What are you actually DOING with your "vintage" Macs?


As I sit here trying to organise my various bits and pieces of Macs, I’ve really done well with keeping my 2006 MacBook Black, my 2008 MacBook White, 2008 Mac Pro 3,1 beating their age. I’m even writing this post on my MBB as I do some further tweaking in Linux Mint. I took it to the office last week and successfully used it during a meeting, including accessing Office365 (online) for collaboration with colleagues. It kept up just fine with those needs. It still has one of the best keyboards. Better than its white sibling (which seems to be a different, lesser plastic) and better even than the 2015 MacBook Pro.

But I have to admit, with the addition of the 2009 MacBook White to my stable, so to speak, I need to ask: what am I actually doing with 4 laptops and a desktop? I know there are collectors and what not, but I am not one of them. My MacMinis and my 2010 and 2012 MBPs were sold on when I was finished with them (in perfect working order, I will point out). I rescued both of these MacBooks from recycling or the landfill, since I rebuilt them, but I’m just not sure how to actually use them. I’m actually something of a minimalist and If they’re not being used, what’s the point? I’m beginning to think it may be time to start giving them away, but I would, of course, want them to go to someone who really needs a computer and otherwise wouldn’t have one. Not someone who just wants more stuff…

So, what do you actually DO with your old stuff, Apple or otherwise? How do you give it a practical use?



I used my 2008 Mac mini to do a huge amount of digitalisation of VCRs, I use my spare 2010 MacBook Pro as a spare laptop, I use a 2011 iMac for scanning connected to an Epson Perfection. I used to use my 2008 White MacBook for watching DVDs while training on the inside trainer but haven’t been doing much of that lately…

That being said, I don’t really consider the 2010 or 2011 Macs vintage but Apple does :stuck_out_tongue:



Hence why I used quotes. I don’t think it’s an accurate use of the word vintage either.

You used the 2008 Mac Mini, so that means you no longer do? Ditto for the MBW? I’m almost DVD-less. I will soon abandon optical media entirely except for certain collector boxed sets of anime/TV series. The MBB’s frame is messed up on that side, so the DVD drive doesn’t even sit right and is useless. I pulled it out to make the unit lighter. I don’t miss it and I doubt in 2019 someone desperate for any working laptop would. The two MBWs have optical drives, but… shrug

You use a 2011 iMac you were using just for scanning and nothing else?

…what is your main machine?



Well its still in place but I finished the digitalisation. I’ll use it for my next digitalisation task - possibly Vinyl records this time.

The White MacBook is a ‘used’ because I’ve been too lazy to get back into indoor training :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m still a heavy optical media user. All my music is purchased on CD. I have a lot of files on optical media and seem to constantly be doing odd jobs that involve burning of DVDs or CDs.

Mind you its digital ice based negative scans, so it gets used a lot!!

Oh also for bulk photo conversion and conversion of Cassette tapes. It has something wrong with it so the fans run at full bore all the time. It belonged to a family member who upgraded to a new iMac in order to get a fusion drive/future MacOS compatibility/a Mac that didn’t blast the fans all the time. Its a 2.15 inch Mid 2011 (2.7GHZ Quad i5/16GB Ram/AMD Radeon HD 6770M 512 MB/1TB HDD)

Mid 2012 MacBook Pro 13 inch Non-Retina (I7/16GB Ram/2TB SSD). Benchmarks slower than the iMac, but a) It’s portable, b) it runs Mojave/Catalina, c)It doesn’t have an annoying fan d) it has a 2TB SSD. Would put an SSD in the iMac but its too much stress to open up!



Okay, you have way, way, WAY more stuff in general than I do. I don’t even own a scanner or a printer. There is absolutely no reason why I have 5 computers (and I have two work machines provided that I don’t even use, I just use my own MBP, nearly everything we use has an online app. Work even offered to purchase a MBP for me and I laughed at the sheer waste of it and said it would not be necessary).

Frankly, I think I have way too much physical media as it is, and I bet it’s a tiny fraction of what you have. Digitisation isn’t a major concern, though I may go ahead and deal with the last bit of it.

Good lord we are wasteful (at least in the developed world, I swear).



I’ve accumulated a most of machines from friends and family who have upgraded. I also as a 23 year old manage all the devices in the household, so I don’t actually own the scanner, but I am the family historian.

In terms of intel things I think I have

  • 2 White MacBook Unbodies (1 working, 1 not - am prepping the working one to loan to a friend whose 2014 Air died)
  • 5/6 White MacBook Non Unibodies (1 was my main machine before the mid 2012, Another I use for vintage games, the other 4 I have accumulated to fix up)
  • 1 Unibody Silver MacBook 2008 (Fixer upper from another Mac/Appletalker - I use it for windows)
  • 1 UniBody MacBook Pro 2010 (fixer upper from another Mac/Appletalker, now my spare machine)
  • 1 Mac mini 2009 (a family member upgraded and didn’t want it)
  • 1 Mac mini 2008 (from a follower Mac/Appletalker)

The only intel machine I have personally bought new is the 2012 MacBook Pro. I bought the White 2008 MacBook second hand off my parents. I do try and give use to things, but I’m also holding onto them as vintage machines.

