What to do with unused 2011 Mac Mini

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by gsmornot, Apr 27, 2018.

  1. gsmornot macrumors 68030

    gsmornot

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2014
    #1
    I have seen threads like this before but most have been old. I just replaced my 2011 Mini with an iMac. Any ideas for the Mini? I have thought about selling it but before I do I thought I would ask for ideas, maybe I'm missing something useful. I thought about connecting it to a TV but already have 2 Apple TV's which have access to my iTunes collections in the cloud. I could make it a server but to do what I'm not sure.

    What ideas do you guys have?
     
  2. djc6 macrumors 6502a

    djc6

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2007
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    #2
    I fantasize about the day I can replace my 2011 mac mini with a new mac mini.

    I would then use old 2011 mac mini for a Linux desktop to experiment with.
     
  3. uller6 macrumors regular

    uller6

    Joined:
    May 14, 2010
    #3
    I use mine as a server in the basement. I run my iTunes library, my movie library, and a file server. If you install High Sierra you can use the mini to cache updates for your other OS X and iOS devices on your network too, saving you bandwidth and decreasing software update install times. The other thing you could do is use it as a time machine backup server for your iMac (and any other Mac). A 2011 mini is more than fast enough for all of these workloads. I use mine headless so it uses ~10 watts, which at the same power consumption as 1 LED lightbulb is very reasonable.
     
  4. jdelgado macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2009
    Location:
    Chile
    #4
    I also have a 2011 mini. I use as a backup in case my main computer fails, so I minimize any eventual downtimes and can continue working.
    Also, I attached some external drives to it to backup other computers.
     
  5. Boyd01 macrumors 601

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #5
    It would make a good iTunes server for your Apple TV's. This could let you expand your library beyond iTunes purchases and rip DVDs, CDs and download films and music from sites like archive.org that are not available anywhere else. I use a mini for this with 2 Apple TV - I had a big DVD collection and after a few years ripped it all - a total of about 1200 disks.

    Very easy to set up, see this: https://www.techradar.com/how-to/software/applications/how-to-set-up-an-itunes-home-server-1305683
     
  6. tibas92013 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2013
    Location:
    Costa Rica
    #6
    My Refurbished MM(Late 2012); 2.5GHz, 16GB Ram,500GB HD is my back-up to my main Refurbished MM(Late 2014, 2.8GHz, 8GB Ram, 256SSD.

    Continue to be one-happy MM customer!
     
  7. krause734 macrumors 6502a

    krause734

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    #7
    Sell it on eBay before it’s worthless! Unless you’re a hoarder! Haha jk.
     
  8. Suzatlarge macrumors member

    Suzatlarge

    Joined:
    May 4, 2008
    Location:
    Colorado
    #8
    Thanks to the OP for starting a current discussion. This week I bought a used 15" 2014 rMBP which has more ability than my mini, to handle my increasingly complex Photoshop/Lightroom editing work. Plus it's portable which is necessary for workshops, etc., which I attend several times a year - yeah, I'm a serious hobby photographer. (My trusty 2013 11.6" MBA is OK for basic processing but not up to the things that my MBP can do.)

    But, I kinda love my mini. I bought it 3 years ago off the shelf at MicroCenter, and had a local shop swap out the 1TB HDD with a 1TB SSD. It was a cost decision at the time; I had all the peripherals and the purchase price + cost of SSD swap - tradein for my iMac at the shop = much more affordable choice than a MBP.

    So I want to keep the mini: 2.6 i5, 8GB, 1TB SSD. I appreciate the info in this thread. I like the idea of iTunes living on it, for sure.
     
  9. Boyd01 macrumors 601

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #9
    That will be a great iTunes server, but a 1tb SSD is serious overkill - I can easily saturate gigabit ethernet with my cheap USB 3.0 hard drive (it clocks around 180MB/sec). Maybe you can find a better use for that machine?
     
