My parents want a "last computer"...

Cruciarius

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 18, 2013
84
12
Massachusetts
So my parents currently own an eMac. Unsure exactly what model, but it's 12-16 years old. It can't be upgraded anymore for the OS or hardware. No browser even loads pages correctly. They can't spend a lot, but want the next computer to be their final computer. I'm tempted to suggest the low-end Man Mini, but if it's the last computer they buy, I'm wondering if the higher-end one would be more ideal. Either way, I can't think of how long either model would last.

They currently use the eMac for:

email
web browsing - what very little they can do with it
Microsoft Word

My dad also plays a game called Luxor, I think. Something like it anyway. Simple game, but he's also played that since probably the 90s. I know the Mac Mini can't do anything too intensive for gaming, but I hope it can run that...?

Any suggestions?

Also, if they do go with a Mac Mini, suggested RAM for the above? For storage, I'll hack to check to see how much space they even use on the eMac, but I'll suggest something based off that.

If I do go with a Mac Mini, I already have a 23" monitor I could hook up to it.
 

Chundles

macrumors G4
Jul 4, 2005
11,983
364
Reckon an Apple Watch would have enough power to do that let alone a Mac mini.

I’d go for the entry level Mac mini and AppleCare just to make sure it’s covered as long as it can be b
 

carlvsam

macrumors newbie
Nov 1, 2014
17
8
So my parents currently own an eMac. Unsure exactly what model, but it's 12-16 years old. It can't be upgraded anymore for the OS or hardware. No browser even loads pages correctly. They can't spend a lot, but want the next computer to be their final computer. I'm tempted to suggest the low-end Man Mini, but if it's the last computer they buy, I'm wondering if the higher-end one would be more ideal. Either way, I can't think of how long either model would last.

They currently use the eMac for:

email
web browsing - what very little they can do with it
Microsoft Word

My dad also plays a game called Luxor, I think. Something like it anyway. Simple game, but he's also played that since probably the 90s. I know the Mac Mini can't do anything too intensive for gaming, but I hope it can run that...?

Any suggestions?

Also, if they do go with a Mac Mini, suggested RAM for the above? For storage, I'll hack to check to see how much space they even use on the eMac, but I'll suggest something based off that.

If I do go with a Mac Mini, I already have a 23" monitor I could hook up to it.
Well, considering how low the specs are for the Luxor game you mentioned (I got these off of Steam: )
  • OS: Mac OS X version 10.5
  • Processor: Intel Processor
  • Memory: 256 MB RAM
  • Video Memory: (VRAM) 32 MB
Then probably a refurbished 2014 Mac Mini would do. You just have to be careful in updating the system as a program that old is likely 32-bit, and Apple will most likely "pull" support for those apps in the next version of OS X.
 

Kuzbad

macrumors member
Jun 11, 2009
50
15
So my parents currently own an eMac. Unsure exactly what model, but it's 12-16 years old. It can't be upgraded anymore for the OS or hardware. No browser even loads pages correctly. They can't spend a lot, but want the next computer to be their final computer. I'm tempted to suggest the low-end Man Mini, but if it's the last computer they buy, I'm wondering if the higher-end one would be more ideal. Either way, I can't think of how long either model would last.
Literally anything you buy will substantially more powerful than an eMac.

HOWEVER, given their minimalist usage, I would highly recommend you check out the web browser TenFourFox. It is a fork of Firefox that's compatible with 10.4 and G3/G4 computer. It works great on my ancient PowerBook G4 when I occasionally boot it up. That might extend out the life of their eMac even longer.

https://www.floodgap.com/software/tenfourfox/
 

Cruciarius

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 18, 2013
84
12
Massachusetts
This is also a great suggestion.
I have, but they have iPhones. I think my dad would want the file system of Mac OSX, not iOS, when it comes to the programs he uses. He's... stuck in his ways. Plus if they did go iPad, it would probably be the pro, due to the size and my dad's vision.