We are very wasteful. This is why I’m all for Apple supporting things for longer. Recycling is good, but extending the lifespan of machines is even better. We’ve gotten to a point where processors are fast enough going back even 10 years for what most people do with computers, putting an SSD in makes them perfectly usable. But once devices loose software support and security support they become a liability.

My grandparent’s generation were much better at fixing things and making them last. Half my furniture is stuff that my grandad picked up from council cleanup and restored. Including a beautiful silky oak desk and chair. My bedside table is ex council cleanup, my chest of drawers belonged to a nun that was going into care and it was going to the dump, which upset her, she wanted them to go to a good home, so my granddad took them.

It is harder today. Things aren’t made to last unless you pay an awful amount of money!



Wow. I do not have room for all that. I don’t believe I have owned, in total, the number of machines you currently own. I don’t see a lot in purpose in owning what I cannot use. I’m all about the repairing broken macs which come my way, but I’m struggling to figure out what to do with them afterwards. I don’t have the financial capability to just purchase, even cheaply, the older Macs, fix them, and give them away. But I definitely do not like the idea of these things going into the landfill. Even recycling seems like a waste unless the process is itself resource neutral, which it is not.

I upcycle/repurpose as much as I can, recycle what I cannot, and luckily in Japan, we mostly burn anything else (non-toxic) and capture both the carbon and send the energy to the grid. I also dump all of my food/plant scraps into a compost pile I use in the garden… Quite upsetting. I’m really quite dismayed with Apple. I would love to see a Mac modular desktop in the $2000 base range. Alas, it is not to be…



Yeah I’m very budget limited as well. I think I’ve only bought my Mac and the original white MacBook. I saved for a year to get the Mid 2012 MacBook - did a lot of gardening work on weekends and after school! I’m lucky to have accumulated a lot of stuff.

The way I see it is that a lot of the stuff I have accumulated, it would have gone to landfill. It’s not old enough to be a classic yet, so as I have the space to keep it, I may as well hang onto it. I’m just licit to have the space as if I was space limited it wouldn’t be possible. I’ve also got 50 or so properly vintage Macs, thats another story!!!



2000 G4 Cube + 17" Studio + Harmon Kardon serving as a music centre, plus “living” photo frame. It surprised me how much the kids love seeing pictures pop up, and talking about them / asking questions / etc.

2009 13" MacBookPro + 32" Samsung tv now serves admirably as a Netflix / YouTube machine

My TAM sits in her box, which I hate, but even if I had the time / space, I’m not sure what I’d do with her other than sitting on a shelf somewhere. I absolutely adored people’s reactions (and I mean - EVERYONE - not Mac people) when seeing her back in the day, but these days skinny LCD desktop computers are a dime a dozen.



I don’t keep my old computers, I sell them on. I did have a drawer full of iphones but have sold all but 3 of them (the remaining two, an SE and 7, I’ll keep for now) iPads get sold, eventually. However in reading the thread, I am reminded that I have two printers which I barely use. I’ll give one away and sell the other. Might get a small one just for doc printing but really I dont have a great need anymore. one has a scanner attached and I also have a separate older scanner which may be given away too. I have a lot of clutter in the study.



The only “vintage” model i have with me is the 2009 Macbook white unibody which i’m trying to sell. I kept it solely for the CD drive, but it’s time for it to move on… Still works like a charm though, best model ever!

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What are the specs?



I’ve got a few machines that I really should move on since they are just gathering dust, a '15 MBP, '13 MBA and an '09 MacBook. Occasionally I think about putting one into the server rack to do something, but VM’s running on my NAS do everything I need.

The MBA and MBP might be going to one of the kids, but the old poly one needs to go. I did offer it up a while ago without response, I’ve also since pulled the HDD out to use else where:



There are some of us who try to find a balance of how far you can keep using older hardware. For example if you can rely upon a LAN based platform(intranet based database) or cloud service and the hardware is fast enough to run a modern browser then it “can” work–considering you can buy a 1U or micro tower server with a Xeon E3 v5 or v6 at a reasonable price, you can roll an “OwnCloud” or something similar. Often when hardware of mine is “retired” they’re usually kept as a parts source or a bench testing box. Any computer I use for work tends to get heavy usage, while my first Thinkpad T61 barely showed much wear & tear from 2007-2010… I’ve gone through some hardware much quicker than expected(hinges and case flex tend to make portable hardware extremely short lived). I once had to borrow my moms’ old AMD A4(Llano) era notebook, may have been one of those weird HP models they over-engineered when it was supposed to be a budget class model.

