Mac for a 4th grade kid

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by viskon, Oct 21, 2015.

  1. viskon macrumors 6502

    Oct 20, 2012
    We are primarily a Windows family - we have no experience with the Mac OS. I have a 4th grader who is very interested in learning computer programming. He has been watching videos online and is developing a website on his own . Of late, he had been pestering me about buying a Mac. He wants to develop for iOS using Xcode.

    I'm looking for a cheap Mac that can run El Captain. Any suggestions on what would be a good fit? Doesn't matter what year/model.
  2. Bollockser macrumors regular

    Oct 28, 2014
    Mac Mini 2009 off eBay, buy it now for around $200
  3. The Mad Kiwi macrumors 6502

    Mar 15, 2006
    In Hell
    If you're wanting new, refurbished Macbook Air. He'll get a few years of use out of it.
  4. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Well give some sort of ballpark figure that you are willing to spend and you'll get a lot more replies with some pro's and cons, like the fact that older models may not be able to run newer versions of xcode etc....
  5. PiLigand macrumors newbie


    Oct 22, 2015
    New England
    Mac mini refurb seems the way to go. Unless you wanted to get him a laptop. Then refurb macbook air. No ned to spend a lot of money for a kid so young I wouldn't think. A lot of people are scared of refurbished goods. I like t think that when a new product comes out, x things can be problems, refurbished have x-(1+) potential problems.

    Also, FWIW, if you have a fourth grader who is learning to program on his own and already doing web and app design that he taught himself, you might consider this an investment in your own retirement ;)
  6. viskon thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 20, 2012
    Thanks for the suggestions. I'm looking for something within $200 max.
    I've looked up the 2009 Mac mini. Also considering the 2009 MacBook, which is also within that price range. Anyone know if the latest version of xcode can run properly on either the 2009 Mac Mini or the 2009 MacBook?
  7. BrettApple macrumors 65816


    Apr 3, 2010
    Heart of the midwest
    I grabbed a 2009 MacBook off eBay for $199 (in good cosmetic condition that is) for a cousin of mine in need of his own computer (HS senior heading to college). I then threw in 4GB RAM I already had and a cheap 120GB SSD. The battery it had was still OK and it's been running just fine. The SSD makes a huge difference for these older machines and it's a cheap upgrade ($50-ish). It runs El Capitan and it'll even run some Steam games like TF2 and Portal 2 so I'm sure it could handle Xcode. Heck my 2007 iMac still runs Logic Pro X and the latest Adobe CC apps without issue.

    The 2009/10 Mac Mini would also be a good option if he doesn't need to be portable.
  8. Spink10 Suspended


    Nov 3, 2011
  9. viskon, Oct 22, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2015

    viskon thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 20, 2012
    @PiLigand @BrettApple - your points about being portable is making me think. In our school district, middle school starts at 5th grade. He'll be needing a laptop by August of next year.... the MacBook is starting to look like the favorite.

    Any advantages a 2009 Mini would have over a 2009 MacBook ?
  10. viskon thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 20, 2012
    Well, bit the bullet and ordered a 2009 MacBook from eBay. Thanks for all the inputs.
  11. pertusis1 macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2010
    I'm sure you'll like it. We're using one of that vintage, and it runs fine. The SSD upgrade is a very nice addition if you have one kicking around.
  12. LorenK macrumors 6502

    Dec 26, 2007
    Never be stingy with your children, he could turn into a coding genius or a design guru. Get him a MacPro and he'll love you forever. ;)
  13. adam9c1 macrumors 68000


    May 2, 2012
    if you go white macbook go the unibody style as it has DDR3 memory (much faster than the non unibody DDR2).
    Note that many white plastic non unibody laptops have the same model name.

    I'm not sure what the max ram is on the unibody white.

    I did see a late 2009 Mac Mini 2.53 C2D for $175 buy it now.
    IMHO you will get a faster computer going the Mac Mini route for your budget.
  14. lennyeiger macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2015
    Santa Cruz, CA
    I get so tired of this. "I want something that costs $1100 for $200." What a bunch of hooey! Sure, there are lots of deals around for computers that are less expensive, refurbs, etc. But there's nothing like going into an Apple store and seeing what's possible, getting excited, or being proud that a parent had enough faith in you to get you something special.

    I'm with LorenK on this one.... if someone is coding in 4th grade, they might actually be smarter than the average bear. You need to invest in them. My daughter learned Algebra in the 4th grade, everyone thought we were "pushing her" which was as far from the truth as it could be. Now she is in college studying Astrophysics, and she's a brilliant mathematician. You better believe she has had a nice computer - all her life. I had to stretch financially every time - it was hard. I also introduced her to people at the Exploratorium in SF, found people that work at NASA, she did FIRST Robotics, etc. She met a lot of smart adults. All of it made the difference between many of her peers that don't know what they want to do and a focused and successful kid. I couldn't be prouder, of course, and as a late starter myself I know many of those people who don't know what to do will ultimately find their way.

    One has to believe in one's kids. That's how they succeed.

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13 October 21, 2015