Nicolas314

All my geeky stuff ends up here. Mostly Unix-related

My next desktop: part 1

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My main desktop at home is a glorious Mac Mini from 2007. This poor machine has seen every possible hardware upgrade allowed by the motherboard and is starting to show its age now, with no support for screen resolutions beyond 1920×1080. There are good 4k monitors out there for about 400 euros and I expect prices to drop a bit soon under the 300 euro threshold, so if I ever want to have the retina experience at home it is time for an upgrade!

Heading straight to the Apple store site is a bit disheartening. A decent Mac Mini configuration would set me off by 1,200 euros and that is just not going to happen. The mini was a revolution when it was released: small form factor, silent, and powerful enough to run everything I needed. Almost a decade later there must be other contenders on the small is beautiful market so there is absolutely no reason a mini-PC should cost so much. What are the alternatives for a silent desktop running on a BIG screen?

27-inch iMac? Forget it. If I am paying 2,500 euros for a computer in 2015 I expect it to be delivered by Madonna dancing in a string, handing me off a glass of champagne. And I want a rainbow-farting poney with wings too.

Windows PC? Forget it. My recent experience with Windows 10 has not been stellar to say the least. My main grief is with the privacy options that keep popping up, reminding me of the Facebook or LinkedIn way of introducing disastrous privacy options that are ticked on by default. The fact that you have to log onto your home computer using a cloud account is just nuts. Leave me out of this please! That, and the fact that you have to dedicate 50% of your computing resources to software updates and anti-virus scans, or the sudden reboots while you are actively using the desktop because Windows decided you need this security update immediately.

Linux desktop? Why not. I had Linux desktops for 15+ years and loved them, but I admit having now quite an investment in OSX software that have no equivalent in the Linux world, unfortunately. Re-training myself with open-source equivalents (when they exist) would need a lot of time I could save by simply staying with OSX.

Is there a way I could run OSX without having to pay the hefty Apple tax? Certainly! It requires building your own machine from scratch but it can be done. These machines are most usually called Hackintosh or Customac. They require a great deal of attention to build and install, and a lot more maintenance than your average OS installation, but if your time is free you can seriously reduce your hardware bill.

With that in mind, I started looking around for simple and reasonable solutions and ended up with a tiny, silent, and remarkably powerful little box that runs OSX Yosemite perfectly well. The complete walkthrough will be described in my next post.

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Written by nicolas314

Monday 9 November 2015 at 12:30 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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