Old Mac Mini for iTunes Server for ATV?

VideoBeagle

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Original poster
Aug 17, 2010
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I'm thinking that I might want to get an an old Mac Mini off eBay to use as the iTunes home base as it were for my Apple TV, as well as the rest of my home computers.

They range in price from $30->hundreds+ so the question would be...what's the minimum would I need for this?

Apple Mac mini "Core 2 Duo" 2.0 is common..It's got USB2 which would work fine with my archive external hard disk. It maxes at OS 10.7..would that work?
 

T'hain Esh Kelch

macrumors 603
Aug 5, 2001
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Just make sure you get a model which supports a modern macOS, so you can get iTunes updates in the comming years. A C2D Mac Mini will soon be obsolete, and may not get many more updates.
 

Casey Royals

macrumors member
Sep 25, 2016
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Melbourne, Australia
If you're not going to be using iTunes for serving videos all you need is a Mac Mini that is capable of running Plex, which is the best server to use for this. Checkout the system requirements for Plex and get that as a minimum.
 
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flyinmac

macrumors 68040
Sep 2, 2006
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The Apple TV uses the latest iOS versions (unless you've managed to keep an older model from updating).

As such, the Apple TV will require a semi recent version of iTunes to talk with on your computer.

So if you allow your Apple TV to update, then you'll want to keep iTunes up to date as well.

The current versions of iTunes require Mac OS 10.8.5 or later. And so that is the minimum at this date.

As time moves forward, iTunes will require Mac OS 10.9.x and then 10.10.x, and then 10.11.x, etc.

So if you go old, then don't let anything update, or you'll eventually find yourself with something that no longer works together.

If it were me, I'd be shopping for something that can run El Capitan as a minimum. Preferably something supported by the upcoming high sierra.

On the flip side, if you don't mind running your iTunes library on Windows, then a core2duo will probably be fine. Most core2duos can run either Windows 10 or Windows 8. And iTunes will be supporting both versions of Windows much longer than they'll be supporting even El Capitan. For example, last I checked, Apple still supported iTunes running on Windows Vista, but required Mac OS 10.8.5 or later.

Update:

Apparently, Apple has changed the requirements since the last time I looked.

It appears that for full functionality, you'll need at least Windows 7 or newer, or Mac OS 10.10.x or newer.

Personally, here's what I have done... taken a used PC ($40 on Craigslist) and installed iTunes on it as a media server. With Windows 10, you'll have support for a long time and not need to worry about updates killing your media center arrangement.

Or, if you like tinkering, throw Mac OS on that cheap PC. My Hackintosh has proven to be a very stable Mac. I'm happy with it. And I've moved my iTunes library back over to Mac OS with it. It's stable, reliable, and I have no complaints.

I have it set up for dual booting. So I have the best of both worlds on it. I'm actually starting to like it more than my Mac Pro (which sucks cause I have thousands of dollars invested in my real Mac and only $40 and time invested in my Hackintosh).
 

Longkeg

macrumors 6502
Jul 18, 2014
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S. Florida
I actually did this. I picked up a core 2 duo mini from eBay to be an iTunes server. Mine could only run 10.6.x. iTunes home sharing was dodgy and unreliable. I was able to install Plex on it until Plex upped the requirements to OS 10.8. The mini I got had only a 60g hard drive so I had to get an external drive to hold all my content. I ended up using it as a place to park all my content. With VLC or Infuse on the AppleTV I could point those apps to content on the mini and play them. On the whole I would advise against this scheme. The older OS lacks the security features of the modern OS and can provide an easy back door to your network. Get a mini that can run the latest OS.
 
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VideoBeagle

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 17, 2010
776
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Hmm. well the plus side of the idea was that old mini's are cheap, don't take up much space, low power req, no hassle.
The cheap which is the main reason behind this idea, goes away with new minis.

the other options go away with a PC...I have a core 2 duo dell I could use for this.

Plex isn't an option..ATV3 can't use it (wasn't hackable, last time I looked, that was a while ago though).

I appreciate the input!