SecuritySpy on iMac?
  • Has anyone deployed SecuritySpy in their homes on an iMac? I'm currently on a very old Mac Mini and need to upgrade*. I was hoping to get a new quad core Mac Mini in Apple's latest refresh, but the new 2014 Mac Mini's are limited to dual cores across the board.

    So to get quad cores, I'm looking at an iMac. I didn't want the included display, but now I'm wondering if there could be use for it. I'm wondering if any of you have an iMac and run SecuritySpy in full screen mode in the house somewhere? Many home security kits come with LCD panels to display live camera feeds. I'm wondering if any of you do the same, or have done it in the past, or have any experiences to share.

    Thanks in advance.

    * My current Mac Mini can't keep up with my 2 Hikvision cameras. I get lots of "Excessive packet loss from network device, the network may be too slow or defective, or this computer may be overloaded" messages.
  • I agree, it's a shame that the new Mac minis are limited to dual CPUs, this is a big disappointment. Our advice to users is to get a previous-generation quad-core model, as these are much more powerful.

    One thing to check is that you are closing all of SecuritySpy's video windows when not using them. On a headless Mac, the system still presents a "virtual screen" to SecuritySpy for it to display its video windows, however this virtual screen is not hardware-accelerated, and so the video display can sometimes use a lot of CPU.

    Also, you could try reducing the frame rate of your two Hikvision cameras (log on to the cameras directly using a web browser to adjust their settings).

    Hopefully other users can chime in with their experiences of using Mac minis vs. iMacs.
  • I'm running SecuritySpy on a mid-2011 Core i5 iMac. It runs fine in terms of speed (and yes, I keep the window closed at all times) but sometimes I find that the app itself has crashed. Unfortunately I usually find out because I walk through an area that should generate an email alert, and I don't receive one. I don't believe this is in any way related to it being an iMac.
  • Hi @opticalserenity - in the rare event of a SecuritySpy crash, it should automatically restart itself if you have enabled this option in the Preferences - have you done so?

    Checking that you are using the latest version of SecuritySpy is also something you should do.

    If the above doesn't resolve this, then please email us and include the crash logs if you can, and we'll look into this further for you.
  • My two Dahua cameras fork fine for few days, and than I get blue screens. It takes me a while to find that their IP addresses have changed. I get them going, and than it happens again? Now the Network Device Finder can not see them at all. They are powered, since I can see the IR lights at night. What causes them to do that?
  • Hi Bulent,

    It sounds like your cameras are set to automatically obtain an IP address from your router (via a protocol called DHCP). This is fine for easy setup, however, as you have discovered, this may result in the IP addresses changing from time to time. Please follow our network camera setup instructions and give your cameras manual (static) IP addresses on your network.
  • SecuritySpy running on a 2009 i5 quad core iMac here. 4 cameras running about 10fps, window open and about 20% cpu usage...
  • I currently have a mac mini running 4 cameras, but am I am looking to upgrade. Older mac pros with 12 cores are available used vs a newer iMac with quad core. Is there a benchmark test to look at to compare how these stack up for video monitoring? Also, does graphics card, RAM or HD performance make a difference?
  • Hi @clawmd, the biggest factor in determining performance for SecuritySpy is number of cores, so a 12-core Mac Pro will typically far outperform 4-core iMac, even if the Mac Pro is a little older. RAM and HD performance will make a difference to a certain extent, though due to H.264 video compression provided by most cameras these days, the data rate being written to disk is generally far within the capabilities of even the most basic modern hard drive.

    Finally, if you'll be viewing lots of cameras at the same time, then a fast graphics card with a lot of VRAM will definitely help, especially if your cameras are particularly high resolution.

    As for benchmarks and Mac specs, check out Everymac, which is a great resource for detailed information on virtually every Mac produced in the last two decades.
  • I am running SS with a 2013 iMac 3.4 core i5 w/32gb ram. 4 Dahua 3mp cameras running at 25fps and 2 dlink wifi cameras at 11fps. Super stable. Ran over 300 days without a reboot and that was for software updating. The only time the system gets tasked is when I am importing blu ray disks. That is the only time I see the frame rate drop. All video data is stored on an external usb drive. I am also running a second monitor so that i can have the SS window open at all times.
  • Wow I must need to upgrade! I've been running SecuritySpy on a mid-2011 Mac Mini since I had it laying around (2.3GHz i5 dual core). I did a memory upgrade to 8GB a while back and i've been running 8 720p cameras @ 10fps without any issues. I was planning on picking up a new iMac to replace my current one (mid-2011 2.5GHz i5 quad-core) and moving SS over to that at some point.
  • I am running 16 1080P IR cameras on an iMac 5K with a 4Ghz quad i7 processor, 32 Gbytes RAM and internal and Thunderbolt 2 connected flash drives. It runs at about 60% CPU on one core. I have a mix of FosCam FI9900P and Vivotek FD8169 cameras. I run a few of the most important views at 1080P 2 Mbps streams, the rest are running at 720P at 512 kbps. I don't recompress the video output from the cameras.
  • Hi Ben, I have a look to your software since 10 years when I purchaesed my first mac and I a vey delighted, that you still are in business and still keep up in developing your software to the better! I allways told myself, once I get cameras, I will run it on your software... and now there is the big day and I bought following cameras to secure my home:

