Dell Mini 9 OS X Discussion Discussion for installing and setting up Mac OS X on the Dell Mini and Vostro A90

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njmurvin njmurvin is offline
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Default Using Mini 9 as desktop - 08-25-2009, 06:39 PM

I don't know if anyone else is doing this . . . but, I'd like to use the Mini 9 as a desktop in the kitchen area most of the time and unplug and tote it around when I need portability. So, I figure pretty much any monitor would do the trick. As for keyboard and mouse, I'd like to go with BT to avoid the USB dongle. But, I'm certainly open to USB if it offers any advantage. If anyone else is using their OSX Mini in this way or contemplating doing so, what are the pitfalls, if any of this plan? I do have a few other questions/concerns:

When "docked" (i.e. connected to monitor/ext. kb/mouse), can I leave the power on all the time or should I let it sleep?

Will a BT KB or USB KB wake it up? If not, would it require opening the clamshell to wake it?

If I leave the power on all the time, since there's no fan, will it get too hot? Is a chiller pad recommended?
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killben killben is offline
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Default 08-25-2009, 07:33 PM

I use my Mini 9 exactly in this way. There are a few issues though...

1. Sleep does not work unless 'Wake from Sleep' is disabled in the BIOS. Your KB and Mouse are therefore unable to wake it from sleep. A bit of a catch-22.

2. Whenever I turn it on, I have to ensure the monitor is connected, and have to hit Fn-8 immediately after the Dell logo disappears to get the external monitor to show anything.

3. The resolution detection is a bit erratic and I usually have to adjust it in Display Prefs.

4. The Mini will get very hot if left on for long periods sitting on a desk. I plan on getting a cooling pad of some sort in the very near future.

Other than these issues, it does a fine job as a portable desktop computer. The OSX video drivers are the biggest gripe for me...in Windows, the transition between external and in-built display is seamless and automatic. OSX just can't seem to get it right.


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jetkins jetkins is offline
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Default 08-25-2009, 08:01 PM

Personally, I'd go with USB instead of Bluetooth. BT is cool and all, but sometimes the OS (well, Windows at least), doesn't seem to get things quite right when switching to and from BT-enabled devices, far more so than when connecting or removing USB devices.

You would also have the hassle of having to remember to switch your BT devices off (or turn off BT on your Mini) if you were going to be working nearby, lest it spuriously detect them and try to switch back if you were using it in, say, the next room. BT works best, IME, in situations where you're either right there or nowhere near.

So since you're going to be (un)plugging your video and power cables each time anyway, I would simply add a USB plug to that list, and run both the k/b and mouse off a cheap external USB hub.


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CyG CyG is offline
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Default 08-25-2009, 08:50 PM

I've never had problems with BT connectivity in OS X, although jetkins is right about the annoying unintentional connections. It sounds like that will not be a problem for someone working in the kitchen.


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ljsworld ljsworld is offline
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Default 08-25-2009, 08:59 PM

I use my mini-9 in the kitchen with an external monitor wthout issue. The external monitor is set as the primary (home) display. I'm regularly disconecting the Mini-9 to move somewhere else in the house. I shifts from one monitor to 2 and back again without issues. I set up the display preferences initially, but have not needed to touch it since.


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killben killben is offline
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Default 08-25-2009, 09:56 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ljsworld View Post
I use my mini-9 in the kitchen with an external monitor wthout issue. The external monitor is set as the primary (home) display. I'm regularly disconecting the Mini-9 to move somewhere else in the house. I shifts from one monitor to 2 and back again without issues. I set up the display preferences initially, but have not needed to touch it since.
Thats interesting, as I have never been able to get it to work smoothly. Do you know which display kexts you are using, and also how you set it up initially?

I would love to be able to unplug the VGA cable back and forth without having to restart.


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bsoplinger1 bsoplinger1 is offline
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Default 08-26-2009, 02:22 AM

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Originally Posted by killben View Post
Thats interesting, as I have never been able to get it to work smoothly. Do you know which display kexts you are using, and also how you set it up initially?

I would love to be able to unplug the VGA cable back and forth without having to restart.
Try dragging the menu bar to your external monitor in the display prefs. Then the OS should want to use the external as main whenever its attached but the built in display when that's all there is.


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jebni jebni is offline
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Default 08-26-2009, 02:25 AM

I find that the VGA output of the Mini 9 is a little too fuzzy to be a desktop replacement, unfortunately.


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njmurvin njmurvin is offline
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Default 08-26-2009, 03:53 PM

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Originally Posted by jebni View Post
I find that the VGA output of the Mini 9 is a little too fuzzy to be a desktop replacement, unfortunately.
Really . . . first I've heard of this. Could it be a resolution settings issue or is the VGA output, itself, that inferior? I think I'm going to pick up a monitor at Costco and give it a go. I'll have 90 days to work things out or return it.
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killben killben is offline
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Default 08-26-2009, 04:35 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by bsoplinger1 View Post
Try dragging the menu bar to your external monitor in the display prefs. Then the OS should want to use the external as main whenever its attached but the built in display when that's all there is.
You sir, are my hero. I can now plug and un-plug my external and the mini knows what to do!

The resolution detection of my external is still erratic though. I usually have to 'detect displays' a number of times before it realises which display I have plugged in and what the correct resolution should be.

I don't suppose there is a way to 'hard-code' the resolution into the mini's display prefs? I'm thinking along the lines of display-specific kexts...I have looked, but cannot find any as yet, if they exist at all.


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