Mini Server really worth it?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by marc.garcia, Oct 27, 2012.

  1. marc.garcia macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    #1
    Hello,

    can anybody clarify whether the Mac Mini Server is the 799$ Mac Mini with an additional HD and the OSX Server App (which btw seems to have many bad rations on the Mac App Store).

    I'm trying to decide between a 799$ Mac Mini and the 999$ Mac Mini Server for a Home network with 2 iPads, 2 iPhones, 1 MacBook Air, 1 Apple TV and 1 Airport Extreme.

    Thanks in advance,
     
  2. CausticPuppy macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    #2
    For the 2012 models, I don't think so, unless you need the HD space.

    Right now I think the sweet spot would be the middle model with fusion drive. Same CPU as the server.
     
  3. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #3
    For $200 you get a second 1tb drive and Mac OS X Server.

    It's more than you would pay to buy the mid-level Mini and then install a second drive yourself, BUT -- buy the server and you get two drives pre-installed and don't have to mess with disassembling it to install the second one. That includes buying the second drive SATA cable, installation tools, etc. When all is said and done, you've probably only "saved" about $30-40 in the long run.

    I like the idea of having the second drive "in there", as I can partition the second drive, install a backup copy of the OS onto one partition as a "second boot source", have scratch storage space readily available, etc.

    I'll probably wait a couple more months until refurbished 2012 servers start showing up, then pick up one for $850 or so. Makes it a better deal, if you can "hold out" a little longer (I can).
     
  4. Ifti macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #4
    As the poster above said - it saves the hassle.
    Waiting for my server to arrive - I would have had to ship the second drive cable over from abroad as its as rare as hens teeth where I am. Add the cable, cost of shipping, and the HDD in and I save very little, hence I just went for the server instead.
     
  5. linds15 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2012
    Location:
    Great White North
    #5
    if you have the intention of putting a ssd in it anyways, theres no point in getting the server, thats what i found since i was cracking it open anyway
     
  6. Ifti macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #6
    I agree, although I'm just using it as a headless server so would rather have the extra CPU speed and storage space rather then SSD speed.
    If its being used as a desktop computer, then a SSD is HIGHLY recommended!
     
  7. Huginnmuninn macrumors regular

    Huginnmuninn

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2011
    #7
    Yes, for $200 you get a $100 Hitachi drive (internet price) and $19.99 Server OS upgrade. :rolleyes: Is $80 worth the decreased hassle? For some yes, for others no.
     
  8. marc.garcia thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    #8
    Hello again,

    Thanks for all your responses!!! :)

    Is it possible to order a server with the new fusion drive? I can't seem to be able to configure it on the website.

    There seems to be two options when configuring the server. Either you toss in one 256 gb ssd or 2x, but fusion drive is not an option. And when choosing the first upgrade, the 2 1TB HD disappear. I would have expected to keep, at least, one of the drives but they both vanish as soon as you click on the Solid State Drive.

    Specifications
    2.3GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
    256GB Solid State Drive
    4GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x2GB
    User's Guide (English)
    Accessory Kit

    The only thing you can modify without voiding the warranty is RAM memory, right? Upgrading from 4 to 8 GB sounds like a rip-off to me.
     
  9. Ifti macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #9
    I always get my RAM from Crucial.
    Guaranteed to work and much cheaper then Apples prices. Very easy upgrade on their systems also.
     
  10. Bierboy macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2012
    Location:
    East Moline, Ill.
    #10
    You answered your own question.
     
  11. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #11
    order the midlevel with the fusion option. download the server software from apples website.

    and you have a "server"with fusion.

    my question to you is why oh why do you want to pay for a server.

    my next question is why must you buy fusion when you get only a 128gb ssd?

    I understand what fusion can do but I don't want a blended ssd hdd solution.

    buy the mid level pay 799 buy lacies new 512gb ssd pay 699 buy server software 20 total is 1520.



    buy server pay 999 and be forced to do stuff you don't want that might void the warranty.

    here is the lacie ssd.

    http://www.lacie.com/products/product.htm?id=10549&gclid=CJPov6rho7MCFQqe4Aod1zsAGw


    here is the mid level

    http://www.jr.com/apple/pe/APP_MD388LL_SL_A/

    link with your discover card and get 5% maybe 10% off
     
  12. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000

    Santabean2000

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    #12
    The server is only worth it if you're not ok about cracking the mini open.

    If you're just going to run this as a headless server then consider the base model too. Much cheaper, yet still very capable for your needs.

    I recommend the base model plus extra RAM and 2x 750GB 7200 rpm HDDs.
     
  13. marc.garcia thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    #13
    I don't want to pay for a server. If you check my first question, I'm trying to figure out what the real benefits are.
    I imagine that if the OS is located on a SSD drive, the server will handle standby cycles faster. If only the OS data is located on the SSD, 128GB should be plenty enough, right?
    I agree, I wish there was a standard fusion drive rather than Apple's proprietary solution. I imagine that Apple OS handling of the blended Apple proprietary drive will be better than 3rd party products. Just a hunch of course....
    thanks for the suggestion. Isn't that Lacie thing an external SSD drive? I'm afraid that can't be compared to this fusion because I imagine you are not suggesting the OS gets located on the external drive, right?
    Could you please elaborate more your point if I did not get it?
    I'm sorry I don't think I'm following. Are you referring to upgrading the RAM?

    I appreciate your thorough response and would be happy to continue discussing further about this.

