Good starter machine. Also If your a mod junkie get it. You can mod it so much that it will create an amazing machine.
Positive Product Points
You can load it up with sooooo many mods. Inexpensive. Makes a good shot if you temp surf it right without mods.
Negative Product Points
Aesthetics are retro. Lots of plastic; no 3 way solenoid valve
I just started getting into espresso at 16 and have been researching the most cost effective way to get an excellent shot of espresso. I decided to go with a modifiable machine do to my electrical skills I already possessed. The Gran gaggia was cheap on e-bay and I purchased one to see how far I could go with it.
The Gran Gaggia: You can mod it just as much as a silvia with the fraction of the cost. I was able to add a PID, rancilio silvia steam wand, pre-heat coil, panel mounted pressure gauge, an adjustable opv, and make my own naked portafilter. The mods costed me in total of a little over 100 USD. In total I spent 80 dollars on the machine +100 in mods. Total cost $180. The PID mod makes a world of difference. I Taste a good shot everytime :)
My first machine. Paired up with a used Astoria Super Jolly I bought for $280.