Oldest Mac I still use is my 12" PowerBook G4(1.33Ghz), 1.25GB of RAM makes it very limited in what can actually be done while using VirtualPC–I rely on a tweaked Linux spin.
2nd Oldest Mac: 13" MacBook Pro, lives most of its life plugged into a dock and a shared device. (it was retired in 2013)

Oldest Mac is an iMac G3, it has remained in “mothballs” mostly as there isn’t much you can do with 160 MB of memory–Linux on PowerPC is very much dead after the PS3 lost “OtherOS”. I only kept it for a few personal reasons(ex: only computer able to run some audio plug-ins with ProTools, an old 4-track audio editor with VST plug-in support & a few old Maxis era games–SimIsle & SimCity 2000 were better on Mac vs DOS/Windows)

Oldest PC hardware:
Athlon 64 2800+ (1.8Ghz) with 2GB of RAM & GeForce 6600GT, it was mothballed after moving to a modern PC with a built-in serial port. There are usage cases where a USB to Serial Port adapter can be useless, for example not all USB to Serial Port solutions are the same due to chipset differences.

From a work standpoint I’ve moved to a more “OS neutral” angle, the only hardware requirement is needing a box with an nVidia GPU for compute tasks–only reason why I’m still holding out on a new Mac as sometimes I do like crunching random data on my own non-work box.



Slowly reducing them to nil.

I collected these old Macs for a while, but the shine wore off long ago. Even machines that are “vintage” in the Apple sense (pre-current gen) are being retired - I’m not interested in keeping Apple hardware around anymore, except for whatever is still in active service.

Having rooms of computers from different eras was fun for a while, but these days, I’d rather have that living space back.

There’s a Macintosh 512Ke and an Apple II Europlus still on the shelf, but neither have been powered on in 3+ years. I suppose those should be moved on to new homes soon as well.

Some old computers will stay - mostly DOS / 95-era x86 notebooks like the IBM ThinkPad 755 or Toshiba Tecra 700CT, for those older favourite titles like SimCity 2000 Special Edition (Windows 95) and whatever else.

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I feel the same way. I no longer enjoy trying to keep this old machines alive. It has turned from a passion/hobby in to a chore.

The vintage mac community has also seemed to die off in Australia and with it, went my interest. I used to show people the TAM, Flower Power/Dalmatian iMacs and they’d look at it in awe and be interested in the stories I could tell about them.

These days, most people just “meh” and move on.

The last time I displayed them to the public was for a local Men’s Shed night where you brought along your collection. That was 8 years ago and even then, interest was minimal.



Has the ubiquity of Apple/Mac contributed to this sensation of apathy towards the company’s history?



I’m still interested in my collection… I just can’t afford to do things like replace capacitors to keep them running! Will have to get serious about learning soldering. I’ve NEVER been good at it.



Practice, practice, practice. The biggest mistake people make when learning is to apply the solder directly to the iron tip. You apply heat to the junction with the iron and apply solder to the junction - when the junction is warm enough it’ll melt the solder. If it’s not warm enough, the solder won’t take and you’ll end up with a dry joint.

Find an old junk circuit board and de-solder all the components from it. Then solder them back in.

It’s not difficult, it just requires practice.



I suspect that’s part of it.

Another question I have to ask. What does everyone do with these things?

I don’t necessarily mean a practical use either. I mean what interesting things can be done with a vintage Macintosh these days? What’s the niche interest?

My PCs are interesting because of their extensive collection of software titles, games and hardware add-ons that make it possible to build unique combinations geared toward specific interests. I can assemble a machine for electronic music production kitted out with AdLibs, Sound Blasters and Gravis Ultrasounds. I can build a 3D graphics workstation or game machine fitted with multiple 3DFX Voodoo2’s. I can install DOS, Windows 95, a variant of Linux or one of the thousands of obscure environments (like GEM) to mix it up.

The Commodore 64 is an 8-bit bare metal system with unfettered access to memory and hardware registers, ideal for experimenting with computing principles and electronics. If you can make a circuit switchable with electronic on/off states, basic waveforms or serial communication, chances are you can program a C64 to control it entirely in Commodore BASIC.

The Amiga, outside of once being a 2D graphics and video production powerhouse, has a unique position as a platform that the community itself maintains and extends upon after the demise of Commodore. This is a community actively developing new processor accelerator cards, motherboards, HDMI cards and USB interfaces for machines produced three decades ago.

There’s something interesting to do with all of them. My Power Macintosh and Performa systems were interesting to look at, but I couldn’t think of anything to do with them outside of connecting them to the internet, maybe watching some QuickTime videos or listening to music in an early build of iTunes. That doesn’t mean there weren’t fun and interesting things to do with Mac OS, but rather those fun and interesting things perhaps haven’t aged quite as well.

Also, I don’t think the community around these systems has been quite as active in coming up with interesting uses for them as some of the other platforms. That makes them less desirable for enthusiasts, which in turn means little is developed for them, and the cycle continues. Unless you grew up with them and have a nostalgic fondness for them, there’s little incentive for a newcomer to pick one up and start playing with it.

I attend a meeting of computer collectors and hobbyists here in Adelaide once a month. It’s an open event, and often the public is invited to come and see these old computers in action. Even the kids love seeing the old games, animations, sounds and colours. It’s almost all PCs and Commodore 64s. Almost nobody brings a Mac along.

I would love to find a suitable and interesting role for my Macintosh 512Ke so I have a reason to power it on and use it. It’s a cute little machine, and both adorably and iconically 80’s. So far I haven’t found one, but perhaps someday that could change.