Mac Mini, Portable FW800 HDD and iTunes.

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by wartnig, Mar 5, 2009.

  1. wartnig macrumors member

    Mar 4, 2009
    Shropshire, UK
    I am going to be purchasing a Mac Mini at the weekend and a FW800 500gb portable HDD. Will this portable HDD be fine for storing all my iTunes library? (Movies, Music etc...)

    iTunes content will be downloaded direct to the library on the FW800 HDD and then the Mac Mini will stream content to my Apple TV wirelessly..(802.11n network)
    Can anyone see any major flaws in this setup (data speed, lag etc)? or advise me any better?

    Thanks in advance!:)
  2. Henrik85 macrumors member

    Mar 3, 2009
    It will most definitely be enough. I'm running all my iTunes stuff from an old USB-drive, and it's no problem whatsoever.
  3. spacepower7 macrumors 68000

    May 6, 2004
    My Take

    Personally, I would opt for a 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM drive if you don't plan on moving the system around often.
    You can get usually get a deal on the 1TB for the same price as a 500GB portable.
    It's mainly a decision on your need (and ease) of hooking up the 500GB to other computers, versus your future storage needs.
  4. wartnig thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 4, 2009
    Shropshire, UK

    cheers for the replies!

    I have considered a 1TB external yes.
    My only concern with a 3.5" 7200rpm drive is that they require an AC power source which kind of limits where i can put the mac mini and involves dragged extension cables around the room..
    Are external 3.5" 7200rpm drives noisy at all?
  5. Bye Bye Baby macrumors 65816

    Bye Bye Baby

    Sep 15, 2004
    i(am in the)cloud
    depends which one you get. I have the iomega mini form factor 500gb. A great little drive and it sits underneath my imac. (Yes I bought an imac instead of a mini- at those prices and specs, who could blame me.)

    Truthfully it does make a bit of a noise when it starts up, especially when time machine kicks in. I hear it, but it is only about two feet from me on the desk. It is much louder than the imac. If noise is an issue than think about a my studio. I think they are a bit quieter.
  6. spacepower7 macrumors 68000

    May 6, 2004

    I have many externals, and noise varies between models and even amongst models.

    Western Digital Passports
    These are all silent as can get, only hear the disk mounting or dismounting.

    Can hear mount and dismount, and alittle noise when use, and less when plugged in but not in use. Keep in mind that this is when it is located 2-5 feet from my head. Can't hear at all when across the room hooked up to my WDTV.

    2x750GB Seagate Freeagent, older models with metal case. During use over USB2, these are about the same noise as the 500GB WD Passport.

    1x750GB Seagate Freeagent Firewire only. Metal case also. This is noisier than the other 750GB drives but not bad compared to others I have. Really not bad at all.

    2x1TB Seagate Freeagent, plastic case that looks like the metal one. Triple Interface (eSATA/Firewire/USB2)

    This is where it gets weird. One of the 1TB is quiet like the 750GB drives and the other is LOUD, like some of the WD MyBooks my friends have.
    I suspect one has a fan and the other doesn't. I think that all the 750GB metal case drives either have no fan or a small one but mainly use the metal case for heat disappation.

    I bought the Seagates after hearing my friends' loud WD MyBook drives. I wanted quiet drives and I like the design better.

    Hope this helps
  7. wartnig thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 4, 2009
    Shropshire, UK
    Great breakdown! Cheers!! The portable drive i want to get is the Seagate FreeAgent Go for Mac. It looks pretty tidy and gets good reviews. I just hope a portable doesn't mean more failures or less noticeable access speed when streaming movies.
    I might consider where the mac mini can go and may get an external drive (AC Powered)... but im not too keen on that idea.

    Another quick question... with the drive plugged into the mac mini, will i still be able to see the drive from my macbook? Just curious if this is possible.. so i can boot itunes up on the macbook and 'choose library' pointing to the portable plugged into the mac mini.
  8. mpshay macrumors 6502

    May 19, 2008
    You have to plug the mini into an AC outlet so how much more trouble is it to also plug in an external HD?
  9. sngx1275 macrumors regular


    Jan 27, 2009
    I bought one of the MacAlly external enclosures (somewhat expensive) with FW400, USB2.0, and eSATA. Put a Seagate 1.5TB drive in it, and the thing is incredibly quiet. Startup of the disk and shutdown make some noise, but beyond that I can't hear it at all, even under pretty heavy use (although I only connect with FW 400, so "heavy" use is still way below what the drive can handle).
  10. OldMike macrumors 6502


    Mar 3, 2009
    Dallas, TX
    Regardless of which one you go with, I would definitely make sure it is FW800. From the benchmarks I have seen, a good external FW800 drive is just as fast as an internal 7200 rpm SATA drive.

