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Specific Mac Mini Setup - How can I get it set up to use as a Media Server?

Asked: May 21 2015 | 10:01 am EDT 3105 Views 2 Answers View Best Answer

So, I'm planning on getting a Mac Mini (Late 2014) to use as a home media server. The plan is this:

- Mac Mini w/ 16GB RAM & 256GB PCIe drive
- Synology DS415+ NAS
- 4x 4TB WD Red

I'd like to be somewhat future-proof, in that I recognize that video's fast-approaching 4K as a possible new standard. Sure, it's a few years off, but I'd expect that within the next 5 years, there'll be a whole range of UHD broadcasts and content available, especially through Netflix and the like, and through new physical media (i.e. Blu-Ray).

My question isn't so much about whether to use my Mac Mini as a media server for my home, but what's realistically possible between the models. Is the Core i5 2.6GHz fast enough to serve a few (likely 2) 4K/UHD streams to different TVs in the house (for when we eventually upgrade), while also leaving throughput for audio and regular HD (1080p) streams? Or, is the Core i7 3.0GHz necessary?

A bit more info - I don't plan on using any software like Plex or XBMC as a video delivery method, so transcoding shouldn't be an issue. I plan on having all of my files in h.264/h.265-compatible .mp4 containers so that I can natively utilize iTunes and Home Sharing to view all of these files. The other piece is that every TV and audio center in the home will have either an Apple TV (which eventually will support 4K/UHD - hopefully soon!) or an Airport Express, so there'd be a bit of consistency and ease of use.

Thanks so much in advance for any/all feedback, everyone. Particularly those that have some experience using either/both of the models as described above.

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