  10. Suzatlarge macrumors member

    Suzatlarge

    Joined:
    May 4, 2008
    Location:
    Colorado
    #10
    I'm open to suggestions, including selling it. I know I can use it to back up files manually. Can I configure it to work as a Time Machine over wifi? That's crossed my mind but I haven't had time to research it.

    I saved the original 1TB HDD; I suppose I could have it swapped back into the mini, and then get the 1TB SSD set up in an enclosure as a nice SSD external drive.
     
  11. BigMcGuire Contributor

    BigMcGuire

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2012
    Location:
    California
    #11
    I am typing this on a Mac Mini 2011 that was going to be tossed out by my boss. Bought it off of him for $200, put in new ram and an SSD. Been using it as a primary machine for awhile now. Unlike my wife's 2014 Mini, taking this apart and upgrading the internals is actually doable. Someone has to want it!
     
  12. Boyd01 macrumors 601

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #12
    I've read that High Sierra has a built-in Time Machine server (I'm still running Sierra). So all you should need to do is turn that on. On older versions of MacOS you can use MacOS Server which is a $20 app: https://www.apple.com/macos/server/

    But my comment was just that the speed of a SSD will be wasted if you just use it as an iTunes server. Kind of like buying an expensive race car and always driving it in a 25 mph zone. :)
     
  13. Suzatlarge, Apr 29, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2018

    Suzatlarge macrumors member

    Suzatlarge

    Joined:
    May 4, 2008
    Location:
    Colorado
    #13
    I thought that was what you meant. I could have the original 1TB HDD reinstalled . . . It was definitely NOT a speedster. :(

    Thanks for the info about TM. I appreciate your taking the time to share it.

    EDITED to add: I just now set up the mini as the Time Machine for the new MBP, over wifi. It's working and I don't really care if it's slower than a connected drive. It's an interim solution. Eventually my final MBP setup will include an OWC Thunderbolt 2 hub/dock to which I'll connect my 5TB firewire external drive for Time Machine backups. Including the rMPB and my 1.3TB of photo files which are on a separate external drive.
     
  14. Boyd01 macrumors 601

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #14
    I think wifi is a great way to use time machine with a laptop. I have a Time Capsule that constantly backs up my MacBook Air. Does your wifi router support 802.11ac? If not then you should consider upgrading, I get over 60MB/sec with 802.11ac wifi. If you are using firewire 800, that is 100MB/sec with a direct connection - faster, but not dramatically.

    Using file sharing on gigabit ethernet between my two mini's this is what I get, which is probably faster than you can get from a firewire disk.

    [​IMG]

    However, I don't rely solely on Time Machine. I also make bootable clones of my Macs using Carbon Copy, and I have BackBlaze for continuous backups to the cloud.
     
  15. Suzatlarge macrumors member

    Suzatlarge

    Joined:
    May 4, 2008
    Location:
    Colorado
    #15
    My router is the latest (and, sigh, last) model of Airport Extreme. My internet connections here are snappy-fast. But the TM over wifi from the MBP to the mini was slloooowwww. So slow that I stopped it. It would have taken like 6 hours to back up <250G of files. :eek:

    I don't have any more time to mess with it today. At the moment I've just set up the MBP and haven't done much with it, and as to the stuff on the mini, I'm okay. Before I disconnected the Time Machine drive, I also made redundant current copies of my Documents and Pictures folders on external drives, and not to mention there's a current Backblaze backup. I'm not worried about losing anything in the transition.
     
  16. Boyd01 macrumors 601

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #16
    That would be 12MB/sec which is very slow. That almost sounds like you are not connected with 802.11ac wifi. I'm using a Time Capsule which should be the same as your Airport Extreme. Here's what I get with file sharing enabled on my 2014 mini when I access it over wifi from the MacBook Air. The mini is connected to the Time Capsule with gigabit ethernet - if your mini is also on wifi, that will slow things down a lot. You can see what your own results are using the free Blackmagic Disk Test app.

