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Online Teacher Needs Laptop and Monitor(s)

clueless88

macrumors regular
Aug 23, 2020
100
24
Right now my priorities are:

1) internal ram
2) stand to hold mac laptop in closed position
3) external webcam
4) mic (I have Samson Q2U on backorder, but would the Samson Meteor be better since it's smaller?)

I would like to see how much I can do on my Mac and not the PC. And no. I don't want to separate work and home computers. I have some side business that I need to use the home computer (plus I like Macs better).

5) then maybe a better and larger monitor, or just a second 21.5" for the PC.
When I mentioned separating work and home I was referring to only doing your teaching duties on the district computer (which comes with IT support and requisite access and programs) and doing all non school related activity on your personal computer. Your side business is part of your personal life and should be on your personal computer.

Your district provided device should have all of the tools that you need to do remote teaching, and if there are any problems with it, the district IT is there to sort things out for you. It just seems like you will be expending a lot of energy trying to duplicate some of that functionality on your beloved Mac, with the reality being that you will still need to do things on the district laptop. You have a less than optimally running Mac, don't make things worse by trying to flog the limping device with required district related tasks, you will just get frustrated.

I understand your desire to get your Mac up to snuff or get another Mac. You need to step back and look at that as a completely different issue--yes you do indeed need to have your personal computer work smoothly and efficiently.
 
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wacomme

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 21, 2009
284
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When I mentioned separating work and home I was referring to only doing your teaching duties on the district computer (which comes with IT support and requisite access and programs) and doing all non school related activity on your personal computer. Your side business is part of your personal life and should be on your personal computer.

Your district provided device should have all of the tools that you need to do remote teaching, and if there are any problems with it, the district IT is there to sort things out for you. It just seems like you will be expending a lot of energy trying to duplicate some of that functionality on your beloved Mac, with the reality being that you will still need to do things on the district laptop. You have a less than optimally running Mac, don't make things worse by trying to flog the limping device with required district related tasks, you will just get frustrated.

I understand your desire to get your Mac up to snuff or get another Mac. You need to step back and look at that as a completely different issue--yes you do indeed need to have your personal computer work smoothly and efficiently.
So would upgrading the internal RAM increase the performance of the MacBook Pro?

I see what you're saying about separating work and personal. It seems, then, I should maybe get a 27" monitor, like the Dell mentioned above, and have it connected to both the PC and Mac.
 

wacomme

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 21, 2009
284
24
My mistake. I'm wondering if I install a bigger internal SSD drive and use that as the boot drive if that would speed things up?
 

justashooter

macrumors regular
Apr 8, 2020
138
52
Why don't you try my earlier suggestion?? Empty the internal drive, you have room on the Lacie, format and install OS X on the internal drive, enable TRIM and see how it runs. Only use the internal drive for the OS and apps. This would cost you nothing and you will find out how well the computer runs. If it runs like it should, then you can decide to install a larger drive.
 

clueless88

macrumors regular
Aug 23, 2020
100
24
I am still a bit confused with your setup. You have a 120 or 128GB internal SSD that probably came with your MBP. You also mention that you have an external 500GB drive that you refer to as "system"--does that mean that your OS and apps are located on the external drive? If that is the case, I completely agree with justashooter--move any important files/photos/music off the internal SSD, format the SSD and install a Mac OS that will support all of the apps you use (I think Catalina may not support the 32 bit apps). Then install all the apps that you use and just use the external drive for your documents, files, etc.

If things work to you liking speed wise then you could get a larger SSD and clone your existing SSD using something like the trial version of Carbon Copy Cloner (?) and swap the ssds.

I have a similar vintage mid-2012 13" non retina MBP with 8GB ram and an SSD running Catalina and am satisfied with its performance.
 

wacomme

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 21, 2009
284
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Why don't you try my earlier suggestion?? Empty the internal drive, you have room on the Lacie, format and install OS X on the internal drive, enable TRIM and see how it runs. Only use the internal drive for the OS and apps. This would cost you nothing and you will find out how well the computer runs. If it runs like it should, then you can decide to install a larger drive.
OK. I thought it wasn't possible to just install the OS onto the 120GB internal drive? By what means (program/app) do I do this?
 

justashooter

macrumors regular
Apr 8, 2020
138
52
I would try this first without any external hard drive attached. If that does not work you may have to do this with the 500gb external attached but - MAKE SURE YOU PICK THE 120GB INTERNAL DRIVE TO INSTALL OS X - You don't want to erase the external drive.
 

wacomme

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 21, 2009
284
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OK. I disconnected the external drive and was able to install 10.8.4 onto the internal drive. I was then trying to install Catalina, but I kept getting install errors (something about no content). I tried several times with the same results. So I connected the external drive a booted from it. That's where it now stands. Attached are a few screen shots. What happened, and how should I proceed?
 

