What do you use your Mac Mini for?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by thomasec, Jul 8, 2015.

  1. thomasec macrumors newbie

    Mar 15, 2011
    I managed to grab a relatively inexpensive refurbished Mac Mini that I was planning on using as a home media center/server. For those of you who do not use your Mac Mini as your main computer - what kinds of things do you use it for? I've seen articles like this, but they're either outdated, or don't go into much detail as far as how to set these things up.
  2. SnarkyBear macrumors regular


    Apr 24, 2014
    Our Mini works both as a Home Theater, as our music hub, and as a backup for our main iMac. We keep all our music on the Mini in a "Music Database" user file. Our family then transfers their music to whatever device they want--My wife keeps her music on her iPad, while I keep my music on my iPhone. With all the music in one place, we can easily keep a backup.

    A few years ago when our iMac was out for a few days getting the hard drive replace, the Mini served as an adequate replacement.
  3. pjfan macrumors regular

    May 24, 2009
    Columbus OH
    It's our media hub for the house. Via a dual HD Home run, I feed Over the Air TV signal, which records via eyetv and auto exports to iTunes. The Apple TVs stream from there.

    I log into it to make sure there are backups running and some media clean up every now and then.... It probably hasn't restarted in eight months, so it's a set it and forget it server... Need to get back to extracting all of our physical movies to iTunes again and apply some updates!
  4. andeify macrumors 6502


    Jun 10, 2012
    My mini runs a Plex media server to our two smart TVs, Securityspy camera software (with a 1080p web cam), a Minecraft server, a Windows 7 Virtual Machine I remote into (Parallels), a VPN and our file shares (2x 2TB drives connected by USB 3).

    Its a smooth running setup with the air port extreme 802.11ac wifi and powerline Ethernet to the TVs
  5. Butchie-T macrumors regular

    Oct 29, 2014
    Right now I am using mine in training for the Mavericks certification exams. Then, I'll use it for the Yosemite exams, once I'm done with them, I'll probably set it up as a server as well as a repository for my music.

    Last October, I picked up a 2012 i5 Mini, maxed out the ram, added a 2gb hard drive and now I'm just learning it. Up to May of last year I never owned a Mac of any sort. Now, I have a 13 inch MacBook Pro, a Mac Mini, and sometime later this year, I'll be adding a 27 inch iMac Retina into the fold. I will still be a Windows user, i'm just expanding my horizons.

    And I just added a Toshiba laptop into the fold that I will be loading Ubuntu onto so I can learn about Security Onion and other cyber threat defense applications. Got my geek on pretty strong right now. :)
  6. GoKyu macrumors 65816


    Feb 15, 2007
    New Orleans
    I've been using my 2011 i5 Mini as my main computer - I do everything on it. Internet, listening to music, streaming movies, and as of last year, recording music online.

    It was maxed out to 16 gigs of memory shortly after I bought it, but in the last few months, it *really* started to show its age, so I finally upgraded to my first SSD - every slowdown issue I had with it vanished immediately. Best upgrade I've ever done. It could easily last until I can afford to move back up to a Mac Pro again :)
  7. Jambalaya macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2013
    I use my 2009 both as my main computer and as my home media center. It's normally connected to my TV but I have a monitor also if I need to work on a lot of documents. By "main computer" I mean it stores my files, music, video, sync/backup devices etc but 90% of the time I use iPad/iPhone to browse web, read/write emails/messages, markup documents for work (eg via iAnnotate) etc.
  8. AdamSeen macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2013
    I use my 2012 4 core, SSD, 16Gb as a server for plex media centre, occasional minecraft server, backup, local filesharing (8TB) and downloading. Probably for a home security system soon, too (I was considering this: http://www.bensoftware.com/securityspy/). Very similar to what Andeify uses it for.

    Also I use another at work (2012 4 core, HDD, 16Gb) at the moment for software development on trading platforms. It has 3 screens attached (one using a USB display hardware driver) but the mechanical hard drive is quite slow.
  9. drsox macrumors 65816


    Apr 29, 2011
    1. As a TV source that runs Netflix into a 46in Sony TV (with VLC control from an MBA)
    2. As a compute server for doing heavy duty stuff e.g. file manipulations between 2 NAS units or ripping CDs (ditto)
  10. solaris macrumors 6502a


    Apr 19, 2004
    Oslo, Norway
    I use my late 2012 Mac mini Server as a server, exactly as intended.
    WAN - VPN, homepage, remote login, BitTorrent client and backup/sync to a remote computer (off site) through a 1 Gbps internet connection.
    LAN - File sharing and iTunes Library sharing.

