[plug] Frustration

Jason Nicholls jason at mindsocket.com.au
Fri Sep 7 14:15:39 WST 2012

Oh I forgot to specify for completeness, I have the current mac mini server
(2nd gen i7) with one monitor plugged into HDMI port and the other into the
Thunderbolt port. One screen is 1920x1080 and the other is 1920x1200 so not

I also boot using EFI which was a massive headache to get going initially.

I agree with Brad on the mac quality. This thing is tiny and idles at 13W
plus I have 4-cores and 16GB of RAM in there which I need for work and
running VMs. You simply can't beat this in terms of price/performance/power
consumption. I also have linux booting from SSD and it screams along. I
also had the previous generation mini (Core 2 Duo) but it was maxed out
with 2-cores and 8GB of RAM, good at the time but this is better :)

On Fri, Sep 7, 2012 at 1:51 PM, Brad Campbell <brad at fnarfbargle.com> wrote:

> On 07/09/12 13:28, Jason Nicholls wrote:
>> I have a mac mini but it's using the built-in sandy-bridge graphics and
>> was pleased that once I got a 2nd monitor things actually worked under
>> linux! I do get some weirdness like one screen going out of res/refresh
>> range during boot but it rights itself once X starts up. Also I don't
>> completely like the behaviour of Unity on Ubuntu 12.04 and I don't
>> really have any way to change things.
> I had a 2006 Mac mini as my primary desktop up until I upgraded to the
> iMac early last year. The old mini was an interesting beast in that the DVI
> socket on the back had separate DVI and Analogue ports hooked up to
> different heads on the intel on-board GPU, however the wires used for
> signalling the EDID were shared internally so you could plug two monitors
> in, but it would only detect one.
> I ended up hacking the i915 driver with hardcoded EDID's and happily ran
> dual head on it for years.
> The Thunderbolt port on the mac gets set up by the bootcamp BIOS, so it
> really just looks like a displayport connector to the driver. The issue was
> a regression in the radeon driver than only manifested itself when you had
> more than two heads.
> I did try initially to bring the machine up in EFI mode, but that was just
> more trouble than it was worth.
> I know everyone dumps on Apple, and blah blah, evil, proprietary, boo,
> hiss... but for my requirements they just make the best hardware, period.
> Powerful, great screen, negligible footprint and silent. Nobody (and I mean
> nobody) produces a half equivalent machine.
> I was torn between the new mini and the iMac, but when I saw the 27"
> display and the ability to add another 2 of them I was sold.
> It's always a bear to get bleeding edge hardware working, but all my
> frustration with this cursed machine relates to the radeon GPU, and if you
> scan the freedesktop bugzilla you'll find countless people with generic PC
> hardware suffering exactly the same issues.
> I was going to write a patch for the radeon driver allowing manual
> selection of voltages and clock speeds like you can do with the ati
> proprietary driver and its associated tools, but I can't be arsed with
> months of pushback and resistance to getting it included because people
> might break their hardware with it.
> I'm still running Ubuntu 10.04LTS on both my desktop and my laptop. I
> won't upgrade until I absolutely have to, and then I might just look
> elsewhere. The current state of Linux desktops just makes me want to cry
> and puke at the same time.
> On the other hand, I don't game _ever_ so my needs are not those of the
> many. If I did I'd probably triple boot windows.
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Jason Nicholls
jason at mindsocket.com.au
0430 314 857
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