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post #1 of 15 Old 03-07-2012, 05:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Long time lurker, first time poster here.

So I have run into a slight dilemma here. My media library is growing quite large, and I have the need now to expand to external storage. I am currently waiting for the hopeful Mac Mini refresh coming out in June/July, and using that as my HTPC. The main reason I am waiting is because of Ivy Bridge and the potentially better integrated graphics, not to mention I am willing to wait.

I have been reading up online, and I have discovered a few things. Initially I just wanted get a regular USB 2.0 external, but I didn't want to use up the ports, but more importantly, I didn't think that it would be fast enough. So I thought Firewire. I could buy multiple drives in the future, and just daisy-chain them, and that speed would suffice. But I have been reading that Apple may not be including FW800 on future products. It also looks as though support for USB 3.0 is kind of sketchy at best for the future. Thunderbolt is a great idea for multiple interfaces, but for simple external storage it is a bit overkill IMO.

I know there are a lot of options, and I think I have burned though them all, just looking for the best, here are the best ones I have thought of...running on a 2008 MBP currently FYI...

Buying FW800 drives and chaining them for the time being, and then if the new Mini comes with a FW800 port all is good. If not it will use up the majority of the USB ports. Assuming they are USB 2.0 ports, it would be relatively slow for large files.

Buying a USB 3.0 drive, and use as USB 2.0 for the time being and hope the new Mini supports USB 3.0

I am open to buying a current gen Mini as it does support FW800, only drawback is that it would not be Ivy Bridge, but even that I know is not guaranteed for the new release.

Also one more quick inquiry, assuming 3 x 1TB HDD can be had for the same price as 1 x 3TB HDD, what would be preferred?

If I have made any misstatements please let me know. Any and all help is appreciated.
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post #2 of 15 Old 03-08-2012, 06:30 AM
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Ivy Bridge is more appealing for mobile solutions like a laptop, as I'm pretty sure it's just a die-shrink so the biggest gains will be in efficiency. Intel HD4000 is probably overkill for htpc purposes as well. I posted on here months ago regarding a base mini and the $599 model with HD3000 graphics is doing great in my home theater.

Storage-wise I've decided to go the NAS route in the near future with a Synology DS411.
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post #3 of 15 Old 03-08-2012, 09:04 AM
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USB 2.0 is fast for HD Movies. On Windows 7, I've been able to play a BR disc with no problems--Cars 2, How To Train Your Dragon, etc. There movies are usually doing around 25Mbps bit rate. I'm not doing HD audio.

Rather than buy multiples External HDD, just buy one big one. It leaves USB ports open for other items, such as an external drive. Plus, if you use something like Plex, then you can just leave the one drive connected and have access to all your media all the time.

Although, if you could swing it, I think the NAS is best.

Also, when the new minis do come out, there will be plenty of people looking to off load their old ones. Thus, if it doesn't have FW, you can pick up last year's model without too much fuss. Heck, Apple will have refurbs; those come with a one year warranty.
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post #4 of 15 Old 03-08-2012, 03:47 PM
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Remember that by the time Apple kills off the FW 800 ports Thunderbolt ports will be available and there will be a Thunderbolt to FW 800 adaptor made by someone. You won't have to give up a USB port then.
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post #5 of 15 Old 03-08-2012, 08:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilsonsoohoo View Post

Remember that by the time Apple kills off the FW 800 ports Thunderbolt ports will be available and there will be a Thunderbolt to FW 800 adaptor made by someone. You won't have to give up a USB port then.

Apple already sell a Thunderbolt to FW 800 adaptor -- it's called the Apple Cinema Display
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post #6 of 15 Old 03-08-2012, 10:17 PM
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I'm just waiting for a thunderbolt to usb3 (or esata) adapter.
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post #7 of 15 Old 03-11-2012, 09:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xAVHTx View Post

Ivy Bridge is more appealing for mobile solutions like a laptop, as I'm pretty sure it's just a die-shrink so the biggest gains will be in efficiency. Intel HD4000 is probably overkill for htpc purposes as well. I posted on here months ago regarding a base mini and the $599 model with HD3000 graphics is doing great in my home theater.

Storage-wise I've decided to go the NAS route in the near future with a Synology DS411.

There's more to Ivy Bridge for Mac users than you think. The Ivy Bridge setups should have USB3 built in from Intel, and Apple should offer it, then. They are playing these games right now about not adding to the Intel chipsets. "Intel didn't give it to us, so we can't give it to you." Yeah, right.

I use a FW800 external for my media, and save the slow USB2 for a backup drive. (too old for TB) I probably will upgrade to NAS next time, too. Then I won't need new computers to get great speed everywhere. I still have 2 2006 Minis in the house.
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post #8 of 15 Old 03-11-2012, 01:32 PM
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USB 3.0 isn't exactly a guarantee from Apple though. "Could" and "should" don't always lead to "will" or "does".
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post #9 of 15 Old 03-11-2012, 07:18 PM
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Is a NAS fast enough to stream HD & serve photos quickly?
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post #10 of 15 Old 03-12-2012, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by funkle View Post

Is a NAS fast enough to stream HD & serve photos quickly?

Yes. I have a drive plugged into my first generation Airport Extreme via USB 2.0 and I can play 720p video without any problems. My Airport Extreme is the one with 100Mbps ethernet ports so it's not even optimal. I'm leaving now to pick up a NAS enclosure with gigabit ethernet and I hope that, in addition to more storage, it'll be a bit faster when transferring video to it.

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post #11 of 15 Old 03-14-2012, 02:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your input, I really appriciated it. I ended up going the route of a NAS, as I got a good deal on a Synology DS212.

Not to Change the topic, but I have read rumors that the new atv3 will not be able to be jailbroken for XBMC and such. I was considering this as opposed to just dropping all that cash on a mini. I know you can do it with atv2, but I am afraid with the higher bitrate files, I might "choke" the device. Any insight at all on this?
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post #12 of 15 Old 03-14-2012, 02:47 PM
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Not sure about the Apple TV 3, which I'll probably buy, but I got my Buffalo CloudStor NAS in and it's quite a bit slower than I expected. I'm not positive about this, but it seems slower copying my media library to it than my external enclosure plugged into my Airport Extreme. I'll know more about its capabilities once I get everything copied over and can see how well it stores my iTunes library. Still, it only cost about $10 more than a 2TB WD green drive so it was a bargain either way.

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post #13 of 15 Old 03-15-2012, 07:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smh410 View Post

...I have read rumors that the new atv3 will not be able to be jailbroken for XBMC and such...

It just hasn't been jailbroken yet. Give it time, someone will figure out a way.
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post #14 of 15 Old 03-15-2012, 07:58 AM
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It just hasn't been jailbroken yet. Give it time, someone will figure out a way.

... and in short order, I'm guessing.

If more of us valued food and cheer above hoarded gold, it would be a much merrier world.

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post #15 of 15 Old 03-15-2012, 09:38 PM
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Now that I have my media copied to the Buffalo Cloudstor, it seems fast enough for what I'm using it for, namely storing my iTunes library of movies, concerts and TV shows that just passed 2TB and several hundred hours of content.

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