Need help. Refurb Mac or cheap PC?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Apple Hobo, Sep 23, 2004.

  1. Apple Hobo macrumors 6502a

    Apple Hobo

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2004
    Location:
    A series of tubes
    #1
    I know someone who needs a new computer. Unfortunately, money is a bit of a problem in this situation. I need to find something decent that's <= $500. I really want to get them a quality refurb Mac that's capable of running OS X and basic tasks including internet, word processing, etc. However, I can probably get one of those Dell setups for a low price. I'm just worried about them constantly calling me with horrible Windows problems.

    *Macs are easy to use and are usually very dependable software-wise and I can help out with problems if there are any.

    *PCs are a dime a dozen, but I'm worried about junk hardware and Windows problems and bad tech support.

    I'm going to look for a decent Mac, but if I had no choice but to get a PC, what should I get them? Dell, Compaq, HP, eMachine? Who has good tech support? Who has good hardware? I think Dell might be OK, but I'm not sure. :confused:
     
  2. jtgotsjets macrumors 6502

    jtgotsjets

    Joined:
    May 20, 2004
    Location:
    Lawrence, KS
    #2
    What kind of tasks would they be doing?

    Sure you could probably get a NEW PC, but if all they're doing is internet and word processing, you could get a pretty damn nice G3 iMac for $500, say last revision, OSX, big RAM and big HD (maybe even an entry level G4).
     
  3. vga4life macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    #3
    Consider a refurb emac. The special deals tab on store.apple.com has them for as low as $549 for 1GHz/CD-ROM or $699 for $1.25 GHz/Combo Drive.

    You won't find even bargain pc's to be much cheaper if you're also buying a monitor.

    Stay away from Dell. I recommend eMachines these days for mass-market bargain basement PC's. Their cheapest desktop is $449 before $50 mail-in rebate and without monitor.

    I'd really recommend stretching for that $699 1.25 GHz emac, though.

    -vga4life
     
  4. Apple Hobo thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apple Hobo

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2004
    Location:
    A series of tubes
    #4
    Thanks. I think the refurb eMacs for < $600 is what I'll look into. :)
     
  5. hcuar macrumors 65816

    hcuar

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2004
    Location:
    Dallas
    #5
    Go for it!!! Do not buy a cheap PC. You'll regret it. Cheap PCs die fast.
     
  6. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #6
    The eMac would easily be the best choice. :)

    Actually, I wouldn't buy a Dell. Any cheap PC you can get is better than a Dell.
     
  7. crachoar macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2004
    Location:
    Ohio
    #7
    Yeah...you just lost all credit you ever had with that one statement.

    eMachines are the absolute worst of the computer world. Don't listen to zealots...they're just as bad as windows fanboys...

    I have 2 macs and a Dell Dimension 3250. The Dell was 100% free (+ $250 back), and I have to say, it's an awesome computer. No tech problems, nothing.

    A computer is a computer. Get what you need, not what other people think are cool. Dell makes pretty decent computers. It's HP, Gateway, Compaq and eMachines that you want to stay away from.

    If you can wait til around X-mas time, you could probably get a really nice Dell (upper-midrange) for either free, or very little money (if you're a student).

    Personally, I would get whatever is cheapest if it were just for simple tasks. As long as you're not the kind of guy that clicks pop-ups and tries to get his PC infected, getting a Dell wouldn't be all that bad.

    Plus, if you're willing to geek around, you could install a form of Linux, which is the next best thing to OSX in terms of 'nice, easy to use GUI'. An OS like 'Mandrake' is usually a good place to start.

    I prefer macs (except for when it comes to gaming and IRC), and the GUI of windows makes me feel as if I'm trapped in 1998. However, a PC will be fine for simple tasks that you need. As long as you know what you're doing on the net.

    Be warned though. The eMacs suck. The monitors go bad often and they're extremely slow. Sorry eMac users, but it's true.

    Also, the whole 'all in one' design was kind of a bad idea, because if your monitor goes bad, you're pretty much screwed.

    I'd invest in an old G4 tower if I were you. CRT monitors are pretty cheap these days anyway. You could probably get an old dual G4 'Sawtooth' tower for less than $500. Load that thing up with ram and you're ready to go. I'd go with that personally.
     
