Mac Mini with external hd server

Toltepeceno

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Jul 17, 2012
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I am going to get a mac mini to use as an itunes server and an external hd. My question is about connections to the hd. Is it worth it (or that much better) to try and go thunderbolt? If I went that route it would probably be the freeagent goflex adaptor as that is pretty much all that I could do on my budget. Is it worth it to do that over firewire or is firewire more than enough?

Thanks
 

tbayrgs

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Jul 5, 2009
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I am going to get a mac mini to use as an itunes server and an external hd. My question is about connections to the hd. Is it worth it (or that much better) to try and go thunderbolt? If I went that route it would probably be the freeagent goflex adaptor as that is pretty much all that I could do on my budget. Is it worth it to do that over firewire or is firewire more than enough?

Thanks
I've been using FW for years for the external HDD on my Mac Mini HTPC and haven't encountered any problems streaming content (up to 1080p content with mid range bitrates, 10-12 mbps) around my home.
 

chenks

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Oct 23, 2007
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I've been using FW for years for the external HDD on my Mac Mini HTPC and haven't encountered any problems streaming content (up to 1080p content with mid range bitrates, 10-12 mbps) around my home.
I also have no problems using an external USB2 HDD for streaming 1080p content.
 

Hammie

macrumors 65816
Mar 17, 2009
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I've been running a FW800 external drive on my Mac mini since 2009. It is dedicated and ALL content is stored externally.

I have never had an issue with it keeping up.
 

waw74

macrumors 68040
May 27, 2008
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straight blu-ray rips (transformers revenge of the fallen - close to 40GB file size) stream at 4-6 MB/s

USB2 can handle 25-30 MB/s

FW 800 can handle 70-100 MB/s (sorry don't remember exact numbers)

so short of the initial copy to the drive, you should be fine with USB2.

thunderbolt drives are good for people who move lots of data, who are typically doing video editing and regularly dealing with files that are several GB.
 

Risco

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Jul 22, 2010
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I am interested in your results for this, any chance of making a Youtube video of your set up? I am looking to do a similar thing, except getting a Mac Mini purely as server and connected to a time capsule so it auto wakes on demand.
 

SpinalTap

macrumors regular
Sep 25, 2003
205
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I successfully use a Netgear ReadyNAS with my Mac Mini, as it has integral iTunes Server and Time Machine capability. This has the benefit of built-in redundancy should one disk fail (taking my library with it).

I recently changed my dual-bay ReadyNAS Duo for a four-bay ReadyNAS NV+.v2 (which offers up to 12Tb overall storage.

I have the option of viewing compressed movies via iTunes, or uncompressed movies via PLEX.
 

talmy

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Oct 26, 2009
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My mini server with 4 external drives (1-2TB capacity) connected via FW and USB. Performance has never been a problem streaming media. I use the toaster for making backups.
 

Toltepeceno

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talmy

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marzer

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Nov 14, 2009
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I am going to get a mac mini to use as an itunes server and an external hd. My question is about connections to the hd. Is it worth it (or that much better) to try and go thunderbolt? If I went that route it would probably be the freeagent goflex adaptor as that is pretty much all that I could do on my budget. Is it worth it to do that over firewire or is firewire more than enough?

Thanks
For reduced wire clutter I use this with a Mac mini:

http://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/MEPQ946QL2/

One enclosure, two independant drives. One holds the media library and the other one is the backup using Chronosync. Using the FW800 interface, I've never had a problem serving media throughout the house.
 

Toltepeceno

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Now THIS is a nice idea also. I'm guessing you could run a single drive until the ability to add another for raid 1? Thanks, maybe the best way to go.

