iMac vs. Mini for family usage

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by maflynn, Oct 21, 2009.

  1. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Hey folks,
    I'd like to entertain some opinions on whether the iMac or the mini would be a better fit for my needs.

    I use a MBP, very happy with it, but I want to get a mac for family usage.

    I have twin girls who will be turning 4 years old this January and I plan on buying a mac for them at that point. I was waiting for the new iMacs which just landed but I keep wondering if an iMac will be over-kill for a 4 year old

    thoughts recommendations

    One more thing, I'll be buying 1 computer not two, so while that will prove challanging, its the best at this point (best for my bank account :) )
  2. mastershakess macrumors 6502

    May 14, 2008
    Bel Air, MD
    If its just for 4 year old girls (assuming simple games, internet, pictures), I would say Mac Mini, Wireless Keyboard, Magic Mouse and a nice 20"-24" LCD monitor

    I think the base Mac Mini would be more than enough

    Mac Mini $599.99
    Keyboard $69.99
    Mouse $69.99
    24" ASUS VW246H Black 24" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor $219.99
    2m refresh, 1920 x 1080 resolution (same as base iMac)
    Total $959.96
  3. TomT321 macrumors member

    Sep 14, 2009
    Mac Mini

    I think that it is great that your twins are going to be getting a Mac for a birthday gift, but they are four years old and based on that I would say that the Mac Mini is the way to go. As the previous input said the base model, especially now that there has an upgrade is more than sufficient, but to lower the cost even more I would go with a Logitech wireless keyboard and mouse that you can get on Ebay for probably less than $50. and I'd go with a 17 to 19 inch monitor that can be had for around a $100. So for around $750 you are up and running and if they happen to knock the monitor over you can replace it cheaply rather than having a great deal of expense with an IMac. Save that for when they are older say like for their 10th birthday!:)
  4. maflynn thread starter Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Thanks, that's kind of how I've been leaning, but being a mac person, I'm lusting after the new iMacs :p and my company will give me between 300 to 500 when I buy a new computer. That brings the iMac price down a bit closer to the mini.

    Of course I could get around 200 - 300 for the mini from my company as well (they reimburse me no more then 50% of the cost up to a set amount depending on your seniority)
  5. emptyCup macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2005
    An alternate view:

    If you need to buy a keyboard, monitor and mouse there isn't much advantage in the mini. The iMac has everything built-in which means there is less for 4 year olds to mess with. It also has a bigger, faster HD and a built-in iSight (and nothing makes a 4 yo giggle like Photo Booth). There is no reason why this machine shouldn't serve your children's needs through elementary school. Over time the added expense is not significant.

    Plus, you want the iMac and your company will help pay for it.
  6. srexy macrumors 6502a

    Nov 19, 2006
    4 and 7yr olds in my house. The iMac all the way and if you're of a mind to save some $$ pick up a refurb. The neatness of the unit makes it a no brainer, no wires to kick loose etc.

    The only thing I would recommend (and this may have changed for the better since my 20" purchase back in January) is to avoid the bluetooth options and get wired keyboard/mouse. Even though you're adding clutter - you'll avoid the inevitable "Dad/Mom - the keyboard isn't working!" cry. At the time we got ours, the iMacs were plagued with bluetooth issues - they seem to be fixed now but nonetheless - simplify where you can.

    Ditto on the photo booth above - my kids have hours of random video thanks to that program!
  7. dyn macrumors 68030

    Aug 8, 2009
    Children versus glass = fingerprints and loooooooots of 'm. I'd go with mastershakess advice: get a Mac mini and a simple, cheap but nice display to go with it (there are nice 23" 16:9 led backlit TN panel displays on the market from brands like Samsung) with a matte finish (you'll hardly see all those fingerprints).
  8. MTI macrumors 65816

    Feb 17, 2009
    Scottsdale, AZ
    For the kids, get a used iMac with iSight . . . put the money you saved into a nice investment vehicle for the future. 4 year olds won't think you're a mean and bad parent for not getting them the newest computer. . . . well, at least not until they're in school and their mates tease them about it . . . ;)
  9. tbayrgs macrumors 603


    Jul 5, 2009
    I was in a very similar situation a few months back. I have a 4 year old and 5 year old, both who love to use the computer and are taking computer classes at school. Rather than have them try to use my Macbook, decided to get them a Mac Mini but instead of having it hooked up to a small monitor, I instead connected it my the 50" plasma in the living room. Paired it with a wireless keyboard and mouse--now they can sit in the living room with plenty of space (instead of crowding around a small monitor at a table or desk) and I'm close by to assist if necessary. Also, I now have a nice HTPC :). Not bad for about $800 (refurb base mini, 4 GB RAM and 320 GB 7200 RPM HDD that I installed myself, wireless Apple keyboard and wireless logitech optical mouse).
  10. DDave macrumors regular

    Oct 10, 2009
    hey i'm going to take a different approach, i would buy one of the really basic minis from the refurb site. They are young and by the time they notice they need more speed you will need a new computer, or two. So I would go cheap and get a refurb or even used mini.
  11. powerbook911 macrumors 68040


    Mar 15, 2005
    Are you going to use it some too?

    If so, I'd probably go with the iMacs. The big displays are really nice.

    I mean, even the lowest end iMac is really a fantastic machine. I think you got a lot for the money.
  12. maflynn thread starter Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    My wife will probably use it, and myself somewhat.

    The new computer will be going into the living room, so I think we all will find a use for it. My main computer is a MacBook Pro, and I don't see myself moving too much of my stuff over to the iMac

    I am leaning towards the iMac but I want to make sure its not an extravagant purchase, and that's where getting opinions here matter, and also consider how the kids will interact with it, abusing vs. using.

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