Mac mini for home server use HELP!

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by peterl7777, May 15, 2015.

  1. peterl7777, May 15, 2015
    Last edited: May 15, 2015

    peterl7777 macrumors newbie

    May 18, 2010
    I do not know what to do in this situation which is -I want to start a network at home. My current hardware is
    MBP 15"late 2010 8gig RAM, OWC mercury 512SSD running Yosemite 10.10.3, Mac Book 13" late 2008 , OWCmercury 128gb SSD, running Maverick 10.9.5 6Gig RAM, Ipad 2, Iphone 6 plus,Iphone 5. Apple TV3 never used as yet,Samsung 46' LED smart TV,
    Sony PS3 for DVD/Bluray player + occasional game playing, Fetch TV 1tb internal HDD used occasionally as TV PVR, I have cable via optus as my carrier which is very fast approx 100mb+ speed hard wired,but I use wireless to access via laptops the modem has x4 ethernet ports, hdmi ,usb etc,
    I also have a OWC external Mercury pro Qx2 raid with x4 @2TB HDD 7200RPM
    with USB2, FW800,e-Sata as connections not the current model that has USB3
    I also have x5 spare brand new Hitachi 2TB 7200 HDD that I bought so I would have spare drives in case any failed in my Mercury Pro so I would have them to match exactly what is in the Mercury Pro Qx2
    I bought this to put my whole music collection on.I have separate external HDD's that I use via time capsule to regularly back up the 2 laptops.
    I was was wanting to connect devices not sure what ones to do so that I could house all my movies, music,photos, data? so that we can watch on the TV, access wirelessly via laptops,Ipad, I am happy to continue to use separate ext HDD to backup laptops. So would a Mac Mini 2012 I7 with 8 or 16gb Ram running server be of any use? I can easily upgrade the HDD with a second drive say a 512gb SSD. Not sure if a NAS etc. is needed as well or does the Mac mini connect these devices and make everything work by itself?
    I can buy another External RAID/NAS if needed as well. We do not do online gaming.
    I do not need remote access to home network. AS I said I just want to have one repository for all my music,movies, some data eg documents so that we all can access them wirelessly when at home.
    ANY suggestions I would greatly appreciate as I just do not know what to do
    in this situation and want to get it right- cost is not a big issue I just want it all to work seamlessly and headache free.
    Thanks in advance Peter
  2. gixxerfool macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2008
    I can't give a ton of advice, just what I gleaned from personal experience.

    Simply put, everything that can be hardwired, should be. The hardwired items should have static IP addresses somewhere near the top of the table. Not the very last address as its reserved. My table goes to .150, I believe I put my statics in around the 130 mark to leave room for later add ons if needed.

    I had dropped devices and no connections plaguing my network trying to do it wirelessly. Once it was all wired it was dead solid and a lot faster on both that and wireless.

    I have my modem to router. The router hardwires my Apple TV, PS3, soon to be ps4, and my gigabit switch that sits in my office. My switch then feeds my 2008 mini (server) and my current use 2012.

    I played with a Nas running freenas. While the flexibility was nice, setting it up wasn't. Then when the OS got corrupted and I lost all of my settings and had to redo it all, I went back to large capacity externals. Personal preference.
  3. peterl7777, May 16, 2015
    Last edited: May 16, 2015

    peterl7777 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 18, 2010
    OK so do I need the mac mini? IF so can I house it next to my optus modem then also buy a router, then hardwire the PS3, apple TV3, Fetch TV,OWC Qx2 Raid drive unit to various connections i.e the router/modem and mac mini so that they are all in the same cupboard that is underneath the samsung TV and
    then I have a rock solid connection of all these devices and then have it so I can access my various hardware as above stated
    AND then wirelessly access these via my laptops or do the laptops need to be hardwired as weil to the above i.e modem/router? If I need a gigabit switch can this also be put in with all of the hardware items above so it all works together as a unit?
    Forgot to add I also have a Billion BIPAC 7404VNPX 3G/802.11NADSL 2+ Mode/firewall Router that I used previously but now have optus cable to get my internet connection so no longer use it but instead optus cable and the modem that was supplied by optus. is this of any use to me to use as a router etc .or now redundant. And as such do I just need to buy new hardware such as a router, gigabit switch and the mac mini to get it all set up and running.

    Thanks for any more advice as i still am confused on what I need to do and what extra hardware I need to get

    THANKS in advance for any more HELP I really appreciate and value all input/advice
  4. gixxerfool macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2008
    Maybe someone else will be able to chime in and offer advice, if I read correctly you have an older MacBook. If that's a low used device there's no reason you couldn't use that for a "server" using externals and such. Possibly run it in clamshell mode and access it via screen share on your MBP.

