Need an advice for the Mac Mini! (Apache server with PHP/MySQL, NAS, Time)

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Vinxi, Jun 13, 2014.

  1. Vinxi, Jun 13, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2014

    Vinxi macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    #1
    Hi everyone,

    first I'm sorry for my English. I need an advice from you guys. I'd like to use a Mac Mini for: Apache server with PHP/MySQL, NAS, Time Machine backups, iTunes Server.

    It would be connected via ethernet to the router, everything would be used locally and I would use an external USB HDD box for storing data. (http://www.teratrend.com/product_2_3.php?ids=16&gid=6)

    If you were me, would you wait for the Mac Mini upgrade or buy the current model instead, as it has everything I need (I suppose)?

    Thanks.
     
  2. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    Location:
    US
    #2
    Do you need it now? Would waiting a few months be a problem?

    The usual advice applies; there's always an updated version coming, the only question is how soon.

    Right now there are no Apple events scheduled, so no "focal point" where an announcement is possibly more likely than at other times. That said, Apple does updates without doing an event too, so it could be updated any time. Or it could be late 2014 or early 2015.

    For further discussion / opinion see http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1681773
     
  3. Vinxi thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 20, 2007
    #3
    Thanks.

    I don't need it right now but it would be a "good thing" to have it.

    The problem is that I can't think of any upgraded part that would be useful for me in the future model.

    The CPU is already an overkill for my needs (I think), I won't use Wifi AC since it will be connected via ethernet, Thunderbolt HDD external boxes are too expensive and I don't need that speed and since it would sit on the shelf 24/7 everything related to an use different from the server would be "useless".

    Do I miss some upgrade that maybe useful?
     
  4. deeddawg macrumors 604

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    US
    #4
    I'm not that well versed on the chipset differences, but the only other things would be lower power consumption, better GPU, and possibly a fanless design.

    None of which likely affect your usage.

    The final difference would be that current models would likely be less expense by a little bit -- but contrast to the value of having one in your hands during the time instead of waiting.

    I'd buy. (and in fact did so myself just after WWDC)

    The ONE thing I'd do is try to buy such that your return period crossed over the further Tuesday. i.e. perhaps buy on Wednesday Just in case an announcement were to come out while within the return period. :)
     
  5. slayerizer macrumors 6502a

    slayerizer

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    Canada
    #5
    I think you already have the answer to your question.

    :D
     
  6. brdeveloper, Jun 13, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2014

    brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2010
    Location:
    Brasil
    #6
    The 2012 Mini is currently expensive for what it offers. If all you want is a server, is it really necessary to be a Mac?

    Let's say, you can point your local iTunes library to a symbolic link to your server. You can even setup an Automator script for switching your library paths according to the network you're connected (by reading the default gateway's MAC address). Then you could create your own "iTunes launcher" which would do all the trick.

    The only problem is TimeMachine backup. I don't know any trick that would allow you to use a non-Apple remote storage as a backup unit, unless it was possible to create a virtual USB media, so you would setup TimeMachine backup to a "locally attached" unit.

    Third point: Apache/PHP/MySQL. In Mac, you have a built-in PHP distribution which is hard or not really recommended to update by yourself. If you want doing anything more serious with PHP, you'll use MacPorts for installing the same version as the production server uses. On Linux, you have better package managers like apt-get with a lot of extensions previously build... this eliminates most of the headaches when installing non-default extensions on Mac.

    For this price, you can buy a laptop with better upgrade capabilities and specs. Look at this one (for example):
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...2mq_4_500gb_windows7_windows8_15_6_black.html

    If don't need to use it as a laptop if you don't want :p
     
  7. Vinxi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    #7
    Thanks for your answer.

    My problems are: space, power comsumption as it would be on for like 10 hours a day, time to configure and "maintain" a Linux server in case of problems (I'm not an expert about Linux), reliability and the Time Machine backups.

    In Linux you could use netatalk to simulate AFP for the Time Machine but I read that's not that reliable. I also know distribution like FreeNAS, but I don't know their reliability.

    For the same money I could build a miniITX monster I know, but are my problems really solved with that?
     
  8. brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

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    Brasil
    #8
    Really don't know. Since you don't need worksation-class performance, maybe you could get a 2nd-hand Mini, like a 2011 i5 one. Install 8 or 16GB of ram and be happy.
     
  9. marzer macrumors 65816

    marzer

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    Colorado
    #9
    For those uses I would save the money and buy a used mini. A 2011 or even 2010 still have plenty of power and will last for several OS iterations to come. As example, I have a 2009 Mac mini (running Mavericks + Server) that performs as NAS, Time Machine host, iTunes server to several media clients (Apple TV's and iOS devices), network images, open domain and a handful of other network services, and it has plenty of power to spare.
     
  10. Vinxi thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 20, 2007
  11. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

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    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #11
    I agree that the current mini may be more powerful than you need, but I think there's another way to look at it. If a 2010 mini is a good choice today, then the current mini will still be a good choice in 2018. So while you might save some money going with an old machine today, a new machine will have a longer useful lifespan.

