Cheap, Used Mac For My Grandparents: Suggestions and advice appreciated!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by PrinceAlexander, Dec 25, 2008.

  1. PrinceAlexander macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    #1
    I want to buy a new computer for my grandparents. They had an old PC box that died one them, and they haven't replaced it. I live half a world away (they're in the USA) and can't be there for any sort of hands-on support.

    1. It needs to be cheap. Exchange rates being what they are, I need to keep it under $500 US. The lower, the better. They don't need a lot of computer, anyway.
    2. They're not computer savy. It needs to be relatively trouble free, and easy to use. I'd prefer an iMac to a Mini, for example.
    3. They'll use it for email, BASIC internet browsing, Skype & iChat, and possibly iPhoto.
    4. By far the most important consideration is video chat over Skype and iChat. To that end, I'd prefer something with a built-in iSight. Unfortunately, most seem out of my budget. I can't remember the last time I set up an external webcam, either, so talking them through it isn't going to be easy.
    5. It also needs to be able to handle screen sharing over iChat. Granted, the internet speed is the main issue here. I do, however, need to be able to run Leopard so that I can fix any issues they have.

    What should I look at? Will a G4 or G5 be enough? What about the iSight issue?

    In the event I can, and do, go non-intel, is there any point in waiting until the release of Snow Leopard? I'm willing to bet PPC hardware will drop in price at that point, though how much is anyone's guess.

    I switched a year and a half ago, and am completely inexperienced with older Macs, so any and all help is appreciated!

    Thanks in advance, everyone!
     
  2. natebookpro macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2008
    Location:
    Maryland
    #2
    I would say a powermac g4 900mhz - 1ghz and either an iSight or USB webcam is probably a viable option. Assuming they have their old monitor still that should put your between 4 and 5 hundred and run leopard perfectly fine. Just my two cents.
     
  3. PrinceAlexander thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    #3
    Unfortunately, the display is long gone. I'd have to purchase a new one, along with a keyboard and mouse, speakers, etc. etc.

    That's going to put me way over budget for what is, essentially, dead tech.

    Is there any chance I can get away with a G4 iMac?
     
  4. Sigur macrumors regular

    Sigur

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2008
    #4
    I don't know the current prices for used Macs but in Germany you could get a used iMac G5 with Built-in iSight for ~600€. You should be able to get in in the U.S. cheaper. If you don't have enough money don't get Leopard. Tiger isn't to bad either and probably enough for your grandparents.
     
  5. natebookpro macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2008
    Location:
    Maryland
    #5
  6. clyde2801 macrumors 601

    clyde2801

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2008
    Location:
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    #6
    My dad, whose well into his seventies, loves his 'new' little 12" iBook G4. He'd love it more if my nephew, who lives with him, would let him use it more.

    Conversion twofer! SCORE!
     
  7. cdcastillo macrumors 6502a

    cdcastillo

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2007
    Location:
    The cesspit of civilization
    #7
    Another vote for an iBook...

    I also vote for the iBook G4. Last december, I gave my father an iBook G4 (1.33 GHz) with 1 GB of RAM with Leopard installed. Then a cheap eCamm (around 100 bucks) to add videochat, and you should be still close to your budget.

    My parents are thrilled, since we are apart and can videochat easily, and now that I'm going to move even further away, they still can keep in touch.
     
  8. dr. shdw macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2008
    #8
    I'd get a used Mini with a nice sized lcd screen + etc..
     
  9. BBC B 32k macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Location:
    London
    #9
    eMac? Large screen and cheap. The last gen 1.33 ghz is pretty good with Leopard, just get one with maxed out ram. They have wirless and fast desktop hard drives and the screen could be good for older folks (eyesight issues). Then an external webcam.

    Else try for a real cheap iMac G5 isight - maybe best to stretch to one if you can.

    Let us know how you go.
     
  10. aethelbert macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2007
    Location:
    Chicago, IL, USA
    #10
    I would first look at the G5 iSight. I'd imagine that you could probably snag a pretty good price on one right now and I don't see 10.6 changing that much. An eMac might work as well, but you could probably get a G4 iMac with the same power for about the same price taking up a smaller footprint.
     
  11. BBC B 32k macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Location:
    London
    #11
    here in the UK G4 iMacs command a substantial premium over the equivalent eMac (always the ugly child).
    though the iMac has a better graphic card and is quieter. eMac should be more reliable.

    just my 2p worth
     
  12. errol macrumors 6502

    errol

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    #12
    I'm betting you could find a cheap Intel iMac (white) for ~$500 or less with built in isight.
     
  13. BBC B 32k macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Location:
    London
    #13
    How much you betting? Only chance would be one from Nigeria :D
     
  14. Airforcekid macrumors 65816

    Airforcekid

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2008
    Location:
    United States of America
    #14
    :apple:iMac G4 maybe a G5 if you shop around a G3 is under $50 and it would work but the flat panel is nice!:apple:
     
  15. Airforcekid macrumors 65816

    Airforcekid

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2008
    Location:
    United States of America
    #15
    :apple:Intel no way G5 if lucky.:apple:
     
  16. jaw04005 macrumors 601

    jaw04005

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    AR
    #16
    Apple had 17" Intel Core Duo white iMac's available in the refurbished section last week for $599.

    However, they didn't last long.
     
  17. errol macrumors 6502

    errol

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    #17
    Yep, I've seen similar machines on craigslist for even cheaper.
     
  18. ChrisN macrumors 65816

    ChrisN

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2007
    Location:
    Demarest, NJ
    #18
    Try to find an iMac G4 or G5 they are both great, my cousins have the g4 and it works great and I use the G5 and it still goes strong.

    ChrisN
     
  19. cherry su macrumors 65816

    cherry su

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2008
    #19
  20. DarthTreydor macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 25, 2007
    Location:
    Richmond, VA
    #20
    +1 for the emac. I got one for my gf a while back to do the same things you are describing and she's been very happy with it. They're a lot cheaper then (albeit uglier) than comparable g4 imacs and for basic computing, still have a lot of miles left in them. Even a maxed last gen one will come in well under $500 then add a cheap webcam and you're all set. Why stretch your budget for a prettier g5/intel with built in isight when it's more computer than they really need?
     
  21. gan6660 macrumors 65816

    gan6660

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2008
    #21
    Found a 13inch iBook on eBay (auction 150317584153) for $275 buy it now or best offer and it works perfect.
     
  22. okrelayer macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 25, 2008
    #22
    sometime in 2009 i am going to just buy an iBook just to mess around with.
     
  23. gan6660 macrumors 65816

    gan6660

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2008
    #23
    Check out the auction I recommended
     
  24. PrinceAlexander thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    #24
    Sorry for the delay! The holiday period is a bit crazy this year.

    Thanks for all of the suggestions. I'd love to say that I've come to a conclusion...but I haven't. Thankfully, I have time to mull it over before jumping in.

    You've given me food for thought, though, and some options I hadn't considered!
     

Share This Page