macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 7, 2011
I'm thinking of taking the Mac Mini plunge on Black Friday. I've never used a Mac in my life, but our family has three iPads, two iPhones and an ATV2.

I'm most interested in the lower power consumption. My always on Windows 7 PC draws 267 watts at idle. That's about $24 a month! I figure an always on Mini at 13-20 watts, would save me $20 a month, almost enough to pay for it in two years. Currently I leave my PC on 24/7 for backups and it's also my server for iTunes (for music and movies via ATV) and PS3 Media server, so the Mini would fill that role. I'd keep my Windows7 machine for heavy video encoding, but only run it when needed.

So my question, which would be better to store my movie files, a NAS or an external HD? I have about 1.75 TB of videos, all in mp4, so the ATV could play them without transcoding. If I go NAS, I want something that is low power and works friendly with a Mac and a PC. Any suggestions?

Thanks for the help.


macrumors 6502a
Sep 2, 2009
I believe this exact question was debated in another thread in the Mac Mini forum quite recently.

Since my Mac Mini is always on and serve my iTunes library to all my iDevices and ATVs I opted for external FireWire HDDs, I see no down side to this cheaper solution. Transfer speeds to a NAS might be better and you can play with RAID configurations w/ a NAS but with FireWire I'm doing fine and solution is rock solid.

I even sold my beloved Synology


macrumors newbie
Nov 17, 2011
I just switched to using a dedicated mini for my home server and love it. The geek in me would love a Synology but the cost did equal out for what I would do with it. I would go so far to say you'd even be better off get rid of the Windows 7 rig. I've gotten so tired of fixing everything Microsoft that I've gone totally Apple.

I would second using FW external drives. I've been looking at OWC bus powered external enclosure. Small, simple and quiet with plenty of options for growth.


macrumors newbie
Mar 17, 2011
Mac Mini Itunes server

I just bought the 2011 Mini with the dedicated graphics card, a G-Technology 3TB FW800 drive, and a 3TB Time Capsule(for backup/WiFi) this last weekend.

Primary use is for Itunes media streaming to the 3 ATV2's in the house, 2 Ipad2's and 3 Iphones.

I have never used a NAS system so I cant comment on how well it works, but the Mini/FW800 drive I bought works great.

The Mini/FW800 drive both sleep until an ATV wakes them, works flawless.

I couldn't be happier with the setup.
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