    Regards,

    ----------

    Hello,

    is the mac mini usually discounted on Black Friday? what about the server version, is it discounted too?

    thanks
     
  14. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #14
    The server version was worth it when I bought mine nearly 3 years ago, but now it certainly is not. Take the $180 you save ($200 less server.app cost) and buy a much larger capacity external hard drive. You'll probably want one anyway.You can buy a 3TB (and 7200 rpm) hard drive and a USB3 enclosure and still have some money left over.

    Or even go with the base model. My C2D mini server never cracks a sweat and the new base model mini is more powerful. The 500GB drive in this model is more than is needed for a boot drive, or you could swap it out for a 1TB drive.

    For home server use an SSD drive is a total waste of money. I've got no trouble streaming video to several systems at once on my old server with plain hard drives.
     
  15. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #15
    YES put all on the external ssd use the internal for backup only. I have been doing this since feb. 2012 . you never crack open the mini except for a diy ram upgrade.

    here are many threads on how to run your mac with an external booter


    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1280118

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1317577

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1476820


    I just started this one.

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1477912
     
  16. Huginnmuninn macrumors regular

    Huginnmuninn

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2011
    #16
    Are you new here on Planet Earth? No one buys RAM upgrades from Apple when the RAM is user-installable. Get a 16Gb upgrade from Crucial.com for just $82 and install it yourself in two minutes.
     
  17. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #17
    "Is it possible to order a server with the new fusion drive?"

    I'm going to -guess- that the answer is "no", because the fusion "drive" is in reality TWO drives, "fused" through the OS.

    That means that [what would be] the second drive bay in the Mini gets filled with the SSD device (may not be a full-fledged standalone "hard drive") that makes up "the flash side" of the fusion drive. So there's no room left inside to add a "second drive" (in reality, it's "already there).
     
  18. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040

    FreakinEurekan

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    #18
    Plus the cost of the 2nd drive cable & parts ($70 from iFixIt with tools or $45 from OWC without tools).
     
  19. marc.garcia thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    #19
    Hi Talmy, thanks for the response.

    I see your point and I must say that I have also considered that option myself, but what worries me is how an external HD will play algon with the Mac when it goes into standby mode. 3,5" external drives have their own power supplies and I imagine that sometimes they may even refrain the server from entering standby (this is the case at least with my current NAS box). What about Thunderbolt external drives? they seem to be still pretty expensive unfortunately... I guess USB 3 is the most affordable yet speedy bet.

    It is also true that an additional 1TB drive is quite a big space but when you start throwing stuff onto it, it may quickly fill up.

    ----------

    Hehe, I have never heard of Crucial.com. I guess that's mainly because i'm located in Europe. I'll check with my local Mac reseller (not official Apple Store)
     
  20. Paulywauly macrumors 6502a

    Paulywauly

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2009
    Location:
    Durham, UK
    #20



    I cant speak for other manufacturers, but i have a dozen Western Digital External Drives. When your Mac goes into standby so do they, even the AC powered 3.5 inch ones or ones in RAID. They just come back on when your Mac wakes up.

    IMO If you're looking more for speed than internal storage the mid mini with fusion may be a better deal. Most "Home Sever" type tasks can be done with a vanilla copy of Mountain Lion anyway. I've seen numerous posts on Macrumors from people who think they need the Server app to do basic sharing tasks etc etc which isn't the case at all. My advice would be to look into the functionality of it vs regular old Mountain Lion (if you haven't already done so) before you factor it into your budgeting.
     
  21. marc.garcia thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    #21
    Wow, cool, crucial has also a EU web version. And prices are good.

    Thanks for the tip!! :)
     
  22. drambuie macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2010
    #22
    Crucial is the consumer products division of Micron.
     
  23. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #23
    My server never sleeps since it does more than just media serving. It does about a dozen functions, including giving me remote VPN access when I'm not home. The mini plus 4 external drives uses 70 watts, which I can afford for what it does.

    USB3 looks like the way to go. Housings are inexpensive and USB3 won't inhibit performance like USB2 does, although I do use a mix of USB2 and FW800/400 drives on my system and can't really tell any difference!. The extra expense of Firewire can't really be justified for this use.

    Sure an additional 1TB drive fills quickly. 3TB seems to be the best $/TB price, and you can add more than one. I've got a 1TB external (backup for the internal drives), a 2 TB external for Time Machine of other systems, and a 2TB and 3TB for media. I wouldn't buy anything but 3TB drives now except for the internal drive back up.
    [​IMG]
     
  24. marc.garcia thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    #24
    Could you be a little more precise? AC adaptors are not managed by the Mac so they are always providing power to the unit.
    Yeah, that's a whole different story. I don't really know what does that Server App actually provide for OSx already provides many sharing features.

    The only reason I'm considering the Fusion drive is because my only Mac is now a MacBook Air 2011 and running stuff and the OS itself off its SSD drive is a whole different game!!! I just got rid of our late 2011 MacBook Pro base model because I couldn't stand the beachball. It popped up too often.
     
  25. Paulywauly macrumors 6502a

    Paulywauly

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2009
    Location:
    Durham, UK
    #25
    The drives, like any other mains powered device, will only draw power from AC which it needs. The AC power wont keep them awake. The drives detect when they are no longer "mounted volumes" on a computer and also go to sleep. When your Mac comes back on it detects what USB devices are plugged in, wakes them up and mounts them again. They also spin down after a while of inactivity to save power and to reduce wear and tear. Apart from the obvious extra clutter there aren't really any disadvantages nowadays over internal drives.

    If Fusion works as well as Apple says it does. you should notice a big performance boost with Fusion over a Hard Drive. The OS, applications and files you use most often and files currently in use are all stored on the solid state portion of the Fusion setup. You also get the extra space of a traditional hard drive which is always nice :D
     

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