    For bus powered externals, even though they are expensive, I like the Lacie Rugged drive. It seems to be well made and has decent throughput.
  11. HiFiGuy528 macrumors 68000

    Jul 24, 2008
    Acomdata 1TB pureDrive - Dual Interface (USB 2.0 & eSATA) External Hard Portable Drive is your friend. $109 at J&


    Product Information
    AcomData pureDrive is the perfect solution for those who want nothing more than pure, high-performance data storage. Conveniently store all of your tunes, your pics, your flicks--and all of your other digital files--in one compact, portable package.

    Product MPN
    MPN: PDHD1000USE-72

    Key Features
    Capacity: 1 TB
    Interface: USB
    Enclosure: External
    Spindle Speed: 7200 RPM

    Technical Features
    Special Features: Vertical or Horizontal Placement
    External Data Transfer Rate: 60 MBps
    Seek Time: 8.5 ms
    Buffer Size: 16 MB
    Average Latency: 4.17 ms
    Interface (Detailed): Serial ATA, USB, USB 2.0
    Hot Swap: Yes

    Other Features
    Platform: PC, Mac
    Package Qty.: 1

    Height: 1.3 in.
    Width: 7.4 in.
    Depth: 4.4 in.
    Weight: 2.31 lb.
  12. sngx1275 macrumors regular


    Jan 27, 2009
    There is no eSATA on the mini though, so its worthless. Unless you want to run from eSATA to the internal SATA, involving modifying the case of the Mini. You really need one with FW800 for anything serious. But the USB 2.0 or FW400 is fine for viewing movies.
  13. robotartfashion macrumors 6502

    Jan 1, 2009
    Phoenix, AZ
    apple has zero interest in a esata port from what we've seen

    also the mini would be he last to get it

    i think its fantastic that they put a fw800 port on it as i never would have believed it

    to the op usb 2.0 is fine for streaming media, even hd sources
  14. Turmoil macrumors regular

    Jul 2, 2008
  15. sngx1275 macrumors regular


    Jan 27, 2009
    by worthless I didn't mean the mini

    I meant the drive DjAmTraX linked is worthless because the mini doesn't have eSATA. So the best you could get out of that drive is USB 2.0.

    Purchasing a FW800 drive is the fastest solution. But if the drive is only going to serve media, then USB 2.0 and FW400 (much cheaper) are adequate.
  16. TechViking macrumors regular

    Mar 3, 2009
    Silent external FW800 HD?

    Any tips for an external FW800 HD that is extremely silent? I would not mind to pay premium for such a thing if it exists.
  17. wartnig thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 4, 2009
    Shropshire, UK
    well, i purchased the FreeAgent Go for Mac. FW800 version. It is extremely silent! I am glad i purchased it. Its the first time i have used a FW800 drive and the speed is so noticeable! I copied 186gb over my network to the drive in just under 3 hours.. seemed quick enough for me!
  18. Mike in Kansas macrumors 6502a

    Mike in Kansas

    Sep 2, 2008
    Metro Kansas City
    I have two fan-less Lacie d2 quadra drives; 500GB and 750 GB. Both have USB2/FW400/FW800/eSata interfaces. Obviously I can't hear any fan noise, but I can hear their platter drives but to be honest it is just as loud as a fan on some of the quieter drives. I have them behind my iMac about 3" from a wall, so I am getting some reflected noise.
  19. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Jul 16, 2002
    I use my mini as a music server (using Front Row). All my music is on an ext. FW400 drive + another FW400 backup drive. Works great. I think FW800 is gross overkill though unless you can get a FW800 drive/enclosure for the same price as a 400. FW800 will do NOTHING for you in your situation. Typically FW800 is used by video editors to avoid dropouts. FW400 is plenty fast to stream video and audio. Your computer will be buffering the data. It's not a 1:1 situation.
  20. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    I store my entire iTunes library on an external 2.5" FW800 drive.

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