USB 2 external hdd > Mac Mini > ATV streaming quality?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by shorn, May 25, 2015.

  1. shorn macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2010
    Hi all.

    My current set up is as follows.

    2011 Mac mini. (USB2/Thunderbolt)
    Connected to this I have 2TB & 1.5TB FW800 WD external drives.
    TV Shows on one, Movies on the other.

    I'm up to capacity so looking to add a little and simplify things.

    I'm considering a 5TB WD USB3 single drive.

    I'm wondering how this will perform in comparison to the FW800's bearing in mind the mini only does USB2.

    I'm considering swapping out the 500gb internal on the mini for a SSD. This will do any encoding/transcoding of video files and they will then be dumped onto the USB drive where my iTunes library will be located.

    What's people experiences of this kind of setup and then streaming to an Apple TV?

    At the moment it works fine with the FW drives, but I'm wondering if I'll notice a difference with USB2.
  2. Boyd01 macrumors 601


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    On my old 2011 MBA with USB 2.0, I only got about 30 MB/sec with an external drive. I think that would be something like 240mbit/sec vs 800mbit/sec with firewire. Quite a difference in speed. It should still be fast enough to stream, but you may notice more latency.

    It may not matter much, especially if you are using wifi - see this thread which says that the AppleTv tops out at only 65 mbit/sec on wifi. A wired ethernet connection would give you 100mbit/sec:
  3. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    You won't notice any difference. At least for Streaming video. Even full blu-ray rips are only a few MB/s. You could stream multiple Blu-Ray rips before you even max out your USB2.0. The only limitation is getting the files onto the drive will take longer than firewire 800 (half the bandwidth obviously). I have a Raspberry Pi that I use as a video server in my car, and even with it's limited CPU and poor USB chipset, it can still do two HD video streams over wifi....
  4. shorn thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2010
    That's great. Kind of what I was thinking. I'm happy to take the trade off with it taking longer to transfer the files. Ultimately the setup is getting simpler so that's more of a benefit.

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3 May 25, 2015