After picking up a used Mac Mini as a central iTunes media hub for my home, I grew tired of iTunes being the only functioning piece of such a nicely compact and quiet machine. My Mac Mini is a 1.25GHz G4 processor with 1GB of RAM & 40Gb harddrive which I skimmed off of EBay and cleaned it up with 512Mb more memory and an DVI to HDMI converter connection to my television.
Honestly, tossing on OSX 10.5 Leopard Server was so easy anybody could do it. The minimum memory requirement is 1Gb, and unlike most software requirements… this is right on the money. The system runs without any hiccups, and now serves up mail, snmp, dhcp, dns, afp, itunes (of course 😉 ), along with other future things that I will play with like a quicktime streaming server.
The difference with serving up video and audio files with iTunes when using Leopard Server is remarkably noticeable. When I had Leopard desktop installed, I usually had to wait 3-5 seconds before AppleTV would show what iTunes was serving. With Leopard server, I wait a little less than 1 second. I find this quite interesting, as all files are located on an SMB shared NAS drive on my network so the transfers occur twice… once from the NAS drive to the Mac Mini, once from the Mac Mini to the AppleTV. That must mean the network latency is optimized on the server platform of OSX. Either that, or asynchronous transmissions are used more readily.
I thought I would share this information for anyone else wanting to explore the use of the economical, robust, and cool-running Mac Mini G4 systems.
EDIT 06/07/2011: Oh yes, I forgot to add that a keyboard will need to be connected to the Mac Mini at all times if remotely administering it. On mine the system just sits on the big white apple screen when the system reboots and does not find a keyboard attached. It wasn’t designed with headless remote use, so my guess is it was a primitive way created to catch any keyboard issues.