Mac Mini Media Server - Fusion vs external HDD/SSD Options

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by tfcowhey, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. tfcowhey macrumors newbie

    May 30, 2008
    I'm about to purchase a 2.6ghz Mac Mini primarily for use as a home media server. I have several ATVs that will access the mini to deliver content throughout the house.

    The real question is what drive to get in the mini? Should I get a fusion drive? An internal SSD? If I go with the 256gb internal SSD, I will need another drive to hang off the mini that I would likely use as my primary drive for all of the movies and music that the ATVs will accessing.

    What's the optimal configuration? Assume I have a large media library - 150gb and growing rapidly.

    1TB fusion with a USB 3.0 backup drive?

    256GB internal with a 500gb external thunderbolt SSD?

    What is the better option? It's clear the second option will be faster, but is it worth the steep price increase? Or is the first option good enough?

    Any help appreciated.
  2. blevins321 macrumors 68030

    Dec 24, 2010
    Winnipeg, MB
    To be honest, regular internal drive with external drives is the way to go. Either that or get a NAS that supports streaming. Synology can run Plex server and you can AirPlay from an iOS device to the AppleTV. You can get a Very good model with a few terabytes of storage for the same price as a mini with a little storage.
  3. duervo macrumors 68020


    Feb 5, 2011
    Don't need SSD for media storage in a streaming media server. For OS? Yeah, SSD is a good idea, but for something off of which you'll be streaming movies/music, it's overkill.

    Go for capacity first when you're looking at a drive for mainly media storage in a streaming media server.

    In your position, with your needs, I would get the 256GB internal SSD, then go out and get a third-party external 1TB or 2TB USB3 drive.

    A small NAS unit for media storage is another alternative (but more expensive.)
  4. tfcowhey thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 30, 2008
    I failed to mention that part of the reason I am getting the mini is that I'm going to buy OSX Server separately, and use an external USB 3.0 driveoff the mini to backup and manage all the other macs in the house too, so I think the NAS probably isn't the right route here, but will admit I haven't see arched that option much.

    So, it sounds like the 256GB SSD internal and a USB 3.0 external HDD for the media storage and streaming should work just fine - I won't have too much of a lag or delay playing from the external drive to the ATVs?
  5. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    I see no need for the 2.6 the 2.3 quad is more then enoguh speed for you. As for fusion if you are loading a ton of songs/tv shows/movies fusion is not to helpful (unless you diy a huge ssd with the stock 1tb hdd). I would buy the 2.3 quad with a 256gb ssd. I would buy aftermarket ram 8gb or 16gb from crucial website.

    I would want a thunderbolt 2 bay solution to hold the media files.

    or a synology 2 bay nas
  6. kiantech macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2007
    I'm running a 2012 macmini with osx server (bought separate). I have a drobo that I have all my media on for my plex server. I also use the time machine feature of server and my laptop backs up to it. It is really nice, but def. not on the cheap side.

    Also have my printer installed with handyprint so I can print from iOS devices. Works well.
  7. Aries326 macrumors 6502

    Dec 28, 2007
    I'm with one of the posters above. You don't need SSD for streaming video. I bought two Newertech Guardian Maximus enclosures for my MacMini and put in two 2TB hard drives that hold my entire iTunes library - music and movies. I have another Guardian Maximus with 1.5TB for my aperture back ups and home movies. I have another MiniStack with a 2TB HD hooked up via USB for my TimeMachine Back up drive. Works out well but the set up doesn't look pretty. At least everything is hopefully adequately backed up.

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