I run an i7 Mac Mini for the main file server here. I’ve been using Minis as my main server for a few years now; they’re quiet, don’t take much power and are pretty much rock solid boxes. The only reason I’m not still using the 2006 Core Duo mini as the main file server is that it’s useless as a VM host.
OSX, on the other hand, has been a mixed bag. Through 10.6, it had an SMB implementation that Just Worked. In 10.7 and 10.8, SMB was a little less stable – small file transfers generally worked, but trying to copy anything over three or four hundred MB to the Mac would time out.
In 10.9, SMB is now the default server protocol, so I figured things would get better – and they did, for a while. Then I upgraded to 10.9.2 AND upgraded my main Windows PC to 8.1 and things went all to heck. I was back to needing to restrict myself to small file copies and I flat out couldn’t stream any video from the Mac – VLC would give me a “Can’t open MRI” error and MPC would just hang.
Apparently there’s something with the SMB3 protocol that Mavericks doesn’t like.
The best solution I was able to find involved disabling SMB2 and SMB3 on the Windows 8.1 box, and this seems to be working so far.
If you’ve bumped into this post with the same problem, here’s the MS KB article that pointed me in the right direction: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2696547
Basically you run these two commands on the Windows side, and reboot:
sc.exe config mrxsmb20 start= disabled
sc.exe config mrxsmb20 start= auto