For the past six months, my current computer, a 2011 Mac Pro has been having issues. It just keeps freezing up randomly. I tried restoring from a backup, I tried reinstalling the operating system. And finally I even did a complete wipe of the machine. But alas, the problem kept happening. So after months of research, watched a lot of YouTube videos, I finally decided to pull the trigger and get a new computer – the new M1 Mac Mini.
My issues with my Mac Pro 2011? It freezes a lot. And a lot of the freezes happen when I’m doing live streams. The video freezes, my computer freezes. For some weird reason my audio keeps passing through. But there’s absolutely nothing I can do. The only thing I can do is actually go onto the computer itself and hold down the power button and restart it that way. I’ll spare you my whole apple support ordeal…
I’ll be honest with you, I wanted to buy a new Mac Pro. But they are ridiculously expensive. I mean, they’re just stupid, expensive. I just couldn’t justify it. So I kind of started from scratch and looked at YouTube videos and all roads started to point towards the M1 Mac Mini. By the way, if this is something you’re curious about, or maybe looking at upgrading or getting a M1 Mac Mini, here are some videos I found helpful:
Now before I set up my new M1 Mac Mini, I thought it might be interesting to do kind of a workspace breakdown of what I currently have set up. Because this might be interesting to you if you’re out there and you’re a creator, or you want to kind of up your even home studio kind of game. By no means is this meant to be definitive. There are a lot of these videos on YouTube and I personally love them, which is why I thought I would do this one and show you my current setup.
Now the way I’m going to do this might be a little bit unconventional. But what I’m going to do is connect my M1 Mac Mini to one of my monitors, and keep my old computer the 2011 Mac Pro connected to the other monitor. And what I’m going to do is on my old computer, pull up my list of applications and then download them on the M1 Mac Mini.
So you may be asking, “why do it this way, instead of just restoring from a backup?” Well, the reason being is because when you get an M1 Mac Mini, oftentimes software has a different version, a different compatible version with M1 with this apple silicone chip, then with the old Intel chips. So if I were just to restore from backup, a lot of those apps would still work but they wouldn’t be optimized for the new M1 Mac Mini. Also, the whole reason for doing this is because I have no idea what’s causing the issue on my old computer. Now it could just be that that computer is 10 years old. That could be it. But it could be some other weird configuration or nefarious thing on the machine. And I don’t want to bring that over into my new M1 environment. So if I do it this way, I’m at least doing everything I can to ensure that the environment is clean.
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I want to talk to you about the downside of buying any new Apple device, dongles and docks.
The M1 Mac Mini actually comes with a pretty good selection and quantity of I/O (input/output) ports. However, there’s still not enough for my multiple cameras, my multiple monitors, and all of my peripherals. So here’s the rundown of the handful of dongles and docks that I bought to make my current setup work with my new M1 Mac Mini.
So one thing I did splurge for a little bit, and it seems like kind of a boring splurge, but I know that inputs and outputs are kind of at a premium is the Apple wireless keyboard, and it’s the one with the keypad on it, it’s I currently have the wired version of this. And I know it sounds weird, but it’s kind of hard to go back to one without a keypad, when you have a keyboard that does have a keypad seems super small. This one is Bluetooth, and it has also the touch the thumbprint or fingerprint sensor thing in the keypad.
First of all, it got rave reviews, from pretty much all the videos, I watched that it works really well. But first impression, the keys, and this will seem minor, but I don’t know, the keys don’t seem as tall as my wired version, which again, is 10 years old. Now, I’m sure that somewhere on the on someone’s bottom line at Apple by shaving the keyboard, the keys down a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a millimeter save them $2 billion. But it just it doesn’t feel as good as my old wired one. But again, first impression, definitely connected right out of the gate had absolutely no problems. And it’s very quiet, which I do like also. So that’s the first thing I got was a wireless keypad.
Now because the actual internal storage of the Mac Mini only comes in two options. And even upgrading it more than that with Apple when you build it is incredibly expensive. When we’re talking about storage, I opted to get a peripheral that can expand the Mac Minis storage. And what I got is this AGP Tek Hub. And now here’s what’s interesting, this is a USB hub. But inside of it, you can actually put a SSD hard drive. So you connect this to the computer, it acts as a kind of gives you some extra USBs. But additionally, it can give you storage now, the storage that I bought with it. And again, this is first impressions, I wasn’t quite sure which one to get. But I’ve had good success with Samsung. So I bought this Samsung one terabyte now. I do a lot of video editing. I won’t edit video off this, but I have seen some videos that say I’d be just fine editing video off this, I’m going to edit video off another external scratch what I call scratch disk, which is a thunderbolt. So this is mostly just for a lot of my documents, Photoshop files, things like that, but stuff that I kind of want to keep on the computer, if you will.
When I connected this initially though, I did have to format it. It didn’t read the drive, but that’s pretty standard. So I just formatted it in Disk Utility and bing bang, boom, and it was good to go – one terabyte of storage right there.
The last thing I got to extend my display capabilities because as you saw, I have two displays – I’d love to have three, four or five – I like to have a million displays but right now I have two. I got the Pluggable dual display port and HDMI hub.
So this is something I can plug in to my Mac Mini and extend the display so I can have two displays (FYI, Pluggable has a great YouTube channel). Pluggable provides a ton of solutions, particularly if you’re looking to upgrade from the Intel Mac to an M1, because there are some display limitations.
This particular hub can be set it up to be vertical or horizontal and comes with a really nice sturdy stand. It is not cheapy plastic, it is a solidly built unit and the base is also really solid. It also has plugs in both the front and the back for added flexibility.
So there it is, how I switched over to a new M1 Mac Mini and my personal Studio workspace setup. Are you thinking about getting an M1 Mac Mini and have questions? Feel free to drop them in the comments on my video. Or maybe you bought an M1 Mac Mini peripheral dongle or hub that you love and I didn’t have it on my list? Let me know!
Apple Magic Keyboard – https://amzn.to/3EcXfnJ
AGP Tek Hub – https://amzn.to/3E49ZNr
Samsung SSD – https://amzn.to/3vg7QKJ
Plugable Thunderbolt Dock – https://amzn.to/3jvOxaA
ATEM Mini – https://amzn.to/37aD2Tv
Sony a6000 – https://amzn.to/363LSSm