buying computer for my grandmother

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by TimaeusD, Nov 8, 2007.

  1. TimaeusD macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2007
    Okay, so, I don't know if it's okay to post in this forum with questions such as "should I get a mac?" since the sticky at the top seems to indicate I should be asking "which mac should I get?" but here goes nothing. Please let me know if I should post elsewhere.

    My grandmother needs a computer. All she will use it for is email (gmail -> webmail -> firefox) and occasional light office use (she currently uses open office), and occasional games like solitaire (not "real gaming"). Her requirements are EXTREMELY light. Oh, and I'm buying this for her, it's a birthday gift, so it's my budget, not hers. My budget is basically as low as I can go while still fulfilling the requirements.

    I've basically got two roads I can go:

    A barebones pc that I put together myself and slap Ubuntu on there and make sure all the fonts are huge and Firefox logs into gmail etc. She would be fine with this.

    Or a Mac Mini (hence posting here), since I can get a student discount (or should I go for the developers discount?) and currently the mac online store seems to have a free 100$ rebate on printers, which basically means for any printer ~100 it's free with any Mac. This is a huge bonus IMO since I was planning on getting her a printer to go with the computer.

    So my question is basically: is a Mini just total overkill for webmail/light office work, or all things considered (small form factor I think she'd get a kick out of it) compared to a cheap PC I put together myself it's not a bad deal?

    Thank you.
  2. MacinDoc macrumors 68020


    Mar 22, 2004
    The Great White North
  3. ktbubster macrumors 6502a


    Jan 20, 2007
    well... obviously here you will probably get more "get a mac" people... but I will start it off. Although you did say you were going to put Linux on it and get it all set up nice and easy... i'd still go with a mini.

    Now.... if you wait till early morning when they refresh the refurb site, you can find the old version of the mini core duo 1.6? i think it is for about 400 dollars, which i think is a GREAT deal for that little machine... and that model would be MORE then enough for her uses, so in this case I think it would make a great computer and quite a bargain. You may have to wait for a few days, but if you get there early enough they seem to appear a decent amount.

    Not sure if the printer rebate pertains to refurbs though, so i guess you could check, but I think that would be your best bet.

    However, if you can't find a good bargain on a mini... i don't know if the acd discount would really help with a smaller purchase like the mini... guess you'd have to do the math on that one.

    However, if you could configure a small pc for less then 400 bucks and slap linux onto it, i suppose you could go for that, but i am not sure if she decided to try something else out or wanted another program or something at some point, you would have to worry about compatibility issues...

    I'd say go with a mini :) They are cute.
  4. Rocksaurus macrumors 6502a


    Sep 14, 2003
    PPC Mini

    Well, I am responding to this topic because I am currently typing on MY grandparents' Mac Mini. They are 97 and both love to keep in touch w/ the fam via email and are very interested in the web and Freecell. ANYway.

    My parents bought them a PPC Mini off of ebay per my recommendation. It was about $350 or so, maybe less I forget. Then we got them a nice large 19" LCD from Fry's for $120, and also a WHITE apple keyboard (older one). We originally had a black keyboard from an ancient iMac, but they couldn't read the keys on it very well, so we replaced it with an old white one, and they really prefer it. I made the dock super small and hide it from them to simplify things (When you're born in 1910, computers don't come naturally.). Also I made the desktop icons HUGE and they are just aliases to Camino (renamed Web Browser) Mail (renamed E-mail), Freecell, Word, Textedit, Solitaire, etc. Fonts in Camino and mail are HUGE. And their cordless phone rests atop the mini, which they're rightly amazed by.

    So, anyway, I'd highly highly recommend a PPC mac mini. It's a very capable machine and with a 19" monitor can be had for under $500. :)
  5. amd4me macrumors 6502

    Nov 19, 2006
    +1 on the PPC mini, they can be had on the cheap and are great for low end computer users.
  6. i0Nic macrumors 65816

    May 17, 2006
    Sydney, Australia
    If you have a monitor: mini
    If no monitor: refurbished 20" imac (white)
  7. macmike47 macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2007
    On the road
    Get her a Mac (iMac or other...) and teach her two things:

    • How to turn it on.
    • How to accept screen sharing in iChat.
    It works really well, screen sharing does. And she can watch while you teach her how to use it, step by step.
  8. weckart macrumors 601

    Nov 7, 2004
    I use the Mail program to access Gmail. Much easier than the web interface.

    The Mac mini or a refurbished iMac sounds about the best way to go.
  9. kylep6190 macrumors member

    Nov 4, 2007
    A refurbished iMac would be a couple hundred dollars more and just overkill. The mini would work fine.
  10. scienide09 macrumors 65816


    May 5, 2007
    I think a Mini would be great as well.

    And that's a great piece of advice! Nice touch, macmike47.
  11. CarlsonCustoms macrumors 6502

    Mar 5, 2007
  12. zioxide macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2006
    yeah like other people said.

    if you have a monitor + keyboard + mouse, get the mini.

    if not get a refurb 17'' imac (core duo even).
  13. Patrick My macrumors newbie

    Nov 9, 2007
    A Mac mini would be extreme overkill for the things that she would use it for. Unless you can't afford it, I suggest you buy her the Mac mini since she's your grandmother. There's many bonuses to the Mac mini other then hardware.
  14. ktbubster macrumors 6502a


    Jan 20, 2007
    heck... even a g5 imac would be fine for her uses if you can find one. You can get refurb 17inch core duo imacs pretty darn cheap... and if you were going to buy an LCD anyway... that's not a bad idea at all really... similar pricing.. but yeah.. core solo mini or g4 mini would be AOK as well. :) gl

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