Monday, February 4, 2019

How I Talked Myself Out of the New Mac Mini

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Living the iPad life has been great. In addition to my iPad I have a server running at home I use for needs the iPad Pro can't meet. My home server has become legacy and since it can't run Mojave or support iOS 12 development it needs to be replaced. I was extremely excited by the new Mac Mini and was on the verge of buying one, except I convinced myself I wanted to wait for the Mac Mini running on Apple silicon which is going to come soon, right?
In 2013, my company sold off some old computers and I scored a nice MacBook Air mid-2011 which replaced my older server, a 2004 PowerBook G4. My home computer serves as media/file server and doesn't do much: 1) host my local iTunes library, 2) re-encode media to MP4 for me so it can be that library, 3) run HomeBridge server, 4) do random simple things my iPad cannot.
The server has been getting more use the iPad life. I use Screens to connect into this machine to do the things I can't do directly on iPad. Nothing much, nothing too complex, but lots off little annoying things like when I want to put a new ringtone on my phone.
The new MacMini seems like my dream of the perfect little headless computer that can do everything I need and run WAY faster than the aging laptop. There is some concern that there isn't a very powerful GPU, but my main graphics requirement is video encoding and if I can do H265 using the T2 co-processor to do hardware encoding that would be fast fast fast! So, why not buy it? Because my home server usually lasts me around 5-10 years and while this one is now at the 6 year mark I've got this huge suspicioun that the next iteration of the MacOS lineup is going to be a version of the A13XS or A14XS chip powering it. Do I really want the last great Intel Mac Mini or the first good ARM one? I think the answer is obvious.