Ultimate Apple Enviroment

Discussion in 'iMac' started by AppleDApp, Jul 4, 2011.

  1. AppleDApp, Jul 4, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2011

    AppleDApp macrumors 68020

    AppleDApp

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    #1
    I'm not sure where to post this as it will concern most Apple devices. What would be the best way to implement Apple devices in a home for computing, networking and entertainment? I trying to keep this setup general so it could be adapted to any given house.

    I want to keep energy consumption at a low when on idle. I'm also thinking of building a server that will house media and backups from old hardware. I'm not sure however which OS will be able to backup macs,itunes sharing and my media unless I do a hackinstosh which won't work because I dont have an intel CPU.

    Internet
    To access the internet seems the best way would be with Airport Extreme Base Station.

    Then to connect every stationary Mac computers via hard wire throughout the house. If you cannot hard wire use a powerline ethernet solution to ensure a fast, safer and reliable connection.
    *Because this uses the Airport Extreme Base station you are limited to having 3 hard wired devices. Choose wisely.
    **Unless you use a different router with more gigE ports.

    Entertainment
    TV: your choice

    Mac mini with plex to stream all your content to your TV. Perhaps add a bluray player to the mini if necessary.
    The mini also offers the flexibility of the internet, applications and a DVD drive that the ATV2 cannot offer.
    Speakers: Whatever tickles your fancy

    Receiver: Something air play enabled to be able to play content from iOS devices anywhere.

    Remote: either the Apple remote or an iPad to control your home entertainment system As long as the app you use supports all your devices.

    Backup
    I would use either a Synology DS410 or DS411+(help me choose) because it is not hardware specific and flexible. Connect it to the Airport base station to backup every computer on the network and the media collection. Configure a FTP and download server as well as backup.

    I could also build a server from old computer parts.

    Printing
    All printers would be wifi enabled.

    Did I miss something?
     
  2. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2010
    Location:
    On the fence
    #2
    Pass on airplay speakers, and get some good ones with a good receiver. Much better solution.
     
  3. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #3
    Powerline ethernet is just adding more equipment (aka points of failure) to your "network." Why would you want more equipment instead of less? Just wire the house or keep it wireless. If your power goes down you aren't going to be able to use your network equipment in the first place.

    You are limited to 3 ethernet devices.

    I also don't see why you have a Time Capsule and a Drobo for backup. Drop one or the other.
     
  4. blueroom, Jul 4, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2011

    blueroom macrumors 603

    blueroom

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #4
    Drobo meh, get a Synology NAS and it is also a Time Machine plus much more.

    PS Time Capsule has three not four LAN ports. The 4th port connects to your cable modem.

    A Netgear 3700 with a Synology NAS the DS110j is cheap & cheerful + 2GB SATA HDD is what I use. Far more flexible than a Time Machine.

    As for AirPlay an ATV2 or AirPort Express make really nice AirPlay players.

    Further, Handbrake your media using the ATV2 setting, works on all current iOS devices and looks great on large TVs ~52". It takes time but means no jailbreaking required. Just run iTunes or stream to the ATV2 directly from your iOS device or even iTunes.
     
  5. AppleDApp thread starter macrumors 68020

    AppleDApp

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    #5
    Then say I have a song on my iPhone and I want to play it on my home theater what would I do if I don't have air play enabled speakers?

    Good point I made changes to the original post.

    If I go this route there is less configuration and more flexibility.

    Please elaborate on this I don't quite understand why you suggest an ATV2 when I use a mac mini as a HTPC system. More expensive to not tied to iTunes and more options.
     
  6. ExnomenDei macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    #6
    Get an Airport Express or an Apple TV 2. Optical out to a nice DAC, to a receiver, to some nice speakers. Say some Audio Physics or something nice.

    Powerline sucks, high pings, more packet loss, less throughput than a simple UTP. The ultimate setup is getting two Airport Extremes and a Time Capsule or something, if you want to keep it all Apple, so you have enough total ports. The Airports are pretty good routers anyway, and wireless is good enough for Macbooks, iOS devices, and other non-essential gear.

