new old mac advice

Posted on
Tue May 21, 2019 9:52 am
nathanw offline
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new old mac advice

My Indigo server host, a 2009 MBP 15", is finally causing me trouble with its age - it's fallen off the OS release train at El Capitan, 10.11, El Cap has older versions of TLS, and my mailhost has just turned off TLS 1.0, making it hard to get emails from my various home-automation services.
The natural next-in-line, my current desktop box, is a 2013 MBP 15", but given the contemporary state of Mac laptop keyboards I'm not ready to let it go yet. Thus, I'm in the market for a new-to-me machine to run Indigo.

Major contenders would be a cheap Mac mini - 2012 or 2014 era; slightly less cheap 2012 13" MBP (there seem to be a bunch of these around); expensive current-era Mini. Given that they're all upgrades relative to a 2009 box I'm sure they're good enough, and they can all run Mojave, but I'm wondering where other people land on this question at the moment. (I did see the thread claiming that the 2014 Minis were kind of underpowered).

Thoughts?

Posted on
Tue May 21, 2019 12:27 pm
siclark offline
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Re: new old mac advice

My 2014 mini with 4GB and lots of plugins is sluggish, esp when using headless and screen sharing to my iMac. I'd get 8GB. Indigo itself though runs ok, 95% of time.


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Posted on
Tue May 21, 2019 12:51 pm
kw123 offline
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new old mac advice

I think the 2012 Mac mini is better as it has 4 cores while the 2014 has 2.
Each core helps when running plugins.

Karl


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Posted on
Fri Jul 05, 2019 3:21 pm
siclark offline
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Re: new old mac advice

Finally have my new i5 Mac mini.
Wow, what have I been missing out on for so long!
However to get a USB drive plugged in as well I'm assuming I need to use a usb hub?

Posted on
Fri Jul 05, 2019 5:38 pm
Dual offline
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Re: new old mac advice

siclark wrote:
However to get a USB drive plugged in as well I'm assuming I need to use a usb hub?


What version USB spec and connector? I plugged a Samsung T5 Portable SSD - 500GB - USB 3.1 External SSD (MU-PA500B/AM) directly into the thunderbolt port using a USB Type C cable. It works.


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Posted on
Sat Jul 06, 2019 2:29 am
siclark offline
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Re: new old mac advice

Seagate 4TB external HDD USB 3.0 from last year. Will try a usb-c cable. Love same day Amazon delivery!


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Posted on
Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:09 am
jltnol offline
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Re: new old mac advice

FWIW, I'm running Indigo on a 2012 MacMini with 16gigs of ram, and it runs 10.14 and Indigo just fine. Both the server and the client, plus all the plugins seem to average well below 25-30 of % Processor. Not so sure if it will run 10.15, but that's a few months down the road. And I'm planning on getting a newer Mini hopefully later this year, just to be able to keep up to date with the latest MacOS and Indigo releases.

In my setup, the MacMini runs headless (although it is connected to my TV, as it also does some media playback), but aside from updating plugins, and Indigo, the Indigo client does it all from my much newer iMac. Even the updating can be done via the built in "Share Screen" (at least until Apple drops that feature..... :x )

I do have 4 cams set up but am running them thru a Synology server, so they are not tied into Indigo(although I wish someone would develop a plugin for Synology)

Bottom line is a pretty good mostly recent MacMini should do the trick.. just get as much RAM as reasonable...

Posted on
Sat Jul 06, 2019 11:17 am
siclark offline
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Re: new old mac advice

My old one was 2014 4GB so lacking on RAM and cores. Really didn't cope with all my plugins, HKB and security spy.



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Posted on
Thu Jul 11, 2019 7:18 am
Different Computers offline
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Re: new old mac advice

I'm a big proponent of using gear that is otherwise trash, so my suggestion is to look for a MacBook or MB Pro with a broken screen that is otherwise in working condition.

That's exactly what I run Indigo on: a MacBook Pro Retina 13" late 2013 with 4 GB RAM and a 128 GB SSD that got something dropped on its screen. I've moved my iTunes library to an SD card--which the MBP has a slot for.

Took a couple adapters in order to have ethernet and enough USB ports, but it has been totally reliable for me at a VERY reasonable cost. Plus it has a built in UPS!

