Mini 2012 or 2014 for media server?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by dawindmg08, Jun 6, 2016.

  1. dawindmg08, Jun 6, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2016

    dawindmg08 macrumors member

    dawindmg08

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #1
    Currently hosting our master iTunes library and Plex server on an old 2007 iMac with barely adequate RAM, been meaning to upgrade to a beefier machine and I've been scouring Craigslist. Right now there's two good deals:

    2014 2.8ghz, 8GB, 1TB with Applecare ($550): leaning towards this one since it's a great price on the last model (I think this was the $999 TOL model, no?) and includes a bit of Applecare left. Only problem is the RAM is soldered in.

    2012 2.5ghz, 8GB, 1TB ($500): only slightly cheaper for this older model, BUT I could add RAM later and expand it with a 2nd hard drive with an OWC kit.

    Which one would you choose? I'd prefer to pay just a little more for the latest model, just hope that 8GB will be adequate for many years. Certainly that's enough for music and video playback over ethernet? Not like I'm going to be editing lots of 4K video on this thing...

    TIA,

    D
     
  2. andeify macrumors 6502

    andeify

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2012
    Location:
    UK
    #2
    I was using my 2012 Mac mini i5 (2.5ghz) as a VPN & File Server, Plex Media Server and a Minecraft server with only 4gb RAM and it worked fine, I have only recently upgraded to 16gb so I can run a few VMware Servers as well.

    The main performance improvement was the addition of the 840 pro SSD which I added 2 months after purchasing the mini.
     
  3. jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816

    jpietrzak8

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2010
    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    #3
    I'm not a huge fan of all-in-one computers (especially for use as a server), but I've gotta say -- RAM is cheap these days, and most server tasks are not especially CPU-bound. Is there an argument against upgrading the iMac's RAM? :)

    As to the two options, the 2014 sounds like a better bargain than the 2012, but yeah, you've gotta be certain that 8GB is all the RAM you'll ever want for the life of that machine. :) So long as it is always a media server, I would think that would be enough, but who knows...
     
  4. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #4
    I am not a fan of the soldered RAM. However, specifically for media server purposes, 8GB is plenty and possibly even overkill. I imagine that will be fine for that purpose for many, many years.
     
  5. dawindmg08 thread starter macrumors member

    dawindmg08

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #5
    Our current iMac is old (2007) and only officially supports 4GB, it's already maxed out. The beachballs from just launching apps are excruciating ;)
     
  6. !!! macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2013
    #6
    I'd buy the 2012. Since you're running it as a media server, I'd think extra space from another HD (or SSD) would be nice. As well as the option to add additional RAM.
     
  7. MysticCow macrumors 6502a

    MysticCow

    Joined:
    May 27, 2013
    #7
    Have to agree. The fact that you can't upgrade the 2014 models severely hinders its usage as a media center (where you need tons and tons of space for video files).
     
  8. dawindmg08 thread starter macrumors member

    dawindmg08

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #8
    Well they both have a 1 TB drive, and OWC has upgrade kits for both (they're working on the '14 version). There's also a Mini-stack with an optical drive and a 2nd hard drive in it. If I wind up acquiring more than 3-4TB of files on the server then I'll probably switch to a RAID anyway.
     
  9. Schnort macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #9
    Might I suggest something like a Synology NAS? The two bay systems are pretty inexpensive for what they give you. Even the 4 bay one isn't too crazy (comparable to the prices you're talking about here) and it supports hot swap and raid.
     
  10. dawindmg08 thread starter macrumors member

    dawindmg08

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #10
    I've played with a NAS solution before, the main issue was finding the right software solution to control it easily from the couch. I'm pretty tech-savvy buy my wife, family and houseguests are not. Sonos was too expensive and a hacked AppleTV 1 running XBMC was too hard to navigate. Once I repurposed the old iMac, it was super-easy have a dedicated music player by just sharing iTunes through an ATV2; now with the ATV4 and the Plex app I can finally run a complete media server solution that's fairly easy for other folks to understand.

    Got the 2014 Mini btw, all is running well. Thanks for all your input, folks! :)
     
  11. MH01 macrumors G4

    MH01

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    #11
    Gratz on the new Mac mini.

    I was going to add that from my experiece a nas running plex server and infuse on ATV 4 was awesome, the plex app sucks.
     
  12. MultiFinder17 macrumors 68000

    MultiFinder17

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    Tampa, Florida
    #12
    Congratulations on your mini, and welcome to the family! May it serve your needs for many years to come :)
     
  13. Mr. Retrofire macrumors 601

    Mr. Retrofire

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    www.emiliana.cl/en
    #13
    The newer Mac mini is more energy efficient, especially if you use a newer OS. This can reduce your utility bill and your carbon footprint. The GPUs of both Mac minis can encode or decode two independent H.264 1080p data streams simultaneously (for AirPlay, Ethernet or other protocols).

    And yes, 8 GB is enough for your type of application.
     

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