I own a mid-2011 Mac Mini Server. Earlier this year I brought it to Japan with me. Being relatively compact, it was easy to transport. But it was in rough shape: hard drives loudly hummed, the fan whistled, and the whole operation ran hot.
Over on Reddit I outlined my situation as basically Is upgrading my Mac Mini’s Disks Worth It? The answer was yes! I got a Dell 27″ IPS display, an AmazonBasics monitor mounting arm, and cleaned up my desk to celebrate. Note to self: I still need a good chair.
Then I tackled the big issue – work at home.
There is not much need for me to bring my company issued MacBook Air home with me most days. My current generation iPad with a Magic Keyboard handles 90% of what I need in the off hours. But what about what about the 10%, and when I work from home?
Using VMWare Fusion on my Mac Mini, I set up a virtual machine for work. It only took 4 tries to get it set up properly for work. The issues were with the setup mechanism with the corporate environment, but VMWare did me few favors – it doesn’t support non-English keyboards in guest VMs without editing each VM’s VMX file, no Unity for macOS guests, no T.R.I.M. support, and other headaches. Regardless, the apps I need for work installed and work in the VM … mostly.
Next I need my backup plan for the Mini, buy that chair I mentioned, and come up with an elegant way to disguise my desk when not needed. I’m thinking small curtains.
I might consider an incremental upgrade to a 2012 Server but not to the 2014 Mac Mini models due to their lack of user replaceable components. If Apple were to release a new Mac Mini in the 2011/2012 mold with updated everything I would jump on it.
As things are, even though my Mini is now end of support with Apple, it works well with upgrades. When the Mini dies, if Apple keeps on its current course, I’d get a topped out MacBook Pro 15″ (2015 model if I can find one) and just permanently dock it with a smart outlet to keep the battery in as good a shape as possible. I’d hope I’d never have to use it as an real laptop (unless the 2015 keyboard is an option) but use Negative Visualization to prepare me for the experience.
It would be sad, though.