Tesla1856

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Original poster
Jul 25, 2017
125
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Texas, USA
Just wondering what config yall are running your Mac-Minis in now-days.

I booted it up the other day and it offered me a few updates for Mojave (so I installed them). I'm trying to decide if I should just keep it on Mojave, or try to upgrade to Catalina (as it is also being offered). I've done all OS upgrades since Mavericks (but this choice seems different). I don't want to be "left behind" but not sure I want to go through the hassle or expense of getting rid of any 32-bit Apps. Since the future is Apple-CPU, seems we are at the end regardless. This is a secondary system for me (main is Windows machines). What did yall decide to do?

It seems to run fine on 4gb ram all these years (but I think macOS and Apps are gradually getting bigger). Should I go ahead and visit OWC and upgrade to 8gb ram? One last upgrade for the trusty old Mac-Mini? How much ram do yall run in yours now-days?
 

MacCheetah3

macrumors 65816
Nov 14, 2003
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Central MN
It's difficult to give suggestions without some usage insight. Nevertheless, I'll share my situation, and maybe it will help with your own assessment.

My Mac min is my main computer. I did upgrade to Catalina, maxed out the RAM, and before that added a 480GB SanDisk SSD to accompany the factory 500GB HDD, which I used to create a Fusion drive. I leave Mail, Messages, and a VPN app 'running' constantly, keep many tabs open when I use Safari, Firefox, and Chrome -- for different types of sites -- sometimes all three browsers open simultaneously. I occasionally use Affinity Photo (image editing), Brackets, and a variety of other apps. And since March have had Folding@Home -- which somewhat surprisingly has impacted overall performance very little. The one app that does drag like dead weight -- yes, even with F@H paused -- is Xcode. Clearly, this old mini doesn't have the oomph to run that IDE with smoothness.

Overall, an SSD provides a very good boost but RAM is just as significant. Upgrading from 8GB to 16GB stripped away almost all lag -- there are rare instances but nothing even recent enough to recall. As to whether you should increase your system's RAM, here's a simple check:

1. Open/Launch whatever apps you regularly use
2. Go to Applications -> Utilities -> Activity Monitor
3. At the top, click the Memory tab/button
4. At the bottom, look for Swap Used -- if the value is a lot, especially reaching GBs, your system will indeed benefit from more RAM.
 

iAssimilated

Contributor
Apr 29, 2018
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the PNW
So, from the looks of your sig, looks like you are keeping them on Mojave ?

Yes, for the moment. When Catalina came out I was hesitant to lose support for 32bit software as well as iTunes. Also, I was not encouraged by all the reports of how buggy Catalina was. As time went on there wasn’t really any features I had to have that Catalina offered to upgrade (except maybe sidecar and newer video drivers). Now, I feel Big Sur is too close to want to go to Catalina, but if my Catalina was the last official release for one on my minis then I would probably upgrade.
 
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Tesla1856

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 25, 2017
125
39
Texas, USA
It's difficult to give suggestions without some usage insight.

My Mac min is my main computer. I did upgrade to Catalina, maxed out the RAM, and before that added a 480GB SanDisk SSD

The one app that does drag like dead weight -- yes, even with F@H paused -- is Xcode. Clearly, this old mini doesn't have the oomph to run that IDE with smoothness.

Thanks for the response (as we have essentially the same Mac-Mini (Late 2012). You and others seem to be happy with the Catalina upgrade on this older computer. I guess I will go ahead and upgrade to the 8gb of OWC RAM for $50 and install Catalina ... one last upgrade session for my little Apple computer.

I have always like Apple phones/iPads and devices. I'm fairly-heavily into the Apple Ecosystem and iCloud. I bought this back in 2012 to see what their computers themselves were like (as I don't believe in Hackintosh). I do some X-Code, and other stuff on it, but spend most of my time on my Windows machines.

For a while, I used it as my Simple-Control (Roomie) Hub but that function has sorta been depreciated.

I guess I need to make a list of the Apps I use, and see which will be a problem (which don't have 64bit versions available).
 
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Tesla1856

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 25, 2017
125
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Texas, USA
but if my Catalina was the last official release for one on my minis then I would probably upgrade.

I guess I will then as I think Catalina is the end-of-the-road for the Mac-Mini (Late 2012).
I've got the SSD, so I'll go ahead and get the RAM (to start-out on the best footing possible).

At one time my plan was to buy an affordable Mac Pro tower. Make "the Mac" my main computer and just run Windows from it itself (either in Parallels or native BootCamp) for high-end Windows gaming and QuickBooks. However, I just can't justify $6000 for a single computer now-days. So Windows stays my main-OS (and I get to iCloud the best I can from Windows) ... using iCloud for Windows, Outlook-2016, and finally iCloud.com when all else fails.
 
