Old PC as a Mac friendly server?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by l33r0y, Aug 31, 2007.

  1. l33r0y macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    #1
    I've been looking at standalone NAS options lately for use with an iMac with the previous plan to get shot of my PC altogether.

    However I'm beginning to think that it would be more cost effective to keep the PC and configure it as a server with the same functionality, if not better.

    The PC is a P4 3Ghz, 2Gb memory with various PCI cards attached. I would remove the AGP graphics card, FireWire & Soundcard and set the BIOS to max power saving to keep running costs low.

    The server would be use for media streaming (to XBOX and possibly Apple TV in the future) and other storage.
    Also It'd use it as a BitTorrent client that can be left running 24/7 (something I was not prepared to do with the iMac, even though it'd be more than capable).


    I would probably leave Windows XPSP2 on the PC and connect to it via Terminal Services.
    Using Windows would allow me to run iTunes on it as the main iTunes server which the Apple TV and the iMac could connect to (I assume this is possible?)

    In terms of file sharing from the PC, I guess my only option is a CIFS/SMB share type? Are there better options to integrate with the Mac?


    Just wondered if the above is feasible and if anyone else has done something similar, or if there are better solutions?



    Cheers,


    L.
     
  2. l33r0y thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Aug 7, 2007
    #3
  3. l33r0y thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Aug 7, 2007
    #4
    Looks like a good solution for dated hardware, but probably doesn't meet my needs in terms of bittorrent or iTunes serving.

    Thanks though!
     
  4. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #5
    Ah that would be an additional set of features.

    I've seen some open source routers and other small boxes that let you torrent and provide NAS services. Names escape me right now.
     
  5. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

    Joined:
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    Location:
    London, England
    #6
    If you stick with Windows put uTorrent on it with the WebGUI. Works like a dream!
     
  6. l33r0y thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Aug 7, 2007
    #7
    Yep, thats the plan!
     
  7. l33r0y thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Aug 7, 2007
    #8
    Sounds good.

    I looked at Synology's DS107e NAS box which had a torrent downloader service, but there was no way to implement an IP blocklist which is essential while torrenting in my opinion.
     
  8. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    Mar 23, 2005
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    Indianapolis
    #9
    Looks like Windows it is, oh well.

    OS X handles CIFS/SMB much more nicely then NFS. AFP is godly but that's not an option here.
     
  9. rogersmj macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #10
    I use an old Athlon 1.6 GHz PC with Ubuntu Server on it to do everything you speak of. It has six hard drives totaling 1.8 TB of space. I store my iTunes library on there, along with all my movies and TV shows ripped from DVDs, as well as an extensive software archive, gigs of photos, and personal documents. It streams video to any Mac in the house in addition to my modded Xbox (which will eventually be replaced with an :apple: TV). I also use the box to test web sites before I upload them to a real host. I can SSH/FTP into it from anywhere in the world to get access to my files.

    I highly recommend using something like Ubuntu server. It would use less resources than Windows, is more stable (mine's been sitting in the closet, with nothing connected to it but a power cord and a network cable, for five months and hasn't been restarted), and ultimately is a lot more configurable. You'll learn a lot too, but Ubuntu still makes it very easy to get the basic stuff (Samba, SSH, FTP) up and running. I'm comfortable managing a server from the command line, but if you're not you could always install the regular desktop Ubuntu so you have a GUI. It's really not going to help you all that much though.
     
  10. l33r0y thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Aug 7, 2007
    #11
    Sounds good - although would this setup support Apple TV serving (as I understand it, iTunes is the only option for this)
     
  11. rogersmj macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #12
    Yes, it would. Although I haven't personally tried it, I know people who use the Apple TV to stream from a Linux server. If you're going to hack it (so it can play more than a couple video formats), I think you can have it mount the shares directly. If you're going to leave it stock, then I'm not sure what the procedure is. I think it operates the same way as Front Row; I'm able to view all my Linux-served videos in Front Row on my Mac by creating a symbolic link inside my ~/Movies directory to the mounted share. iTunes won't accept most of my videos anyway, because they're mostly Xvid/Divx, so accessing the share through a symlink is the way to go for me.
     

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