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Nezmo
The name's Bond. James Bond.
Premium,MVM
join:2004-11-10
Coppell, TX
kudos:1

[Beginner] Making the Leap to a Mini

I'm a Windows user. I'm going to get a Mini as an iTunes server and to let me play a little in the Mac world. Most of my serious computing will remain on Windows.

I have 6TB of NAS storage for my media so SSD and drive size on the Mini is not a concern (media will remain on the NAS and be accessed via a Gigabit network). Will the basic Mini serve me well with 4GB RAM?
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not quite right
I'm not cool enough to be a Mac person

join:2001-06-23
Puyallup, WA
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Reviews:
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said by Nezmo:

I'm a Windows user. I'm going to get a Mini as an iTunes server and to let me play a little in the Mac world. Most of my serious computing will remain on Windows.

I have 6TB of NAS storage for my media so SSD and drive size on the Mini is not a concern (media will remain on the NAS and be accessed via a Gigabit network). Will the basic Mini serve me well with 4GB RAM?

Of course ...
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Mike
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join:2000-09-17
Pittsburgh, PA
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Reviews:
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reply to Nezmo
Yep.

If you want to force yourself to learn it, make the mini the primary computer and use CoRD ( cord.sf.net ) as RDP into Windows stuff or VNC into other unix things. I've found this effective for some people.

--
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What this country needs is a good five dollar plasma weapon.


Nezmo
The name's Bond. James Bond.
Premium,MVM
join:2004-11-10
Coppell, TX
kudos:1
Thanks. I've looked at Synergy but that needs two monitors so I'm now looking at VNC. I want to keep my desk tidy... one monitor, KB and mouse. The Mini will be hidden away out of view.

I asked about the RAM as the stock answer is usually get more but my needs are quite limited.
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HiVolt
Premium
join:2000-12-28
Toronto, ON
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Ram is DIRT cheap though... I suggest you pick some up if you intend to keep it for a while... As long as the next standard of ram comes up, DDR3 will get expensive just as DDR2 is now..

Oh and don't buy RAM from Apple, of course.


Nezmo
The name's Bond. James Bond.
Premium,MVM
join:2004-11-10
Coppell, TX
kudos:1
said by HiVolt:

...

Oh and don't buy RAM from Apple, of course.

Right. If I boost RAM I'll get aftermarket.
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RiseAbove
Premium
join:2004-01-30
reply to Nezmo
said by Nezmo:

Thanks. I've looked at Synergy but that needs two monitors so I'm now looking at VNC. I want to keep my desk tidy... one monitor, KB and mouse. The Mini will be hidden away out of view.

I asked about the RAM as the stock answer is usually get more but my needs are quite limited.

I would actually recommend iTap RDP instead of VNC if you are going to remote into a Windows box.


Nezmo
The name's Bond. James Bond.
Premium,MVM
join:2004-11-10
Coppell, TX
kudos:1
said by RiseAbove:

said by Nezmo:

Thanks. I've looked at Synergy but that needs two monitors so I'm now looking at VNC. I want to keep my desk tidy... one monitor, KB and mouse. The Mini will be hidden away out of view.

I asked about the RAM as the stock answer is usually get more but my needs are quite limited.

I would actually recommend iTap RDP instead of VNC if you are going to remote into a Windows box.

It'll be the other way around if it matters. My main desktop will remain Windows. From there I'll remote in to the Mini. The Mini will only be accessed as I need to do any iTunes maintenance, and any general playing around on the Mac.
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Mike
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reply to RiseAbove
$25 for iTap vs free with CoRD.

I believe he wanted to use it as a media server though.

VNC is built in and I'm sure there are a thousand options to connect to the box.


RiseAbove
Premium
join:2004-01-30
reply to Nezmo
said by Nezmo:

said by RiseAbove:

said by Nezmo:

Thanks. I've looked at Synergy but that needs two monitors so I'm now looking at VNC. I want to keep my desk tidy... one monitor, KB and mouse. The Mini will be hidden away out of view.

