Computing stuff tied to the physical world

Mac Mini as home server

In Hardware on Jun 18, 2010 at 00:01

Whoa, great news – the Mac Mini is getting even more energy efficient:

Screen Shot 2010 06 15 at 12.41.01

It was announced today. Here’s what the new box looks like (and no more power brick!):

Screen Shot 2010 06 15 at 12.41.20

We’ve been using the Mac Mini as our TV + audio system for several years now. It’s connected to a master/slave power switch to switch off the other components when in sleep mode (sat tuner and amplifier). Works great, although I had to replace the hard disk recently. The new one would be a great successor… one day.

Might also be an excellent option for a home server, although a SheevaPlug or GuruPlug uses even less power in idle mode (approx. 4 vs 10 Watt). But that’s more of a software decision really: Mac OS X vs. Linux.

  1. Strange, the more power is consumes the more efficient?

    Anyway, nice device (but no apple for me as I cannot agree to their policies)

    • Strange, the more power is consumes the more efficient?

      There’s a fixed component (power consumed by the supply itself at all times). As you draw more power, that fixed portion plays a smaller part of the equation.

    • “As you draw more power”

      Why draw more power at 230V as at 100V. I expect less power as the lower current reduces the losses.

      But that not where my reaction is about, in either mode it uses more power using 230V compared to 100V yet the efficiency claim is 90% vs 89%, thats strange!

  2. The Guruplug has big heat problems causing the device to overheat within 30 minutes of use ….

    • Ah, good to know! I have an older SheevaPlug with which I’ve been meaning to try things out, it’s less featureful and powerful – seems to hold out ok, although in my tests it was mostly idling.

      (I keep wondering why we always need faster systems, for something as basic as a web server – this weblog for example: it’s doing lots of stuff dynamically, where a collection of static pages would probably require far less resources…)

  3. I can’t see myself ever using OS X for a home server, even though I use it on my desktop every day.

    Linux gives me far more flexibility and is lighter weight, so it can run on lower end hardware. Heck, you don’t even need a PC. I have an old Linkstation Pro that has been functioning as my home “server” for over 3 years now, and it has functioned flawlessly the entire time.

    • Linux [...] can run on lower end hardware

      Yep. This is why I’ve explored several boxes, such as the SheevaPlug, NSLU2, Bifferboard, Excito Bubba, Propox MMnet1001, and several others.

      Linux gives me far more flexibility

      Probably because you’re used to it. Which is a perfectly valid and strong argument, in my book.

      But it still all depends greatly on your requirements. If you’re running a public web server, for example, then going for the lowest end is not necessarily the goal. Some people use routers, others use a NAS, still others run Windows on their Mac Mini. Which is why I’m building the JeeMon switchboard software to run on any of those.

      I’m fine with all platform choices, for whatever reason.

  4. @Jaap – Why draw more power at 230V as at 100V

    Ah, now I understand. Hm. Twice the voltage = half the current. OTOH, if some of the loss is from a resistive load, then raising the voltage will also increase the current. Must be some sort of mix of such effects.

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