1.66 Mac mini core duo as iTunes server and NAS - ehMac.ca
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Old Jan 14th, 2013, 04:38 PM   #1
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1.66 Mac mini core duo as iTunes server and NAS

Just wondering how effective an older mini (1.66 core duo) would be as the server of my iTunes library and as a NAS.* It would be headless just streaming to ATV
*
Right now I have the mini, 27" iMac, my daughter has a toughbook laptop, two 2tb fw800 drives, one 3tb usb3 drive, two atv3, two airport extreme and one express.* One iphone5 and a couple i older iPods.
*
My iTunes library is housed on one fw800 drive connected to the iMac.* The 3tb drive is the time machine for the iMac and the iTunes library.* The last fw800 drive is connected to the mini which houses some of the iMacs iTunes library.* Mostly Aflac audio files and surround sound movies for playback through my home theatre.* The mini is headless, just a feeds Aflac audio to a dac, that's through its own itunes library, it also has the surround sound movies.* A little under utilized.
*
So I'm considering moving the two fw800 drives to the mini (would be fw400) and also the USB 3tb drive.* Store the iTunes library on the Fw drives and network share the USB drive to be time machine backup.
*
*
The mini would be the iTunes server for the house and also the Nas for backup of the mini and iMac
*
This way I won't need to run the iMac all the time or am I just trying to find a solution to a problem I don't really have?
*
Thanks
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Old Jan 14th, 2013, 09:19 PM   #2
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What you want to do will work, but i am not a fan of FW400 or usb2.0 since they have a therorical limit of 400 and 480mbit which is just about 30mb/s of transfer rate. not exactly fast for NAS purpose, but it will do the job if you are mostly transfering over wifi or 10/100 network.

i am a speed freak, so that won't work for me. I also have a core duo 1.83ghz which came out of my 06 mini that i will gladly give away if you'd like to upgrade your cpu. I don't think it is that much faster than our 1.66 though.
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Old Jan 15th, 2013, 10:28 AM   #3
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That could work but I've found maintaining an iTunes library on another machine more trouble then its worth so I just run ours of one computer and the rest access it via home share.
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Old Jan 16th, 2013, 08:52 AM   #4
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What you want to do will work, but i am not a fan of FW400 or usb2.0 since they have a therorical limit of 400 and 480mbit which is just about 30mb/s of transfer rate. not exactly fast for NAS purpose, but it will do the job if you are mostly transfering over wifi or 10/100 network.
Nonsense. Firewire-connected drives are fine for a server. Firewire 400 has a maximum transfer speed of 50 MBytes/s. Not 30. That's enough to handle the output of general-purpose hard drives. (In fact, even 30 MBytes/s would be adequate in many cases.)
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Old Jan 16th, 2013, 08:58 AM   #5
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I used to run the exact same config without issue. Recently, I've upgraded my mini to the mid-2012 model and upgraded the FW400 external for media to a FW800 external. I never noticed any issue if I stream content from the internal or either of the FW400 or FW800 drives. I'm sure it would be a different story if there were more than 2 AppleTVs in my network streaming at the same time, but I don't see that being an issue for me anytime soon.

Also, I don't find it a huge hassle to manage two iTunes libraries (local on my laptop and central on the mini). I take a few minutes each month to use "Home Sharing" to import any new media I add to my laptop to my mini.
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Old Jan 16th, 2013, 08:59 AM   #6
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Nonsense. Firewire-connected drives are fine for a server. Firewire 400 has a maximum transfer speed of 50 MBytes/s. Not 30. That's enough to handle the output of general-purpose hard drives. (In fact, even 30 MBytes/s would be adequate in many cases.)
That's a theoretical maximum. You won't see it over FW400.

I had this exact setup for several years, and found transfers over the network to be quite slow. Replaced the Mac mini with a NAS, smooth sailing.
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Old Jan 16th, 2013, 09:28 AM   #7
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That's a theoretical maximum. You won't see it over FW400.
Exactly, especially considering FW 400 is half-duplex.
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Old Jan 16th, 2013, 08:26 PM   #8
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Well went out and bought the new Mini, base model. Not sure if I'm going to keep it yet but the idea is to use two FW800 drives for media and a USB3 for time machine backup.

The new mini has FW800 and USB3 which my iMac only has the FW800 and USB2. USB is still only time machine though. Plus everything is wireless so best I can get is 400 mbs

I can stream the itunes from the mini to my iMac, laptop, ATVs or iPad.

I may remove the ATV that's hooked up to my home theatre and use the Mini there and use the remote app to control it.

I wanted a mini hooked up to my stereo because of the optical out 24/96

I had considered a NAS but $300 for the NAS plus another $400 for four 1Tb drives cost more than a new mini which allows me to use my existing external drives.

Anyway, I'm still not convinced that I'm trying to solve a problem that I don't really have.

As it is now I just have duplicate iTunes libraries on two machines and one of them has to be running to watch a movie or whatever from itunes. No big network thing.

As for the 1.66 mini, I may just sell or give it to my daughter and sell the Toughbook.
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Old Jan 17th, 2013, 08:34 AM   #9
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That's a theoretical maximum. You won't see it over FW400.

I had this exact setup for several years, and found transfers over the network to be quite slow. Replaced the Mac mini with a NAS, smooth sailing.
I think you're confusing the bandwidth of Firewire, the file sharing capabilities of OS X and the function of a dedicated NAS device.

It doesn't surprise me that the file sharing capabilities of OS X were bettered by a dedicated NAS. The difference, however, has nothing to do with the bandwidth of Firewire. It has to do with OS X being mediocre at file sharing and the likely fact that the NAS uses SATA drives, not IDE.

Last edited by Todd; Jan 17th, 2013 at 08:51 AM.
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Old Jan 17th, 2013, 08:45 AM   #10
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Exactly, especially considering FW 400 is half-duplex.
This comment doesn't make any sense. Yes; Firewire is half-duplex, meaning it transmits in one direction or another. That simply means 400 Mbits/s up or 400 Mbits/s down, but not both at the same time. You can never both read and write data from a hard drive or RAM at the same moment.

400 Mbits is about 50 MBytes. A typical IDE hard drive (which most Firewire external boxes have inside) can sustain about 40 Mbytes / second while reading one, single, large file. The 50MBytes / second bandwidth of Firewire is enough to handle that.

Firewire is not the bottleneck in network file sharing.
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