Mini and OSX Snow Leopard Server as media center?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by browndktr, Oct 20, 2009.

  1. browndktr macrumors newbie

    Jul 12, 2009

    I am going to order one of the new mini's to use as a media server for my house and as a media center pc connected directly to a plasma TV. Will snow leopard server run front row, itunes, and the other apps necessary to use this as a media center PC, or does the server version of the OS not do some things that the standard version does?

    Thank you,
  2. jhmaughan macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2005
    Depends on if you have iLife

    I have Leopard server and it does have Front Row and iTunes so those work fine. However, since I don't have iLife on it, it doesn't do the iPhoto library stuff. I am using it in a work situation so I haven't tried it as a straight media center, but a quick test showed that Front Row worked like it would on any machine.
  3. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    You'd be wasting money tbh. You would be better using a standard mini as I adds the ability to watch DVDs for a start.
  4. bartzilla macrumors 6502a

    Aug 11, 2008
    What will this give you that a standard mini doesn't? Other than an inability to play DVDs from your media centre without plugging in extra stuff, I mean.

    I'm using a standard mini as a media centre and I'm very happy with it, one thing I would note is that I haven't upgraded from Leopard -> Snow Leopard yet because people have reported problems getting media centre apps like Plex to work properly. If you think you might end up using these you might want to keep that in mind.
  5. sydcansam macrumors newbie

    May 30, 2009
    Do you think it would be possible to purchase the 2x500GB server Mac Mini and install Snow Leopard from a SL Install disc for a standard Mac Mini?

    Any thoughts?
  6. jzuena macrumors 6502a


    Feb 21, 2007
    Lexington, MA, USA
    Up until this weekend when I reformatted my old mini to give to my mom I had Plex running from Snow Leopard. Are there specific plugins that don't work? I mainly used it for one or two plugins and to launch MythFrontend.

    I also think a regular mini is perfect for a Media Center. The new mini server is good for using as a central server that your media center and all of your other computers can pull files and applications from. Of course I already have a NAS box for that. If you don't have a central file server or a Media Center then I guess a mini server can do both jobs at the same time.
  7. browndktr thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 12, 2009
    Using the mini for both is really what I had in mind. I would like to use it for central backups, a little internal webhosting for testing purposes and as a media center. I simply want the additional server tools, but wanted to know if I was loosing any media center capacities in the process.

    Quite simply my needs from both a server and media center are pretty basic. Rather than have 2 machines that need to be on all the time I was hoping to combine the tasks in to one.

  8. bartzilla macrumors 6502a

    Aug 11, 2008
    Sounds like you've been lucky then, if you check the plex forums it appears to be very much pot luck if plex will work with SL, and a lot of the other media centre apps are having very similar problems. I think a lot of the more complex apps of that scope will struggle because SL has a lot of back end changes even though it looks very similar to Leopard (as I'm sure you already know!)

    Yeah the new mini server would make a great home nas / media server. It's a bit much for people who don't realise the standard one will fit most people though. I've got a thecus nas box myself tucked away somewhere safe so i can pull down music and video from that whether i'm on my mbp, the mini media centre or the windows 7 tower in the study. Life is good!
  9. gdc macrumors member

    Aug 11, 2009
    Yes, this is possible. You will need to set up some kind of target disk arrangement to make up for the absence of the optical drive for installation though.
  10. HiFiGuy528 macrumors 68000

    Jul 24, 2008
    You know that you can put a second HD in a standard Mini right? You are paying a lot more for the Mini Server for the OS X Server OS.

    I don't know if this applies but OS X SL standard version may not allow DVD Player to work if the Mac doesn't have an internal optical drive. I bring this up becasue I have a MBP with two HD and a USB SuperDrive. The DVD Player app will not open and Front Row will not play DVDs. Just an FYI. OS X Server may be different.
  11. fallbrook macrumors newbie

    Oct 29, 2009
    Fallbrook, CA
    Trying to do the same thing...


    I think I'm attempting to do the same thing you're doing. I bought a macmini server, but I'm not really an IT pro... So I'm slowly wading through the set up.

    Hoping to be able to use this as a media server, plus learn about it's additional capabilities.

    I might have bought just a regular mini, had the optical drive been a blu-ray drive. But I believe using the optical drive would have precluded addressing a 2nd internal hard drive... something I thought was pretty cool about the mac mini server. I'm hoping that I can later buy an external blu-ray drive that I can then use to pipe DVD into the TV (via dvd player app), although I'm not sure if digital content protection is somehow going to preclude this.

    My questions are this...
    - What's the best way to get all of my media on this device (pictures, itunes, video, etc.) and serving to my "clients"? ... As opposed to residing on an individual non-server machine (like they do now).
    - Can I RAID the two hard drives? (If so, I'll ask "what configuration" in another post.)
    - Can a mac mini run in 64 bit server mode?
    - Any news about it being able to address 8 gigs of ram?

    Anyway... I'm totally new to macrumors... Have never bothered posting in a forum, but I figure I'm going to need help figuring out the server side of this thing. Look forward to any feedback!