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justashooter

macrumors regular
Apr 8, 2020
138
52
Because the 2012 MBP's has been around so long, you have to go in steps. You can go from Mountain Lion (10.8.4 ) to El Capitan (10.11). Boot to just the internal drive, then go tp https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT206886 with instructions to upgrade to El Capitan.

I would suggest that you go from El Capitan to Mojave and stay there, I find it a very stable OS (more stable than Catalina). If you have 32 bit apps that you use, you have to stay at Mojave. Apple dropped support for 32 bit apps with Catalina. And Apple is still providing security updates for Mojave. I have stopped at Mojave and find it very trouble free. Instructions at https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT210190

If you insist on upgrading to Catalina it should pop up in your Software Update.

Also, after you get to either Mojave or Catalina you have to activate TRIM.
 

wacomme

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 21, 2009
284
24
I have to start over. It's partway through the Catalina install and it's stuck in a circular cycle.
 

wacomme

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 21, 2009
284
24
Ok. I have Catalina installed on the internal drive, and I have installed many of the programs I need - a few still need installing. I also have TRIM on.

I have about 70GB on the 120GB drive. I've off-loaded my docs and photos to the cloud. However, the drive shows a significant amount of drive space for photos and document - I don't understand why? I'm saving everything in the cloud, right? Once my USB3 cable comes for my external 500GB drive, can I off-load the documents, photos, and music to the external drive? If so, how? I really don't want to since I want to use the external drive as backup (is this necessary if my files are in the cloud?), but I suppose I could partition the drive for docs & media, and backup.

Attached is a photo of the drive space and speed test. Looking good? Suggestions for changes?

Also, I have a USB switch coming. I hope to be able to print, keyboard, and use one mouse for both computers. I also have a DisplayPort cable coming. Before I buy a nicer 27" monitor, I want to use my current monitor to switch back and forth between the Mac and PC. The PC is connected to the monitor via HDMI. The Mac will connect via DisplayPort. I'm hoping one of the monitor buttons can switch between the two.

I also just ordered a LogiTech C920x webcam. I'll connect it to the Mac. My Samson U2e mic is on backorder. I hope it comes soon since the internal mic on the Mac is broken; I'm hoping the USB connection works. If not, I suppose I can get a cheap XLR mixer since the Samson mic connects via USB or XLR.

Of, I also bought a vertical laptop holder to hold the Mac in a closed clamshell position on my desk. If the USB and monitor switches work I'll buy a second vertical laptop holder for the PC. This will free up a lot of desk space.
 

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justashooter

macrumors regular
Apr 8, 2020
138
52
You emptied and formated the internal drive before installing a clean OS x, correct?? Where did the photos and documents that are now on the internal drive come from??? Did it automatically download all the data that was in thre cloud? I am at a loss to what is going on. I also do not understand why your write speed is only 67 MB/s. It should be close to the same speed as the read speed.
 

wacomme

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 21, 2009
284
24
You emptied and formated the internal drive before installing a clean OS x, correct?? Where did the photos and documents that are now on the internal drive come from??? Did it automatically download all the data that was in thre cloud? I am at a loss to what is going on. I also do not understand why your write speed is only 67 MB/s. It should be close to the same speed as the read speed.
Yes. I reformatted the internal drive before the OS install. I have no idea about the docs and photos? Does this screenshot help? The photo library is in the Photos folder, and an empty WebEx folder is in downloads. I'm perplexed.
 

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wacomme

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 21, 2009
284
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A few more screen shots.
 

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clueless88

macrumors regular
Aug 23, 2020
100
24
Interesting pop up in your 4th screen shot--I thought images stored in the cloud were just stored in the cloud--apparently not, "optimized versions will be kept on this Mac".

Hopefully once you get it going you can migrate your photos, videos, and documents to the external drive and off your internal drive and also keep backups in iCloud.
 

mk313

macrumors 65816
Feb 6, 2012
1,115
464
I wouldn't worry about the drive space being taken up by the photos too much. You have sync to iCloud on, and it will fill up a portion of your free space with full sized copies of your photos as long as you have enough space. I'd start to move the stuff over from your external drive (whatever you want to move) and then stop when you get to around 10 gigs or so of space left. Over time (within a few hours or so) photos will start to optimize storage, removing the full sized photos and storing only small versions of them. You'll reclaim some of that space that photos are taking up. Right now, since it has an almost completely free drive, it thinks it can store a bunch of photos on there. It will adjust over time. Once it deletes some of the full Rez photos, you can move more files over to your main drive & it will repeat the process. The same thing goes for files. It will start to remove full copies from your desktop & documents folders over time, but right now, since it has 70 more free gigs of space, it doesn't see any need to remove them yet. Over time it will start to remove your least recently used files.