    I faced a similar choice myself. I have a 2008 15" MBP, 2.4ghz Core2 Duo which I think would have been powerful enough to use as an iTunes server. But I would have needed to spend $100 or more in upgrades to the software and hardware. I was just reluctant to put any money into an older machine where something could fail at any time.

    Instead, I got a new base model mini for $550 and I love it. I'm sure it will meet my needs for many years to come and should have power to spare, in case I want to use it for other things in the future. And of course, it has a one year warranty that I can extend with Applecare if I choose to do so.
     
  12. deeddawg macrumors 604

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    US
    #12
    Don't forget - if you bought it with a credit card that doubles warranty, you may already have an extra year at no cost.
     
  13. Vinxi thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 20, 2007
    #13
    I really don't know what to do.. I don't understand what this price cut means, and I'd only like to buy a machine that will last like 5-6 years..
     
  14. brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

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    Brasil
    #14
    If you want a really affordable Mini server, get a 2009 or a mid-2010 Mini. The 2010 Mini supports up to 16GB of RAM, while the 2009 one supports 8GB. They can use SSDs (SATAIII or SATAII at SATAII speeds) and SD cards which at best can run at 250MB/s (although I don't know any available SD card capable of doing more than ~100MB/s, but they'll come to the market within three years or so). These Macs are rather future-proof for server purposes. 16GB of ram will be a decent amount of memory for the next 5 years.

    Maybe you're lucky and someone offers a 2009 or 2010 one for something like $150. Add a 450-500GB SSD plus 8-16GB of ram and you have a way better machine than the 2012 Mini Server. That is, a server needs basically fast I/O. Processing power is desirable if you have a huge amount of clients, which is not the case. Anyway, fast I/O is the first choice when configuring a server.
     
  15. Vinxi, Jun 20, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2014

    Vinxi thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 20, 2007
    #15
    Again, thanks for your time.

    Since I will be the only one client, you're right thinking that the 2010 model has already enough power for me. But..will be enough for..let's see…MacOs 10.15?

    My problem is "not" the money right now, but rather to "invest them" in something future proof. I have a 2007 MBP that will still be supported with Yosemite, and I can't think of anything more future proof than that since I'm still using it with no problem, and I'ld like to do the same thing with the Mini.

    So the possibilities are…

    1) wait for the update to be sure that there isn't anything more "future proof" than that;

    2) spend less buying a 2009-2010 model or 2012 i5 so I won't regret buying it few months before the update;

    3) buy the 2012 i7 and thinking it as the "most future proof" machine right now that will last more than the 2009 model or the i5 2012 one, but surely less than the 2014-15 updated models..

    But, anyway, if they upgrade to Haswell, that won't be any substancial difference in power that will make the 2012 model many years less future proof in supporting MacOS.
     
  16. brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

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    Location:
    Brasil
    #16
    I'm still using Snow Leopard on my mid-2010 Mini. Don't know for which reason I'd need Mavericks installed on it (and hence Lion or M. Lion). I'm not planning to install Yosemite on my rMBP since it doesn't bring any substantial core improvements comparing to Mavericks (which is a great improvement for laptops). Mavericks saves energy and compresses RAM, but will Yosemite save even more energy and compress RAM by a higher rate? I doubt it.

    Ok, I'm not an iStuff fan. I only need integration between computers with Windows and OSX, so I can't talk about which iPhone integration feature I'm missing keeping the older OS. Heck, I still use Windows Vista Ultimate x64 on my Mini via bootcamp. It's a pretty decent OS, even more with 16GB of ram.

    If you like being always with the latest OSX installed, maybe you should wait for the upcoming Mini. I think the 2012 one is still expensive for just 4GB and no SSD (not even a 120 GB one).
     
  17. Vinxi thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 20, 2007
    #17
    I still use Snow Leopard on my MBP too, and I'm planning to upgrade to Mavericks just because of the "saving energy and compress RAM" feature, otherwise I would still be on 10.6.

    I'm thinking about "transforming" some hardware I already have in a hackintosh, so I would already set the RAID, Time Machine etc, so as soon as the new Mini is released I would only "transfer" the two RED WD into an external USB3 enclosure.
     
  18. blanka macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    #18
    Make your own system.
    Look into Intel Q1900 boards. These are passive cooled 4-core boards that are about as speedy as 3.0Ghz Core2Duos, yet they only consume 10 watts.
    There is 1 or 2 manufacturers who have them with 2xSata600+2xSata300. That gives room to drive 4 full size HD's.
    http://tweakers.net/pricewatch/385541/asrock-q1900-itx.html
    The board including processor is 70 bucks.
    Then find a case (whatever you like, can be LEGO's)
    Buy a universal laptop-charger brick as PSU (30 bucks)
    RAM: 8GB is enough, 50 bucks.
    Small 60GB SSD: 50 bucks (add up to three regular HD's for storage)
    Total: 250 bucks.
    Install Debian. Sure, you can do all on OSX, yet the server stuff runs way more efficient on Linux. The J1900 will outperform a server with OSX based on an i5 or maybe even a quad i7.
     

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