Return Of The Mac...
In my last Blog post, I talked about Boot Camp Assistant and the 2014 Mac Mini I bought second hand on eBay. Over the last couple of weeks it’s become integral to my workshop and the way I work. Not only do I use it for Mac repairs, I also use it for lots of Windows stuff too.
Since I installed Windows 10 alongside Mac OS Catalina, it sits neatly under my monitor and I can switch between operating systems as and when. It’s not the fastest machine in the world but It does everything I need it to. It runs all the tools I use to scan drives for malware or carry out data recovery. It also works well as an office machine. In fact, I can run my entire business from it, using it as both a repair tool and for admin work. It’s remarkably quiet and the small form factor means it takes up minimal space on my bench.
Other than installing Win 10 alongside Mac OS Catalina, I’ve upgraded the 500 GB HDD to a Samsung 860 Evo SSD. It’s an easy upgrade I do all the time for customers and a big improvement in terms of speed.
I’ve also added a Samsung PCIe SSD using one of these PCIe Connector Adaptors from eBay.
As I’m seeing more Linux customers these days, I’ve thrown Ubuntu on there for good measure. With a minimum effort and expense, I’ve managed to build myself a useful triple boot system that’s remarkably stable and needs very little attention.
There are only two real drawbacks to my 2014 Mac Mini. The first is the integrated RAM. Mine has 4 GB, other models have 8 GB but neither can be upgraded because the RAM is fixed to the main logic board. Thankfully I don’t really need it to do anything that memory intensive. The second is the 1.4 Ghz i5 CPU. I imagine it would struggle with heavier loads but it’s adequate for the software I use. It’s not uncommon to see 100% CPU spikes on the Windows 10 side but there are no noticeable issues because of it
My point is, if you’re a PC user looking to dip your toe into the Mac universe and you want something that plugs into a monitor and doesn’t take up much space, I would recommend 2014 – 2017 Mac Minis. If funds allow, go for a model with more memory and a faster CPU. Add an HDMI splitter and you can run it on the same monitor as your PC or you can go down the Boot Camp route like I did and dual boot Windows 10.