    If the MacBook is in regular use then a dedicated mini may help. I'm not familiar with a fetch TV or the OWC raid and how they are accessed. If they require a computer to access them, then I would think a mini may be in order.

    With the router I would buy a switch too. They run about $60 USD for an 8 port gigabit. This will allow for future expansion. The laptops won't need to hardwired. I found the Apple TV losing the iTunes the handshake with my mini and neither mini wanting to talk to the other wirelessly. This is why I went wired. That and it's faster.
  5. peterl7777, May 16, 2015
    Last edited: May 16, 2015

    peterl7777 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 18, 2010
    Thanks for the reply, The older Mac book i.e 2008 is used but I can easily buy a replacement 13" computer for my daughter say a 13" mac book/macbbook air or replace the 15" MBP to be used as a "server"
    I do like the idea though of the mac mini as it is proper computer, pretty well speced and in turn has an OS on it as well it has a lot of features on it lots of imput options and can run applications etc.

    The Fetch TV can just be plugged in to the TV via HDMI so that is not a problem as it is just used as a TV PVR occasionally,Similarly the PS3 is used as a DVD/Bluray player primarily so it can just be plugged directly into the TV via HDMI. The OWC Qx2 though is needed to be connected to a computer of sorts to access Itunes music, video , data etc as it is not a NAS device (I think)so it cannot be just connected to the TV directly.The OWC raid just plugging it into the modem via usb port on the modem most probably
    will not work ? I think and try to access it via the modem. So that is why I thought getting the mac mini would be needed

    Thanks again for everyones help but I still do not know what I need to do /buy so I can get what I would like to have up and running i.e a home network so I can have wireless access to the apple TV, and the OWC Qx2 raid units stored information (music, movies, video etc.

  6. peterl7777 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 18, 2010
    Please someone let me know if getting the mac mini is what I need to get my setup going and if I should get the server model or will the standard 32bit model meet my needs, Lastly what is the advantage of having the server model over the 32 bit standard model

    Very much appreciate any help/advice

  7. Johbremat macrumors regular

    Feb 8, 2011
    One option you have available is buying the likes of a QNAP or Synology NAS. Whack all your HDDs into that, attach to a router and serve all your content to all your devices from there, via ethernet or wireless.

    The purpose of a server is not just serving content, but also functionality. If you want to be able to log in to any one of your machines without having to set up individual profiles you can use a server as the focal point for authority and authentication. Additionally, you can set it up for shared calendars, wiki, email, controlling home security or automation...depends what functionality you're after.

    If you want additional functionality and have the time/patience/curiosity, use an existing machine. If it suits your needs you can consider a the likes of a Mac Mini later, rather than purchasing up front (regardless if cost is not an issue. No use in throwing your coin away).

    If you want to centralise your content for access from multiple devices, consider a NAS.
  8. peterl7777 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 18, 2010
    THANK YOU!!!!!
    Seems like I do not need to get the mac mini as I just want to have the ability to have one repository for my music, photos, movies , data and be able to access these wirelessly from our laptops and maybe access our apple TV3 as well wirelessly SO if I by a NAS should I buy a Synology or QNAP?

    I have x5 brand new Hitachi 2TB 7200 HDD I could use and in turn what router should I buy that is good quality again price is not a major concern I want reliabilty/speed and quality

    Thanks for ANY advice I am so grateful for your help with this
  9. chrfr macrumors 604

    Jul 11, 2009
    A NAS is probably the simplest, and lowest cost option for you. The Late 2008 Macbook is a poor choice for a server due to having USB 2.0 as the only I/O ports on the computer.
    If you did opt for a Mini, there's absolutely no reason to spend the money on an i7 as nothing you've listed would be in any way taxing the CPU so you'd be spending a significant premium for no benefit. A refurbished 2014 Mini with Thunderbolt 2 would likely be a wiser purchase.
  10. peterl7777 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 18, 2010
    Thanks everyone for your help I am going with the NAS option,
    I think the QNAP TS470 rather than the synology 1513 as the QNAP has a HDMI / stereo ports for 7.1 home theater if needed in the future. Also can use my TV as a monitor if needed with keyboard and mouse doubt I will do this but nice to have the option. Just need to check with them my spare Hitachi sata 7200 2TB desk star 7K2000 32mb buffer 3.5" bare drives will be compatable with it Any thought on that this is a good way to go would be greatly appreciated

  11. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    Perhaps too late to the party to influence, but you might find my Mac mini server story interesting. Been running one (actually on my second mini) for 7+ years.

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