Mac Mini / Apple TV Plan (opinions please)

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Macman1993, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. Macman1993 macrumors 6502


    Nov 23, 2007
    I'm planning to set up a Mac Mini in an equipment rack in a house I'm building. I plan on streaming my iTunes library with about 150 legally acquired movies to 5 Apple TV's and any additional IOS devices in the house using home sharing. I know what I'm doing but I'm new to a setup this large, this is the equipment list I'm planning on buying, does anyone have any suggestions on what might be a better idea?

    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.


    Equipment List
    Mac Mini
    USB Super Drive
    Magic Trackpad
    Wireless Keyboard
    Apple Care
    Apple Remote
    Thunderbolt Cable

    Mac Mini After Market Parts
    OWC 8gb RAM
    OWC 120gb SSD

    Pegasus R6 6tb Thunderbolt Raid

    Apple TV (x5)
  2. jaynone macrumors member

    Jan 2, 2012
    Why the USB superdrive?

    Also, why such a small hard drive? and why an SSD?
  3. Macman1993 thread starter macrumors 6502


    Nov 23, 2007
    Sorry about that, I meant to pull some of the less important things (apple care, thunderbolt cable, superdrive...etc) off the list since there're much less important in terms of what I'm asking about. The superdrive was just so I can use it to rip a dvd (I know a mac mini is far from perfect for ripping dvd's).

    The SSD is just for loading the OS and any programs onto to keep them running fast. Since the thunderbolt raid is holding the iTunes library I didn't see the need to pay more for storage I knew I wasn't going to be using. Do you think thats a bad choice?
  4. sbddude macrumors 6502a

    Sep 27, 2010
    Nor Cal, USA
    I have a similar goal but different setup:

    Windows PC
    Core i3 2100T CPU
    8GB RAM
    320GB 7200RPM Drive
    ASRock Motherboard with onboard HDMI
    Antec Mini ITX Case ISK300-65 (external/silent PSU)

    Synology NAS DS410 with 4x2TB Drives

    Apple TV 2

    Harmony Remote

    HDHomeRun Dual Tuner

    Windows Media Center

    With this setup, I can watch Movies/TV on either the main TV connected to the PC or on the ATV2 (running XBMC). Metadata is retrieved automatically and I can stop playback and resume in another room. All of my laptops can also run XBMC. I can also use AirVideo and stream content to my iPad.

    Total cost was around $1300, most of which is the NAS, which I also use for other file storage.
  5. will waters macrumors regular

    Jul 19, 2011
    Great Britain
    Too much


    I think your setup is a little to complicated, and expensive for only 5 apple TV's, i would get if i were you:

    1x Mac Mini server with 2x750GB HDD
    Keyboard and Mouse etc.
    Cheap disk drive, the apple one is over priced
    External firewire 800 hard rive if needed (firewire 800 will be enough for what you need, thunderbolt in a nice idea but is limited by the speeds of the HDD's)

    I would even say you need this, but having the server option is slightly more powerful and will likely last you longer!

    SO what might even work:
    1x 2.3GHZ mac mini, with 8GB of ram, and possibly SSD
    External firewire 800 HDD
    Cheap disk drive, the apple one is over priced
    Keyboard, mouse etc

    I hope this is helpful
  6. jaynone macrumors member

    Jan 2, 2012
    Doesn't the mini have an optical drive built in?

    I don't think the SSD is going to make any difference in a server setup like this.

    Seems a bit excessive really.
  7. btbrossard macrumors 6502a

    Oct 25, 2008
    The current model mini lacks an optical drive. The mid-2010 model (and before) had an optical drive.

    I'd skip the SSD. And a firewire raid would work fine for you and be less expensive. Thunderbolt stuff has the "look at me I'm new!" tax added to it right now.

    Also - this won't be your only Mac (since it's going in a closet), right?

    Just log into it remotely from your main Mac to do any work on it and skip the wireless keyboard and trackpad.
  8. hafr macrumors 68030

    Sep 21, 2011
    Why a Mac Mini? Save money and get parts instead. Build a Hackintosh if you for some reason feel you must have OS X running. Or is the thunderbolt raid something you really, really want?

    Why are you getting an Apple remote? You get one with every ATV2 :)
  9. btbrossard macrumors 6502a

    Oct 25, 2008
    If the poster has kids, he can never have too many apple remotes.

    Our apple remotes seem to disappear all the time. I thought of glueing a brick to one...

    The shiny silver remote can hide between couch cushions very well.
  10. hafr macrumors 68030

    Sep 21, 2011
    True, I didn't think about that. I've found ours in the most unusual places thanks to the little one, so I've set up the TV remote to the ATV2 for when the Apple remote is missing :)
  11. obsidian1200 macrumors 6502


    Jun 19, 2010
    Albuquerque, NM
    If not a cheaper DVD drive, why not just buy a blu-ray drive? There's a nice Asus external one, works fine with the mac, that usually runs at the same price point as the superdirve. Only problem is the drive is read-only, but unless you burn discs, that shouldn't be a problem.

    Otherwise, a lot of good suggestions so far in this thread. You have a lot of options here :)
  12. EvilC5 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 22, 2010
    Hanover MD
    I have a mid 2010 mini server with a fw800 drobo feeding 5 atv2's, 2 atv1's, 2 iPads, 2 iPhones, and a 2nd mini. Works great to stream anything in the house

    I upgraded to gigE to speed transfers between mini's and love it.
  13. jaynone macrumors member

    Jan 2, 2012
    I've slept on my ATV remote without noticing before. :D
  14. Macman1993 thread starter macrumors 6502


    Nov 23, 2007
    Thanks to everyone who's provided feedback.

    There's always a bunch of people in my house so I decided on the thunderbolt raid to insure that if 3 people start streaming HD video to an apple tv that the video's wouldn't start to stutter as the raid struggles to keep up with the demand.

    I thought about going with a pc or a hackintosh and decided later that I was ok with the extra cost of an official mac. I killed the pc idea because I have heard nothing but bad things about iTunes for windows and being as I've used osx exclusively for the last few years I really don't want to get myself back into a windows environment. Additionally since I write in objective-c I really wanted a mac so I can write a quick program for a computer that I know will always be on and functioning as a home server. I also kicked out the hackintosh idea because I honestly don't have the time to put one together and in the event that something goes wrong or I need some support from apple I would want to be able to get their support.

    Yeah the mac mini has no optical drive so I added one but will definitely look at non apple ones since apple's is overpriced. Are external blu-ray drives pretty good on a mac? I've never seen one in use so I'm curious about if handbreak will rip from one.

    I threw the extra apple remote in there for the inevitable time when a remote gets lost and someone without an iOS device needs one.

    Finally I just wanted to verify, the apple tv will accept 1080p video and will just down convert to the display right?

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