Mac for Dad

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Andy348, Dec 15, 2009.

  1. Andy348 macrumors 6502

    May 18, 2009
    My dad has finally decided that his next computer will be a Mac. His current computer set up is:

    -2GB RAM
    -256MB Video Card
    -250GB HD

    Now I told him that the Mac Mini would be the greatest investment for him, but he seems to be leaning towards the iMac. He's definitely OK with buying it from the refurbished store and it doesn't matter to him if its the current generation or previous one. The uses for this computer is mainly movies, iTunes, web browsing, emailing (pretty much what everyone does) but quite a bit of photo editing. Right now he's using Corel Photoshop, which I don't think is compatible for a Mac, but he doesn't mind trying a new program. So I'm thinking the base iMac 21.5" and aftermarket upgraded RAM.

    Anyone have any suggestions? Even for the photo editor..

  2. frimple macrumors 6502

    Nov 18, 2008
    Denver, CO
    As a former Corel user (oh hell, I still use it and love it) I'll say that I think his transition might be hard. Anyways, base iMac would be good, you might consider a refurb 24"
  3. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    I've always been happy with refurbs, but in this case you would want to make sure to get one of the 24" refurbs, not the 20"--the extra screen area is nice, but only the old 24" uses an IPS panel, which is much more color accurate than other types of LCD screen. If he's doing photo work, I'd say that should be a priority (in fact, if he's currently using a low-to-midrange quality monitor on his PC, it's going to be a noticeable improvement).

    Both of the current models use IPS panels, so no worries for a new system. The fact that the new iMacs have four RAM slots, however, is a major advantage--it is a LOT cheaper to add four 2GB sticks of RAM than 2 4GB sticks (currently 4GB sticks cost about 2-3x more/GB than 2GB sticks).

    Factoring in the good LCD screen, an iMac isn't at all a bad idea. Even a mini would be faster than his current system (how much depends on what kind of CPU that 2.4GHz chip is), but the iMac is a beefier machine all-around, particularly if you opt for the better graphics chip with dedicated VRAM (though if he doesn't game that might be a waste of money...)

    The disadvantages of an all-in-one system should be obvious, and if he's ok with that they're great machines. I just set up my dad, who does light photo editing with Photoshop CS1, with a new midrange mini, and he's quite happy with it. On the other hand I just replaced my old pro tower with an i7 iMac, and I'm impressed with it, as well.

    Either way, he should be getting a good computer.

    As for software, Photoshop is obviously one option, though it costs a fortune. A new version of Photoshop Elements just shipped, I remember reading, so that might be an alternative depending on how major his needs are, and it's much cheaper. Never used it myself but it should handle at least the standard sort of touch-up/adjustment work. Even iPhoto has some good basic color adjustment tools built-in now, and its simple "heal" brush works well for minor blemish touch-up. The free GIMP is another option, though the last time I tried it I didn't particularly like it.

    Final option is Graphic Converter. It's been around for a long time and specializes in opening files of ANY format and being able to save in essentially any format as well. It has some acceptable touch-up/adjustment/basic drawing tools built in as well, plus filter support. You can try it for free, to see if it might catch his interest--I use it frequently for things that it does better than Photoshop, and if I didn't have a copy of PS I could probably get by with it for most purposes. It also has a VERY nice batch processing system, if you need such a thing.
  4. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
    Mako hit it right on -- either the current 21" or a refurb 24" (with the GT130 video card) would be the best bang for you buck

    I would lean towards the 21" myself.

    He could check out Photoshop Elements 8 -- about as close to Corel Paint Shop as i can think of. (no such thing as Corel Photoshop)

    He could even look at the freeware Toyviewer.
  5. Andy348 thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 18, 2009
    I think we'll go for the 21.5" iMac because the 24" would be wayyy too big on his desk.

    Thanks for the advice guys!
  6. Moocher macrumors regular

    Mar 5, 2008
    NE Atlanta area
    You didn't tell us anything about your dad and whether or not he has any special needs. How old is he? How is his vision?

    Unless he needs the larger screen for vision purposes there still are a few reasons for going with the new 27". Number one is that you said he watched movies on his computer and the 27 would be great for that. Also, it's a great price for so much computer.

    If your father can afford it, I think he should get a new one, preferably the big one. If money is tight, then the used 24" would be an excellent choice.

    I use Photoshop Elements and I think your dad would probably be happy with it. Buy an external drive for Time Machine backup no matter what you go with. Oh, and expect some griping until he gets used to the mac versus the windows machine.


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