Why you should get a Mac Mini as your work computer.
(This post is not sponsored by Apple computers, though if they want to, feel free to send me a message. Haha)
Today’s post is brought to you by the single most asked question in most Facebook Groups that I am a part of: Which computer should I get?
So, the short answer is you should figure out what your budget is and what features you need depending on the work you are looking to do with your computer, and then match that to what you think you want your work style to be like.
The really short version: My current set up looks like this:
My set up is (1) mac-mini (with higher specs) (2) an apple keyboard, and (3) a 24-inch computer monitor (4) a wireless mouse (I’m looking to upgrade this).
My current set up in hot and humid Taiwan. Not pictured: the giant fan aimed at the Mac mini. Also side note, I’m in state mandated quarantine right now as of the writing of this blog post, so I’ve not set up a legit work table, which I’m hoping to set up once I’m allowed to go outside of my house. But honestly, being a solo traveler and a solopreneur the biggest thing you learn is to be as resourceful as possible with whatever you have around you.
I run a digital studio (think Design and Media) and love traveling so my biggest requirement is that my gear needs to be easily packable, this means investing in gear that might be more expensive but can have multiple purposes so that it’s worth lugging it around the world.
Figure out if you have a brand preference or if you like a particular Operating System: ex. Apple vs Windows computer. Some people buy all Apple Products because they all sync together really well. *slowly raises hand*
Personally I prefer Apple because their customer service is top notch, also most of the time things just work, plug-and-play style.
So now let’s talk about my current set up. Ever since the Pandemic, I decided that I was going to set up a “home office” that would allow me to separate my work life from my personal life. Before the Pandemic, my office was usually co-Working spaces in a city I’m digital nomading in (RIP Travel2020), or a coffee shop, in the case of Taiwan, (which is slowing picking up in the whole co working space trend, but only in major cities.) So my 13inch MacBook Pro was my main setup. I still LOVE it.
I have a Mac Mini that I upgraded to fit my digital media production needs, it’s hooked up to a 24-inch wide monitor. If I wanted to, I can look into getting another screen OR getting a bigger screen. I’ve also bought and Apple Keyboard that I can use for both my Mac mini or MacBook Pro.
The larger screen has increased my productivity massively whether it’s designing a graphic or editing a podcast. Another great benefit from having a larger monitor is that my work posture is a lot better. I had wrist and neck pain from working on my 13 inch MBP, the larger screen that’s been propped up is a good solution to that. Although, I did buy a laptop stand that has also worked wonders for my posture, that I use for conference calls.
If you’re not planning on traveling a lot, I think this is a great setup for anyone running a virtual assistance company. I do primarily brand and web design for my clients here at Tiny Oak Studio, so the Mac mini can definitely handle the work I throw at it.
I did do a bit of research about the specs that was needed to do the work. There are web designers running their studios and doing their client work with a Mac mini set up and their best advice was to up the RAM.
Which brings me to my next point…
What’s great about a Mac Mini is that you are free to upgrade the internal specs as you need to, which is amazing to say the least. For example, you can upgrade the RAM as your needs grow. Hot tip here: always go with the highest specifications you can afford on any computer.
So far I’m pleased with my Mac mini as my studio machine. If you don’t have a MacBook Pro but want something to also travel with, then an iPad Pro + Mac mini might be your dream setup.
Once the Pandemic is over and travel comes back, I’m sure I’ll have new updates to my set up. But for now, it looks like this little home office set up is doing well for me. 🙂
The great thing about the Mini is that it can travel with me anywhere, it’s literally an 8-inch by 8-inch box (including the packaging, the actual mac mini is 7.75in x 7.75in by 2.2inch deep) that can be packed into your luggage. A small warning though, as with anything valuable, you’ll want to put it in your carry-on luggage and not your checked baggage. When I get to a location, all I need to do is find a monitor to use, which they usually offer in most co-working spaces I’ve been to!
A Quick Thing About Monitors
In the future, I’d buy a monitor that has a color accurate screen or a computer screen that allows for color calibration, for my permanent office workspace. (Uncertainty is the name of the game right now, so using what’s currently available to me has become the norm.)
Having a monitor that can be color calibrated is particularly important for people who are graphic designers or illustrators that need the color rendition on the monitor to be as color accurate as possible. Maybe another post on this later as I jump into this rabbit hole.
For my file management, I’ve set up my dropbox account so that my Mac Mini and my MacBookPro both save to the dropbox account, so that they’re both synced as long as I have WIFI.
When I’m in meetings or I’m running an event, and need a webcam, or I want to change up my workspace, I can still take my MacBook Pro and work on-the-go.
Webcams are hard to come by right now, so there’s a program that you can download that will allow you to turn your DSLR into a webcam. I’m still playing with it, so once I have that tech set up I’ll update this post. But if you can get your hands on a decent webcam, your set up will be golden!
A Quick Thing About Heat Problem
The other great thing about the Mac mini is that it’s away from your body, so when it get’s hot you don’t feel it. A quick word of advice though, keep a fan next to any computer to help keep the temperature in check.
Hope this little blog post helps ya out!