    [​IMG]

    Nevertheless, Time Machine is always very slow to backup a full drive. Incremental backups as you change things are much faster. But I like Carbon Copy Cloner, it's fast and also creates bootable disks.
     
  17. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    #17
    The 2011 and 2012 models are actually quite desirable because they aren't crippled in the way of upgradability. It sounds like you don't have much of a need for it, therefore I'd sell it.
     
  18. gsmornot thread starter macrumors 68030

    gsmornot

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2014
    #18
    I could sell it. I have it in the kitchen for now as a family computer and have it setup to watch Netflix or YouTube while we sit in there to eat/hangout.

    If you use it as a TimeMachine server, where do you backup the Mini? Currently I have a large drive connected to one of my Airport Extremes that both the Mini and the iMac backup to. My iTunes library is in the cloud, I don't store it locally. I have been looking at the server idea, Plex maybe or something similar, more home automation. I use HomeKit devices currently but with more software I can automate many different devices as if they were all HomeKit compatible. I don't know, still working it all out. I'm not the type to hoard its just the Mini has been fantastic to own over the years and not ready to let it go. I still feel its worth it to have it around, just need a good use for it. No rush, just looking for now.
     
  19. Boyd01 macrumors 601

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #19
    For me, I would choose one or the other. I wouldn't want my "family computer" to be a time machine server. And if it's a server, you can leave it pretty much "plain vanilla" right out of the box with only the standard software. That's what I do with mine, aside from some cache files, etc, mine just has the original pre-iinstalled software and a few basic apps - less than 20gb on the internal 500gb hard drive. I have mine set to backup from my time capsule, but it wouldn't be a problem to just do a clean install if needed.

    All the media and files are on an external drive, and that is backed up nightly to another external drive using Carbon Copy Cloner. My original media drive died after about 3 years 24/7 use. I just switched it with the clone and was back up and running like nothing ever happened in less than 5 minutes. I have an additional backup drive that I rotate periodically. I also have two other systems on Backblaze and will probably add the server to that eventually.

    Again, this raises the issue of what a waste of resources it would be to use a machine with an internal 1TB SSD as a server.
     
  20. uller6 macrumors regular

    uller6

    Joined:
    May 14, 2010
    #20
    I backup to a pair of external 4TB hard drives that I rotate back and forth from work every few weeks (when I remember). One copy stays at home to clone the mini, one hides in a drawer at work for safekeeping in case my house gets hit by a meteor.
     
  21. Suzatlarge, May 2, 2018
    Last edited: May 2, 2018

    Suzatlarge macrumors member

    Suzatlarge

    Joined:
    May 4, 2008
    Location:
    Colorado
    #21
    I'm the one who has a 1TB SSD in the mini; I'm not sure the OP's mini (the one in the kitchen) is similarly equipped.

    Mine for the moment is on the shelf, while I spend a week or so putting my newly acquired MBP through its paces. Once I'm sure that's OK, I think I'll sell the mini. It's just me and the dog here in a modest-sized condo. I don't really need a server or a fancy onsite backup system beyond my nice 5TB external drive. Might as well sell the mini.

    Thanks to everyone for their input. It's been helpful.
     
  22. Boyd01 macrumors 601

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #22
    Ah, sorry, you are correct. o_O
     
  23. gsmornot thread starter macrumors 68030

    gsmornot

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2014
    #23
    Just for the record, I have a 240G SSD and the original 500G HD. I originally setup Fusion but later had an issue and split the drives. This was my main device until recently so the drives made sense.
     
  24. bdphifer macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2014
    #24
    Is there a problem using a 2011 as a headless server now that there aren't going to be updates? Want to set one up, and am trying to decide to go with the 2011 or 2012.

    Thanks!
     
  25. Originalbitman macrumors member

    Originalbitman

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2012
    #25
    My mid 2010 Mini is now connected to my big screen TV. I have an Apple TV too but prefer using Photos in High Sierra than Photos on the Apple TV. Also surf the web and stream. Use and old iPad with the Remote Control Pro app to control it. Works great.
     

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