    I have an Airport Extreme, an iMac, a Macbook Pro, an Apple TV 2 and a plasma TV.

    Also, wired networks don't have MAC filtering or WPA-protection. That's all for wireless only. There's also no need to really protect wired lines, nobody's going to attack you on those.

    The easiest backups are Time Machine backups, so don't backup to a different device. Store media in one central location, either on the Time Capsule, or on a Drobo, or like I do with my Airport Extremes.

    Also, you need to educate yourself a bit more ;).
     
  7. AppleDApp thread starter macrumors 68020

    AppleDApp

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    #7
    How does an Airport express replace a ATV2? Also in the living room I will use a mac mini setup not an Apple TV

    Powerline is only if I cannot wire the whole place. For instance if you live in an apartement.

    What do you mean so I have enough ports?

    That was already the plan

    Educate myself on what subject?
     
  8. tsugaru macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2003
    Location:
    Edmonton
    #8

    Internet
    Netgear WNDR3700/4000 or Linksys E4200 Router
    8 Port Gigabit Switch w/ Jumbo Frames and teaming (for NAS)

    Backup
    FreeNAS 8 (building a system is about the same price as a Drobo/QNAP/Synology prebuilt NAS, but this gives more flexibility)

    Printing
    Airport Express is actually useful here, only reason I have one is for my printer

    Networking
    Ethernet only, save for iPads, iPhones, roaming laptops, otherwise GigE only


    That would be my setup. I'm using a Linksys WRT310n with DD-WRT right now, but I'm looking at upgrading the router within a month for 5GHz 3 stream wireless for my 2011 MacBook Pro.
     
  9. AppleDApp thread starter macrumors 68020

    AppleDApp

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    #9
    What do I use the switch for?

    I still need an enclosure to place all my drives right?

    Why would I need an Airport Express if my printer is Wifi enabled?
     
  10. peskaa macrumors 68020

    peskaa

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    Location:
    London, UK
    #10
    Eh? A Drobo is easily less flexible than a proper NAS, although yes, less configuration. A Drobo is simply a box with external drives, and it's slow at transfers.

    A Synology NAS on the other hand can do many, many things. DNLA streaming to network devices (video, music, photos), iTunes Server, BitTorrent download client (scheduled as well), web serving, file server (both LAN and Web), Time Machine backups and so forth.

    Further, the Synology can be expanded with USB hard drives, or with a USB printer for network sharing. The Drobo offers none of this. In fact, the Synology completely removes the need for an expensive Mac Mini - with a pair of 2TB drives it will set you back around a third of the cost, and you can even go for dual 3TB drives.


    I have a Synology DS211j (two drive bays), and it's superb. Way, way better than a Drobo. It's the central hub of my network, with all my music and videos on it. The Macs pick it up in iTunes for music streaming, as well as file storage. Time Machine backs up on to a 1.5TB external USB drive, and it does any of my downloads whilst I'm sleeping (and hence not using my internet connection). It draws less power than a Mac Mini, and costs way less.
     
  11. AppleDApp thread starter macrumors 68020

    AppleDApp

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    #11
    Yes it is slower in most case but it is a little more flexible because you do not have to buy the same brand/capacity drive.

    I'm not sure I understand what you are suggesting. Just connect drives to a airport express or something and stream?

    Two bay is limiting I guess you could always get a bigger NAS.

    What is downloading without the need of an internet connection? The Mac mini also offers the optical drive in the odd event where I would watch a DVD.
     
  12. blueroom macrumors 603

    blueroom

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #12
    Take a look at how AirPlay works. Any connected device running iTunes can host the music, video, photos to be streamed to a connected ATV2 or AirPort Express (audio only). iOS devices iPhones, iPod Touch or iPad can also stream their internal content.
    You do need to convert your videos first, but Handbrake makes this a no brainer and supports batch transcoding.
    As for audio I'd stick with Apple Lossless converted / ripped with XLD.
    Both XLD & Handbrake are easily best in class and free!
    As for networking speed well that's why H.264 is so handy, a typical 2hr ATV2 movie is about 1.7GB and that's no problem for even a mediocre WiFi network. Your real bottleneck for movies will be ones rented via iTunes or Netflix as those depend on how decent your ISP connection / service is.
     
