Mac Mini or '08 MBP for media/web server?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by mneblett, May 2, 2014.

  1. mneblett, May 2, 2014
    Last edited: May 2, 2014

    mneblett macrumors 6502

    Jun 7, 2008
    I've been looking forward to the next Mini, as I'm planning on setting up a small server with a DAS to serve up web pages for a website my wife is thinking of building.** With a server performing this duty, I also likely will use the DAS for Time Machine backups and consolidated media storage.

    In the process of thinking this through, I realized that my semi-retired, but still in very good condition, late '08 MBP (the first Unibody) might be an alternative. It has a C2D CPU, 8GB RAM and an SSD boot drive. Ports are limited, however, to USB2, Firewire400 and Ethernet (gigE, IIRC).

    $20 for OSX 10.9 Server and the '08 MBP would be functional -- but I have no idea whether it would be "adequate" or better yet, "satisfactory."

    I'd really appreciate the Collective's thoughts on whether to go with the '08 MBP or a Mini for these duties.


    ** I recognize there are limitations associated with attempting to serve web pages via my home Cox cable internet (e.g., DynDNS, cable service contract issues, etc.). I am separately researching how I will deal with these matters (home or remote hosting, etc.), so you don't need to comment -- I'll be asking more refined questions on that subject in the future! :) Right now, my focus is on: if I choose the home-based server route, what hardware combination makes the most sense.
  2. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    If the funds permit a mac mini will obviously be better suited.
  3. mneblett thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 7, 2008

    That is consistent with my expectation, but I don't understand the "why?" -- i.e., is the processing load the C2D would see in a server environment be too much, such that performance would not be satisfactory, or would the '08 be sufficient, but the Mini brings better connectivity (USB3, TB) to the table?
  4. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    Mac mini because:
    - newer, faster, better overall system
    - better cooling for running permanently as a server
    - better connectivity possibilities (faster wifi, usb and ethernet)

    Besides that your mbp should work, too. Be also aware that laptops are not constructed with "server" in mind.
  5. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    I'd use a Synology NAS, seems like it can do everything the OP wants plus can use 5.25" NAS ready HDDs.
  6. jezzy macrumors member

    Jan 12, 2012
    Montreal, Quebec
    If I were you, i'd find someone to trade your MBP for a c2d mini, preferably the 2009 model. I believe the mini's are better suited to remain on 24/7 for a server environment. I run my 09 mini 24/7 for about a year now as a XBMC server, NZB, torrent server, and still running strong. I'd be worried about leaving a laptop on for that amount of time, and doubt the cooling is sufficient as well.

    Not sure you need a server OS to do what you want to do, mind you it's easier if you did. My Xserve's are running the osx 10.5 and 10.6 and indeed easier to setup SQL and manage domains, etc..
  7. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    Assemble a simple fanless system based on an Intel Celeron U1037 board. These little beasts are as powerful as a 2.5Ghz Core2Duo, have HD decoding, 16GB RAM capable, 3 SATA ports, dual gigabit and go for 80 bucks. Best of all: fanless and 10 watt load.
    That is triple the power of a Synology, at half price.
    board with CPU: 80 bucks
    PSU: 40 bucks
    8GB Ram: 60 bucks
    3 TB WD Green/Red: 120 bucks
    128GB SSD: 60 bucks
    Case: 40 bucks:
    Total: 400 bucks for a helluvalot (media) server.
  8. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009

    Either would work.... Pros and cons to each one:

    1. You already own it. Initial Cost: $0
    2. It has a built in UPS (assuming the battery still holds a charge)

    1. newer/faster/etc. etc.
    2. Has USB 3.0/Thunderbolt*
    3. Will be supported by future OS's**

    * This is probably the #1 reason why the Mini would be better. Faster drive access. Granted, USB 2.0 is fast enough for Media serving, doing TM backups and serving Media at the same time will cause the TM backups to slow considerably.
    ** At some point, Apple being Apple will drop support for Core2duo based machines. It's a matter of time at this point.

    Me personally, I'd try out using the MBP and if it doesn't work go get a Mini. If you already own it, why not?
  9. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    Core i7 is not much different in capabilities than Core2Duo. Most important difference is HT and more variation in clock speed, but this does not affect the type of code it can process. The new Mini is not much different in the ability to run certain software than 2009 models. The models before do lack core functionality, and will become unsupported soon. The late 2008 MBP is same as 2009 mini's, and pretty much a supported system for years to come. And then you can even add 10 more years using Linux.

    GPU support will be a more important factor in whether Apple will run OSX 10.x on Core2Duo models or not. Your MBP 9400M is now often the minimum required for Apple apps.
  10. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    You realize my comment about supporting cire2duo was more about delineating between generations right? At some point apple will only support from x computer on. More than likely they will choose to that x to be core2duox simply because it's an easy line.

    Further there are differences. All processors are different. All processors have "drivers" to handle their various sleep states. Further with core I processors the memory controller was moved to the CPU so the system as a whole was drastically changed. Even various steps of A processor has differnt microcode to handle nuances/bugs within that step alone. So no they aren't the same.

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