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MacCheetah3

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Nov 14, 2003
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Central MN
Seems like a fair plan.
I guess I will go ahead and upgrade to the 8gb of OWC RAM for $50 and install Catalina ... one last upgrade session for my little Apple computer.
I'm a big fan of OWC, but sometimes, like with some Apple products, I feel it's okay to pass because of the price. Just FYI, I went with TimeTec Hynix modules from Amazon. More than a year later with my Mac mostly running 24/7, no KPs, no observed problems of any kind.
Mac-mini_RAM_SysInfo.png Mac-mini_RAM.png
I guess I need to make a list of the Apps I use, and see which will be a problem (which don't have 64bit versions available).
I did that before upgrading as well.  (menu) -> System Report -> Software -> Applications was a big help in identifying which apps were and weren't 64-bit. Fortunately, so far, I was disappointed about losing some, but those left behind weren't crucial and replacing others typically was for the overall better, e.g. PS Elements for Affinity Photo.
I have always like Apple phones/iPads and devices. I'm fairly-heavily into the Apple Ecosystem and iCloud. I bought this back in 2012 to see what their computers themselves were like (as I don't believe in Hackintosh). I did some X-Code, but with life and other projects ... I don't really have the quality time to spend with it. I'm semi-retired now, but spend most of my time on my Windows machines.
I've always tried to keep things logical and indeed have had Windows machines as secondaries for many years. At the moment, it's an HP Envy x360 2-in-1 laptop/tablet running Win 10, Office, and has several IDEs installed.
 
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Boyd01

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Feb 21, 2012
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New Jersey Pine Barrens
At one time my plan was to buy an affordable Mac Pro tower. Make "the Mac" my main computer and just run Windows from it itself (either in Parallels or native BootCamp) for high-end Windows gaming and QuickBooks.

I am running Windows 10 under Parallels on my 2018 i7/64gb/2tb Mini and it's great - works much better than I ever expected. I actually spend more time in a legacy Windows application (Globalmapper) than I spend in Mac apps. Haven't had a single crash or problem in over 3 months of heavy use. However, games don't interest me so I have no idea how well that would work. I also run MacOS Mountain Lion and Sierra virtual machines and they work perfectly too. This has given new life to my thousands of dollars worth of legacy 32-bit Mac software.

My 2012 2.6ghz Quad Mini has been converted to a file server, running Catalina. It could certainly still be a usable machine for general use (it has 16gb RAM and original internal Apple SSD) but now that I have the 2018 Mini, I don't really need it.
 

weckart

macrumors 603
Nov 7, 2004
5,342
2,838
2 SSDs in mine. One with Mojave and the other with Catalina. I will update to Big Sur when that is out or maybe a couple of revisions in and leave Mojave for compatibility with older 32 bit apps I want to hang onto.
 

MacCheetah3

macrumors 65816
Nov 14, 2003
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I will update to Big Sur when that is out or maybe a couple of revisions in and leave Mojave for compatibility with older 32 bit apps I want to hang onto.
If you‘re speaking of a 2012 Mac mini, that’s not happening. Big Sur is compatible with 2014 and newer Mac mini.
(near bottom)
 
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r6mile

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Feb 3, 2010
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You will of course be able to run Big Sur on a 2012 Mini, unofficially using the dosdude patcher or other means. I think onboard WiFi may be broken though?

I have a 2012 Mini with an i7 2.3Ghz CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 250GB SSD - I don't need more onboard storage as I have a 2TB USB3 drive connected to it. It runs great - the onboard HD Graphics 4000 is shockingly bad though. Thankfully I use my Mini more as a home server/internet browsing etc machine so it's ok.
 

r6mile

macrumors 65816
Feb 3, 2010
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They don't 'allow' it. Doesn't mean you can't still work around that!

 

weckart

macrumors 603
Nov 7, 2004
5,342
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Huh... Not sure what to say. Odd they still allow the beta(?)

Apple doesn't "allow" a lot of things. Doesn't mean you need to accept Cupertino's built in obsolescence. I run El Capitan on my Mac Pro 1,1, Catalina on my Mac Pro 5,1 among others all without Apple's blessing.
 

MacCheetah3

macrumors 65816
Nov 14, 2003
1,172
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Central MN
Ah. Okay. I forget about some of those options because I’ve become exhausted with figuratively shoehorning and duct taping gadgets. To me, it’s no longer worth the time and hassle for the potential results. But, of course, it’s subjective.
 
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dandeco

macrumors 6502a
Dec 5, 2008
517
268
Brockton, MA
My quad-core 2012 Mini has 16 GB of RAM and a 1 TB SSD in it, and it runs MacOS 10.15 Catalina just fine. It helps that I already had the SSD in place before upgrading to Catalina. I do have an external El Capitan boot drive for if I want to use certain older 32-bit applications.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
22,215
8,258
OP wrote:
"It seems to run fine on 4gb ram all these years (but I think macOS and Apps are gradually getting bigger). Should I go ahead and visit OWC and upgrade to 8gb ram?"

I'd suggest adding ONE 8gb DIMM, for a total of 10gb of installed RAM.
I've run my own late 2012 Mini like that for years, runs fine.
With 10gb, I've turned off VM disk swapping, so there are no "page ins" or "page outs" for memory. Runs great and never crashes. I DO take care so as to not overload the RAM with stuff that doesn't need to be running.

I wouldn't go "any further" than Mojave.
Actually, my own 2012 still runs 10.12 "Low Sierra", and it will run that way as long as it still works...
 