I'm not sure if 10 gigs of free space is the magic number, but I know if I ever go below that, my computer starts to crawl, so I've always kept that as the low end of what I will allow for myself. If you fill it up to that capacity, and then let it sit overnight or so, you should reclaim some hard drive space & you can move more files over. The other thing you can do (assuming you have enough iCloud storage) is to drag your files from the external drive directly into the iCloud folder (using the finder) and it will upload your files and then only bring some down to your desktop (based your available disk space).

Also, you may want to try the write test again after a few days. Every time I've set up a new computer (in the past few years), it's super slow at first, as iCloud syncing, photo syncing, music syncing, desktop syncing, time capsule initial syncing, etc were going on in the background. It took a few days for everything to wrap up (photos took the longest to sync for some reason). Once that was done, my computer was way faster.
 

wacomme

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 21, 2009
284
24
OK. Here's an update:

  1. I have a 1TB SSD drive in my Mac. Read and write speeds are around 400-500 mb/sec. TRIM is on.
  2. I moved the 128GB SSD internal drive to an external drive
  3. I bought a USB switch so I can go back and forth between my Mac and PC with one keyboard, one mouse, and one printer.
  4. I bought two stands to hold both laptops in a closed upright position - saves tons of desk space.
  5. I bought a 27" 4K LG monitor (during Amazon days) that I have connected to my Mac
  6. I'm using the 21" Dell monitor for the PC.
  7. I bought a Samson Q2U mic for webinars
  8. I bought a LogiTech 920x webcam
  9. I bought a couple of LCD lights and hardware to mount and position them to shine on me when needed for light, but out of the way.
  10. I bought a USB3 7 port hub.

So far so good, and cheaper than a new laptop. Thank you.

Now I need to work on a data drive for one of the externals and a backup for the other. For backup, should I use TimeMachine?

656A85DB-B7C4-4DFC-ACA6-AD86776300F6_1_105_c.jpeg
 
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clueless88

macrumors regular
Aug 23, 2020
100
24
You definitely have maximized the usable space on your desk--it looks much cleaner than your first setup. Is there a way for you to use both monitors for one laptop? In Windows you can essentially use a second monitor to act as an extension of the first monitors desktop.
 

AppleSmack

macrumors regular
Jun 30, 2010
230
72
You definitely have maximized the usable space on your desk--it looks much cleaner than your first setup. Is there a way for you to use both monitors for one laptop? In Windows you can essentially use a second monitor to act as an extension of the first monitors desktop.
Some monitors have multiple inputs. You could have, for example, the PC on HDMI and the Mac on Displayport connections. It would be fiddly if you need to do it often, but you could then switch between HDMI and Displayport on each monitor.
 

wacomme

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 21, 2009
284
24
You definitely have maximized the usable space on your desk--it looks much cleaner than your first setup. Is there a way for you to use both monitors for one laptop? In Windows you can essentially use a second monitor to act as an extension of the first monitors desktop.
How do you switch between computers with one monitor? I would like to use just one monitor, but I go back and forth between computers often and want an easy switch. The USB switcher is one click and instant switching of mouse and keyboard.
 

mk313

macrumors 65816
Feb 6, 2012
1,115
464
Pretty much every monitor made in the past 10-15 years has multiple inputs.

READ THE LG OWNER’S MANUAL.

Agreed. Check the manual but it’s usually just pressing a bottom on the bottom or side of the monitor.

Also, if you don’t need to access the actual laptops themselves often, you can free up some work space by moving them behind your monitors
 

ignatius345

macrumors 68040
Aug 20, 2015
3,025
4,018
I'm checking with my school to see if all of my school function needs can be placed on my personal Mac computer running Parallels. The school district likes control and they may not allow me to add certain functions to my personal computer for school use.

One approach that can help: make a separate user account on your Mac so you have one account for personal, one for work. You can use fast user switching to go between the two as you wish. I did this for a while working remotely, had all my work stuff installed and running on the Work account, including their VPN -- and then could switch over to my Personal with my stuff totally separate. I'd switch back and forth during the workday on breaks and stuff.

I don't have that job anymore, but I still like to have a separate, bare-bones user account strictly for writing so I don't get distracted with emails, texts, other alerts.
 
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