Go Premium for a chance to win a PS4. Enter to Win

x
?
Solved

Mac Mini - Worth Paying for OS X Server?

Posted on 2013-11-25
11
Medium Priority
?
1,186 Views
Last Modified: 2014-01-06
I am looking for a computer I can put in my family room for my three kids to use (second, fourth, fifth grades).

Primary uses will be homework and pre-teen computer activity.

I have been looking at Mac Minis, as we have moved our laptops over to the Mac platform and we have monitors and keyboards left over from now-retired PCs.

I am interested in opinions on which of the three mini options would make sense for my family:
http://store.apple.com/us/buy-mac/mac-mini

I can locate the computer near our TV, so it could double as an entertainment system as well.

My specific question is whether OS X server is something that is worth buying (the third option has OS X server, while the other two do not) - I have not used it personally and am not clear on the benefits for a home configuration.

My wife does also work from home, so if there are home office benefits to OS X Server we could leverage those for her business. She runs a photography business and tends to have large data management issues due to all of the picture files she deals with.

Any input would be much appreciated.
0
Comment
Question by:Brian Clausen
11 Comments
 
LVL 6

Assisted Solution

by:Nathan P
Nathan P earned 400 total points
ID: 39675463
You can buy a regular Mac Mini, and upgrade to OS X Server for $19.99

You may want to read up on the software differences, on apple's website, starting with:
http://www.apple.com/osx/server/servers-made-easy/

The biggest difference in the hardware versions is how much storage you'll get.  So it becomes a question about you.  

The smallest is 500GB, then 1x1tb drive, the largest is 2 x 1tb drives.
Questions you should answer for yourself are:
  Would you put the 2 x 1tb drives in a raid array so if one fails you still have your data, or would you plug in an external drive and do backups?  (shouldn't you do backups anyways)?

Do you want to plug in external storage to expand the storage?  or do you want as much storage inside as possible?
0
 
LVL 41

Accepted Solution

by:
Eoin OSullivan earned 1400 total points
ID: 39675486
1. I don't see any reason to buy the OSX server model of MacMini for your purposes .. it has 2 x 1Tb drives and $20 OSX Server upgrade for $200 extra - which is bad value.

2. I recommend the base MacMini model for $599 as $200 extra for 500Gb extra HD space in the middle model is overpriced.  Unfortunately Apple have always overcharged for RAM and HD and unless you're buying a MacBook Air or iPad you have options to upgrade yourself for less if you want.

3. As the MacMini has no fan it makes a great home entertainment server as it is very quiet although it has no DVD drive anymore so cannot play them.  I'd recommend you buy a 2TB USB3 external drive and plug it into the Mac Mini to extend the storage for movies, tv, music and photos.  The MacMini could also have shared folders which other computer users could access and store images/photos.

4. Personally I prefer to plug an AppleTV device into the TV and use AirPlay to stream music, media etc. to the TV rather than actually plugging the MacMini into the TV.  The AppleTV interface is easier to control on a TV with a remote rather than having a full OSX desktop on your TV which will require keyboard and mouse to control.
0
 
LVL 6

Author Comment

by:Brian Clausen
ID: 39675496
Thanks for the feedback.

We have numerous external storage devices on our home network, so we would use an external source for data backup vs needing to go down the raid array path (we have a 4TB and a 2TB external drive already on the local network).

It sounds like I can go for the low-level or mid-level version of the mini and then upgrade to OS X Server if I need to down the road, as the processor and the memory are the same between the $799 and $999 versions.

What is general opinion on spending the extra $200 to go from the $599 processor to the $799 quad-core Intel i7?
0
Free Tool: Port Scanner

Check which ports are open to the outside world. Helps make sure that your firewall rules are working as intended.

One of a set of tools we are providing to everyone as a way of saying thank you for being a part of the community.

 
LVL 41

Expert Comment

by:Eoin OSullivan
ID: 39675500
You'll not really see the benefits of the i5 vs i7 processor for normal home/Internet usage.  RAM is more important and you can upgrade that yourself afterwards
0
 
LVL 41

Assisted Solution

by:Eoin OSullivan
Eoin OSullivan earned 1400 total points
ID: 39675519
No - upgrade the RAM .. you CANNOT upgrade the processor yourself
$78 to go to 8GB
€143 to go to 16GB
http://www.crucial.com/store/listparts.aspx?model=Mac%20Mini%202.5GHz%20Dual-Core%20Intel%20Core%20i5%20-%20Late%202012&Cat=RAM

Compare that to the upgrade prices on the Apple Store and you'll see what I mean about apple overcharging ($100 and $200 for 8gb and 16gb upgrades)
0
 
LVL 53

Assisted Solution

by:strung
strung earned 200 total points
ID: 39675533
The major advantage to Mac Server is that it allows more than 10 simultaneous connections. Unless you need that, or want to run your own e-mail server, there is no need for Mac server.
0
 
LVL 6

Author Closing Comment

by:Brian Clausen
ID: 39676135
Thanks for all of the feedback. The ability to do the RAM upgrade (and not the processor) makes sense.

I will keep the RAM upgrade option and the OS X Server upgrade option in my back pocket and save the $400 difference between the $599 and $999 versions.

This helped a bunch - thanks guys.
0
 
LVL 6

Author Comment

by:Brian Clausen
ID: 39761018
The base Mac mini has worked out great - I got it at Best Buy for $529 on a Black Friday sale.

So far it has been very popular with the family - although it is getting mostly worked out on Minecraft, YouTube and web browsing. I hope to see it getting some homework action now that school is back in.

Thanks for the input on this one.
0
 
LVL 41

Expert Comment

by:Eoin OSullivan
ID: 39761346
Glad it worked out for you
0

Featured Post

Vote for the Most Valuable Expert

It’s time to recognize experts that go above and beyond with helpful solutions and engagement on site. Choose from the top experts in the Hall of Fame or on the right rail of your favorite topic page. Look for the blue “Nominate” button on their profile to vote.

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

iCloud Drive was introduced after iOS 8 was launched last year. This drive is Apple’s online storage device that lets users sync their files and access them from all their Apple devices.   There is a lot of data that is not automatically backed up…
In this article we will discuss some EI Capitan Mail app issues and provide some manual process to resolve them.
Exchange organizations may use the Journaling Agent of the Transport Service to archive messages going through Exchange. However, if the Transport Service is integrated with some email content management application (such as an anti-spam), the admin…
Want to learn how to record your desktop screen without having to use an outside camera. Click on this video and learn how to use the cool google extension called "Screencastify"! Step 1: Open a new google tab Step 2: Go to the left hand upper corn…

926 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question