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macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 4, 2012
So I'm going to buy my 10 year old son his first own computer for his room.
He wants to learn programming and loves playing minecraft.
He askes me for a windows pc so he can exchange games with friends and thinks he can better connect with them online. Mainly he asks for a PC because all of his friends have windows laptops.

I opt for the mac because of the following reasons:

1. it's simple to use - the included software is great (iphoto,imovie etc.)
2. I don't have to clean all the spyware and viruses and reinstall his system every few weeks
3. excellent parental controls to observe and restrict his computer/online use
4. I use a mac myself and prefer it over my other PC (except for gaming, but there is hardly anything 3D-intensive for his age group anyways)

I was thinking to go for the base configuration mac mini with a decent 22"-24" screen but have my doubts if I should upgrade to i7. Mind you it's already more expensive than a standard windows laptop most kids use in his class.

What do you guys think?


macrumors Haswell
May 3, 2009
My 7 year olds use a Mac Mini and have since they were 6. I'd say its a good choice but as justperry mention, go for the extra ram


macrumors 68000
Nov 15, 2012
I got my first Mac when I was 11. It was nine years old when I got it.

I really think that a new mini is overkill for someone his age. Personally, I'd recommend a Core 2 Duo iMac.

Having only old computers to work with vastly increased my skills with computers. I was forced to try and compile open source software instead of downloading the pre-built packages. Why? They had no PowerPC support. Obviously, the Core 2 Duo I recommended wouldn't have those issues, but it's something to think about.


macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 4, 2012
thanks for your suggestions fellows,

just ordered the mac mini base model !

I appreciate your input but I guess we're nowhere near of compiling anything yet. It's mostly needed for very basic school assignments and to explore his creativity in a stable worry free environment. I guess the mini will get the job done just fine.


May 8, 2011
Los Angeles
You already ordered a Mac Mini? Your son wants a PC to play games with his PC friends. I don't know if your son disappointed with you. If he messed up his PC with virus, malware, etc…he can learn his own mistakes and will not do that again next time. :apple:


Aug 16, 2005
New England
My boys have had their own iMac since 2006. I had intended on the mini, but the iMac was just a better choice. Fewer wires, less to go wrong. We opted for putting it in a public area, family room or shared/open office so we can keep a better eye on what they do on it. It's always dual booted XP, so they can access anything on either OS.

Today they tend to use their own profiles on one of the notebooks we have floating around in the family room.

IMO Minecraft is definitely better supported on Windows, so if that's the main draw Windows would still have been a better choice.



macrumors Nehalem
Feb 19, 2005
If he would like to exchange games with his friends and all that, I would have opted for a Windows box but you already bought something so I wouldn't worry. It's a fine machine. Though I agree, Minecraft would be best on a windows machine.


macrumors 65816
Mar 23, 2013
If he wants Windows, you could always run it through Parallels in OS X. That way you 'force' him to use OS X but he can use Windows as well if needed. If you use Boot camp, he will likely boot into Windows permanently.

P.S. My daughter is 4 and has her own 2010 MacBook Air (a hand-me-down). She loves it, particularly the touch pad with children's learning website's etc. She prefers the touchpad over the mouse.


macrumors regular
Dec 18, 2007
Nice parent

I remember in the late 1990's my mom's company got rid of a whole bunch of 386's. They sold them to the employees for like $100 instead of dealing with disposal. This was back when Pentiums (586) were out and passed the 100MHz range. These 386's were pushing 10 years old (if not more).

So she got me one of those 386's: either a 12MHz or a 20Mhz (I forget). I thought it was the coolest thing. Of course I was already in high school so it was less cool than a 10yo getting one.

Back then I got a lot of flack, that I was some spoiled rich kid or something because I had my own computer in my room. Never mind we're talking about a computer that was around 10 years old and could barely run the software of the day.

Now? Kids get their own laptops and/or tablets with internet access in their room. Most people have a smart phones while I had to wait to college to get a black-and-white Nokia cellphone. I feel old.

In any case, back on point. Using that thing got me really into programming in Basic and Pascal. I didn't need a game-worthy machine in my room... just something for school work and learning computer stuff.

Now, I'm a computer programmer doing OK for myself.


macrumors 6502a
Jul 13, 2011
My oldest is a 5yo. I'm looking to get a Mac mini for him or an iMac of the same ago. (Both might be 08-10.)

Of course he can't type and can read a little but, he'll have his own system to watch PBS videos and whatnot. I'll slowly start teaching him to type and hopefully (when I learn) to teach him how to code in whatever language.


Jan 11, 2012
Eastern CT
I'm 34 and just bought a new Mac Mini today. I feel like a little kid now. I just upgraded from a late 2007 model Mac Mini with pretty lame specs.
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