From Micro to Mini…

So the inevitable day as come.  I needed a new computer.  I’ve always been a windows user, but was fine on a mac.  I’ve always just built my own systems though.  My last build was in 2011.  I built a 24gb RAM pro video card, super fast processor machine with 10k RPM drives, etc…  Let’s put it into perspective…  My computer prior to that needed 1 – 4 hours to render a 2 – 3 gigabyte panorama.  The computer I built in 2011 cut my render time down to 30 seconds on average.  Talk about a productivity boost!  I was THRILLED the first time I ran a panorama build.  Totally lost my mind.  Well…it was time to move on.  That computer as great as it was just struggles with anything beyond 1080p video.  Also, Lightroom has been giving me way too many issues on that system, the latest version doesn’t like the video card…new cards aren’t compatible…blah blah blah blah blah.  You know it goes.  This is my work, and I just need it to work.  So I did something crazy…

I ordered a Mac Mini.  A new one, the 2018 mac mini.  But I ordered it on the crazy end.  The way most people say no one is going to order.  Big i7, 64gb ram, 1tb drive, and I ordered an eGPU with a Vega 64 card.  All of this was actually cheaper than an imac Pro, and will probably be cheaper than the new Mac Pro.  And I just don’t have the time for a new self build.  I also like Time Machine is a computer restore.  I’ve never had good luck on windows machines with those kinds of functions.

It arrived yesterday and I am slowly installing and setting up.  I probably won’t get it into my day to day use for another week or so.  I will report back when I do.  This checked all the boxes.  I also wanted to use an Eizo monitor.  I much prefer Eizo to the imac screens, or any others.  Especially doing images 8 – 10 hours a day.  It makes a huge difference.  So this is the only system in their lineup that would really be a great fit for the eizo without it being an extension monitor from a macbook or imac.

So…here are some initial observations…

My ergonomic windows keyboard doesn’t have all the mac buttons for launching stuff, or the command button.  What do you do?

It’s silent!  This is crazy.  My custom machine sounds like im at the airport with all the fans and cooling.  My office is about to go silent.  Very weird.

It’s rather small and cute.  So small in fact that it will need to sit on top of my graphics card.

Paragon NTFS… it actually works!  All my hard drives are NTFS formatted.  I don’t have time to redo all of that.  So this little program allows OSX to read NTFS just like a native drive.  It just works!  Amazing!

Ok that’s all for now.  I will update with a more proper review once I can actually start working on this machine.  Any advice?  My laptop is a 2013 Macbook Pro…but this will be the first time I ever actually “work” on a mac.  Day in and out.  More to come.

-Update 1-  I had a rescheduling for today…So I am now 6 hours into software installs and setup.  Not done yet.  Gosh no wonder I try to update or migrate very often…  I had forgotten to factor in the cost of updating software because I only had a windows version and not a mac…or the cost of updating software because I haven’t in a long time and my versions aren’t supported by the latest operating systems…  Ouch!

Share
November 8, 2018

3 responses on "From Micro to Mini..."

  1. Tony, congrats on the mini. You sure did order a config that only photographers and videographers would love! I’m envious.

    I have lots of experience in both the Win world and Mac. I’m settled on the Mac platform now for my photography and have been since shortly after they switched to Intel processors some years ago.

    re: windows keyboard: you may be able to re-map some keys on your existing keyboard to something functional. On the Mac, System Prefs, Keyboard. I use an external wireless Apple keyboard with numeric keypad. There are some “ergonomic” Mac compatible keyboards out there if you search.

    Most software (at least that I use) have a license for both Win and Mac. Double check you’re not paying twice for some software – just the unavoidable upgrades.

    Installation and configuration. Ok. It really hurts the first time. Takes hours/days to get all installed, tuned and happy. But you’ll have a good stable system. In the future when you replace your mini, you can use Apple’s Migration Assistant (launch it on both old and new machines) and it takes care of virtually everything (even creates a peer to peer wireless network if you’re not hard wired). Passwords, licenses, almost everything goes over in an hour or two painlessly.

    Time Machine. Great for incremental restores (oops, I didn’t mean to delete that folder!) but sucks for whole system restores. That can take days with Time Machine. What I did was purchase an inexpensive external SSD (USB 3.1, so less than $70 – make sure it’s bootable under Mohave though) and use a program called Carbon Copy Cloner to image my Mac HD incrementally to the external on a regular basis. This allows me to do a complete system restore quickly and simply if ever needed. Thus, full image restore on one drive, Time Machine to another drive. As my data resides on an external drive which is backed up independently, this works really well.

    Sorry for all the wordiness – hope it was helpful to you or any other reader.

  2. Hey Stephen… that’s probably good advice on making a disc image. I used to do that…but windows as of late just never played nice with stuff like that…and different hardware for instance. I should revisit this on the mac. I will look up your recommendation. I love time machine because it actually works for pulling stuff back and fairly quickly…but a full system backup is always ideal. I also have onsite and offsite backups of all my drives which are mirrors so I can just plug in and be back up and running.

  3. Hey Stephen… that’s probably good advice on making a disc image. I used to do that…but windows as of late just never played nice with stuff like that…and different hardware for instance. I should revisit this on the mac. I will look up your recommendation. I love time machine because it actually works for pulling stuff back and fairly quickly…but a full system backup is always ideal. I also have onsite and offsite backups of all my drives which are mirrors so I can just plug in and be back up and running.

Leave a Reply to Tony Ventouris Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright © 2018 Unlocking Olympus. All Rights Reserved.