Future MPU Podcast Topic: NAS, home media servers, sizing adequacy of main hard drives, etc

A suggested topic for a future MPU podcast: An explanation of Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices, home media servers, and sizing of hard drive capacity on a primary computer (whether that’s an iMac, MacBook, etc) and related strategies, choices, brands/ models, networking tips, etc. This is a technical area that is strategic in terms of how one optimises home data storage and networking, and one for which many users could use advice. I have a 2TB hard drive within a mid-2010(!) 27-inch iMac (no NAS, no media server), and like Katie, I am awaiting the announcement of a new iMac before making a replacement decision for
this primary computer in my home. Hence, all of these strategic configuration topics are front and center for me to figure out in advance of that purchase decision. Any help here on the MPU Talk forum also much appreciated. Thanks!


I’m guessing my server set-up is pretty standard/basic. I’ve got a 2012 Mac Mini with an iTunes/Plex shared library of about 3TB on a 4TB external drive. Serves to an AppleTV. I do most of my work on an iPad and will sometimes use FileBrowser app on the iPad to access files from the Mac Mini’s internal SSD if I don’t have them stored on iCloud. This has been my set-up for several years and it seems to work pretty well.

Regarding sizing adequacy, I always look at what I’m currently using and double that figure for a new machine. The simple rule has never failed me in decades.

I’d definitely be interested in a show on this. I’m in the process of trying out using an old Mac mini with some external drives attached instead of my Drobo.

@ChrisUpchurch, please keep us posted on your progress.

Add one more request for this topic. I’ve been looking to get a Synology 918+ NAS for a while, but I can’t decide if a NAS is the way to go or maybe a Mac Mini-based server with direct-attached external storage. 4- to 8-TB external disk drives are reasonably-priced these days.

Since the new Mac Mini is capable of 10GB ethernet, I wonder if it would be possible at a reasonable price to set up a 10GB connection between one computer and the Mac Mini, and the Mac Mini connected to the rest of the network at the usual 1 GB connection. That way the Mac Mini could be the main storage for fast transfer and editing of photo and video files from the primary computer.

@tomalmy. Thanks. I would agree if one doesn’t use a NAS. I think one doesn’t need such a large internal hard drive if one puts much of one’s large reference data files (photos, movies, music, home filing documents, etc) on a NAS for distributed access and backup purposes.

Maybe it’s a matter of cleaning up the computer drive. I’ve got a Mac mini used as a server with 14TB of drives. My iMac (main computer) has a 1.12 TB Fusion drive which started half full and is now more than 3/4 full. Biggest users are photos, which I could move to the server, but virtual machines and system files and apps would make it a squeeze for 512GB. So 90+% of my files do reside on the server, but I wouldn’t want to go much higher. Obviously YMMV depending on how you use the computer.

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