Need advice on buying Mac Mini or not...

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Brm-G, Jun 25, 2012.

  1. Brm-G macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2011
    #1
    Hey everyone,

    due to a very nice deal I can make, 449 euro for the basis model, I came up with the plan of buying a Mac Mini.

    Here's my current situation. I have a MBA (2011) which is my only computer. THe problem is I run out of storage for my movies all the time. I have a external hard-drive where I put my movies on as soon as my downloads have finished. The movies I download are mainly 1080p MKV's. I also have a Apple TV 3 which I hardly use because it can't play my MKV's 'out of the box'.

    On my MBA I run a plex server to watch movies on my external display. The problem is I don't want to sit behind my desk when watching movies, I want to do this on my TV when sitting on the sofa. Therefore I now convert my movies so I can watch them with my ATV, but this is getting pretty annoying. I don't like to connect my MBA to the TV either.

    Therefore I was planning to buy a Mac mini. I will upgrade this mac mini with a second HDD and will probably also connect another external drive. I sort of want this mac mini to become a server in my house.

    Now I have the following questions:
    - If the Mac Mini is on, is it possible to connect to the Mac Mini and copy movies to my MBA when I am not at home, or access files from another location (at my parents house or at school for instance)? I know it is possible with file sharing when i'm at home..
    - Is it possible I use the same external drive for backups of my MBA and Mac Mini when connecting this to my mac mini?

    Thanks in advance.

    I had a lot more questions when I started typing this thread...-_- I will post them as soon as I remember them.
     
  2. GGJstudios, Jun 25, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2012

    GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #2
    I use a Mac mini connected via HDMI to my HDTV. I use Plex to serve movies, TV shows & music videos to the TV from the mini's internal drive, as well as external drives. I can control Plex, using the iPhone as a remote. Of course, I can play movies on the mini's display, my MBP, and the iPhones, as well. I believe Plex also enables delivery of your library content over the web, but I haven't tried that. As far as backups, you can use any external drive you want to backup one or more drives.
     
  3. Liquinn Suspended

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    #3
    If you need one now, buy one now. The 2012 models may get USB 3 though. I guess no one knows for sure when the 2012 models will be out.
     
  4. Brm-G thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2011
    #4

    But if the external drive is connected to my mac mini, do I have to disconnect it every time and connect it to my MBA if I want to back-up the MBA?
     
  5. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #5
    No, you can share the drive over your WiFi network and backup that way. It may be slower than a direct connection, but it will work.
     
  6. Alameda macrumors 6502a

    Alameda

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    Jun 22, 2012
  7. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #7
    What if you already have a movie library and just need an effective method of managing and delivering them? Buying more movies won't resolve that.
     
  8. Brm-G thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2011
    #8
    true :)

    I am reading about setting op a VPN? Is this the way you make a server of your mac so you can access all your files from all over the world?
     
  9. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #9
    I'd check out the Plex support site and the Plex forums. They'll have more information on what's needed.
     
  10. Alameda macrumors 6502a

    Alameda

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2012
    #10
    The guy wrote, "I have a external hard-drive where I put my movies on as soon as my downloads have finished."

    I'm just saying... instead of paying 449 Euros to watch "downloaded" movies, you could just pay for them.
     
  11. FrankHahn macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 17, 2011
    #11
    I would choose to wait till the refresh of the Mac Mini line which will certainly get new processors and possibly get the USB3.0 support.
     
  12. Poki macrumors 6502a

    Poki

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    #12
    Exactly. There are so many nice movies on iTunes, so many options for storing them wired or wireless on hard drives, and such a good way air playing them to any TV. I can't understand why not just buying a ton of movies for 449 euros instead of purchasing something to watch somewhere downloaded movies on a TV ...

    As for the current library, there are relatively cheap set top boxes out there which can play back .mkv-files over an external hard drives that trade for less than 100 bucks.
     
  13. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #13
    Thanks, I missed that. I assumed they were downloading purchases, but if that were the case, they wouldn't have to convert them for the ATV. I prefer to rip all my movies. I can then use the DVD as a backup, or to loan to friends or family.
     
