A reboot. The clicking and whirring of a physical drive. Startup, ejection of the physical drive, fans spinning up as initial processing is down. Fans spinning down.
I put a SSD (and more memory) in my Mac mini today, after spending some time talking and thinking about the possibility as if it was an option no closer than, at most, semi-distant. Somehow, writing about it in an email made me turn a mental corner. Little more than an hour later, I found myself with an order confirmation, and made picking up said order the culmination of my excursion into the beautifully sunny and cold winter weather.
All that done, it was time to do some surgery. (Lunch? There was plenty of time for that later.)
Modern Macs are often (but not always, I think there are still exceptions) anywhere from fiddly to downright difficult to get into and out of. Fortunately, sites like Ifixit offer detailed guides. Guides which I looked at, feeling some doubts about the wisdom of my clumsy hands attempting the process at all.
In the end, the process went as well as I could have hoped for. I did not get everything perfectly aligned upon reassembly, I abused one rubber support thingy and two screws of minor importance would not fit. But everything came together nicely, booted without a hitch and nothing rattles or hums threateningly.
In my book, that is a win.
I started the hours of restoring from my backup, packed up the operating table and tools and got some late lunch. Thanks to the wonderful application Superduper, it took only a handful of clicks and four or so hours of waiting to get a complete working system onto the new drive from the backup drive. Then I picked the internal drive as the boot drive, rebooted and went into the world of speedy silence.
Just as I suspected long before making the purchase, the upgrade started to feel worth every crown and minute almost immediately. As I write this, Spotlight is still eating every idle processor cycle indexing the drive. Despite that, the mini already feels like a whole new computer. For starters, Photos feels like a usable application again instead of a chore. The very stupid, disk-unfriendly static site generator I use for this site runs like the wind.
How did I get here?
The reason I headed down this path of suddenly upgrading an old computer is as silly as it is simple. I recently bought myself a shiny new monitor, and while I wait for The Right adapter to appear for my Macbook (I have particular tastes, that is why I got that computer in the first place) I connected said monitor to the faithful mini I have had standing around for years as some kind of semi-server. It worked well enough for getting things done, but anything which even touched the disk was just so incredibly slow that I soon found myself playing with thoughts of either upgrading to SSD or getting a whole new desktop computer altogether. The new computer option seemed exceedingly silly, considering what I really (yes, still) want to do is live off of one computer and have that one computer be a lovely small laptop. So, the new computer thought was firmly pushed out of the realm of serious consideration while the SSD thought not only lingered but also started to feel like a fun little project.
So, uh, yeah. It was totally on a whim. A whim based on some previous thinking, sure, but still a whim.
Anyway, now I can go back to obsessing about and waiting for USB-C adapters, safe in the knowledge my computer park is nice and comfortable for my needs even as I wait and obsess.