Mac Mini Server

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by TheBaconKing, Mar 8, 2011.

  1. TheBaconKing macrumors regular

    TheBaconKing

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    Location:
    Northwest Arkansas
    #1
    So I have been looking around on ebay and craigslist for a few weeks now for a cheap Mac Mini. I am wanting one to stick in my entertainment center and be the media hub for my house.

    It will be used 90% for streaming music and movies from iTunes on the mini to the number of iOS devices, and laptops, in the house. It will also be used every so often to rip a dvd so that the movie could be played anywhere in the house. This is not as important as being able to stream though, as I have 2 fairly new Macbook Pros that are fully capable of ripping dvds.

    I found one that I am strongly considering, but it runs snow leopard server. Basically I am just wondering will the fact that is runs snow leopard server effect any of the uses, streaming and ripping movies, I am looking to get out of it?
     
  2. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #2
    why does it run snow leopard server? if you want to rip a dvd does it have a dvd player? server mac minis come with 2 hdds and no dvd. what model is it a 2009 2.53?
     
  3. TheBaconKing thread starter macrumors regular

    TheBaconKing

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    Location:
    Northwest Arkansas
    #3
    It is a 2009 2.53, yes it has 2 HDDs, and no there is no DVD drive. I have the Superdrive that I took out of my Macbook Pro. I thought about hooking it up to one of the USB ports in the back.

    I have just had zero experience with Snow Leopard Server, and was wondering if I would have any issues with it. I don't plan on using most of the server features of the software, if any at all. I had also thought of installing the regular snow leopard software over the server software (if possible, and I assume it is).
     
  4. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #4
    well the server software is expensive and you can run most of mac programs with it... If you have a snow leopard osx 10.6 you could keep it on drive a and the server on drive b.
     
  5. LucasLand macrumors 6502a

    LucasLand

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2002
    Location:
    New England
    #5
    i bought the mini server refurb and its great. i didnt need server OS but i liked the idea of an extra HD and it was faster,

    server OS is just like Snow, except with some server utilities. It came with all the same stuff including dvd player. I bought an apple external superdrive for $30 on ebay.
     
  6. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030

    Yebubbleman

    Joined:
    May 20, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #6
    I bought the Mid 2010 (current as of this posting) Mac mini Server refurbished from the "Refurbished Mac" section of Apple's online store. I set up the drives in a RAID 0 (and made sure I had a Time Machine drive up and ready to roll to compensate for the increased liklihood of a volume/hard drive failure) and installed the client version of Snow Leopard (as I didn't want to deal with the Server preferences and software) from the retail install DVD of the non-Server mini as the Mac mini Server of current uses the same exact logic board as the 2.66 GHz CTO Mac mini of current. Were you to do this with a Late 2009 Mac mini Server, you could use either the late 2009 non-Server Mac mini restore DVD or the retail DVD of Snow Leopard 10.6.3 (the original 10.6 DVD wouldn't work). Otherwise, you can have it running most software with Snow Leopard Server just fine. Personally, I couldn't be bothered; I just wanted a Mac with 1TB of storage and for that, my Mid 2010 mini Server is fantastic. As for the lack of a DVD drive, I use an external LG DVD burner; despite it being a USB 2.0 external drive, the overall transfer rates are FASTER than the non-Server Mac mini's internal SuperDrive. The only inconvenience there is that the eject key on my keyboard doesn't work. Oh well, minor price to pay for a reliable optical drive.

    You likely won't have issues. Personally, I couldn't be bothered with the server software as it is currently my only Mac and I have no need for extra software that I'm not going to use, but you could use either it or the client OS with your software with no trouble at all. If you wanted to use the client version of Snow Leopard, again, I'd get either a retail 10.6.3 install DVD or the discs that originally came with the non-Server mini of that generation and then be sure to run software updates to get to the current version. You can wipe the drive(s) and install the client OS like you would on a fresh install.

    As for your MacBook Pro's SuperDrive, not gonna work. I'd buy a generic external USB DVD drive. I bought one made by LG and it works swimmingly.
     
  7. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #7
    I've got a Mac mini with Snow Leopard Server that I use as a server system (no monitor and run about a dozen services on it). It does act as a file server for A/V, and I run Plex Server on it. Two entertainment centers in the house run on low-end Mac minis, and a third on an 8 year old Windows XP system.

    There are some differences in configuration of the Server version and there would be no benefit at all for use solely as a entertainment center computer and streamer. Really, might as well buy the low end mini, which works fine. While the dual 500GB drives look attractive (and I run mine RAID 0) I instantly ran out of room and added external drives. Of course you need at least one external drive anyway just for backing up the internals. 2GB of RAM is fine, however the server version does come with 4GB.

    If I had to do it now, I'd wait until the next rev of the mini which should have Thunderbolt, which will be great for external drives (FW800 is the performance bottleneck), and OS X Lion which will come with the server version at no extra cost.

    Mini server, 1.5TB external drive for TimeMachine of other systems, 1.5 and 2TB drives for media, 1TB drive to back up server internal drive (automatic nightly backup), and "toaster" for backing up external drives. All sitting on a shelf in my office.
     

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  8. mainstay macrumors 6502

    mainstay

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2011
    Location:
    BC
    #8
    Answered my question before I could even post. Thanks!
     
  9. macabouttobe macrumors regular

    macabouttobe

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Location:
    Michigan
    #9
    Helpful discussion folks. My son wanted me to set up a "Minecraft Server" for him and his gaming buddies. Took it on as an intellectual exercise on my iMac and got it all up and working... As things usually go, it piled onto my list of things I could be doing with a server in my house.. Vids, pics, the usual suspects.. I'm researching OSx server vs a typical Mac mini... I think the arrow is pointing toward a regular iMac.
     
  10. maestrokev macrumors 6502a

    maestrokev

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #10
    Can those of you who are running the Server software on your Mac Mini tell me what services you're running? I'm considering wiping the server software as well. I only want to use it as a Plex media center and I can't find a way to get the Mac Mini Server to autologon as that function seems disabled. I also can't think of what services would be useful to run to support my other MacPro and MBA.
     
  11. mdgm macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2010
    #11
    I don't use Mac OS X Server but the most useful thing in it I can think of is the ability to get it to cache Software Updates. So where possible download the update from the internet only once rather than on each PC. Faster and saves on usage (particularly important if you have a usage quota).
     
  12. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #12
    Services used:
    1. DNS
    2. DHCP
    3. Open Directory
    4. DynDNS Update
    5. Time Machine backup for 5 Macs
    6. Windows virtual machine to serve Quicken
    7. File sharing for music, pictures, video, software archival storage
    8. AddressBook server
    9. iCal server
    10. Printer/Scanner server
    11. VPN server
    12. Plex server
    13. Ssh to remotely access files and act at at VPN alternative when VPN is blocked.

    The web/wiki server is enabled but I don't currently use it.

    As far as automatic login, typically this isn't done for security reasons, but if you want to, it is the same as the client version. System Preferences -> Accounts -> Login Options -> Automatic login -> (select user name). You will have to unlock the "padlock" in the lower left of the window to change the option.
     

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