I asked about the RAM as the stock answer is usually get more but my needs are quite limited.

I would actually recommend iTap RDP instead of VNC if you are going to remote into a Windows box.

It'll be the other way around if it matters. My main desktop will remain Windows. From there I'll remote in to the Mini. The Mini will only be accessed as I need to do any iTunes maintenance, and any general playing around on the Mac.

Ok cool I thought you were using the mini and then logging into the Windows box.

Also with all that music I would recommend setting up a Subsonic server.
»www.subsonic.org/

I was in the same boat as you and I got sick of having to sync my devices to pull music so I said screw it and set one of those up. It creates basically your own cloud environment so you can listen to music from anywhere and pretty much any device, not to mention it now does video as well. You can also setup logins for family or friends as well and they can check out your selection. I always recommend this setup for people with big collections because I find it easy to manage and listen to tracks. My HTPC is a bunch of drives and itunes will pull from the Music drive along with subsonic doing the same thing on the other side of the coin. It works great and worth the few bucks.

itguy05

join:2005-06-17
Carlisle, PA
reply to Nezmo
said by Nezmo:

I'm a Windows user. I'm going to get a Mini as an iTunes server and to let me play a little in the Mac world. Most of my serious computing will remain on Windows.

I have 6TB of NAS storage for my media so SSD and drive size on the Mini is not a concern (media will remain on the NAS and be accessed via a Gigabit network). Will the basic Mini serve me well with 4GB RAM?

That's usually how it starts. Next thing all your "serious computing" will be on OS X.


HiVolt
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said by itguy05:

That's usually how it starts. Next thing all your "serious computing" will be on OS X.

Certainly not on a Mac mini...


Mike
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join:2000-09-17
Pittsburgh, PA
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Minis are fine.


not quite right
I'm not cool enough to be a Mac person

join:2001-06-23
Puyallup, WA
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Reviews:
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·Comcast
reply to HiVolt
said by HiVolt:

said by itguy05:

That's usually how it starts. Next thing all your "serious computing" will be on OS X.

Certainly not on a Mac mini...

I have a i7 quad core, with 16GB ram, and a 256GB SSD. Certainly you must be thinking of a different Mini.
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HiVolt
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said by not quite right:

I have a i7 quad core, with 16GB ram, and a 256GB SSD. Certainly you must be thinking of a different Mini.

Yeah, but its still a laptop in a square box, with an integrated GPU...


bbarrera
Premium,MVM
join:2000-10-23
Sacramento, CA
kudos:1
Here at work the new mini has better specs than what most software developers have on their desk, and compiling and other serious computing we do really doesn't take advantage of the GPU YMMV


M A R S
Premium
join:2001-06-15
Long Island
kudos:1
reply to HiVolt
said by HiVolt:

said by not quite right:

I have a i7 quad core, with 16GB ram, and a 256GB SSD. Certainly you must be thinking of a different Mini.

Yeah, but its still a laptop in a square box, with an integrated GPU...

Same old song bro.. Same shit over and over form you. Why give a toss about a computer you seem keen to shit on?


not

@comcast.net
reply to bbarrera
I made the jump to Mac with a new MacBook Pro and maxed out its RAM to 16GB. I'm running Parallels in full screen mode and just swipe the trackpad for each desktop space as needed. I can keep all my work programs running and keep tabs on them on the Windows side while I do everything else on the Mac side. There's only a couple of work programs that won't run on Mac that I use and that's what the Windows 7 side is for. Best of all, the Parallels VM is actually my Bootcamp partition on the laptop, so if for some reason anything comes up that absolutely requires I natively run Windows, I simply just restart the MacBook and boot directly into my Windows 7 partition... super fluid transition so far. Only thing that blows for me is damn iTunes and Outlook syncing all my stuff the same way with my iPhone like it did on the Windows side. Ironically it doesn't work as well and Apple is blaming MS of course on this. Ya, OK... not! The Mac iTunes version simply just doesn't have the conduits built in to support Outlook for Mac, nothing more. If they could fix that, I'd be super happy.