Just curious what router you are using.
 

bearcatrp

macrumors 68000
Sep 24, 2008
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For reduced wire clutter I use this with a Mac mini:

http://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/MEPQ946QL2/

One enclosure, two independant drives. One holds the media library and the other one is the backup using Chronosync. Using the FW800 interface, I've never had a problem serving media throughout the house.
I have one of these. Died around 5 yrs. asked OWC if they sell the motherboard to replace mine. Nope. They made a change but still use same enclosure. I ended up getting a single enclosure to get me buy until I find something that lasts longer. Also, the fan is a little noisy. Changed it out for a quieter fan but can still hear it. Not a bad unit but if your looking for silent enclosure, don't get this.
http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/hard-drives/RAID/Desktop/
Have heard this is quieter. I enquired with OWC if they planned on JBOD settings but it never happened. Still looking.
 
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btbrossard

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Oct 25, 2008
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I also have no problems using an external USB2 HDD for streaming 1080p content.
Same here. All our ripped movies are on a USB2 HDD (A Seagate Free Agent Desk 1.5 TB that was $40 at WalMart).

There is no problem playing 1080p to the ATV.

I have a Mac Mini (mid 2010) set up with iTunes sharing all the video content to the other computers and iOS devices in the house. It used to also share music content via home sharing, but I now use iTunes Match for that and it works great (really like the ability to have editable playlists that stay in sync across all computers and iOS devices).
 

marzer

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Nov 14, 2009
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I have one of these. Died around 5 yrs. asked OWC if they sell the motherboard to replace mine. Nope. They made a change but still use same enclosure. I ended up getting a single enclosure to get me buy until I find something that lasts longer. Also, the fan is a little noisy. Changed it out for a quieter fan but can still hear it. Not a bad unit but if your looking for silent enclosure, don't get this.
http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/hard-drives/RAID/Desktop/
Have heard this is quieter. I enquired with OWC if they planned on JBOD settings but it never happened. Still looking.
Sorry to hear yours wasn't solid for you. Mines about 2.5 years old now and still running strong. Noise isn't an issue because its in the storage room with the Mac mini server.

Though the Qx2 is a good piece of gear too, it is much pricier than the Elite Pro Dual drive.
 
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marzer

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Nov 14, 2009
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Now THIS is a nice idea also. I'm guessing you could run a single drive until the ability to add another for raid 1? Thanks, maybe the best way to go.

Just curious what router you are using.
Yes. You can run a single drive until you choose to expand. And yes you can run RAID 1 by adding a second drive later. I played with it in the past and was able to add the second drive in RAID 1 non-destructively.

I'm running a Time Capsule bridged from my Zyxel DSL router. But the Elite Pro Dual is connected to a headless Mac mini server via FW800.
 

Toltepeceno

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Yes. You can run a single drive until you choose to expand. And yes you can run RAID 1 by adding a second drive later. I played with it in the past and was able to add the second drive in RAID 1 non-destructively.

I'm running a Time Capsule bridged from my Zyxel DSL router. But the Elite Pro Dual is connected to a headless Mac mini server via FW800.
Ah, great info. Thank you very much, this seems like a VERY viable choice in my situation.
 

whoiare

macrumors regular
Aug 30, 2011
102
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to add to all this:

1. thunderbolt is still way too expensive IMHO to justify ANY purchase unless youre some SUPER User/early adopter
2. USB WILL handle 99% of all rips/itunes library fine, unless like someone mentioned you have a 40gb blu ray rip
3. Firewire is the way to go. The drive you get may be slightly more expensive but its worth it. 1. USB does work but you still have to share USB bandwidth across all your devices. 2. it takes up a USB port when you have a perfectly good firewire port doing NOTHING.

Bottom line, you have a perfectly good dedicated FW800 port sitting there. everything is run off USB nowadays. if this HD is just sitting next to your mac mini with your itunes library/timecapsule backups on it. then take advantage of the faster speed and dedicated port. This is a no brainer
 

tbayrgs

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Jul 5, 2009
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I've been running this unit (this is the most recent version) for about 3 years now with good results--only problem was a bad power supply a few months ago, swapped with an extra I had from one of their single enclosures.

That being said, if/when it fails, I'll be getting it's replacement from OWC. I've purchased a bunch of other equipment from them and the reputation of their enclosures is great. Always a great experience dealing with their staff.