  8. t300 macrumors 6502a

    t300

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2004
    #8
    Get a G3 iMac, upgrade the ram, install OS X. You won't be disapointed.
     
  9. patrick0brien macrumors 68040

    patrick0brien

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2002
    Location:
    The West Loop
    #9
    -Apple Hobo

    Anymore, few decisions are as easy in life. Get the mac.

    P.S. I just did WinXPpro SP2 what a P.O.S. I'm losing confidence in Microsoft at an accelerated pace.
     
  10. vga4life macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    #10
    Er, I know what I'm talking about. eMachines *used* to be the worst (think "heir to the Packard-Bell throne of crap"). In 2001 they were going under when one of the board members bought the rest of the company and turned it around. They're making decent cheap PC's these days.

    The more recent Dell desktops, on the other hand, have been nothing but problems for us at work. (Nice server hardware, though.)

    I guarantee a current-generation eMac will absolutely *SPANK* a sawtooth G4. The 167 MHz bus makes all the difference compared to the sawtooth's 100 MHz FSB.

    -vga4life
     
  11. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #11
    eMacs are fine. :)

    Two people have vouched for eMachines here. I heard they weren't bad, but I didn't consider them to be better than Dell. Maybe on par, but if they're now better, that's cool. Its just another thing we can recommend to others.

    Also, HP and Compaq computers aren't absolute crap. I really don't think you can say that and then praise a Dell. Dells aren't as bad as many poeple (in this forum) make of it, but they're not better than other big companies.
     
  12. Apple Hobo thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apple Hobo

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2004
    Location:
    A series of tubes
    #12
    eMacs are good. My family has one of the newer 1.25GHz machines and it's great. It's no DP G5, but it's pretty damn good for an "education" machine. Besides, the people who I'm trying to help with this machine that I'm looking for would be more than fine with the power of an eMac.
     
  13. jared_kipe macrumors 68030

    jared_kipe

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2003
    Location:
    Seattle
    #13
    Find an emac from a fire sale (open items returned to apple stores, sale on the last friday of a month) or on ebay. Great value for a computer. I bought one after my powerbook which was 800MHz G4 and radeon 7500 which proverberably stomped my 1GHz and rad 9600 powerbook.
     
  14. wowser macrumors 6502a

    wowser

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2004
    Location:
    Inglaterra, Europa
    #14
    If they only need to surf the web and do word processing, i don't see that OS X is really a must. Would it not be cheaper and simpler just to get a G3 iMac or a clamshell iBook running OS 9?
     
  15. cwtnospam macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2004
    #15
    Any Mac is cheaper

    You're forgetting about the total cost of ownership. I recently bought a dual 2ghz G5 because I know that it will cost less than any PC over it's lifetime. I will spend next to nothing on things like virus problems, tech support (my time and data costs money, and so does yours) and upgrades (they'll be available, but I won't need them) over the next four to five years. A PC would cost me thousands over that time, assuming it didn't need to be replaced sooner.
     
  16. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2000
    #16
    apples and oranges

    either one is a good option

    because if he buys a pc, it will work "most" of the time and he will be happy thinking that's the way personal computing supposed to be

    if he buys a mac, it will work a lot better but he won't be able to compare it against a less reliable windows-driven pc but any mac that is used will do a decent job for basic tasks

    today we live in an age where a used mac or a new bottom basement pc will be more than enough horesepower for word processing, spreadsheet, database, photos, email, internet, music, and light graphcs/games

    i am biased having been a user of apple gear since the 1970s, but for the money, $500 dollars usd, for a used mac, the value gained from such a machine is worth the $500 dollars several times over...get a used g3 imac that is osx capable or a previous generation emac g4 for about five or six hundred

    the main reason for a mac is not the hardware superiority but the ease of using either os 9 or osx over windows xp
     
  17. 18thTomorrow macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Location:
    The Alpha Quadrant
    #17
    If I were you I'd go for the mac, definitely. I have a 350 MHZ blue and white G3 Powermac that carried me all of the way through my high school years. I did e-mail, surfing, and even Dreamweaver and Photoshop Elements on it. I bought it used from a local college for $150--that included the 17" CRT monitor!! It was the best money I ever spent. Now I have an iBook to carry around at college but still use the G3 for serving my music library and my mom uses it for word processing and internet surfing.

