Mac Min 3,1 for Apple TV server

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by SpecFoto, Dec 2, 2014.

  1. SpecFoto, Dec 2, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2014

    SpecFoto macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2013
    So Cal
    Hi there, looking for advice on my MacMini 3,1 (early 2009) and its suitability to become an Apple TV2 server. It runs great, but hasn’t been used in almost 2 years. Along with it I have 2 FW800 Dual drive OWC backup enclosures that I can dedicate to it. I have been (slowly) ripping my 400+ DVD collection to VOB files (as I want a full size backups) and also encoding these to mp4 format. This is done on my 5,1 MP. The Mini will only be a server for the Apple TV, feeding via Ethernet cable to the Airport Extreme N router, iTunes and (wives) iPhoto library. No other use planned and for now I want to keep it all Apple (Netlix on my Apple TV is great!)

    My Mini specs are:
    Intel Core 2 Duo 2 GHz
    4GB PC8500 DDR3 memory@1067
    Nvida GeForce 9400 w/256mb ram
    Hitachi Travelstar 320GB 7200RPM drive w/16mb cache
    Apple (Pioneer) DVD-RW
    Firewire 800
    OSX 10.68
    iTunes 11.4

    I speed tested both FW drives and am getting 34MB/s Read speeds (about 58-62 Writes) is this a concern? I believe the Apple TV2 has a internal flash cache so this may not be an issue.

    Any reason to further upgrade the Mini HD or the memory? Yes SSD is a lot faster startup, buy the Mini will be on 24/7. I plan on having just the OS and some utilities on the main drive. 6GB memory is the limit for this Mini, mine has 4.

    Any reason I shouldn’t upgrade the Mini to Mavericks? (Not interested in Yosemite at this time). OSX is currently Snow Leopard, other Macs in the house use Mavericks and ML. I know for iPhoto I will either have to upgrade or export the wives Mavericks iPhoto library and re-import. I don’t know if the iTunes needs to be the same though.

    Any suggestions you have would be appreciated!

  2. Lord Hamsa macrumors 6502a

    Jul 16, 2013
    No, your Mini doesn't need any upgrades to act as basically a file server for iTunes clients. Just make sure you have the disk space you need for all of your media, but it sounds like you're already on that.
  3. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009

    Nope you should be fine. I used a 2006/2007 Mac Mini with Core2Duo 1.83ghz processors, 3GB of RAM as an iTunes server for awhile. Really serving up data is a very simple process and requires very little to do it reliably. I have even used an old Netbook for this before in my car.

    As for data throughput, honestly that is more than enough. Even a full Blu-Ray rip only requires something like 4.5MB/s (max). You should easily be able to do 3-4 itunes videos (especially since they don't use near the data a Blu-Ray rip requires).

    As you pointed out, you probably don't need an SSD since you won't be turning it on and off and you won't be accessing multiple applications. It's nice to have, but certainly not necessary.
  4. rctlr macrumors 6502a

    May 9, 2012
    It all looks good to me. I've used my 2007 Mac Mini for the same purpose.

    Do you have iOS devices? If you do, it might be also worth looking at Air Video.

    The server sits on the Mac Mini, whilst the client runs on the iOS devices. I've found it more responsive than using Videos and using Home Share. It also great for offline downloads to the iOS device too.
  5. SpecFoto thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2013
    So Cal
    Thank you all for confirming that the setup will work, good to know the old Minis are still being used successfully for this purpose. The best reason to use the Mini is zero cost, I already have all the components!!

    What OSX version are you using on your Mini's? Anyone upgraded to the OSX server software, or is that not necessary for this use?
  6. mcnallym macrumors 6502a

    Oct 28, 2008
    I am using an early mini 2009, 2.0Ghz 8Gb RAM / 60Gb SSD with an FW800 connected DroboPro.

    Is working fine with an ATV3 and also used as an Elgato TV system.

    System is running 10.8.5 but plan on upgrading to 10.10 next weekend. All the Media is on the Drobo so simply re-install the OS X and Apps then point at the Library etc to get working with the existing Library.

    Absolutely no need for the OS X Server for this
  7. brdeveloper macrumors 68020


    Apr 21, 2010
    Does it work in the internet? Plex seems to support home-to-internet streaming, but I don't know exactly how does it deal with IP addresses.
  8. Lord Hamsa macrumors 6502a

    Jul 16, 2013
    Mine's fairly new, so it's running Yosemite. OS X Server of any stripe isn't necessary unless you want it to do double duty as a home or small business server in addition to acting as a HTPC.
  9. mcnallym macrumors 6502a

    Oct 28, 2008
    Is iTunes so no. Home Sharing doesn't work across the Internet.
  10. Ray2 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 8, 2014
    I left my 3,1 mini on 10.6.8. If it works, leave well enough alone. I'd certainly take 10.6 over .7 thru .9. I'm very pleased with Yosemite but, in the end, decided on a fresh install of 10.6 when I installed an ssd.

    I don't use an ATV. No idea if the newer os's make a difference.

    Having little to no knowledge of the ATV, why? I can't see anything an ATV would bring me that my mini won't. I can see a lot an ATV won't bring me versus my mini.
  11. kave macrumors regular

    Oct 31, 2012
    I would also look into Plex and Plex Connect.
    It's a fantastic solution for the AppleTV on the TV. Much more content available than on using iTunes only. On the Web TV channels we have in Sweden, it is also better videoquality than the Native Apple TV apps.

    To me the hassle of using a mouse and keyboard in the living room doesn't make it worth it.
  12. westrock2000 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 18, 2013
    Streaming a DVD quality movie requires less then 1MB/s of bandwidth. Bluray is less then 10MB/s.

    The AppleTV 2 & 3 still only have a 100mbit Ethernet port, which works out to around 9-10MB/s and in the ATV3's case, is expected to be able to play high bitrate 1080P over the network.

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