atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#5035: Mac Mini may not be all that spiffy.

When I brought the Mac Mini home, Mrs. Fungus thought it would be a natural for my mother-in-law, who needs a computer that actually works but doesn't need anything too fancy or powerful. Pulling the top cover off and verifying the configuration didn't take long; it took me longer to find a way to get past the password prompt. Turns out there's a simple three-command way of doing it:

...which lets you set up a new user; you have to boot into command line mode (command-s at startup) and issue some Unix commands, but then when you reboot it you can set it up as if it were a new computer. The old user info is still present, and of course without the password you can't get at it, but that's a minor issue; from there one should be able to restore the computer to its out-of-box state. (But I might have to buy an OS disk to make that happen. We'll see.)

I didn't get that far, yet, because I wanted to see how it would work for basic web surfing and such. It did not work very well. Here's the problem: it took me four tries to get it connected to the bunker's WiFi network, and when I did, performance was...wanting. I can read the Fungus with it, but every other web site hangs and won't load, or takes a really long time.

Well, here's one problem: the dang thing has 512 MB of RAM in it. El-Hazard--which also has a dual-core processor in it running at 1.6 GHz--has 2 GB and runs much faster than this. I could build my mother-in-law a mini-ITX system that would blow this thing away for under $100, for crying out loud, since I have a case already. Before I broke my glasses I'd actually considered buying a new motherboard for El-Hazard which can take 4 GB (a snip at $36 shipped) and 4 GB of RAM for the thing (about another $30), and if I'd done that that I could have thrown the old mobo into the spare case, toss Vista on it, and presto!

I can get a 2 GB upgrade for this thing for about $20-ish on Ebay. That should/ought to/might fix the speed problem, or might not.

Next step is to try plugging it directly into the network to see if it works better when it's got a wired net connection. My guess is "no" because 512 MB of RAM, FFS.

Meanwhile, the gaming machine for Og: while waiting to see if the Mac Mini would load a web page, I popped the cover on it and had a gander inside. It's clean, considering where it came from and how old it is--vintage 2010--but it's got a quad-core AMD processor and 6 GB of RAM, and a 1 TB hard drive, so it ought to perform well enough for Og's purposes. He's not going to be running WoW or Skyrim on a 30" monitor, or even a multi-monitor setup.

Still, that's a project for another day.

* * *

Errand day tomorrow, though "errands" consist mainly of going to the doctor and to the store. Little else, and I'm sticking to that.

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