We run Windows 10 on most of Miss D.'s and my computers, except for one creaky 11-year-old laptop on which I've just loaded Linux Mint, to see whether it can be kept going for a year or two longer (doubtful - it's very slow). I'm about to buy Vellum, a program that offers very easy and attractive pre-publication formatting of books. Unfortunately, it only runs on Apple's Mac computer series, so I've got to get my hands on one. The software is good enough that I'm willing to make that outlay - but I can't afford a new, top-of-the line system. My budget isn't that large.
Several friends advised me to look for a used Macbook or Macbook Pro laptop computer. However, there are several catches. The first is that in 2012, Apple changed their manufacturing methods to ensure that users could no longer upgrade things like RAM or hard disks. You're stuck with what the factory installed when the computer was built. Oh, there are work-arounds if you send it back to Apple, to be upgraded by their (expensive) technicians using their (expensive) components; or, if you're handy with a soldering iron and know computer wiring and architecture well, you might even be able to do it yourself. However, for most of us (including yours truly) these are not cost-effective options. Therefore, buying an older Mac comes with built-in limitations, unless one buys a pre-2012 model - in which case one is buying hardware that's several generations out of date.
What's even worse, the prices on used Mac computers are ridiculous! It's as if the sellers think they're made of solid gold. I can buy a used PC of similar vintage, power and performance for well under half what most sellers of used Apple computers are asking for what they appear to regard as their "precious" systems - something like this:
(Apple's new prices aren't much better, of course. I reckon I can buy a comparable PC for about 40% less than Apple's price, across their range.)
However, there's a silver lining to the computer cloud. If one is willing to go with a desktop system, Apple's "miniaturized" Mac Mini is available brand-new in a basic configuration for $499, and in a more powerful, better-equipped form for $699 or $999.
The lower two of those prices are significantly better than a well-equipped, used Macbook of comparable performance would cost me. The Mac Mini doesn't come with keyboard, mouse or monitor, but it has standard HDMI and USB 3.0 ports that will work with just about anything you can plug into them. I have a spare monitor and keyboard, so that's not a problem.
Before I make a final decision, I thought I'd ask my readers - at least, those of you who are familiar with Apple Mac computers. Does my reasoning make sense to you? Do you think the Mac Mini is worth its price? If you've used Vellum, do you think it would run well on the Mini platform? Would it also serve for common everyday tasks such as word processing, writing a blog, and web surfing? If so, I might use it for more than just Vellum.
Please add your comments to this post, so we can all learn from your experience. Thanks.