Mac Pro as file server vs NAS

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by rueyloon, Aug 25, 2014.

  1. rueyloon macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2013

    hi, I'm thinking of retiring my oMP as a file server, will it be better than an NAS because the processor is more powerful and can serve out the files faster ?
  2. Fuchal macrumors 68020

    Sep 30, 2003
    It works great as a NAS but uses much more power and generates more noise and heat than a standalone NAS would.
  3. h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    I don't think a Mac Pro can do this job better than a NAS. The speed of NAS cannot higher than your network speed. And most likely it will max at 125MB/s (1000Gb/s). In real world, usually max at around 110MB/s. Most modern HDD can easily achieve this speed limit, and you don't need a very fast CPU to deliver data at this speed.

    Of course, a very fast NAS with 4 HDD slot + has RAID function may cost you lots of money. Use your Mac Pro as NAS is not a bad idea, because it almost guarantee that you can achieve the max NAS speed. However, it will draw much more power than a normal NAS, so you have to pay more for electricity, and may be end up no difference than buy a fast, new, quiet NAS.
  4. uller6 macrumors regular


    May 14, 2010
    I use my 2008 quad core mac pro as a server/NAS machine. I keep it in my closet, and I can't hear it unless I open the closet door. It has 6 hard drives: all 4 sleds full and two in the lower optical drive bay. I run each drive independently, with local carbon copy cloner backups of each disk also in the machine. This way, if one drive fails I have an identical backup already installed that I can switch over to immediately. Since both drives are on the same internal SATA bus, cloning an entire 3 TB disk only takes ~ 3 hours. My plan is to continually expand the storage so I can meet my future needs. I keep the video card in the machine but there's no monitor attached, so as far as I can tell the video card is disabled and doesn't consume much power. I used a Kill-a-watt meter to measure power consumption, and during normal operation the machine averages 210 watts - only 50 more than the MDD G4 server this mac pro replaced, and still in the ballpark of what I consider "reasonable." I plan on running it as a server/NAS for another 5 years. Lastly, I like having the mac pro around as a backup in case something goes wrong with my macbook pro.
  5. mcnallym macrumors 6502a

    Oct 28, 2008
    If needing to transcode then may be quicker then a NAS, however for simply serving files then won't make any difference.

    Bare in mind the power consumption as well. That 2008 is drawing on average 210W.

    A Synology 415Play NAS box is only fitted with a 90W PSU, and they reckon fully populated with WD Green 3TB drives is 41.95.

    Of course you already own the oMP whereas would need to purchase the Synology, however depending on the model could probably get more then enough to cover the cost of the NAS box.

    Here in the UK then a 415play is less then 400 whereas Mac Pro 2008, admittedly 8 Core are going to 500-600+ so could possibly sell the Mac Pro, buy the NAS an put money in the pocket.

    Personally would go with the NAS box.
  6. snarfquest macrumors regular

    Jun 7, 2013
    I use my oMP 2008 as my file server. 16x 3TB drives in 2 external cases.

    It runs ESXi with an OSX VM for iTunes (basically a home iTunes server for streaming to the AppleTV), OSX Server for VPN and TimeMachine, Xcode server.

    A CentOS VM for DNS/DHCP cause the one built into OSX Server sucks and doesn't do DDNS updates...

    And another VM for Untangle firewall. The 2nd NIC in the oMP is assigned to Untangle and is connected to my internet router.

    And a VM OSX 10.10 Yosemite for testing, playing around and the new Xcode.

    And a last VM running OSX 10.9 which is used for testing software and running SETI@Home. Just cause :)

    Can't do all that with a NAS box.. :)
  7. pnerd macrumors newbie

    Aug 29, 2013
    SF Bay
    One thing that a Mac can do that dedicated NAS's don't do (I have the latest Synology and QNAP systems) is that you can set your Mac to sleep after a specified time of inactivity. In sleep state, even a big Mac Pro consumes less than 1W. Accessing the Mac's share will automagically wake the Mac up.

    The popular NAS's have hard drive sleep options but do not support sleeping the entire NAS. They do have a scheduled power on/off feature and can be awaken over the network using an app. For example, my QNAP TS-659 Pro consumes 25W when the drives are sleeping.

    One issue with both of these sleep methods is that these servers will periodically wake themselves up for a variety of reasons and could be annoying and possibly even damaging to the drives. My Synology on average wakes itself up 4 times a day and I have only the basic file sharing features turned on. I think my Mac Pro was waking it self up a few times a day as well but it's been a while since I used it that way.

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