Mac Mini 2009
  • I recently purchased a single licence to run on my Mac. I have the latest iMac 27' 5k model and was rerally impressed with the software in terms of how intuitive it was and how easily it was to set up.

    Anyway obvioulsy I did not want to run it on my iMac and leave it on all the time and had hoped to use a Mac Mini that sits under my TV and is always on. I guess I was hoping for too much as it is quite an older model. I had upgraded it with an SSD and 8GB of ram but I guess the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M 256MB graphics and Core 2 Duo are just not up to the job :(

    Is there a base spec for the software ? I am currently running two IP cameras.

    Everything runs slowly "beachball syndrome" when a recording is activated or during playback :(

    As an asside I also have an AMCREST PTZ indoor camera and although it connects fine using ONVIF when attempting to move and zoom it, movement carries on to the extremes even when you release the controls. I think I have read something else here about these camera misbehaving in Security Spy.

    Looks like I will have to go for a dedicated NVR as I cant really justify buying another Mac Mini to run it.

    As I said Security Spy is impressive software and runs perfectly on my iMac.


  • Hi Jerry,

    Have a look at our system requirements calculator, as this will tell you what Mac specification is required for a particular system setup.

    Two cameras on your older Mac mini should work fine, but you may need to reduce the frame rate of the cameras - try 5fps and see how that works (log on to the cameras using a web browser to set their frame rate).

    If this calculator suggests that the Mac should be OK, but you are still having problems, then there may be something else wrong with the Mac. If there is not enough processing power, SecuritySpy will generally drop frames or tell you via some messages/errors in the log file, but it won't beachball. So this suggests that there may be some other factor causing this, such as the hard drive or graphics hardware perhaps. Is the SSD new? If you open Activity Monitor, what is shown as the CPU usage of SecuritySpy, and the CPU usage of any other app using a significant amount of CPU? How many processor cores does your Mac mini have?
  • 2009 Mini with boot SSD and 8GB of RAM should be able to handle it. Just echoing Ben- something else is going on here.
  • Jerry, don't surrender yet, a M/Mini should work. How did you configure your network? Is it wireless or Ethernet? Gigabit router with Cat5e? Is your camera-to-M/Mini signal routed direct, or perhaps camera signals are mixed with other internet traffic on your network?

    I have even cured one nagging problem by deleting the camera profile, and starting over with new profile (Control-J).
  • Other thoughts; in the camera settings, try shutting off all unused features that the cameras run internally, and try 15 FPS frame rate. Set the BIT RATE as high as it will allow (8k?). Make sure it's outputting video in H.264.

    On the security spy settings, put a check on: No Recompression. Make sure the format is H.264. Where you save files on your hard drive, make sure the videos are .M4V rather than .MOV

    Keep trying to dial it in until it works right, then you can adjust from there.
  • Thanks for the suggestions.

    Reducing FPS and BIT Rate helped as initially it was running at 169% CPU. Checked and nothing else taking up any CPU i.e. all apps closed. With no windows open runing SS it dropped to around 90%. The minute I open a view window or try to view a captured clip it goes back up to over 150% CPU. My Mac Mini is also needed for the odd streaming which would probably be impossible with SS running.

    When playing back a capture the screen does not even show a picture until halfway through the clip playback.

    I dont really want to cut everything back and decrease the quality given I am also trying to capture wildlife on my 2mp 10X PTZ in the garden.

    I have ordered a Hikvision NVR with four built in POE ports which only costs a little more than the 4 camera license I would have purchased/needed for SS. It gives me a dedictated device and saves on a POE switch and I can leave it running all day.

    If its ok then I will request a refund on the SS license.

    As I said the software is impressive and runs perfectly on my 5K iMac. Actually only running at 12% CPU.

  • I feel I must comment. I've installed CCTV systems for a few friends and family and have used both Security Spy and the Hikvision NVRS. I would choose Security Spy over Hiks NVRs as things simply work. Things like push notifications etc are such a pain to get working, however with Security Spy it just works. Also when it comes to the interface and the sheer power of customisations Hikvision can't touch SS. There are many advantages of SS. For example it is compatible with such a large variety of cameras of varying qualities, types and price ranges. Also, try asking Hik a support question and see how that goes. Ben is extremely useful and gets back to you, and he is always willing to take on suggestions to better the software. I love SS, and its my favourite Mac software. Push notifications work, remote access works, files are easy to access/download as its computer based. There is no date limit as there is with Hik which is 3 days only. Very irritating. The list goes on and on. Can't understand why someone would prefer Hik over SS.
    I am using an older Mac Mini (Late 2009), 2.26ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2GB Ram, Nvidia Gforce 256mb. On that I have 1 Hik IP Camera and 4 Axis cameras. All Axis ones are at 1080p @5fps and the Hik one is at 720p @10fps (currently in Passive mode). All are running good. Upgrading to the 8 cam licence and I intend on adding 3 more.

  • Having spent a couple of days trying to get my Hikvision NVR working I tend to agree!!

    I went back to SS on my Mac Mini and have managed to get it working. I did not realise that I had to turn down the FPS and Bit Rate on the camera itself (should have read the replies above more clearly). The optimum for the Mac Mini seems to be around 10FPS and 1500K. With my one camera running in active mode and all windows closed this is only using about 19% of CPU :)

    So its working well. The Camera has a max bit rate of 4000K so I assume this is the quality of the image ? Sorry I am new to this.

    Although the camera is being used for security this is not the primary reason I purchased it. I really wanted it for watching and capturing wildlife in my garden. This first camera is full HD with a 10X optical zoom. Now I have it all working I do plan to get another couple of low spec 720p cameras for my front door and workshop which will be left running in security mode.

    I guess for the wildlife stuff I could buy a license for my iMac when I want to record at full FPS/Bit Rate ?

    I assume you cant share licenses across two platforms i.e. if I have a four user license I cant have three on one Mac and one on another ?


  • Hi Jerry,

    Great to hear you got everything working well on your Mac mini. And it's also great to hear about yours and @abid's superior experience with SecuritySpy vs. Hikvision NVRs.

    The bit rate does indeed control the quality of the video image. There are two types of H.264 encoding: CBR (Constant Bit Rate, where you supply a specified rate) and VBR (Variable Bit Rate, where you specify a quality value). If your camera supports VBR, I would recommend using this, with a medium-to-high quality value. The reason why VBR is better than CBR is that the encoder can adjust its bit rate depending on the amount of detail and motion in the video stream. CBR, on the other hand, is fixed, so that it will be inefficient during periods of low-motion and low-detail (e.g. nighttime with not much movement), and it will suffer from bad quality during periods of high-motion and high-detail (e.g. daytime with lots of movement).

    If your camera only has CBR (some do), then keep an eye on the kind of quality you are getting, and increase the bitrate it if you need to. Doing so won't significantly increase the amount of work your Mac's CPU has to do to process the video stream.

    To answer your licensing question: each SecuritySpy license is for one Mac only. So if you want to be recording video using SecuritySpy on two separate Macs then you will need two licenses.
  • Jerry, this is fantastic news. -:)
    If you want to have a very high frame on the more capable iMac, then you get simply get a 1 camera license for that, it's only £30.

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