Mac mini server 2011 rocks for post
Old 29th October 2012
  #1
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Mac mini server 2011 rocks for post

I just got my Mac mini server setup with PT's 9.
What a great deal.
Quadcore i7, so pro-tools sees it at as an 8 core machine.
2 internal 500 gig 7200 rpm drives, so you can have a dedicated audio drive.

It took me a few days to create a dual boot with Snow Leopard, as you can't officially downgrade to it. But it's all working great now.

Great computer in such a small package.
Old 29th October 2012
  #2
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Speaking of "Small Packages", how are you doing Mark?
Old 29th October 2012
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dr.sound View Post
Speaking of "Small Packages", how are you doing Mark?
Doing really well.
Just started mixing "Sons of Anarchy", so quite busy.
You? I should stop by again soon.
Old 29th October 2012
  #4
Gear interested
 

Hi Mark,
Could you explain more about your config?
Are you using the mac mini server as a slave pro tools with a bigger mac?
I am thinking of upgrading my Mac Pro's Pro tools with a secondary computer synchronized. I guess it would add some power because of the processors and ram of the secondary comp... I don't really have an idea on how doable it is.
Old 29th October 2012
  #5
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V
Quote:
Originally Posted by Raines View Post
Hi Mark,
Could you explain more about your config?
Are you using the mac mini server as a slave pro tools with a bigger mac?
I am thinking of upgrading my Mac Pro's Pro tools with a secondary computer synchronized. I guess it would add some power because of the processors and ram of the secondary comp... I don't really have an idea on how doable it is.
No, just using it as a single computer.
What is the geek bench of your Mac Pro?
Old 29th October 2012
  #6
Gear interested
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman View Post
V

No, just using it as a single computer.
What is the geek bench of your Mac Pro?
I have to check it out at the studio.
It's a 2010 Mac Pro version with snow leopard.
Don't remember the details on the processor, it's a 2.something GHz 8core running with 6Go of ram 667MHz ddr2-FB-dimm. For video I have a blackmagic decklink, reading some 55Go videos ( 1hour and a half movies in apple pro res).
This ram is really expensive and my pro tools 10HD is asking for more I guess. it quite often stops with the message about buffer size and playback engine stuff so I was thinking about running Pro tools on 2 machines synced together...
Bad idea?
Old 29th October 2012
  #7
Matt R. Sherman
 
Smallbudgetguru's Avatar
 

Very cool to hear this. We purchased one for an edit system last winter (running server OS version) and it would not install pro tools. Did a lot of reading and ended up wasting a week trying to get PT installed. Gave the thing back and never looked back. Would like to know if you had any issues installing PT and if so how did you get through it? Or perhaps you arent running the server operating system? I found that to be the problem at the time.
Old 29th October 2012
  #8
I've also got one of these, same model 2011 Mac-Mini Server, in one of my rooms and I'm amazed at how powerful the little thing is. I put in 16 gigs of RAM from OWC (for this model Apple advertised it as only be capable for 8 gigs, but you can install up to 16 gigs with 3rd party RAM), and I'm running PT 10 on Lion with zero problems. I did reinstall the OS without the server stuff, but I had no problems whatsoever installing Pro Tools on there.

The newest 2012 Mac Mini refresh announced last week is even faster in terms of a processor bump, plus now Apple officially supports 16 gigs of RAM directly from the Apple store (although Apple RAM is always much more expensive than 3rd party alternatives).

As Mark said, they are surprisingly effective computers in such a small form factor. Plus they are dead quiet too. The big downside of course is a lack of PCIe or ports for hardware extensions/expandability, so if you use a lot of external hardware or need expandability along those lines this isn't the computer for you (unless Thunderbolt options start becoming more mainstream). But yeah, I'm surprisingly pleased with my purchase too!!
Old 29th October 2012
  #9
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Ill be picking up my mini 2012 server sometime next year!

Sent from my GT-I8160
Old 29th October 2012
  #10
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Wow this sounds great. How did you go about getting the server ready to accept PT? Was it as simple as just getting the OS on there?
Old 29th October 2012
  #11
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The 2011 server can have Snow Leopard installed on it. Once you know how, it's easy. Anybody wanting to do that, let me know, as I have a modified boot image, and process that makes it pretty easy to do.

This is not possible on the new 2012 server though.
I actually prefer the 2011 over the 2012 version, as it has the dual 7200 rpm drives.

And if you want to use HD cards, there are several thunderbolt chassis availabel that are cheaper than the old expansion chassis.
And of course there is always the native thunderbolt interface from Avid now.

Oh, and it only cost $70 to upgrade to 16 gigs of RAM.
Old 29th October 2012
  #12
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Does protools not work on the new mini server?

