I am an avid Mac and Apple user. Some might say I’m a fanboy. But I’m not a blind fanboy. I have an old Mac Pro 1,1. This is first generation when they switched to Intel processors. It’s still running strong. It has 4 hard drive bays in the tower. I have those full. I also installed a SSD in one of the PCI slots that runs the OS and Apps. The amount of storage I have in this computer is quite impressive. This 9 year old, 8 processor core, computer is the power house of my home network. It runs as my media server, file server, app update server, iOS device syncing, photo processing (Adobe Photoshop), video editing (iMovie), and on occasion even some games.
However, I realize that eventually the logic board will fail. At this point, it’s not a matter of if, but when. And when that happens, it’s going to hurt my home computing setup. I’d love to replace it. But Apple is not currently selling any computers capable of replacing it. Yes, there is a new Mac Pro line. But that came out three years ago! It’s 3 years out of date but they are still selling it at prices as if it was state-of-the art. I just can’t bring myself to pay state-of-the-art prices for 3 year old technology.
So, I needed a stop gap solution for my Ham radio shack. I thought of a Mac Mini. And I looked at Apple’s current line of Mac Mini’s. The top of the line, topped out configuration is a dual core i7. Dual core? Only dual? Wait, I thought Mac Mini’s had the option of quad core. So, I searched the internet. There was a quad core option that Apple phased out in 2012. It was called the Mac Mini Server.
Guess what, I found one on eBay. And I bought it. It has a quad core i7 processor at 2.6 GHz, a 2TB Fusion drive, and 16 GB of RAM. Shipping was free and it cost me $1,399. A similarly configured, brand new dual core Mac Mini is $1,499.
Therefore, by buying a 4 year old computer, I spent $100 less money and got a faster computer. Apple, what are you doing? No seriously. What are you doing? What happened to your support of the power user? Have you completely abandoned us?
But let’s return to our topic. Back to Ham radio. I got this computer in last night. I installed the latest Mac OS on it and it is running migration assistant now. I hope to have it up and running with my HF rig by this weekend. And I am honestly looking forward to it. It will be nice to have a machine dedicated to Ham radio and not a compromise as it was using my old MacBook for Ham radio. But at the same time it’s a little sad that I’m looking forward to a 4 year old computer. What’s the moral of this post? Simply put, do your research first and you’ll frequently find that new isn’t always better. This applies to everything; cars, computers, houses, and yes, even radios.