Dan Fox bio photo

Dan Fox

Software developer interested in learning New Things and applying them in Real Life

So I mentioned in a previous post that I’d bought myself (and upgraded) a Mac Mini.  I thought I’d jot down what I bought, what I’ve done with it and why.

I’d seen and heard a lot of people saying that once you start to use OSX, you never want to go back to Windows.  That’s all well and good, but when you’re a .NET developer you really need Visual Studio to code.  Sure you can use any text editor and there are some decent .NET IDEs out there but none of them measure up to Visual Studio.  And the best way to use Visual Studio is on Windows,

But since I’ve be doing more Node.js and HTML development I’d become more curious, so I wanted to delve into OSX.  Apple Macs are typically expensive so I thought I’d get myself a second-hand machine to “dip my toes” into the world of OSX.

So I duly bought a 2006 Mac Mini Core Solo (off eBay) for around £50.  Massively underpowered for regular use, and a 9 year old 60GB hard drive!  Probably not in the best shape.  I already had a Snow Leopard disc kicking around so I reinstalled the OS and found - as expected - it was slow.  Good enough for me to get to know OSX?  Possibly.  But I always want more ;-)

I upgraded the RAM up to 2GB, upgraded the processor from a 1.5GHz Core Solo to a 2.0Ghz Core 2 Duo, and replaced the ageing hard disk with a 60GB SSD.  Net result: I know have a usable desktop machine!  Sure it’s not the fastest.  But it’s more than good enough to learn OSX and browse the interwebs.  The total upgrade cost was probably an extra £40.

I want to point out that one of the things that really impressed me was the Apple hardware.  The machine is going on for 10 years old now and was perfectly functional when I bought it.  The hard disk didn’t sound like it was on its last legs, I just upgraded it for better performance.  The RAM and CPU were both fine too.

So, in short.. if you’re looking to dip your toes into OSX and you want to have a play, then a second hand Mac is fine.  Just make sure it’s an Intel one.  And if you’re prepared to put a in bit of time - and a small amount of money - you can get a really usable machine for around £100-£150.

Good luck!