  14. The "Dude" macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2011
    #14
    OP...

    I was in the same boat as you a couple weeks ago. I have a 2010 Mac Mini server (dual hard drives) I was using as my HTPC. I just bought the retina MacBook Pro, and I toyed with the idea of keeping the mini around and connected to my plasma.

    From my research, setting up VPN tunneling to access your Mini from your Air remotely (ie not on your local network) isn't the easiest thing to do. It can also open up your computer to others on the Internet if you aren't careful. I'm not saying it isn't possible, it's just kind of a pain.

    In the end, I decided that I'm going to sell my Mini and use the rMBP to stream my movies to my Apple TV via AirPlay Mirroring. I've got a 1.5tb external drive to store my movies on.

    Hell, I'd sell my Mini to you except I don't have enough posts on MacRumors to be able to sell on the marketplace :/
     
  15. Lance-AR macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 7, 2012
    Location:
    Little Rock, AR
    #15
    If you decide to Handbrake the MKVs to your ATV, the 2011 Server model has a considerably better processor for it than the other two.
     
  16. Brm-G thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2011
    #16
    I never said I download my movies illegally. There are lots of ways to download your movies.. But that's not really my question.

    I want to set up my mac mini as a (sort of..) server. Is it possible to access the mac mini from different locations (on a different wifi network). I guess it is possible but will it be possible to transfer 10GB movies from the mac mini to another computer which is located somewhere else?
     
  17. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    #17
    Yes it is possible, VPN, services like Log-me-in, etc. You can access your home computer many ways and transfer files. Heck you could setup a simple FTP server if you want. The question is really, how fast is your internet upload speeds (and not the inflated download speeds that your ISP sells you on), because that 10GB file is going to take a long time if your upload speed is only 1mbps (like most of the ISP's around here offer).

    1mps / 8 (bit to byte) = .125 Mps. So, 10GB * 1024 (GB to MB) / .125 = 81920 seconds / 3600 (seconds to hours) = 22.7 hours

    So check your upload speeds. Around here Mediacomm (cable) and Century Link (DSL) only have 1mbps uploads even though their download speeds are 12mbps and 7mps.
     
  18. Brm-G thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2011
    #18
    Thanks, well then I have to find out how I can make a FTP server with my Mac Mini. My download is 120mbps and upload is 10mbps so that shouldn't be a big problem. In most cases I will just transfer the movies I want to watch elsewhere. Access them on remote is just for emergencies and probably more for accessing my documents and maybe photo's.

    Have you maybe got some sort of link or tutorial of how to setup a server of my mac mini?
     
  19. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    #19
    Are you going to go all out and go with the Mac Mini Server using Lion Server or just looking to at FTP services to a current Mac Mini? If going Lion Server, I really recommend the turorial over at "wegotserved.com"

    Otherwise just do a search for FTP server on Mac and you should find plenty of basic tutorials on how to get it all setup. Don't forget about opening up any firewall ports/port forwarding if you are going to set this up.
     
  20. Brm-G thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2011
    #20
    I will buy the normal mac mini. Maybe I will buy OS X Lion Server but will it be usefull for my purpose? I think I can do it with normal OSX.
     
  21. andychelt macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2011
    #21
    I'm using Plex on my mid range mini and it sounds like it will do everything you want it to.

    Install Plex client and server to the mini, let the server run all the time. If you want to watch on the TV start up the client on the mini.

    You can then put the Plex client on any iphones/ipads you use and also your MBA. Then anywhere you have an internet connection you can connect to Plex server on your mini (all you need is a username and password nothing complicated) and hey presto you can stream films anywhere! :cool:
     
  22. Brm-G thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2011
    #22
    awesome. Exactly what I want.
     
  23. Outrigger macrumors 68000

    Outrigger

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2008
    #23
    This is exactly my setup with the mini in my sig. Except I have the Samsung D8000 series TV connected through gig ethernet and it has a Plex client app installed on the TV. I have over 200 HD movies mostly in mkv housed in an external drive conncted to the mini via firewire. I can watch the movies/tv shows on the TV, mini itself, or the air. I can also watch it on my iphone/ipad either on the same network or outside of the network. Plex is an awesome app.
     

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