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Bruno

Description

Bruno is a Mid 2012, 13-inch MacBook Pro. It is barely alive and is due to be replaced at some point in 2020. I bought it refurbished around 1/1/15 and it is still kicking, but with caveats. I mostly just use it for 2D gaming, simple web browsing, and as a dummy terminal to access Maxwell, so I haven't been super bothered by its obvious deficiencies.

I'm currently holding back on upgrading OS X on it because I'm running iMovie HD 6 in an incredibly hacky way in order to rip a bunch of older DV tapes in my mom's house, and newer versions of OS X deprecate at least one Cocoa API call that iMovie HD 6 depends on.

Bruno is named after Giordano Bruno (not to be confused with Bruno Behard)

What's Broken

  • Modern versions of OS X seem to assume that they're running on SSDs (APFS definitely makes this assumption) and don't run well at all on mechanical disks. To work around this, I switched out Bruno's spinny disk to an SSD. Of course, this might just be because I've become so used to SSDs that I can't tolerate the slow speeds of spinny disks, although anecdotally some other people blame Apple as well.
  • One of the RAM slots is bad (see here and here). Essentially Apple used two different types of solder for the RAM banks and one of them is more liable to crap out. As such I only use one RAM slot now, with half of the Macbook's original RAM (4 GB). In theory I could purchase a single 8 GB SODIMM to fill in this one slot, but I've never felt it to be particularly worth it / performance with 4 GB RAM has been good enough for my purposes (90% of the gaming I do involves 2D graphics only).
  • The battery has been demanding that I get it serviced for a while now. I doubt it would retain charge for more than an hour (possibly 2 hours at best). Recently (as of 1/11/2020) I opened it up and it was convinced that it had no charge. I powered it down, waited several hours, and then it decided it had 80% charge. Not really an auspicious sign.

What I Like

  • Having an actual Ethernet port and not having to deal with the dongle hell bullshit of the newer USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 Macs.
  • Not having to deal with that asinine / comically useless touch bar.
  • Being able to actually fix parts / take this laptop apart. I believe that this is one of the last Mac models that you can potentially self-service or upgrade/tweak. All of the modern ones involve gluing components together in an unnecessarily thin chassis. I'd gladly trade functionality for aesthetics.

Specifications

Key Value
CPU Core i7
# of Cores (logical) 4
CPU Clock Speed (GHz) 2.9
Memory (GB) 4
GPU Intel HD Graphics 4000 1536 MB
Disks 500 GB SSD
OS Mac OS X 10.12.6
IP Address 192.168.1.6 (Ethernet), 192.168.1.7 (Wifi)
FQDN (on LAN) bruno.so (Ethernet), eth.bruno.so (Ethernet), wifi.bruno.so (Wifi)

Plans

I'll probably replace this with a Macbook Air. I've toyed around with just using a tablet (e.g., iPad, Surface) in the past, but due to the amount of multimedia work I do as I digitize documents and other media in my childhood home, I think that I'll still need a portable computer with a modest amount of horsepower.

Alternatively, I might be able to prolong this laptop's life a little more with a power bank like this, although that might just be kicking the can before the inevitability of needing to replace it, and may ultimately not be cost effective.

Photos

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