Storage options for Mac Mini Plex box

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by apatel87, Feb 18, 2010.

  1. apatel87 macrumors regular

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    Mar 30, 2009
    #1
    HI, I am not sure if this question has been answered before but I was running out of space on my 1 tb external connected to my mac mini and was wondering what the best storage option would be. I dont have a backup of this drive so would prefer a device that would have redundant hard drives. I was looking at the Drobo and that right now is around $290 after rebate. I would prefer a device that has network capability out of the box. Do people have any suggestions or any experience with products that work especially well. Ideally I would like to expand my storage to about 4 TB. Thanks a lot for the help.
     
  2. djdirect macrumors newbie

    djdirect

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2010
    #2
    I was thinking the exact same thing. Probably will also do a drobo, hooked up to a Netgear RangeMax Dual Band Wireless-N Gigabit Router. That way all the Macs in my home can access it.
     
  3. jmor macrumors 6502

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    NJ, USA
    #3
    Hey can I get the link for the $290 drobo? I'm looking into getting one as well
     
  4. dekinseattle macrumors newbie

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    Dec 24, 2009
    #4
    I bought a drobo around Christmas time - I have it attached directly to the Mini on one side of the living room and access it wirelessly vie Sharing from the iMac on the other side of the room ... personally found it simple to set up and all my Plex content is on there now I have 2- 1.5TB drives in the drobo right now - but will be buying another drive to add here shortly
     
  5. apatel87 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 30, 2009
    #5
    Amazon is selling it for $299 with free shipping and no tax for most after rebate.

    Alternately, BH Photo has it for $299 after rebate with free shipping as well. They also have 2% Bing cashback. I guess it's more like $294 after cashback.
    I bought my Mac Mini from there and they are really a great store. Hope that helps.

    Has anyone looked into the HP Mediasmart Servers? Are those any good?
     
  6. brentsg macrumors 68030

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    Oct 15, 2008
    #6
    Only way I'd ever part with mine is if I upgraded to a newer one.
     
  7. apatel87 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 30, 2009
    #7
    Which model do you have? Does it have Time Machine capabilities? How easy is the setup? I looked and they seem to be more expensive than the Drobos for some reason. What advantages do you see here as opposed to the Drobo?Thanks for the help!
     
  8. brentsg macrumors 68030

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    Oct 15, 2008
    #8
    EX485..

    Time machine - yes
    Setup is like falling off a log.

    It's a totally different animal than a Drobo. This is a windows home server with some added benefits. Mine proactively backs up every PC on my network daily, with Time Machine taking care of my Macs. It streams all my iTunes content on my network. I don't have to have any iTunes client or anything running to share the content. The server takes care of that. It provides remote access to all my content via a secure web portal. It streams audio and video to my devices when I'm not home. I can have it automatically create iPod compatible video, for stuff I throw on there. It will do all sorts of stuff, and you can add additional apps/modules to it also.

    Also the newer ones that recently came out have much more powerful CPUs than what I have.

    I've currently got around 9TB in mine. There was an issue with the EX8xx series where they don't properly support ESATA port replication. This is fixed on EX9xx such that you can add something like a 4 bay ESATA enclosure to the server and effectively double the number of drives it can hold.

    Edit: I forgot.. a couple of my favorite things. If the server dies, the drives can be accessed by any SATA device. They aren't in any kind of proprietary format or anything. Also, it's not a hardware RAID solution. You choose which folders on the server you wish to be replicated, and it keeps only that data duplicated on 2 drives. So essentially, you can choose what data you wish to be stored in a redundant fashion. That way you aren't forced to do "all or nothing" in that regard. It's a more efficient use of storage capacity.
     
  9. apatel87 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 30, 2009
    #9
    Apart from the Drobo and the HP mediasmart are there any other suggestions?
     
  10. brand macrumors 601

    brand

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    #10
    A dedicated OpenSolaris box with ZFS.
     
  11. TheStork macrumors regular

    TheStork

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    Dec 28, 2008
    #11
    I have a D-Link DNS-323 which is a medium price NAS. It supports afp and Bonjour. I also use Time Machine with it. Cost me $130 w/o drives.

    However, I highly recommend a Synology NAS - DS-207, for instance, which unfortunately runs ~$250 w/o drives.
    <http://www.synology.com/us/index.php>
    This product line fully supports Mac's w/o 3rd party s/w, unlike the some other NAS's. (The D-Link NAS finally supports the Mac environment with the latest firmware release except for Time Machine which will work with a simple technique outline in the D-link forums.)

    I've looked at all the sol'ns afforded here in this tread. I believe I have more bang for my buck with the D-Link, but I'm willing to learn how to tweak. Synology NAS's are really painless. Check out their forum.

    <http://forum.synology.com/enu/index.php?sid=221156e3d3e18bfd65986c277f03fa23>

    Hope this helps
     
  12. VoR macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 8, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #12
    I'm using an old(ish) machine, packed with drives (7TB), running an old freenas nightly build using zfs - Current uptime is 327 days and network throughput is much higher than any of the commercial offerings I've tried. AFP etc is well supported.

    The project has been forked (and rewritten) by the 'main' dev to a linux based system, while the original freebsd based code is being rewritten by ixsystems to provide a freebsd 8 (and therefore current zfs) implementation - Works fantastically at the moment, and I'm sure will be even better in the near future.