Sent from my GT-I8160
Old 29th October 2012
  #13
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I've thought about one of these to replace my aging Mac Pro for editing at home. It's nice to hear that it's stable and performing well!!
Old 29th October 2012
  #14
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They are quite a bargain. I have the same model as Mark, using it for simple tv series and complicated short form work. It absolutely nailed a very full on spot which had many many many tracks of sound design, virtual instruments, music mix and sound design mix whilst playing back HD video consistently with client in the room

HAL 30 SEC LAUNCH Promo on Vimeo

I have it sitting in a sonnet rack with a few hard drives in the spare side. It does get noisy however when pushing a session hard. I plan to run all hard drives (system, working, SFX) externally in the future to see if that helps with the fan noise. But combined with a blackmagic thunderbolt card, and some euphonix faders, is a great set up
Old 30th October 2012
  #15
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also,

PT HD or CPTK now supports RAM caching, so most if not all audio is loaded into ram, making the sessions run faster as well. Really looking like a viable option now. Even portable of you want it, oh... and so easy to stick in drawer, closet or purpose built iso box for quieter studio
Old 30th October 2012
  #16
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So I just bought one of the 2011 Mac Mini Servers 9/30/12 and they just came out with the newer model. I'm actually using mine as a server only right now. Does anyone think the new 2012 model is worth arm wrestling Apple for an exchange? It's got the .3 CPU bump but 5400 rpm (1TB) drives. Help talk me off the ledge, since my server "just works" I'm not super motivated to swap it out so soon. I thought I was future proofed for longer than 4 weeks...Dang!
Old 30th October 2012
  #17
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The new models have the later model intel processors. So even if the speed bump is slight, the overall performance might be a bit more considerate.
Old 30th October 2012
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matt82aust View Post
The new models have the later model intel processors. So even if the speed bump is slight, the overall performance might be a bit more considerate.
The performance is nominal.
I'd rather have the dual 7200rpm drives.
Old 30th October 2012
  #19
Anyone know where I can get good 3rd party ram to upgrade to 16 on my mini?

Sent from my SPH-M820-BST
Old 30th October 2012
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveAudio View Post
Anyone know where I can get good 3rd party ram to upgrade to 16 on my mini?

Sent from my SPH-M820-BST
I usually go with OWC ram, but I've also bought from Amazon. The OWC guys are very Mac Centric.
Old 30th October 2012
  #21
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Got mine through amazon as well
Old 30th October 2012
  #22
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I have a 2007 iMac at the minute and I've been considering a fast mac mini instead of going for a a new top end iMac or entry level Mac Pro. I'm very interested to hear that a mac mini works well for heavy audio post applications. Is there any reason to get a mac pro over this setup?

With the 5400RPM drives as standard on the new 2012 model, do people think that the SSD or Fusion Drive options are essential? How about an external Thunderbolt HDD for audio with a 7200RPM+ speed?
Old 30th October 2012
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lzon View Post
I have a 2007 iMac at the minute and I've been considering a fast mac mini instead of going for a a new top end iMac or entry level Mac Pro. I'm very interested to hear that a mac mini works well for heavy audio post applications. Is there any reason to get a mac pro over this setup?

With the 5400RPM drives as standard on the new 2012 model, do people think that the SSD or Fusion Drive options are essential? How about an external Thunderbolt HDD for audio with a 7200RPM+ speed?
Again, save yourself the cash, and get a used or refurbished 2011 MM server.
As it already has the internal 7200rpm drives.
Old 30th October 2012
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman View Post
The 2011 server can have Snow Leopard installed on it. Once you know how, it's easy. Anybody wanting to do that, let me know, as I have a modified boot image, and process that makes it pretty easy to do.
.
PM,d You Henchman

Cheers
Macky
Old 30th October 2012
  #25
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You need a 10.7.6 SL installer from a MBP.
As well as a 10.6 disk.

I have a modified DMG now, if anyone has a place for me to upload it to. Along with a special installer that installs the proper Kexts needed for the 2011 MM server.

So the install is easy. Boot with the modified SL form a thumb drive or burn it to a DVD. Run the Apple combo 1.1 update. Run the special NFG installer, and you are done.
Old 30th October 2012
  #26
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How big is the upload Henchman?
Old 30th October 2012
  #27
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6-7 gigs
Old 31st October 2012
  #28
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send a pic of your set-up

Sent from my GT-N7000
Old 31st October 2012
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lzon View Post
I have a 2007 iMac at the minute and I've been considering a fast mac mini instead of going for a a new top end iMac or entry level Mac Pro. I'm very interested to hear that a mac mini works well for heavy audio post applications. Is there any reason to get a mac pro over this setup?

With the 5400RPM drives as standard on the new 2012 model, do people think that the SSD or Fusion Drive options are essential? How about an external Thunderbolt HDD for audio with a 7200RPM+ speed?
My plan was to look at the OWC mercury pro in jbod mode (4 separate drives over esata, connected via LaCie thunderbolt to esata adaptor)

OWC Rack Mount HDD Hard Drive Storage Solutions FireWire 800 FireWire 400 USB 2.0 eSATA

This way, the computer becomes nothing but an upgradable brain for the entire setup. 1 system drive, 1 audio drive, 1 sfx drive and a 3tb backup driveto take off site. Would also make it easy to run the system off SSD this way. 1 thunderbolt port powers the display, blackmagic. Esata drives and maybe an Apollo in the future !
Old 31st October 2012
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman View Post
The performance is nominal.
I'd rather have the dual 7200rpm drives.
+1. I've got one for arranging and the included two 7200rpm drives are really nice!
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