  13. AppleDApp thread starter macrumors 68020

    AppleDApp

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    #13
    In this case if I get a receiver with built in AirPlay I can avoid getting the Apple TV?
     
  14. blueroom macrumors 603

    blueroom

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #14
    It would be audio only. For the works you need an ATV2.
     
  15. peskaa macrumors 68020

    peskaa

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    Location:
    London, UK
    #15
    The Synology NAS units work in the same way. No need to match brands or capacity, just add to the RAID array. It's basically the same as a Drobo, just faster!

    No, I'm saying that if you buy a Synology NAS you can have internal drives, and then add USB external drives as well. The NAS also acts as a server, so music/video etc files on it can be played on other devices (Plex etc).

    Exactly. Synology make 4 bay models too.

    You still need an internet connection, but rather than leaving your computer on all night to complete a download, the NAS does it. The NAS draws a lot less power, so your electric bill is lower. I offload all my big download tasks, turn off my computer and go to bed - when I get up, the files are all on the NAS.

    True, the Mini does have a DVD player...but don't you have a standalone player?
     
  16. AppleDApp, Jul 5, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2011

    AppleDApp thread starter macrumors 68020

    AppleDApp

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    #16
    How about a mac mini instead so I'm not tied down to iTunes, I can do some web surfing on my TV and play dvd's and blu-rays.

    I did a bit of searching about the synology DS411+II and in a video review it has mentioned that this NAS has Expand raid capabilities. would this be similar to the drobo where you can add any drive later and the RAID Array configures itself?

    this NAS is also twice the price of the 4 bay drobo. :eek: I can cover my server needs with the drobo apps aswell My only issue would be trying to find a router with gigE and a FW800 port. Nevermind they are only compatible with the higher priced NAS but for the same price as the synology I the drobo offers 5 bay Synology also has the additional USB ports and all the server enabled automatically.

    No not yet this is for when I move out I don't have many electronics so far. I could use my xbox but then I can't go on the web on my TV.
     
  17. AppleDApp, Jul 5, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2011

    AppleDApp thread starter macrumors 68020

    AppleDApp

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    #17
    A few changes have been made to the original post.

     
  18. peskaa macrumors 68020

    peskaa

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    Location:
    London, UK
    #18
    Yes, basically the same thing.

    Synology have three tiers of product, denoted by a suffix after the model number. 'j' is the base model, no suffix is the mid-range, and '+' is the best. For home use, the 'j' is more than adequate - they have exactly the same features, just a slightly slower CPU and slightly less RAM. For the usage you're intending, the 'j' models are absolutely fine - my own Synology is a 'j' and I've never had issue with it. Certainly not worth the expense of the higher models.

    In the UK, a DS411j is £265 for bare bones. A Drobo S is £564. Over double the price for the Drobo! Even the 4 bay Drobo is £305.
     
  19. DannyBres macrumors 65816

    DannyBres

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    #19
    I have no idea what you mean by ultimate apple environment….

    I am assuming that you want to form a standard package that you could sell as a bundle and can easily be adapted to any home.

    Internet & Networking


    I would use an Airport Extreme. As this offers Dual networking and the option of a guest network so that visitors can use the internet but not access all your files etc. It also supports 5GHz 508.11n that is very fast for connecting to other devices.

    Computers

    I would purchase the 2.7GHz i5 21.5” iMac as the family computer, to be located centrally longue, kitchen, study etc. The iMac shall connect to the APE via gigabit Ethernet.

    I would purchase a 16GB Wi-Fi iPad 2 as a second computer to be used in bed or when iMac is busy etc. The iPad shall connect to the APE via Wi-Fi.

