Mini Plex Server on 24/7 - worth adding an SSD?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by VirtualRain, Aug 16, 2014.

  1. VirtualRain, Aug 16, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2014

    VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #1
    So my refurb i7 Mini should arrive next week. Assuming a new model is not announced within the 15-day return period, I plan to upgrade the RAM to 16GB which is only marginally more expensive than 8GB.

    I'm wondering if adding an SSD in place of, or in addition to, the stock 1TB spinner would be worthwhile. While I'm sure it wouldn't hurt, I'm not sure it would really help either given the Mini will be running 24/7. I mean, 16GB of RAM is likely enough to keep anything and everything in disk cache anyway.

    It will be a Plex Server, client and downloader.

    On the other hand, a cheap 256GB MX100 SSD is a little over $100 so maybe it's not worthy of a second thought? But the upgrade could require a kit, cable, etc. not trivial.

    What do you think?
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #2
    I believe you would notice a considerable improvement in performance with a SSD. I'm about to do the same with a Mac mini that serves primarily as a Plex server.
     
  3. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    #3
    For a plex server if files are stored externally like mine it's absolutly pointless running an ssd. I can stream multi 1080p or 4k streams without an issue on stock drives and a drobo.

    Trust me you'd be throwing money down the drain.
     
  4. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #4
    Yeah, that's what I'm thinking, but I'm willing to be convinced otherwise :)

    And of course, as you say, all the media is in an external enclosure so the only stuff on the internal is the OS along with Plex and it's database... which, I assume with 16GB of RAM will be cached in memory shortly after startup and the internal disk will likely never get touched again.

    ----------

    Normally, I'd agree.. but the machine will only he restarted once a quarter when an update comes down the line from Apple. Otherwise it will be running pretty much the same few apps 24/7 with all disk I/O going to an external USB3 enclosure.


    ----------

    As an aside, it's almost too bad that Apple doesn't offer these with a fixed 32GB of flash just to run the OS and a few Apps for folks like us that run these headless media servers with external storage.
     
  5. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    #5
    8gb of ram would be more than enough for your plex server mate 16gb would be overkill. The meta data won't need it either.
     
  6. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2001
    Location:
    Denmark
    #6
    I recently upgraded the internal drive to an SSD in my Mac Mini. Plex opens faster but that is it. Everything served from external HDD drives is not opening faster, ie. movies does not start faster or skip faster.

    To my surprise screen sharing became much faster, in case you are running a headless unit, or dont like navigating on a HDTV.

    I have 4GB RAM and I have never needed more, even when serving multiple HD streams at once.
     
  7. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #7
    Hmm... That's interesting, and worth it... As that's how I manage mine as well.

    The cost of 8GB is $75 vs $145 for 16GB... So maybe I'll go with 8GB and put that extra cash into a $75 128GB MX100 SSD. It's amazingly affordable to upgrade this thing really. :)
     
  8. yrh0413 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2010
    #8
    I have a Mac Mini 2010, all the while being used as Plex Server cum Home Theater since 2 years back. You won't get much of a performance increase if you swap the HDD out with an SSD, but do note that your Mini will run cooler and your system fan will be more quiet. The fan does not kick in that often, which is a consideration point if you decide to put your Mini in a non air-conditioned room.

    I have 8GB in mine but 4GB is definitely enough.
     
  9. h9826790 macrumors G3

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #9
    Just for a Plex server, no, not worth. However, if you will use that mini for other purpose (e.g. photoshop), yes, it's worth to put your OSX and heavy applications on a SSD.
     
  10. WJKramer macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2008
    #10
    From a power savings point of view is there any advantage to an SSD? Also I would think it wouldn't wear out as fast as a disc based HD. I am waiting for an updated mini to connect to my 16TB Drobo Gen 3 for PLEX and will most likely go SSD.
     
  11. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
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    Vancouver, BC
    #11
    That's a good question. From what I've read, there's not a huge savings to be had, the two SSDs I would consider these days, the Samsung EVO and the Crucial MX100 consume 0.3W and 1W respectively at idle and around 2-3W under load while modern 2.5" laptop spinning disks seem to be in the same range.
     
  12. Truthfulie macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2013
    #12
    Even if the power consumption was considerably lower, you'd pay for the power savings by buying SSD. The only real advantages you are going to get from switching to SSD are thermals and acoustics. SSDs will make less heat and less noise than HDD but obviously at a great price. High capacity SSDs cost about 30 to 40 cents per gig where as where as 2.5" HDDs will cost less than 10 cents per gig, not worth it for PMS.

    Though not possible with Mac Mini, CPU is probably the only upgrade that will make any impact on PMS/Plex performance.
     
  13. ElectronGuru macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2013
    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    #13
    Can't speak for Plex but under Movist, video on SSD fast forwards and rewinds stupid quick. Rather a luxury, but so nice.
     

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