    Unraid is a similar alternative, but runs a proprietary system - I don't have much experience with it (not hugely interested). Requires a parity drive and allows for easier additions of different sized hard disks.

    Pretty much any machine (consider recycling your old machine/parts instead of buying a new device?) running any OS could be set up to be good file server/backup device/any other services you might want. Not quite an out of the box solution as freenas/unraid/nexenta/etcetc or especially the specific use commercial offerings - On the other hand, you'll likely save money, have a more adaptable system (not locked in to specific uses/services or disk limited by hardware), not have so many problems if/when something does go wrong, and have a higher network throughput.


    Time machine backups are easy to change to any network based storage system if that's a priority of yours (Personally I much prefer using rsync).
    I don't use itunes. Since itunes >= 7 when apple changed the daap protocol without documentation, I'm unsure how well any of the itunes streaming/services work - if it's a number 1 priority, you might have to stick with an OS/system that simply runs an itunes client/server or has it's own (and working) alternative.
     
  13. design-is macrumors 65816

    design-is

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    Location:
    London / U.K.
    #13
    Just throwing in a vote for the drobo... I've had one a while and I've got nothing but good things to say about it.

    I've recently purchased a late 2007 MBP (good deal - broken screen, but otherwise fine) to use as my media centre (plugged into a TV) and plan to use the drobo as the storage.
     
  14. prostuff1 macrumors 65816

    prostuff1

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    Don't step into the kawoosh...
    #14
    Take a look at this thread a little ways down in this forum for an idea of what people are using to store there ever growning media content library.

    I have a home built NAS that runs unRAID, a server OS. I have been running it for quite a while now and really like it. You can read up on it at the link above or via the unRAID wiki or ask questions in the unRAID forum.
     
  15. srexy macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2006
    #15
    If you need to do it on the cheap you could always use a dual external enclosure and either mirror the drives, use time machine or Carbon Copy Cloner to take care of backups.

    I use an older version of this one Mercury Elite-AL Pro Dual Bay
    "Triple Interface" Multiple RAID Enclosure
    + a 1tb and 1.5tb drive. I use CCC for my backup needs. Eventually I'll probably pony up for a Drobo and incorporate the drives into it.
     
  16. LouisBlack macrumors 6502

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    Location:
    Balham, London
    #16
    How about an old tower running FreeNAS filled with loads of hard drives.
     
  17. apatel87 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 30, 2009
    #17
    hey guys, thanks a lot for the suggestions it looks like I have my fair share of research cut out for me. thanks!

    Also, for those who suggest using an old tower and then running Freenas, I have an old Sony tower that I could use. However, it only has a P4 1.8 GHZ processor with 2 gbs of ram. Would would this be able to handle all the media. Thanks!
     
  18. prostuff1 macrumors 65816

    prostuff1

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    #18
    unRAID will run on that just fine, assuming you don't want to do any on the fly transcoding with something like PS3mediaserver.
     
  19. apatel87 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 30, 2009
    #19
    I am new to the unRAID scene. From my gathering is it just a USB OS that will organize my media. Basically, should I delete everything off that computer. Load the drives with my media. Install the OS and it should appear as a NAS if I have it connected to my ethernet?
     
  20. prostuff1 macrumors 65816

    prostuff1

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    Don't step into the kawoosh...
    #20
    Pretty much.

    There is a free version available that can be used with 1 parity drive and 2 data drives.

    Basically what you need to do is:
    1. Load up the OS on a flash drive
    2. Boot the computer from the USB drive.
    3. Assign some disks to the array via the webGUI
    4. Format the drives (this will pretty much destroy any content on the drives)
    5. Connect to the server via smb and start loading it with content.

    That is a very simplified version but it gives you an idea of how it works.

    I run a system with 10 drives in it and about 8.5TB worth of storage.

    Feel free to ask questions over on the unRAID forum for more detailed answers.
     
  21. TheCheapGeek macrumors 6502

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    Jul 10, 2008
    #21
    I am simply going with two owc dual drive raid enclosures. I am taking the bet that two of the largest available 3.5 in drives will hold all of my media. and the other one will hold a backup copy of them.
     
  22. apatel87 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #22
  23. Vinniefish macrumors member

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    Feb 18, 2009
    #23
    I was thinking about picking up the ex495. How is it with 1080p mkv's, do you have it wired or wireless? Also I read how it will search your network for media and consolidate it, how effective is that? Thanks!
     
  24. prostuff1 macrumors 65816

    prostuff1

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    #24
    That box looks like you need to connect it to a computer via an eSATA cable. To be a true Network attached storage device it needs to have an Ethernet port on it.
     
  25. brentsg macrumors 68030

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    Oct 15, 2008
    #25
    I'm not sure I understand the first question. I am streaming 1080p *.m2ts files that are direct Blu-ray rips with no re-encoding, so if you are concerned about performance it'll be just fine. I have my EX485 connected to my router via gigabit ethernet. All of the clients viewing the media are on the network via wireless N (AEBS). It works great but YMMV as per usual with wireless.

    I have not used the feature that you mention, having the server consolidate the media. It gives me the willies just thinking about it.
     

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