Nezmo
The name's Bond. James Bond.
Premium,MVM
join:2004-11-10
Coppell, TX
kudos:1
reply to Nezmo
I appreciate the feedback thus far. Can we please keep the bitching out of my thread. Thanks.
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HiVolt
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reply to M A R S
said by M A R S:

Same old song bro.. Same shit over and over form you. Why give a toss about a computer you seem keen to shit on?

Whats the problem? I have a Mini, and I've had three of them over the years going back to the G4... They're great for what they are, but the platform does have limitation... If you can't see that, then that's your issue...
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Nezmo
The name's Bond. James Bond.
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join:2004-11-10
Coppell, TX
kudos:1
reply to Nezmo
Next question... From time to time I still need to rip CDs and DVDs/BDs. No optical drive in the Mini obviously and I don't want to get one. So, it looks like I'll need to rip on Windows then transfer files to my NAS and import in to iTunes on the Mini. Any tricks to making this simpler?
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dennismurphy
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join:2002-11-19
Parsippany, NJ
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Reviews:
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said by Nezmo:

Next question... From time to time I still need to rip CDs and DVDs/BDs. No optical drive in the Mini obviously and I don't want to get one. So, it looks like I'll need to rip on Windows then transfer files to my NAS and import in to iTunes on the Mini. Any tricks to making this simpler?

Sure ...

a) »store.apple.com/us/product/MD564···perdrive

+

b) »thelittleappfactory.com/ripit/

That's the easy way to do it. One click rip, transcode & transfer.

edit: In theory, you could replace A) with DVD Sharing. See here, although for $79, I'd get an optical drive.


Nezmo
The name's Bond. James Bond.
Premium,MVM
join:2004-11-10
Coppell, TX
kudos:1
said by dennismurphy:

said by Nezmo:

Next question... From time to time I still need to rip CDs and DVDs/BDs. No optical drive in the Mini obviously and I don't want to get one. So, it looks like I'll need to rip on Windows then transfer files to my NAS and import in to iTunes on the Mini. Any tricks to making this simpler?

Sure ...

a) »store.apple.com/us/product/MD564···perdrive

+

b) »thelittleappfactory.com/ripit/

That's the easy way to do it. One click rip, transcode & transfer.

edit: In theory, you could replace A) with DVD Sharing. See here, although for $79, I'd get an optical drive.

Well like I said, I was hoping to avoid buying a drive but given the price I may just swing for it and keep things simple.
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dennismurphy
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said by Nezmo:

Well like I said, I was hoping to avoid buying a drive but given the price I may just swing for it and keep things simple.

For me, having a one-click workflow is pretty sweet. Saves me countless amounts of time, confusion and frustration over the years. (Did I copy that over yet? Why is the file corrupted? Shit, transcoded to the wrong format again! So on and so forth ...)

You could start by using the RipIt trial app with DVD Sharing, but I'm going to guess it'll be dog-slow.


Nezmo
The name's Bond. James Bond.
Premium,MVM
join:2004-11-10
Coppell, TX
kudos:1
said by dennismurphy:

said by Nezmo:

Well like I said, I was hoping to avoid buying a drive but given the price I may just swing for it and keep things simple.

For me, having a one-click workflow is pretty sweet. Saves me countless amounts of time, confusion and frustration over the years. (Did I copy that over yet? Why is the file corrupted? Shit, transcoded to the wrong format again! So on and so forth ...)

You could start by using the RipIt trial app with DVD Sharing, but I'm going to guess it'll be dog-slow.

Agreed. On Windows I rip CDs straight in to iTunes. For DVDs and BDs I rip using DVDFab and then use Handbrake to re-encode.
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dennismurphy
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Reviews:
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said by Nezmo:

For DVDs and BDs I rip using DVDFab and then use Handbrake to re-encode.

