Big Sur makes older Mac Minis obsolete, buy them cheap!

Big Sur makes older Mac Minis obsolete.
This is an excellent opportunity to buy one cheap and install eg. Ubuntu Server and Roon Server on them.
If you are looking for a machine to run Roon Core on, this a great possibility.

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what year should I be looking for?

The Mac Minis i have are “late 2012” and are not up gradable to Big Sur, they run Ubuntu with ease.
Watch out that newer Mac Minis cannot be expanded as much as eg. the late 2012 models.

Why would one pick up a ten year old obsolete Mini and deal with the headache of linux-on-apple hardware rather than ROCK a compatible, and likely cheaper and more recent, used NUC ?


I have a 2010 macmini server that is running High Sierra. It runs flawlessly and I still get security updates. It’s not like the older OS’s stop working or the computer blows up when a new OS comes out; stay on the working system until it’s no longer supported. Roon core runs just fine on it as well (that’s what I did my trial on, before moving to a nuc).

Frankly, Big Sur is ugly and a real step backwards in usability. It is mimicking the usability problems that I’ve had on my phone for each of the last few updates. Buttons should look like buttons, and not be magic text that I have to somehow know is a button. Hidden screens that you slide into, so many violations of Apple’s own user interface guidelines. Ive should stick to hardware.

EDIT: Security patches are ending in January for High Sierra. So unless you want to patch in an unsupported OS, you need to stick to a 2012 or newer imac and you will have modern supported OS’ available to you.

This is very good advise. Linux is happiest on x86 machines in my experience. Why pay more for apple hardware on something that gets tucked in a rack in the basement if you arn’t going to run MacOS on it?

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Just happened to pick one up last week - i5 2.5GHz, 16GB and a 500GB spinning rust drive for 150 quid! Swapping around a few parts to upgrade/downgrade some of my other machines I now have i5/8/256 SSD machine. I was pleasantly surprised how well Linux works on Macs now (using Debian as it’s the one I know best) - certainly an improvement over a few years ago! This weekend I’m moving the second, media disc from my current mini to this one to turn this into a new Roon Core.

Note that, although Big Sur will not go on these machines, Catalina should get security updates for a year or so more, so they’re not totally obsolete yet but don’t let that stop you picking up a bargain.