    PS... For those of you already judging me for buying something I didn't need... I should clarify that my main purpose in buying a server product was to be able to learn it well enough to help support one for a small non-profit (less than 10 people). I realize that I will need professional help from time to time, but I'd really like to be able to learn it well enough to support it 80 or 90 percent of the way... to learn how to do so remotely.
  12. NexusEclipse macrumors newbie

    Jan 2, 2009
    Going for a similar setup

    I bought the cheaper Mac mini with the intention of upgrading the hard drive/ram, installing server and removing the the optical. However I found that CDW is selling a 1TB WD drive for roughly twice the price of a 500GB (33% discount for some odd reason so CD drive is here to stay for now) - hard drive - 1 TB - SATA-300_1822575

    I am installing server right now mainly for academic reasons as well (and will also run as a media center for one the TVs). Once I can grab my head around it I might look to implement it at my office (small with mostly mac users) and probably get the second 1tb drive. Will keep you posted on anything worthwhile.

    RE raid setups. If you do RAID, I am fairly sure you need to boot from an install disk (Disk Utility is your friend), set up the raid and reinstall the OS. If you need redundancy go with raid 1 (your capacity is the size of only one drive) for speed go with raid 0 (size is combined of the two drives). I toyed with the idea of buying two 1tb drives but couldn't stomach the cost right now. Note raid 1 is NOT a backup solution. It merely provides continuous service if one drive goes down. If you deleted a file a week ago and want to look, you are SOL. You can use time machine for back ups and a raid 1 for redundancy if you need the security for a small setup.
  13. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    I think Apple has made a brilliant move here. Put a DIY server platform within the reach of thousands if not 100s of thousands of people who, for no other reason than they like to teach themselves new things, will find reason to buy the MMServer and learn how a server works. The next step is that these newly "serverfied" people will begin installing MMServers into locations that would have never considered a server before. Fallbrook's non-profit project is the perfect example.

    I think this is a win-win situation. Apple gets it's toe into a whole new marketplace. Lots of small operations get improvements to their back office and IT operations, potentially for very little money.
  14. Evangelion macrumors 68040

    Jan 10, 2005
    I'm actually thinking of using the mini-server as a media center. Why? Well, I would like to learn OS X Server, and the Mini seems like a sensible choice for that. I have no need for DVD-player (I already have PS3 for that), and the dual-HD-capability of the server makes it appealing. Not being able to view photos vould be a drawback though....
  15. scottness macrumors 65816


    Mar 18, 2009
    Room 101
    If I had the extra cash lying around, I'd do it. I've had my eye on it since it was released. Not that I need it, but there's a lot that could be done with it, and I'd probably enjoy the process.
  16. AustinMatherne macrumors newbie


    Feb 16, 2010
    I'm also thinking of getting a Mac Mini Server instead of a regular Mac Mini to use as a media center. Like everyone else here the main reason I'm considering the Mac Mini Server is for educational reasons.

    What I need to know though is can I still run normal OS X software (Firefox, Transmission, SABnzbd) on a OS X server? My purchase is being held up by this one question, so if anyone could let me know, I'd really appreciate it.

  17. angela44angela macrumors newbie

    May 13, 2008
    I'm wondering the same thing. Can I run "other" apps if I purchase the new Mac mini Server?

    Here's what I want to use:

    1. iTunes
    2. iLife
    3. iWork
    4. Microsoft Office for Mac
    5. VMWare Fusion

    Essentially, can I install and run all the same apps on SL Server that I currently run on SL?
  18. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR
    I can vouch for iTunes and VMware Fusion. I do not know about the others.
  19. analogkid macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2003
    Yes, but again, as was pointed out, Mini Server does not come with iLife.
  20. valmont74 macrumors newbie

    Jul 3, 2010
    Problems installing Snow Leopard on a Snow Leopard Server Mac mini

    I have the new Mac mini server version with HDMI. I was really only interested in using it as a media player and the hardware of the server version was superior (faster processor, dual 7200rpm hard drives). The thing now is that Apple said that you could install Snow Leopard, and run as a regular Mac mini, but it does not seem to work.

    The only disc that is accepted via Firewire from my MacBook is the grey accompanying disc and that's only for re-installing Snow Leopard Server. When I try with Snow Leopard Install DVD the screen go grey after a while and a box says the computer needs to restart (Apple Support compare it to the Windows blue death screen). I have tried the following: remotely install Snow Leopard via the Utilities program from the MacBook, sharing the DVD player, making a dmg of the Snow Leopard installation disc on an external USB-drive and boot from it - none of it work. Always the grey screen of death.

    So the question is, is it possible to install Snow Leopard on a Mac mini server or are there some hardware lock? It shouldn't be, but judging by the above one begins to wonder.
  21. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Jan 1, 2008
    You generally cannot install OS X from media that is older than the hardware. If you are using an old original Snow Leopard disc it may not work because the new Mac Mini Server may require a newer version of the operating system. If your Snow Leopard Server install disc is 10.6.3, you should try a Snow Leopard install disc of the same version.

  22. valmont74 macrumors newbie

    Jul 3, 2010
    Thanks for your reply. I did get on touch with Apple support for Mac servers and their answer was quite simply, 1. we dont have support on this, Mac mini server only work with the server OS. 2. dont use the server programs and use it as a regular client. 3. buy a regular Mac mini.

    Interesting since it was their sales person who told me I could use Snow leopard on it. I did however get another response in another forum - the retail copy wont work, it has to be the client disc supplied with the other Mac mini. Apple would of course not send it out to me, but a friend of mine got the regular mini and I tried his restore disc as a remote install and it worked.

    So it works, you just need the correct software - and it's not supplied with the hardware. Phew...
  23. mrmichaela macrumors newbie

    Jul 25, 2010
    Hey I've got the same issue and unfortunately I don't have a friend with a new mac mini :p

    So is there another way I can solve this one? Can I buy the Snow Leopard software from the store or something???


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