Cheapest NEW Mac mini setup?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by wordmunger, Apr 2, 2006.

  1. wordmunger macrumors 603


    Sep 3, 2003
    North Carolina
    My 12-year-old daughter is saving up to buy a computer. She's got $500 and her birthday is coming up in July, so I expect she'll have $700 or more by then, possibly as much as $800 or $900, depending on how generous the grandparents are. We can get an .edu discount, so she could buy a new mini for $579, but would still need a monitor (we've got a good keyboard and mouse she can have).

    I don't want her to buy a used or refurb computer because of the warranty, plus I think it would be better for her to have an intel mac for future compatibility. She doesn't need much power, mostly uses the computer for web/email/online games/MS Office/iPhoto. So, the question is, what's the cheapest price for a reasonable monitor to go with the computer? Everyone seems to say you can get a good 17-inch monitor for under $100, but when I actually search using froogle, etc., there really are few offerings out there. And second, should she hold off buying until she can get a minimum of 1GB memory? I don't think she really needs the capacity now, but I could see her getting into garageband in the future, and that will probably perform better with more memory.

    So, what I'd like to see is MR members' recommendations for a $700 setup (with .EDU prices) and an $800 setup. Or make your case for holding out for an iBook. Then I'll share your suggestions with Nora and let you know what she thinks.

    Edit: it would be most helpful if you could give SPECIFIC monitor recommendations, with prices/website for availability. Thanks!
  2. iPhil macrumors 68040



    The $599 mini would do the job but on the Monitor issue do you want old crt type or new lcd type .. the crt is cheaper than lcd if weight is no issue .. :eek:
  3. wordmunger thread starter macrumors 603


    Sep 3, 2003
    North Carolina
    Yeah, I think we'd have to go with a CRT, but I'd be interested if anyone can come up with a mini/lcd combo for under $800.
  4. mgodfre3 macrumors newbie

    Apr 2, 2006
    A cheap moniter.

    Honestly the cheapest way to get a moniter might be , I would check that site and check it often. I have found several great deals in my city, quite often $50 crt moniters if you dont mind a crt.
  5. iPhil macrumors 68040



    The is good site to find cheap crts or your local site

    I've used before they're good on shipping :eek:

    the lcds are still $180.00 for a 15" lcd size @ some stores .. :eek: :eek:

    Megamacs crt page

  6. odedia macrumors 6502a

    Nov 24, 2005
    Try checking for good monitor deals. They also have a Dell page with the best prices on dell products and monitors. Some of these prices are a steal.

    Oded S.
  7. wPod macrumors 68000


    Aug 19, 2003
    Denver, CO
    if youre going to get a CRT, i wouldn't get one new. the cheapest new 17" monitor i could find was around $130 (and that was after just a quick search, not horribly extensive) the reason i say not to pay full price for a new one is because i know people just throw out perfectly good CRTs as they upgrade to flat panel monitors. where i work for example we send off our old CRTs to be recycled. and we get like $10 if they work and we have to pay to get them recycled if there is something wrong with them, so we usually break even on a big shipment of old monitors for recycling. that being the case, we usually give away old CRTs if anyone wants them. for example we donated 6 to one employee's church. id give you one, except im sure the price to ship a behemoth monitor is quite high. it would probably be cheaper to find one close to you that you can go pick up. check craigs list etc, or ask around where you work, or any of your friends if they know a company that recycles their old technology and maybe you could take a monitor off their hands for little or nothing. but, if you want to buy from an actual store, i found this for $70 from microcenter. I dont know if you have a microcenter in your area, but if you check whatever big discount electronics stores are around then they usually have decent deals on, well, anything.

    as for the flat panel department check out dell. they always have good sales going on, and if they dont, then just wait a week or two and they will have a good sale. right now, their 17" analog flat panel which is normally $250 is going for 211, though if you wait long enough, or find other discount codes, you might find it for closer to 200.

    i should also say that discount electronics stores are the best. but the best deals are usually in store only, so you cant see/find them online. i know at fry's 17" flat pannel monitors can usually be found for $150 and 19" monitors can be found for about $200. and if you play your cards right you can even get those prices w/o a mail in rebate, but often there are mail in rebates.
  8. reh macrumors 6502a

    Oct 24, 2003
    Apple's refurbished computers carry the same warranty as their new products.
  9. emaja macrumors 68000

    May 3, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Exactly. And you can stull buy AppleCare.

    I would go thr refurb route since she won't need a whole lot of customization. Get one with the 512MB RAM, save the $80 and use that towards a decent mid-priced LCD. Her eyes will thank you.

    You can get a nice Samsung 730B monitor for about $200-$250 which is within your price range with a refurbished Mac mini.
  10. wordmunger thread starter macrumors 603


    Sep 3, 2003
    North Carolina
    Boy, the way monitor prices go up and down, it might almost be better for her to follow the deals for monitors, then snatch one up when the price is right. Then when she's got enough saved, she can buy a mini to match...

    I suppose another possibility is to buy a cheap $20 used monitor, with a plan to upgrade later when she's saved a little more.

    edit: I'm still not sure about the refurb option -- I think it'd be better in the long run to have an Intel, and the price isn't that different. What if some cool new Intel-only software comes out 6 months from now?

    But I'm prepared to be convinced.
  11. wordmunger thread starter macrumors 603


    Sep 3, 2003
    North Carolina
    ... and another thing about refurbs: to get one with airport extreme (a must), it's $519, so again, that's just a $60 saving from the .edu price for a new computer with an intel chip.
  12. plinden macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2004
    Subscribe to one of the deals/coupons websites, like
    You'll get regular newsletters about e.g. Dell coupons - I bought a 17" Dell LCD for about $100 off and later a 20" LCD monitor for just slightly more than the 17" cost me.

    Still may be outside your price range, though.

    BTW, you can get a new 17" Dell CRT for $150.
  13. Artful Dodger macrumors 68020

    Artful Dodger

    May 28, 2004
    In a false sense of reality...My Mind!
    Well I think we both know that if she really spends a good amount of time in front of a monitor it should be pretty good (young eyes, keep them strong ;) ). So I have found that Office Depot/Max has some LCDS around $150-179 which is not bad since she doesn't need it to be super crisp just easy on the eyes. Next since the EDU discount is mentioned, in four years a single core mini will be ready to retire as a Core Duo would just the same. So with all that I've somewhat said the Single Core Mini and a LCD would come in around $750-800. Also try Compusa a 15" LCD is $129 after instant plus mail-in rebate.
    Now if you get the Mini from Amazon it's no tax and a $25 mail-in rebate on the Minis (it was free shipping) so that might help you out to streach out the $$ more for her than just going to the store (if you want to order that way, it saves you around $60-75 in tax).
    So that's my help if it did just that cool and I hope she enjoys it no matter what, since it's going to be a Mac :D
  14. itcheroni macrumors 6502a

    Sep 23, 2005
    Does it have to be new? You can find really good deals on mini + monitor combinations with ebay. A lot of them are still under warranty. A mini with wireless can be found for around 350 plus shipping.
  15. mccldwll macrumors 65816

    Jan 26, 2006
    Watch for close outs. I picked up a basic 15" KDS lcd a month or so ago for $45 NIB after rebate at Office Depot. Thought I might use it in the future as a portable w/ a mini. Big price drops every time new line is coming out.

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