Help selecting used Mac Mini for my kids

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Fireproof!, Mar 26, 2011.

  1. Fireproof! macrumors 6502a

    Fireproof!

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    Location:
    Frisco, TX
    #1
    Hey folks,

    I'm wanting to buy a used Mac Mini to replace a very old (and failing) PC desktop for my kids.

    They are young (6 & 8) and all they do on it is play browser-based games on kid sites.

    1. I don't know the Mac Mini line, but am assuming the older generation would suffice and I could save money. Can you confirm this, and if so, is there a particular model (or serial) number I should look for or stay away from?

    2. Can you recommend any quality online stores to buy from, or should I just go the ebay / individual user route?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. stridemat Moderator

    stridemat

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #2
    A Mac Mini would be perfect for this use. Have you checked out the Marketplace forum here?
     
  3. Fireproof! thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Fireproof!

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    Location:
    Frisco, TX
    #3
    Thanks for the quick reply! I have not, but I'm headed there now - I tend to forget about that place. :)

    Cheers.
     
  4. robertpetry macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2009
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #4
    Welcome!

    I was in the exact same situation as you a few years ago. Two girls, using an old home built PC for mostly Webkinz, Disney.com, flash games etc. I was tired of fixing things all the time and hoped they would learn to be more creative with their computer and not just consumers of info.

    So I bought them a $400 1.83 Mhz, 1 GB RAM, 80 GB HD mini. Basically a 2,1 MB138LL/A. Perfect for them I thought. And they loved it.

    Over the next couple of years, cheap digital cameras and iPods with video cameras allowed them into iPhoto and photo editing. I took them to 1 hour free seminars at the Apple store on iPhoto and then iMovie/iDVD.

    Then for Christmas the year before last, Santa bought the 9 year old a $99 M-Audio USB piano keyboard and a mic/webcam. She picked up Garageband all on her own.

    So the result? Two girls, 8 and 11 years old who edit photos to make brochures, signs, emails to friends and desktops. Movies that started with no plot have matured to 10+ minute, plot filled, professional looking (graphics and transitions) movies and their own youtube.com channel to show their friends and family. And multi track renditions of hit songs from the radio or from movies or shows we see. Recorded and sung by them.

    The 80 GB/1 GB Mini couldn't handle the workload anymore so I bought a $629 new 2010 mini for them on one of the Christmas deals this year. That and a track pad and a new 22 inch LED from AOC.

    They are on the computer a bunch. If it was mostly consumption I would be concerned but they create as much as they consume.

    You get the Mac for ease of use and stability/reliability. But iLife has made all the difference in the world and I can't recommend making the switch highly enough.

    I would think a 2008/2009 would be ok but get one with 120GB HD at least. 2GB of ram would really help to. I upgraded their 1.83 mini to 2 GB and I am typing on it now :)

    You can save $200 now but you may end up upgrading and paying more out in a year or two if their usage goes like ours did.
     
  5. Fireproof!, Mar 27, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2011

    Fireproof! thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Fireproof!

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    Location:
    Frisco, TX
    #5
    Thanks so much for the detailed reply. That sounds awesome! Gives me some things to potentially guide their usage of the computer so it's not all web-games!

    I ended up finding on Craigslist today a barely used 17" iMac (2ghz Core 2 Duo with 2gigs ram and 160gig HD) that also had a clean install of Snow Leopard and iLife 2011.

    Just got it set up and the girls already found the Photo Booth and have made some videos, LOL. But i look forward to showing them more about iLife.

    And after your post - I'll have to check out USB keyboards! That sounds pretty awesome. Both my girls have taken some piano lessons and they love music/theater stuff... So that sounds right up their alley.
     
  6. robertpetry macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2009
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #6
  7. Fireproof! thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Fireproof!

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    Location:
    Frisco, TX
    #7
    Thanks again Robert!
     
  8. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2001
    Location:
    Denmark
    #8
    Remember that for online games, you'd want a Mac mini that can hardware decode flash.. Can't remember which graphics cards are supported though. :(
     

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