    3 x HIKVision DS-2CD2642FWD-IS(2.8 -12mm)
    IP Bullet Kamera, 1/3", 2688×1520, 30fps, IR, WDR,
    H.264/MJPEG, IP66, Audio, 12VDC/PoE
    2 x
    Samsung SNV-7084P IP Dome Kamera, 1/2.8", 2048x1536,
    60fps, 3-8.5mm, Tag/Nacht, WDR, H.264/MJPEG, IK10/IP66,
    1 x
    D-Link DES-1210-08P

    and have following iMac 14,2
    Prozessortyp: Intel Core i7
    Prozessorgeschwindigkeit: 3,5 GHz
    Anzahl der Prozessoren: 1
    Gesamtanzahl der Kerne: 4
    L2-Cache (pro Kern): 256 KB
    L3-Cache: 8 MB
    Speicher: 16 GB
    Boot-ROM-Version: IM142.0118.B13
    SMC-Version (System): 2.15f7

    I thought, I could buy a old cheap Mac mini as a "permanent on" mashine but on you Mac-adviser, it tells me, I should get a Mac Pro with 12 cores and 2,7 GHz.
    Can I use my present iMac with a little upgrade and what should I upgrade exactly if so?
    Is there now way for using old mini mac´s anymore?

    best regards

  • Hi Paul,

    Yes you can use old Mac minis - the previous-generation 4-core models are the best as they are the most powerful. Also your iMac is a powerful machine and would be suitable.

    The calculator is probably recommending quite a powerful Mac, because all your cameras are very high resolution, however if you use a frame rate of 5fps (which is still perfectly good for general-purpose video surveillance), you will be able to use a quad-core iMac or Mac mini.
  • We're running 9 Axis cameras at 10fps on a 2.6Ghz i7

    ( The Apple Mac mini "Core i7" 2.6 (Late 2012/Server) features a 22-nm Quad Core "Ivy Bridge" 2.6 GHz Intel "Core i7" (3720QM) processor with four independent processor "cores" on a single chip, a 6 MB shared level 3 cache, 4 GB of 1600 MHz DDR3 SDRAM (PC3-12800) memory, dual 1 TB hard drives, and Intel HD Graphics 4000 which shares system memory.)

    which chugs along. it does need a kick now and again.

    We run it headless but use a dongle which convinces the Mini that it has a monitor attached, thereby kicking in the graphic acceleration.

    we found this by keeping an eyeball on the Apple Refurbished Equipment page.
  • caseyd,

    what dongle are you using in the mini?
  • Hi Ben,
    thank you for your quick answer. I will use my present iMac and see how far it gets me.
    When I download the software to my iMac and decide later to have it all running on the mini Mac that will be connect to this iMac, do I have to buy the software again or is there a way to transfer the security-spy software?
  • jms703 - one of these:

    and for another box I used the scheme outlined but it really depends on your mini.

    If you have an HDMI mini it's better to use a HDMI dongle/spoofer.

    BEN - sorry if those are affiliation links, feel free to edit them if you have an Amazon affiliation code.
  • Hallo Safehome,
    I believe you can move SecSpy from one machine to another. At least, I did.
    I was running SecSpy 3.x for years on a Mini and the disk failed. I'd been backing up my configs so after the failure I just installed SecSpy on a Mac Pro, entered my registration number and moved my configs to the new server and alles gut. The cameras were online immediately and effortlessly.
    Hope that helps.
  • Indeed, you can move SecuritySpy from one Mac to the other. If you want to transfer all settings, this FAQ provides instructions: How do I move SecuritySpy from one computer to another, retaining all settings?.
  • I have 16 cameras all at 8 FPS, a mix of 2 and 3MP resolution on an iMac quad core i5, 3.2 Ghz.

    A window with 12 cameras is continuously on display. About half the cameras are doing motion detect recording. All 16 cameras are doing continuous capture.

    Free CPU is about 33% with this load.
  • I've been running five HikVision 3MP cameras on an iMac with a SINGLE 2.7GHz QUAD Core i5 processor for two+ years now and had been pretty happy. About three weeks ago that computer apparently went south. I tinkered with it but unfortunately had other projects in the queue.

    About four days ago a new neighbor had their car broken into and I was so kicking myself for not being able to assist (3MP HikVision with 12mm telephoto lens can get me license plates from fifty feet away). Anyway I'm currently running on an older Mac Pro with TWO 2.66GHz DUAL core processors and have temporarily disabled three of the cameras. CPU usage is about 50% and I don't get any ghosting in my recordings. My venerable production Mac Pro with TWO 2.8GHz QUAD core processors would probably be ideal for my application although someday I'd like to add more cameras. I was thinking more RAM would help but as I read from Ben in this thread, the real answer appears to be more and faster cores.

    I LOVE Security Spy but am currently still using v3 because I liked the camera Text Overlay feature that was apparently done differently, if at all, in v4.

    MANY THANKS to Ben and his elves!
  • Hi @Paralleler, great to hear you love the software, thanks for posting about your system.

    The functionality of the text overlay in v4 is basically the same as in v3. If you need any further info about this please let me know.
  • Thank you for the Text Overlay information Ben, I'll have to look at v4 again.
  • An addendum to those who are thinking about purchasing one of the new 2019 iMacs: I bought the 27" i9 8-core processor iMac and migrated my SecuritySpy installation over to it, then upgraded to SecuritySpy 5.0. I am running 18 cameras, 16 of them ranging from 2 MP to 4 MP of resolution, at frame rates of 5 fps (indoors) to 50 fps (license plate recognition cameras). Four of the cameras have human figure detection enabled. I have two 4 TB WD Purple surveillance drives connected in an external Thunderbolt enclosure.

    Average CPU load is less than 5%. I could easily see this system handling dozens or perhaps even hundreds of cameras if needed, provided I added a larger disk array. Quite the improvement over my 10+ year-old Mac Pro!

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