    I am also using it to virtualize other OSes and to transcode movies.
    Love it! :)
  11. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

    Jun 1, 2011
    I use my Mini as my all purposes machine but also at times as a dedicated music device. I have a few different Bluetooth speakers around the house and the Mini is at a position where it can reach them all. I usually have it powered on at all times for this reason, and its low power consumption makes it great for that.
  12. Cloudsurfer macrumors 65816


    Apr 12, 2007
    It's our main computer, we use it for everything from paying the bills to photo and video editing. And it does the job quite well.
  13. jthesssin macrumors regular


    May 6, 2013
    Matthews NC
    up until a few years ago I used my 2010 Mini as a HTPC.
    After getting an Apple TV, I use the 2010 primarily for CD archiving/importing into iTunes and DVD conversions with Handbrake. The 2012 just gets used for web browsing and occasional work from home situations when i don't feel like messing around with one of the 2014 Macbook Airs...
  14. scottsjack macrumors 68000

    Aug 25, 2010
    To be honest my 2012 2.3 quad 16GB mini is just sitting around doing nothing. It was running Windows 8.1 and was a pretty good Windows machine. I wanted to use more Windows features and to have upgraded hardware so I bought a Windows machine and used the mini's M500 SSD as the Windows C drive.

    I am still trying to decide if I should get another SSD and use the mini for something or just sell the thing. While I am really cranked over my Z230 and all its capabilities I still am a mini fan. I will probably keep it around in case my Mac Pro dies or I decide to get serious about HTPC.
  15. fuchsdh macrumors 65816


    Jun 19, 2014
    My mini runs a Minecraft server, headless in normal situations.
  16. marzer macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
    It's my home media hub and HTPC with 12TB of thunderbolt storage. Through direct connect to my 60" plasma in the TV room, I watch iTunes library and rentals, Hulu, Netflix. Through the network it serves iTunes content to 4 Apple TVs, a couple Airport Express nodes, several iOS and Mac clients, runs an Internet streaming server so I can access my iTunes library when I'm away from home. It runs a virtual mouse/keyboard server for my iPad, dynamic DNS updates to keep my home URL updated should my ISP IP change, same with my OpenDNS service. And using OS X Server it is the Time Machine host for the home computers, provides software update caching and file sharing services...I'm pretty fond of the little machine. :D
  17. JackieInCo macrumors 603

    Jul 18, 2013
    My 2012 i7 gets used only as an iTunes server to my Apple TV 2.

    I use a 15" MBP as my main computer at home.
  18. jthesssin macrumors regular


    May 6, 2013
    Matthews NC
    I think you forgot to mention how it also cooks your bacon and eggs to perfection....:)
  19. marzer macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
    Well maybe not to perfection...in due time... :D

  20. davidg4781 macrumors 68020

    Oct 28, 2006
    Alice, TX
    I just switched to a mini but I'm using it as my main PC. I gave up my MBP for it and I'm starting to realize the use of an iPad.

    I don't do much on it though, at least not for now. Web browsing, iTunes, Netflix, Word type stuff for work. I'm going to do some video editing stuff soon but I think I'll wait until I can get a proper desk. Right now I'm using a square portable fold up table and there's not much room on it, along with it shaking.
  21. dogslobber macrumors 68030


    Oct 19, 2014
    Apple Campus, Cupertino CA
    I use it exclusively for posting to this forum :-D
  22. ChinkyBob macrumors regular


    Oct 10, 2014
    I have the same as you but with a 1TB SSD drive recently installed. As a rare quad core Ive had 2 offers to buy it at over 700 quid, but I love mine so its not for sale. Food for thought hough.
  23. MultiFinder17 macrumors 68000


    Jan 8, 2008
    Tampa, Florida
    Mine lives its life quietly as a server. It serves as a home media server for my iTunes library to all my machines, and it hosts my website as well for the outside world. It's perfect; a reliable, stable, small server that doesn't put out much of any heat, make any noise, or use much electricity.
  24. richmlow macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2002
    Believe it or not, the Mac Mini is my main workhorse. =) See my signature for system specs. I use it for surfing the internet, webpage design, playing music, playing games, scientific computing (Mathematica) and typesetting research articles (LaTeX).


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