Mac mini for me?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by deluxechev, Feb 10, 2016.

  1. deluxechev macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2016
    #1
    We’re wondering if a mac mini would be a good solution for us, here’s our situation.

    The wife has a Macbook Air that we bought new in 2014. It still works. The only problem is that the hard drive is not able to accommodate our storage needs. She has some music, but it’s photos (from a SLR camera) and videos (from an HD camcorder) eating up space. We have a two year old and plan on taking a lot more pictures and video. The laptop is mostly used for internet browsing and some minor working from home with MS Office.

    The wife also has an ipad from 2013 that’s used for general internet browsing and streaming
    Netflix. Last November she got an iPhone 6s plus. We also have two 3rd gen apple tv’s (again streaming
    Netflix ). And I’m thinking of also switching over from my 3 yr old htc over to an iPhone within the next few weeks.

    The idea is to get a mac mini that we’d use as the family computer to run the iphones and ipad and store all of our music, photo’s and video. We’d back up the mac mini with an external hard drive. That would free up the hard drive on the laptop and should cover our storage needs. One question I have is would we be better suited to setup the mac mini as a media server. I’m still trying to understand what that means and how all other devices would work under that scenario.

    I’d appreciate any thoughts or suggestions.
     
  2. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #2
    I'll offer my "standard recommendations":

    If you buy a Mini, DO NOT buy the "entry level" model.

    If you buy a Mini, buy ONLY either of these:
    - the "midrange" model WITH a 1tb fusion drive option and 8gb of RAM
    or
    - the "top level" Mini (comes with a 1tb fusion drive standard).

    You NEED either a fusion drive (which is actually TWO drives, a 120gb SSD -and- a 1tb HDD), or a "straight" SSD.
    The Mini will run interminably slow with only a platter-based HDD.
    On the other hand, performance with fusion or straight SSD will be quite fast.

    I would also recommend 8gb of RAM (comes standard on the top-level, I believe).
     
  3. deluxechev thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2016
    #3
    Thanks for the recommendation. That's actually exactly what we were planning on going with, either the mid or top model. 2.6 GHz, 8 GB & 2 TB Fusion drive.

    Would it be worth the money in our case to opt for either the 3.0GHZ i7 or 16 GB?
     
  4. tibas92013, Feb 10, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2016

    tibas92013 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2013
    Location:
    Costa Rica
    #4
    Super Happy with my Refurbished i5 MM(Late 2014), 2.8GHz,8GB Ram,256 SSD that I bought on the Apple On-Line Store last June!

    Why so Happy??; when I push the start-up button it turns-on like a light switch on a lamp!
     
  5. jpietrzak8 macrumors 6502a

    jpietrzak8

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2010
    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    #5
    Actually, I'm not sure why you would be interested in purchasing a new computer to solve this particular problem; to my mind, music/photo/video storage is the optimal use-case for external hard drives. You can purchase a multi-terabyte external hard drive very cheaply these days, and for multimedia storage, magnetic HDs do just as well as SSDs (SSDs don't provide a significant advantage when streaming large files).

    In this case, I would disagree with Fishrrman; this is, in my mind, a perfect use for the low-end Mini. Your CPU needs are minimal here; a $499 Mini, with two external hard drives (one to store all your media, and another to use as a backup drive) would do everything you need. Don't even bother using the Mini's internal drive to store anything. :)

    You don't need to set up the computer as a "media server" unless you plan on connecting a television set directly to it; the normal software that comes with OSX is fine for standard file serving (and easy to set up if you are going to go with an all-Apple infrastructure, as you suggest here).
     
  6. Ebenezum macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2015
    #6
    OP:

    I am not certain why you would need a new Mac, couple of external hard drives would probably satisfy your needs when it comes to storage?

    If you want to purchase Mac Mini keep in mind that the cheapest model has only 4GB of RAM and it cant be upgraded later. If you plan to use the same Mac several years it is a drawback you want to consider.
     
  7. Smiff macrumors newbie

    Smiff

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2016
    #7
    Pretty much sounds like the dilemma I am in hence my Google search and stumbling upon this thread.

    I'm looking at hooking up a Mac Mini to our TV for mainly photo storage, kids home work and general media. We use our iPads and iPhones for general browsing and day to day use.

    I have read varying opinions and reviews of the current range however most reviews are based on heavy use and gaming. I'm leaning more to the £569 version however will wait until March just in case there is an announcement of a new model.
     
  8. bking1000 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    #8
    I have an old mac mini attached to my TV. It's like a 2010 model. We use it for Amazon Prime, Netflex, Youtube, and we attached an Elgato tuner for DVR for over the airwaves. I think it has 4GB RAM. I attached external drives via FW for additional storage and backup. No issues, and works like a charm. I don't think you need a top end for media, unless you are driving 4K. We are only driving 1080p.
     
  9. Smiff macrumors newbie

    Smiff

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2016
    #9
    No 4K here, just good old fashioned HD lol. I was just going for the £399 entry level version with an external HDD however the more I read the more I think I may regret it.
     
  10. deluxechev thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2016
    #10

    I don't know why that didn't occur to me sooner! I asked the wife last night why we needed a new computer, because she does have an external 2T hard drive. She told me she has problems sharing photos and video between her laptop, ipad and iphone. And that moving things around was tedious, she just thought a new computer would fix all of those problems. So we’re going to go down to the apple store and see if they can help us sync all of her devices up so that they work properly. And like what was proposed, store all photos, music and videos on our existing hard drive, then pick up a second one to back it up.
     
  11. Partron22 macrumors 68000

    Partron22

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2011
    Location:
    Yes
    #11
    Mid-range works nicely with an external 500gB SSD for startup. The slow terabyte internal gets used for music, movies and photos. If you need more space, buy some USB 3 drive caddies and learn to swap out drives as needed. Plug those directly into the back of the mini. Even quality USB3 hubs seem a little funny when you attach 6gB/sec drives to them. Use the hub for things like charging, keyboards, and Arduinos.
     
  12. Toutou macrumors 6502a

    Toutou

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2015
    Location:
    Prague, Czech Republic
    #12
    Sounds like you could use a simple NAS - a storage that is connected to your home network and is accessible from every device on that network. It could work like a media server AND a backup solution.
     
  13. Smiff macrumors newbie

    Smiff

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2016
    #13
    I tried a 2TB WD my book live last year to save buying a MM and it was tedious and clunky affair transferring media. I ended up giving it too a friend.

    I may pop into Apple over the coming week to see what they say. We can share experiences lol.

    Good luck
     
  14. Cape Dave macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2012
    Location:
    Northeast
    #14
    I'll go further and recommend the biggest SSD you can get INSIDE the computer, then whatever you need else for external storage.

    Buying any computer with a spinner inside makes almost no sense. The SSD is the single biggest upgrade to speed ever. It is like night and day.

    Fusion is smoke and mirrors for marketing.
     
  15. Partron22 macrumors 68000

    Partron22

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2011
    Location:
    Yes
    #15
    "Fusion drives are a transitional technology".
     
  16. chadcj7 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    #16
    I would recommend a NAS. This is a network drive that can function as all of your storage for your videos, music and even your backups. You would have the capability to access this information outside of your network therefor saying space on your iPad, Air and iPhones. This also works as an automated backup for all of your devices. On top of all that you have the capability to have raid6 configuration and have built in failover.

    I know this is not your typical solution but it works well and it can make life easy. I have a 3 yr old and a 18 month old. I completely understand the large amount of photos and videos. The qnap i have helps simplify things and automate for both me and my wife
     

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