Tesla1856

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 25, 2017
125
39
Texas, USA
OP wrote:
"It seems to run fine on 4gb ram all these years (but I think macOS and Apps are gradually getting bigger). Should I go ahead and visit OWC and upgrade to 8gb ram?"

I'd suggest adding ONE 8gb DIMM, for a total of 10gb of installed RAM.
I've run my own late 2012 Mini like that for years, runs fine.
With 10gb, I've turned off VM disk swapping, so there are no "page ins" or "page outs" for memory. Runs great and never crashes. I DO take care so as to not overload the RAM with stuff that doesn't need to be running.

I wouldn't go "any further" than Mojave.
Actually, my own 2012 still runs 10.12 "Low Sierra", and it will run that way as long as it still works...

Hmm. Yeah, I think that's 10gb Single-Channel mode. I'm definitely going to get some OWC ram while they still have it ... as this is a nice little machine that still works.

Thanks for our educated opinion and a vote to keep it on Mojave. Kinda why I posted in first place. Leave it on this "32bit-64bit compatible OS" or move to the final allowable OS. Only thing is ... if I want to code in latest X-Code, I think Apple is gonna force the Catalina upgrade (like they have every year prior).
 
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loby

macrumors 65816
Jul 1, 2010
1,233
811
OP wrote:
"It seems to run fine on 4gb ram all these years (but I think macOS and Apps are gradually getting bigger). Should I go ahead and visit OWC and upgrade to 8gb ram?"

I'd suggest adding ONE 8gb DIMM, for a total of 10gb of installed RAM.
I've run my own late 2012 Mini like that for years, runs fine.
With 10gb, I've turned off VM disk swapping, so there are no "page ins" or "page outs" for memory. Runs great and never crashes. I DO take care so as to not overload the RAM with stuff that doesn't need to be running.

I wouldn't go "any further" than Mojave.
Actually, my own 2012 still runs 10.12 "Low Sierra", and it will run that way as long as it still works...

I am curious, I have read that some Mac mini 2012 users keep their Mac mini 2012 on "Low" Sierra.

Why? What makes "Low" Sierra the better option than anything beyond it like High Sierra or Mojave?

I thought about this, but I do to know why users are doing this.

Thanks in advance for your input.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
22,215
8,258
"I am curious, I have read that some Mac mini 2012 users keep their Mac mini 2012 on "Low" Sierra.
Why? What makes "Low" Sierra the better option than anything beyond it like High Sierra or Mojave?"


Low Sierra is the last Mac OS that has HFS+ as the "native file system".
Runs well enough on the old Mini that I just don't see any need to "go further".
But... that's just me.
 
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Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
5,729
2,715
New Jersey Pine Barrens
I kept my 2012 Mini on Sierra until June. I was running some legacy software and with each MacOS update, something else would break. So, I just stopped updating. Have now upgraded to a 2018 Mini with Catalina and am using Sierra and Mountain Lion virtual machines for my old software. Have updated the 2012 Mini to Catalina and only use it as a file server for Time Machine backups and archival storage.

I still have my 2013 MacBook Air on Sierra, but no longer actively use it.
 
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iluvmacs99

macrumors 6502a
Apr 9, 2019
863
618
Just wondering what config yall are running your Mac-Minis in now-days.

I booted it up the other day and it offered me a few updates for Mojave (so I installed them). I'm trying to decide if I should just keep it on Mojave, or try to upgrade to Catalina (as it is also being offered). I've done all OS upgrades since Mavericks (but this choice seems different). I don't want to be "left behind" but not sure I want to go through the hassle or expense of getting rid of any 32-bit Apps. Since the future is Apple-CPU, seems we are at the end regardless. This is a secondary system for me (main is Windows machines). What did yall decide to do?

It seems to run fine on 4gb ram all these years (but I think macOS and Apps are gradually getting bigger). Should I go ahead and visit OWC and upgrade to 8gb ram? One last upgrade for the trusty old Mac-Mini? How much ram do yall run in yours now-days?

My main daily driver is now a Windows 10 machine, but still use macs for creative applications. My 2011 Mini is on "low" Sierra simply because it's the last OS that supports HFS+ and my legacy apps that I don't plan on upgrading and act as a server for all my machines. The Mini has 12Gb of RAM, 8Gb of which came from my now deceased uncle's Windows laptop. 12Gb is perfect for server duties. The Mini also speaks to my PowerMac G5 which also runs some of the legacy apps that I have via Tiger OSX. So the Mini is perfect for that all-in-one server. Like in the past, I'm just going to wait it out and let the Apple Silicon macs mature a bit. Having experiences moving from 68030 to PPC machines and that was a series of expensive lessons and then thankfully learned that lesson well so when Apple transitioned from PPC to Intel, I bought a PC and waited out until it matured enough in 2008 when I dove right back to Mac with the Macbook and then the current Mini I have now as well as the Mac Pro.

With the new Windows 10, it has all the power I need and the latest apps that I use the most anyhow. I may dive back to a Mac Mini if it comes with an Apple Silicon and offers something unique.
 
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