Even that's more work than RipIt... one stop shopping.

OK, I'll stop now - I sound like a shill. Just a happy user with one of my favorite pieces of software ...


Octavean
Premium,MVM
join:2001-03-31
New York, NY
kudos:1
reply to Nezmo
I’m a little confused by your intended configuration in conjunction with your 6TB NAS.

It never occurred to me to use a Mini as an iTunes server. I have a Windows Home Server with about 16TB of storage capacity and all my media is on that. All iTunes installs as well as other programs that can access the music see the same music lineup.

I see my server as being analogous to your NAS but I don’t quite understand the function of a dedicated Mac Mini being added.

Just looking to understand a little better,..


Nezmo
The name's Bond. James Bond.
Premium,MVM
join:2004-11-10
Coppell, TX
kudos:1

4 edits
said by Octavean:

I’m a little confused by your intended configuration in conjunction with your 6TB NAS.

It never occurred to me to use a Mini as an iTunes server. I have a Windows Home Server with about 16TB of storage capacity and all my media is on that. All iTunes installs as well as other programs that can access the music see the same music lineup.

I see my server as being analogous to your NAS but I don’t quite understand the function of a dedicated Mac Mini being added.

Just looking to understand a little better,..

Fair question.

I have iTunes running on my main desktop in my Study. All media is stored on my NAS and backed-up to another NAS nightly. Using iTunes I stream to an Apple TV and several AEXs and Airplay devices around my property. I mostly initiate music from the iPad and iPhone Remote apps and movies from the Apple TV. I also sometimes use laptops to browse and play the stuff using Home Sharing. Obviously I need to have my desktop on and iTunes running to serve all this.

I turn my desktop off at night. My machine has also become bloated and iTunes runs like crap on Windows. Yes, the latter might change when v11 finally drops but for as long as I can remember iTunes has been slow and a memory hog on Windows (latest problem is some background syncing service pegs my CPU at 25-40% permanently). That and the need to have the power-hungry desktop always on is a drag. I therefore want to move to using a Mini as the iTunes server. Yes, it too will always need to be on but it's low power consumption and quiet operation is appealing and I am hoping iTunes will run better on it. The Mini will simply access the NAS for the media just like my Windows box does now. I guess that poses another question in that will the Mini be able to read my NAS seamlessly? I use WDs MyBookLives and they say Mac compatible.
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itguy05

join:2005-06-17
Carlisle, PA
reply to HiVolt
said by HiVolt:

said by itguy05:

That's usually how it starts. Next thing all your "serious computing" will be on OS X.

Certainly not on a Mac mini...

Then I guess the real computing I do every day on my 2008 Unibody Macbook Pro (when they first came out I got it) must not be getting done. Real work like photo editing, video editing, general Internet work, Virtual Machine work, etc.

Thanks for clearing that up for me as I guess even today's Mini must be a step backwards from a 4 year old computer.

itguy05

join:2005-06-17
Carlisle, PA
reply to Nezmo
said by Nezmo:

Next question... From time to time I still need to rip CDs and DVDs/BDs. No optical drive in the Mini obviously and I don't want to get one. So, it looks like I'll need to rip on Windows then transfer files to my NAS and import in to iTunes on the Mini. Any tricks to making this simpler?

When I dropped my Macbook Pro and killed the optical drive, I picked up a $59 USB HP DVD burner from Best Buy and that works fine. Burns from iTunes, the Finder, and Toast fine. It will also read in CD's to iTunes.

If you have a USB optical drive laying around try it in the Mini, I bet it works. Pretty much any recent USB drive will work as long as it doesn't need funky drivers. I don't think I've run across something that needs funky drivers in 5 years. Few of my external drives specifically list Mac compatibility but they work 100%. Most time you just reformat them from FAT32/NTFS to Journaled HFS+ and they work fine.