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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hello Mac mini

As I think I promised, I am giving an update on the dead MacBook saga. A new Mac mini (2011 version) arrived yesterday via UPS. I loaded it with 8Gb of RAM, an i5 processor (I did not have the patience to wait two weeks for an i7,) and an AMD GPU with 1/4Gb dedicated memory. It's not the fastest computer on the face of the Earth, that's for sure, but it's perhaps ten times faster than the one I had before. So far, it has performed flawlessly, out-rendering any renders I had from before.

The only thing I'm a bit afraid of is to have Cycles run on it. My last computer died from a Cycles indigestion, and I've been wondering whether there's anything wrong in Cycles' memory management that pushes things to an unhealthy extreme. One thing I noticed is that GPU rendering does not work with the GPU in the Mac mini. Too bad :( Another thing I noticed is that Cycles gets the Mac mini cranking big time. Although normally it is a pretty silent machine, as soon as I get Cycles going, it begins to spin, get warm and sputter. I don't think I dare leave it all alone during a render! Anyway, I'm sure I'll get used to it.

One more thing I wanted to talk about is the migration process from a Time Machine backup into a newer Mac. In my experience, it worked OK. However, there's this very annoying thing that happened. Instead of porting my original user from my older Mac and making that the root admin user, with all the settings intact and whatnot, the Migration Wizard created an entirely new user, luckily an admin too, and plonked everything in there. Like in the old times, I've had to move everything over manually. I refuse to have two admin users in one computer that will be used by just one person! I spoke to Apple, and the guy basically said "Sorry, that's as good as it gets." Suddenly, it does not feel like the 21st century anymore.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, cool blog, came from blendernation.
    Why a mac mini and not a fully workstation? Isn't the latter cheaper and more reliable?
    My computer died when rendering in blender, actually 2 renders at the same time (still and animation), pretty frustrating, the shop where I bought it didn't tell me yet what was the problem, hope it's only the Power supply.
    What was your problem?