SmartThings refugee, so happy to be on Indigo. 10.13.6 on an i5 MBP w/Harmony Hub, Hue, DomoPad, Dynamic URL, Device Extensions, HomeKit Bridge, MatplotLib, Plex, uniFAP, Wunderground, Nanoleaf, LED Simple Effects, Airfoil Pro, Grafana.

Posted on
Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:46 am
jay (support) offline
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Re: new old mac advice

Interesting - it never occurred to me but this does seem like a good alternative. A couple of questions:

  • Have you had any issues keeping it awake and if so what did you to to address those?
  • How do you use it directly (not via screen sharing) when you need to do something directly on the Mac? Do you have an external monitor and how to you convince it to make that screen the main screen (assuming it still thinks it's got a built-in monitor)?

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Posted on
Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:27 am
Different Computers offline
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Re: new old mac advice

For cooling as well, I keep the screen open a bit. I also have the Energy Saver preferences set to Never Sleep and think I went so far as to set them via the command line.

I essentially do not use it directly. I think one time when it was misbehaving for some reason during setup, I fumbled through using the cracked screen, which in my case does still show an image. If I had one that had a dead screen, I'd just attach a second monitor if needed. Those controls for which is main are just in Displays prefs. I'd probably set it to default to mirroring for simplicity.

I've got it set up in my "rack" which is really a pegboard wall that has some 3D printed brackets to hold the MacBook Pro. And since I have multiple USB things attached I'm actually running a high quality powered USB hub attached, and haven't had any problems, even with my Insteon bridge.

That MBP hasn't been out of those brackets, and hasn't had its keyboard touched in... probably four months? I do tend to fiddle with Indigo while I'm at work these days, via my VPN and screen sharing.

SmartThings refugee, so happy to be on Indigo. 10.13.6 on an i5 MBP w/Harmony Hub, Hue, DomoPad, Dynamic URL, Device Extensions, HomeKit Bridge, MatplotLib, Plex, uniFAP, Wunderground, Nanoleaf, LED Simple Effects, Airfoil Pro, Grafana.

Posted on
Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:30 pm
jay (support) offline
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Re: new old mac advice

Gotcha. If the screen was completely dead, if for some reason you couldn't get to it via screen sharing, it seems possible that you'd basically be screwed even with an external monitor if that monitor wasn't mirroring (which I don't believe is the default behavior). I wonder if you unplugged the cable(s) going to the built-in screen would be enough for it to recognize that and default all controls to an external monitor. Basically, just removing the lid entirely.

Hmmm..... ;)

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Posted on
Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:38 pm
jay (support) offline
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Re: new old mac advice

jay (support) wrote:
Gotcha. If the screen was completely dead, if for some reason you couldn't get to it via screen sharing, it seems possible that you'd basically be screwed even with an external monitor if that monitor wasn't mirroring (which I don't believe is the default behavior). I wonder if you unplugged the cable(s) going to the built-in screen would be enough for it to recognize that and default all controls to an external monitor. Basically, just removing the lid entirely.

Hmmm..... ;)


Apparently, there are different keyboard commands to toggle screen mirroring. On my MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015), it's cmd-fn-F1. That will toggle all connected monitors to mirror. It's apparently different on different Mac models, but I suspect it can be found relatively easily out on the net (or maybe just trial and error with combinations of fn, cmd, and function keys).

I'm sold - next time I have to replace my server I think I'll look for a MacBook with a dead monitor. Can also have a dead keyboard/trackpad as well. Basically, it has to boot and have working USB ports.

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Posted on
Fri Jul 12, 2019 8:57 am
Different Computers offline
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Re: new old mac advice

jay (support) wrote:
Basically, just removing the lid entirely.
Hmmm..... ;)


I had this idea, and asked a friend who was a certified Mac repair tech if the laptop would keep working with no built in screen attached.. Her response was "Nope!"

SmartThings refugee, so happy to be on Indigo. 10.13.6 on an i5 MBP w/Harmony Hub, Hue, DomoPad, Dynamic URL, Device Extensions, HomeKit Bridge, MatplotLib, Plex, uniFAP, Wunderground, Nanoleaf, LED Simple Effects, Airfoil Pro, Grafana.

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