Difference - MacMini and MacMini-Server

CamFire

Well-known Member
Apart from the obvious - which one can deduce from the specs on the Apple online store (CPU, HDD, RAM, OS) - what else is different? Heatsink made of gold for better cooling? Higher quality fan?

I did notice that the optical drive slot is not there - possibly to improve airflow - or just an illusion of being "armoured".

I ask because while looking out for a MacMini which is light on the pocket, I am tempted by this "server-class", size-0 MacMini now being available. Not an issue with optical drive coz I have a USB one to match the MBA.

EDIT: that MBA-only USB optical drive IS compatible since it is listed as an extra when "configuring" the MacMini on Apple's online store...
 
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Tenex

Well-known Member
I wouldn't think much is different, you could look at iFixit etc for tear-downs. Unless you absolutely need the server version then it doesn't really make much financial sense, you'd need external storage at added cost because its only 2x500 for RAID or even as a 1Tb it isn't exactly well endowed.
 

CamFire

Well-known Member
No, iFixit.com don't do any MacMini-server tear-down...:(

Hardware quality may have improved a lot these days for the consumer class machines, but I would have thought the MacMini-server would use ECC RAMs, etc.
 

Bl4ckGryph0n

Distinguished Member
I've got a mini server, the differences are;
- No optical drive: I don't even use a usb drive, you can setup in a headless mode either using ssh or share a screen. Then if you must just use the remote DVD share function standard in any Mac. Never had a screen or keyboard on mine since I had it.
- Two hard drives and both are of server class which are notoriously expensive compared to standard drives but more reliable and I use the same in my additional storage.
- 4Gb ECC RAM indeed
- OS X Server operating system with unlimited clients

Other than that it is the same silent low power unit, mine is quiet and generally running at or near idle using 9.44W (less than any of the lights lights in my house).
 

Bl4ckGryph0n

Distinguished Member
Mine is last years version the previous shape when they just released the Mini Server. Mainly because I just wanted to have a play legally with OSX Server :) Now have severely expanded its drive capacity using iSCSI.

Thanks I'm using the capital S now as well :)
 

blue max

Distinguished Member
You also get a faster processor in the server model too. I actually think it is a better deal.

Another plus for the server is the fact that the usb ports are more powerful to power an external hard drive, whereas the ordinary ones are standard. Apple's own won't work on the regular one, but will on the server.

Graham
 

Bl4ckGryph0n

Distinguished Member
Oh I didn't know that they had more powerful usb ports.
 

CamFire

Well-known Member
Yes - the USB ports appear to be the non-standard, higher-powered ones as I initially noted indirectly when Apple stated the use of the SuperDrive paired with the MacBook Air if a optical drive is needed. Just couldn't confirm this...

I think the question of whether one wants to use OS Server pretty much decides which hardware to go for.
 

Bl4ckGryph0n

Distinguished Member
To be honest, you loose iLife being included or at least I did, but you can switch off all services and off you go. And also the hard drives are bigger and rated at 7200rpm instead of the 5400rpm in the normal mini.
 

blue max

Distinguished Member
Yes - the USB ports appear to be the non-standard, higher-powered ones as I initially noted indirectly when Apple stated the use of the SuperDrive paired with the MacBook Air if a optical drive is needed. Just couldn't confirm this...

I think the question of whether one wants to use OS Server pretty much decides which hardware to go for.
The server does work with the air drive - I have both.

Just price up the regular model with upgraded ram (obviously with the newer ones, it's dead easy to replace with crucial ram), a faster processor, bigger hard drives (and they are faster 7200rpm models in the server), more powerful usb ports and you start to see a compelling reason to go for the server model. Plus you have the server software to play with :D

Graham
 

CamFire

Well-known Member
I've just downloaded the user manual for the MacMini-Server - capital S, :cool: mind you - and observed that the RAM used is bog-standard PC3-8500 DDR3 RAM.
 

Bl4ckGryph0n

Distinguished Member
Hmm that would be good I am thinking if buying another server but to be used as a desktop as the spec is better. Just wish there was a cheaper mac pro.
 

CamFire

Well-known Member
While browsing through the bay, I noted one of the sellers stating that the new slimline MacMini-Server is not capable of loading the standard (client) version of SL. The prior version of MacMini-Server has not such restriction. Never mind why one want to do this - it a "just in case".

Can anyone confirm?
 

blue max

Distinguished Member
Apple - Support - Discussions - Mac Mini 2.66 server to Snow leopard ...

This seems to have the info you require.

On that note, I asked in an Apple store and was told that Apple don't officially accept that it can run the client software and were not even allowed to discuss it. Hmmm.

But it can be done. If you bought Snow Leopard Client and tried to install it on the server, it would be the first mac ever to refuse to work (I didn't have any trouble with the old model server). I'm getting one of the new ones and a new server and need to have the client running on the server too, so I hope it works!

Graham
 

CamFire

Well-known Member
Got to pull out that listing text again - am sure it was stated that the MacMini-Server refuses to run (but how?).

I can understand if the OS pre-dates the hardware, then installing a backwards-compatible OS version on it and then updating it with the normal client OS update online will work.
 

blue max

Distinguished Member
Got to pull out that listing text again - am sure it was stated that the MacMini-Server refuses to run (but how?).

I can understand if the OS pre-dates the hardware, then installing a backwards-compatible OS version on it and then updating it with the normal client OS update online will work.
From my investigations, it is just things like the ethernet driver and perhaps the SD card slot (I use CF, so that's a no-issue for me!). It seems that you can use the drivers from the client edition and the ethernet is sorted - and updating the software through software update seems to suggest it will be resolved too.

I would be massively frustrated if Apple knobbled the server from doing client duties. Why would they do that?
Graham
 

Bl4ckGryph0n

Distinguished Member
I wonder whether it is dependent on what version of snow leopard you are trying to install. For example a normal retail should work, however it used to be the case that osx discs that came with a particular machine only.work on that machine type.
 

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