Mac Mini as a Server

What is the latest thinking on the setup of a mac mini to use as a server (ripped CD's and streaming into a dac?)

I'm thinking 16GB, and SSD of at least 256. I do not have a huge music collection, and I do not intend to use it for anything else. The mini still seems like a good value based on my reading.
Generally, the more RAM the better, but 16Gb is alot of RAM. You would be fine with only 8Gb. Store your music on an external drive (no reason not get 1Tb) and also get a backup drive. Use playback software that allows memory playback.
I recently bought a new 2012 i5 mac mini and added 16GB of memory to use as a music server with Audirvana 2.0.6. I unmounted the hdd and have the operating system on a 32 GB SD card. I run it headless via an ethernet cable from my 2009 macbook. The music files are on a 2TB external usb drive connected to the macbook.

I am probably going to modify the power supply and use an external Linear Power Supply to further reduce noise in the mini.

This set up is IMHO as good as systems that I have heard that cost 10x as much. Computer audio is the way to go. Oh, I am currently using an Emotiva XDA-2 DAC in conjunction with a NuForce J192 usb-spdif converter but I am waiting for a Geek Pulse to arrive once they get all the other crowd-fund backer's units
shipped out.

The computer audiophile rabbit hole is DEEP, endlessly deep, and you can find it by googling computer audiophile. Just sayin'.

You might also look into an Auralic Aries music streamer. In my system I found the combination of ease of use and more refined sound much better than the mini it replaced.
I use a 2.66 (late 2009) mac mini server with 4GB RAM, OWC Mercury 120GB SSD. The music files are on 2 separate external 1.0TB 7200RPM hdd connected via 9to9 Firewire from Granite (

I also use a Empirical Audio Offramp 3 between the mac mini and Centrance DAC.

The mac mini is optimized as a music server.

I'm very pleased with the sound and convenience of using the mac mini with the iPad remote app; quite an amazingly simple way to select music. In fact, I have several friends who like to come over and make their own playlist, selecting music that fits their mood or the festivities of the evening.

I've ripped all my music as AIFF using XLD then upsampling to 24/96 using Triumph (formerly WAVE).
The easiest way to get great SQ is to use an Oct. 2009 Mac mini, because it has external power supply that can be upgraded to a good linear supply. This make a big difference in SQ. To do this on a newer mini, you will need to pay someone to mod the mini.

The 2009 also takes 16gigs DRAM and it is a good idea to replaced the HD with a SSD. See this for more details:

The best power supply for the mini is a SR7-18.5 or SR5-18.5.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio