Reader Poll: Mac Mini for Leopard Server?

After years of installing and managing Unix, Windows and Mac servers, I'm happily settled on Mac OS X Server 10.4 running on an old G4 system, but recently I received my upgrade Mac OS X 10.

After years of installing and managing Unix, Windows and Mac servers, I'm happily settled on Mac OS X Server 10.4 running on an old G4 system, but recently I received my upgrade Mac OS X 10.5 Server, or "Leopard Server," and it looks like an ideal small workgroup server (of course, that remains to be seen). It combines the easy administration of previous Mac servers with improved directory and calendar serving, wikis and blogs, backup and remote access and podcasting features that are very attractive to me. I would like to run it on an Intel-based Mac Mini.

But here's the catch: I can't get a straight answer from Apple as to the realistic minimum system requirements to run a small workgroup server. According to the documentation and Apple's web site, Leopard Server will run on a PowerPC G4 867MHz processor with one GB of RAM and 20 GB of free disc space. It is unrealistic, though, to think that configuration would be able to serve many network sessions, mail, podcasting or secure iChat sessions simultaneously.

That absolute minimum just happens to be the configuration of my current Mac OS X server, though I have 1.75 GB rather than only one GB of RAM. So, the question is, do I upgrade to a new server and, if so, what is the right choice in hardware?

It makes sense to me, given the comparative price of a PC able to run a Linux installation, that I should be able to run Leopard Server on a Mac Mini, which would be much more compact than my old G4 tower and fit for my decidedly intermittent heavy usage.

According to the guy I spoke with at 1-800-MY-APPLE, who said he was "not a server person and the server people are busy," the minimum hardware requirements for Leopard Server "depends on a lot of factors," but he couldn't say with any assurance that a 2.0 GHz Mac Mini with two GB of RAM would be able to handle small workgroup services and iChat or other processor-intensive applications. Nor could the nice folks at the local Apple store give me any kind of answer to that question.

In fact, both Apple techs I spoke with balked at the idea of running more than a three- to five-person workgroup on a Mini, which I find surprising. Discussion among users at the Apple support site suggest that Leopard Server will run fine on a new Mac Mini in light usage situations.

Since there is no crowd smarter about this kind of thing than you, dear readers, what do you suggest? Please, discuss....

[poll id=16]