    So I'd recommend checking into what any local college may have on hand--my guess is now that the G5's are out, they'll be getting rid of some of the oldest g4's (I know my school is) or look at e-bay or something.

    But if you have to get a PC, I'd recommend a Dell. They're good, solid machines and my experience with them has been rock solid. Everyone I know loves them too. I'd shy away from eMachines, though perhaps they've improved of late. DON'T buy a Compaq/HP, they're trash and you get nothing but problems with them from the get-go.
     
  18. slooksterPSV macrumors 68030

    slooksterPSV

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    Nowheresville
    #18
    Since my Newbie days of not knowing anything about a Mac, here's my response. GET A MAC. Ok I can find you a great deal on a mac. Here we go:
    1. G4/400 ("Sawtooth") (192/10GB/DVD) . . . . . . . . . . . $369 (Combo drive, +$60; Modem, +$16) Price Drop
    2. iMac/600 (Graphite or Snow) (256/40GB/CDRW/56k/FW/usb) . . . . .. . . $465
    3. iMac/400 (Indigo) (192/10GB/CD/56k/FW/usb) . . . . . . . . . . $245 New Listing
    4. PowerBook G3 400Mhz ("Pismo") (192/6GB/DVD/eth/56k/usb/Firewire/14") . . . $488
    If you get the G4 Sawtooth then you can buy the PC-to-Mac monitor cable for only $11. If you get an iMac, that has a builtin screen. Same with Powerbook. But where can you get this at? http://www.baucomcomputers.com use paypal though.
     
  19. Flynnstone macrumors 65816

    Flynnstone

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2003
    Location:
    Cold beer land
    #19
    If you go with a Windows machine, don't forget the additional costs.
    You'll need Norton anti Virus or equiv. If you don't, well ... :eek:
     
  20. slooksterPSV macrumors 68030

    slooksterPSV

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    Nowheresville
    #20
    Here's a great thing: You can throw a baseball at windows and it breaks. You can throw an apple through a Window and the Apple is Ok. If the apple gets bruised it'll heal. There are many better things that an apple has then a piece of glass called Windows. Besides, Apple's are better quality. My PC's have went bad so fast, and the Mac's people have or I've seen are still running and they've used them for over 10 years! Your choice though.
     
  21. dieselg4 macrumors regular

    dieselg4

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2003
    Location:
    Rockin' Pittsburgh!
    #21
    there really isn't anything doffernet about the hardware in a cheap eMachine as there is in a cheap dell. Cheap computers are cheap computers, and a celeron is kind of a nasty CPU.

    I have a cheapo eMachines at home (I use it for Kazaa, and some Java things my mac doesn't like.) WHile its never been broken per se, its very slow, even after cleaning the registry and scannig for spyware. Basically it got a slow processor (CEl. 2.6 gHtz) shared video memory (adjust. to 64 MB, what a joke) and not enough ram (256 MB). That's pretty much what you get for a $400 computer. . . . it even takes awhile for web pages to load.

    My powerbook (867 mHz g4) does much better and so does my friend's Dell 600m (1.6 gHz Banias).

    THe eMac will have dedicated video memory, and ram for them is CHEAP. It also comes with fire wire (if your freind will sue it or has a FW only iPod).
     
  22. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2000
    #22
    what i learned a lot from A+ and ms techie school, and comp grad school regarding components is that much of what is in a 486 based computer is shared with a p4 machine...but among pc boxes much is the same in emachines or dell as far as full on products like video cards, processors, motherboards, sound cards, etc

    i think back in the late 1990s, emachines put underpowered power supplies in their machines, but at the same time dell used a bad supplier for floppy disk drives...but i would opt for the dell then overall dollar for dollar

    today, i think dell on has a slight edge on design but the componets are very, very similar...if you want the best quality, look no further than apple, of course...but then again, what do you think you are going to get from a mac site :)
     

Share This Page