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Nerd Time: 2012 Mac Mini Updated

Mac Mini About this Mac screen

What a workhorse! I’ve had this Mac Mini since 2012. 16GB of RAM, 2.3 Core I7 processor. Not a screaming fast machine by any means, but still completely serviceable, depending on the need. It is a computer that I have stopped using due to age and performance. Due to this, I have upgraded. Still, this is a functioning computer and it seems a waste to not use it. So, nerd me went to work!

(Insert A-Team theme playing video montage here)

Back in my working-for-computer-makers days, I did some side work for a guy spamming fax machines with ads for tape drive repair. Well, not really spam, more of a blast to existing customers. Anyway, I was tasked with this project using only what was available to me at the time. The computer was maybe a pentium-class processor? Running Windows 95 I think (when Pentium II were available on Windows 2000). There was no budget beyond my pay, so I had to make it work. Doing this really taught me how to get shit done with or without resources/budget. This is a skill I used at every IT manager job and continue to use today!

The Mac Mini is still functional, but pretty slow and running MacOS Catalina (10.15). I had to stop using it for podcasting and voice over work because it had gotten so slow. Even after I did a fresh installation of the OS, it was still to sluggish to be useful, hence my upgrade to an 15″ M2 Macbook Air.

Still in need of a computer for other things, I went ahead and starting researching upgrading the Mini, using OpenCore Legacy Patcher and the best version for that old computer. I found quite a few people saying that Mac OS Big Sur (11.7) runs great and started working towards that.

Then I was talking to Brian at Ride Bikes Radio who just loaded Mac OS Ventura (13.5) on an equally old Mac Book Pro and reported it was running great. So, I did that instead! And holy cats, it IS great!

Typically, puttting a newer version of an operating system on old systems, at least on PCs, doesn’t always work that great. Hardware issues, processor issues, everything issues. Oh, and they are usually too slow to useable, as I recently discovered when I tried to revive an old Asus laptop with a SSD and Windows 10. Sure, it would boot and was functional, but the boot took about 5 minutes and every app took even longer to load.

That is not the case with the Mini. In fact, if anything, I’d say it is running better on newer OS. While there are a lot of things that it won’t do because the hardware doesnt’ support it, what it will do far outweighs those missing features.

Immediately after completing the installation, I put it to work! Starting with a photo project where I needed to work on 30GB of photos on an external (USB-A) drive. This guy didn’t even break a sweat, and I was doing all of the work over a wifi-connected VNC connection. Almost like I was working directly on the computer.

It’s nice to have this up and running and I am really looking forward to putting it to work!

1 : https://dortania.github.io/OpenCore-Legacy-Patcher/ 2: https://ridebikesradio.com

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