    I would purchase a Mac Mini to connect to the family home cinema system via HDMI providing 1080p and 5.1 sound for all iTunes HD rentals, DVDs or even pirated movies. Accompanied by a magic track pad and Bluetooth keyboard this would provide another computer for people to use when the iMac is in use by others. I would run Plex or Boxee software on it and use the iPad or an apple remote as a controller. The Mac Mini shall connect to the APE via 802.11n Wi-Fi

    I would get a MacBook Air for every child in the family to use for their studies. All shall connect to the APE via 802.11n Wi-Fi.

    Accessories

    Backup

    I would have a DROBO connected to the iMac via FW800 or Thunderbolt when that is available. This will provide a very flexible SMART RAID backup device that all time machines can be setup too and all documents and media shall be held with very fast access and redundancy.

    Media

    I would have an AppleTV for each room with a TV, that doesn’t have the iMac in and an AirPort Express + speakers for the rest of the rooms. This would provide a solid system AirPlay system for all your music playback and watching YouTube and gaming from the iPad and any other iOS devices.

    I would get some decent 2.1 external speakers for the iMac, as I the built-in are in adequate for music.

    Printing

    I single colour laser printer with a Wi-Fi connection, that can be hidden somewhere out of site and used when required printing from any iOS device or Mac.
     
  20. AppleDApp thread starter macrumors 68020

    AppleDApp

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    #20
    Does it differ in any way?

    I might take the DS411j hopefully it comes in black as well.

    in Canada the DS411j is 360$ and a 4 bay drobo is about 350 but if you want to connect it to a ISR you need the 100$ adapter thing.

    Yes but I don't think I would be selling it.


    Internet & Networking


    I would use an Airport Extreme. As this offers Dual networking and the option of a guest network so that visitors can use the internet but not access all your files etc. It also supports 5GHz 508.11n that is very fast for connecting to other devices.

    Computers

    I was thinking 27" :D

    I would go hard wired to ensure there is no interference and I get the most stable connection.

    Accessories

    if it is connected to the iMac how will the other computers backup to it? how will the mac mini or ATV2 stream from it?
    Media
    can I access none iTunes content from the ATV2?

    currently trying to setup 5.1 audio because I already have the speakers.

    Printing

    I'd probably hide it near my NAS, Modem and ISR.
     
  21. Anastacio macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2010
    Location:
    Denmark
    #21
    Gonna read this thread through, but just a quicky, if I buy a Synology 'j' model, will I have to buy the hard drives for it as well? Which one would you recommend if I want 4TB, does it matter if it is 2-bay or 4-bay really?
     
  22. AppleDApp thread starter macrumors 68020

    AppleDApp

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    #22
    You can buy the NAS empty or with drives. I suggest getting it empty you can get drives for cheap only. Do you want 4tb of usable storage? if so you need a 4 bay NAS. If you want a 4tb NAS meaning you get about 2tb of usable storage get a 2 bay NAS.
     
  23. peskaa macrumors 68020

    peskaa

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    Location:
    London, UK
    #23
    It's best to buy as a barebones, and add your own drives, as it works out cheaper. I'm using Western Digital green drives in mine.

    Space is down to what you want to do with it, and hence which 'version' of RAID you use. If you want 4TB of space usable, with backup, then you need to get 8TB of drives, and hence a 4-bay model. If you're not fussed about backup, then a pair of 2TB drives (2-bay NAS) will work fine.

    My DS211j has 2x2TB, set up as a mirror - so I can only use 2TB of space, but all my data is backed up automatically on to the other HD in case one fails.
     
  24. Anastacio macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2010
    Location:
    Denmark
    #24
    I would like to have 4TB of usable space, and then how much do I need for Time Machine back-up? 2TB?
     
  25. AppleDApp thread starter macrumors 68020

    AppleDApp

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    #25
    In that case get a 4 bay NAS. for TM how many computers are you backing up? figure out the HDD capacity on each mac say you get 4tb then go 6tb-8tb for backup.
     

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