row it would be even better.

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