New Mac Mini as iTunes Server

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by wkalexand, Oct 24, 2012.

  1. wkalexand macrumors newbie

    Jul 1, 2010
    I have:
    - 17000 songs
    - 700+ movies
    - 600+ TV shows

    Want to set up a mac mini as a iTunes server in the house. I have AppleTVs under each television.

    Obviously, I'll have to use an external 6tb thunderbolt disk.

    My first guess is that the processor isn't so important as the RAM for iTunes, but I'm not really well versed in how iTunes utilizes resources or processor.

    - What spec machine should I get?
    - Any benefit of upping to the quad-core?
    - Will more RAM help with iTunes run smoother?
    - Should I get the server model?

    Thanks in advance for the help.
  2. linds15 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2012
    Great White North
    i believe for that use you will be fine with even the base, but im sure others will be able to guide you better. you for sure will not need the server because all you are really getting over the mid is the extra internal hdd for 170 since you can buy the server software and install it on any mac of your choosing
  3. fa8362 macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2008
    You don't need anything beyond the base. You don't even need that, but that's all you can buy if you want to buy new. A 2009 Mac Mini with 4 GB of RAM would do everything you need perfectly well.
  4. flatfoot99 Guest

    Aug 4, 2010
    am I correct, that the server model is not a "media server"?
  5. Rmafive, Oct 24, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012

    Rmafive macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2008
    Richmond, Virginia
    Since the current base mac Mini is just too powerful for what you need, I would suggest going with an older mac tower. Im pretty sure this one comes with USB 1.0, which isn't as fast as Thunderbolt, but it should get the job done:

    On a serious note, I would go with the base model, with an upgrade to 8gb of RAM for future proofing.
  6. bbeagle macrumors 68040


    Oct 19, 2010
    Buffalo, NY
    The 'server model' is not needed for a 'home media server'. I know the term is confusing. My 2007 iMac was used as my home media server, and worked fine - just that was the only task it could do. It was slower when I tried to run XCode and compile while also serving multiple content. The new ones should be fine for multiple activities.

    You only need the 'server model' for server-related tasks if you are running your own EXTERNAL server, where you are allowing multiple people from remote sites to log in and work intensive applications, or you've got a busy database server or web server to host.
  7. flatfoot99 Guest

    Aug 4, 2010
    That's what I thought... thanks!
  8. marzer macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
    The new mini (base or otherwise) is more than enough to do what you want. For years to come. The center of my home media network is a 2009 Mac mini with some external FW800 drives.

    With 5 ATV's, 3 computers, a couple Airport Express as music hubs and an iPad, the 2009 mini keeps up easily with the load. And I also use it for other things like general file sharing, iPhoto sharing, printer sharing and a couple other network utilities.

    I had been running just fine with 2GB of memory for a year and a half, but upgraded to 4GB last year for the heck of it just cause it was so cheap.

    And no, the Mac mini server is not a media server. Those functions are native to OS X through iTunes, iPhoto and iCloud services.

    And unless you have a yearning to gain the experience for experience alone, I wouldn't even bother with OS X Server, its not needed for general home/media server functionality. And is a PITA if you don't know why you need it.
  9. Hammie macrumors 65816


    Mar 17, 2009
    Wash, DC Metro
    Just get the entry model.

    I am running a fully maxed out Late-2009 Mac Mini (2.66GHz Core 2 Duo, 8GB RAM, and OS X Lion) as a iTunes media hub and it works fine. I am closing in on 4TB of data files (which are on 4TB and 2TB FW800 drives). I have one ATV3, two ATV2's, and one ATV1 connected without an issue.

    I have even tested all 4 ATV's streaming different movies at the same time and I saw no delays/jitter or artifacts.

    BTW, all of my ATV's are hard wired to my Gig-E (1000Mbps) home network.
  10. tagy macrumors regular

    Feb 3, 2003
    Agree, for what you are doing a 2009 or later model, maximum ram, and lots of external storage would be fine.
  11. wkalexand thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 1, 2010
    Thanks, all, for the help! I ended up ordering the middle mac mini with the fusion drive

    - 2.3GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
    - 4GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x2GB
    - 1TB Fusion Drive

    Once I receive it, I'll put in 16gig of RAM from OWC.
  12. Medic311 macrumors 68000


    Jul 30, 2011
    if literally all you want out of it is an iTunes server, you can go buy a $250-$300 cheap tower running Windows 7. since all you need is iTunes running, a cheap Windows 7 machine will do just fine.

    it'll save you between $300-$500 dollars
  13. wkalexand thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 1, 2010
  14. sbk1799 macrumors newbie

    Jan 10, 2012
    My experience with early 2009 mini

    It's good enough as an iTunes server for multiple ATVs and Macs around the house. I've been tempted to upgrade to the new specs and ML and just to satisfy a case of upgrade fever, but what I have is definitely sufficient. There are some lags with iTunes, so I am considering upgrading the RAM and the HDD for a fraction of the cost of a new base mini. The current configuration of 4 GB and a 5400 rpm HDD is slow compared to what I use at work and my personal MBP (8 GB & SSD), but it is sufficient most of the time.

    If I were to upgrade to a new mini, it would meanfaster performance with Handbrake and other processor intensive apps, ML features, and a short dose of retail therapy. In my case, it's not worth it when my machine is chugging along fairly well with early 2009 specs.
  15. MatthewAMEL macrumors 6502


    Oct 23, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    I'm running a Late2009 i7 with a FW800 Drobo (v2). I have no problems serving 3 AppleTVs (2x v3, 1 v2) and 2 iPads.

    iTunes isn't processor bound. A base Mini with fast throughput (Thunderbolt drive) would be sufficient.

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