Well, considering how low the specs are for the Luxor game you mentioned (I got these off of Steam: )
  • OS: Mac OS X version 10.5
  • Processor: Intel Processor
  • Memory: 256 MB RAM
  • Video Memory: (VRAM) 32 MB
Then probably a refurbished 2014 Mac Mini would do. You just have to be careful in updating the system as a program that old is likely 32-bit, and Apple will most likely "pull" support for those apps in the next version of OS X.
I'm sure he'd be open to trying other low system required games. He'd not play anything fast paced or too action packed, so if he can't play Luxor, that would be fine, I think. He's retired, so I think he only plays Luxor when he's really bored. As long as I can find a game it can run without any issues.
[doublepost=1553313780][/doublepost]
Literally anything you buy will substantially more powerful than an eMac.

HOWEVER, given their minimalist usage, I would highly recommend you check out the web browser TenFourFox. It is a fork of Firefox that's compatible with 10.4 and G3/G4 computer. It works great on my ancient PowerBook G4 when I occasionally boot it up. That might extend out the life of their eMac even longer.

https://www.floodgap.com/software/tenfourfox/
I'll check it out, thanks!

I'm unsure the file format, but apparently while I was at work today, they were trying to open a file related to my dad's retirement, but it couldn't open on the eMac. All I got from my parents about it was "we need to upgrade", so a new browser likely won't help with that situation, but maybe other things it'll help a lot with.
 
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Solomani

macrumors 68040
Sep 25, 2012
3,716
6,250
Alberto, Canado
So my parents currently own an eMac. Unsure exactly what model, but it's 12-16 years old. It can't be upgraded anymore for the OS or hardware. No browser even loads pages correctly. They can't spend a lot, but want the next computer to be their final computer. I'm tempted to suggest the low-end Man Mini, but if it's the last computer they buy, I'm wondering if the higher-end one would be more ideal. Either way, I can't think of how long either model would last.

They currently use the eMac for:

email
web browsing - what very little they can do with it
Microsoft Word

My dad also plays a game called Luxor, I think. Something like it anyway. Simple game, but he's also played that since probably the 90s. I know the Mac Mini can't do anything too intensive for gaming, but I hope it can run that...?

Any suggestions?
Luxor is a puzzle-like game. It's probably in the same "Game Category" as Tetris. It's not hardware intensive whatsoever. It even plays well on 4-year old iPhones and iPads, so any fairly-recent Mac or Mac Mini will handle such games well.

I also recommend a Mac Mini. Given that their computing needs are modest, it will last them a LONG time as their "last Mac"…. unless your parents are somehow fortunate to live another 2 or 3 decades LOL.

I do not recommend an iPad…. because the screen is too small for their eyesight. I recommend a full sized computer such as a Mac (Mini) because you can then pair a nice display. As they are already old, and they will be using this device in their final years, it's assumed that their senses of sight and hearing are not great any more. So get them a nice large monitor (23" is pretty good size) and pair it with the Mini.

With the Mac's OSX, you can be the Admin and can set it up with advanced Accessibility controls. Also hook it up to a semi-decent pair of speakers. Plus, your Dad will probably think of you as the greatest son in the world if you install the latest Luxor HD on his Mac (currently on the Mac App Store).
 

kohlson

macrumors 68020
Apr 23, 2010
2,028
548
I've been my family's IT support for many years. With respect to my octogenarian in-laws, we've had many conversations as to why Safari needs to keep changing, and how can they keep it from changing (along with other apps). Their iMac is now 8 years old, and they use it for the same things you describe. I believe in your situation computing power is not the issue - longevity is. I would get the newest, least expensive iMac, which would be head and shoulders above their eMac at a good price. This should last about 10 years, though I think software support is what will ultimately obsolete this. Hopefully your parents will have this same conversation in 2029.
 

Cruciarius

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 18, 2013
84
12
Massachusetts
I've been my family's IT support for many years. With respect to my octogenarian in-laws, we've had many conversations as to why Safari needs to keep changing, and how can they keep it from changing (along with other apps). Their iMac is now 8 years old, and they use it for the same things you describe. I believe in your situation computing power is not the issue - longevity is. I would get the newest, least expensive iMac, which would be head and shoulders above their eMac at a good price. This should last about 10 years, though I think software support is what will ultimately obsolete this. Hopefully your parents will have this same conversation in 2029.
I'm not too keen on the iMacs, tbh. My 2014 model had issues. My younger brother has had 2 iMacs (1 older than the 2014 and 1 newer), both of which had their own issues. Overheating, failed disc drives (the older iMac my brother had), and various screen problems. Won't write off the iMac completely, but will let them know the problems with the design that my brother and I have had with it.

My current iMac, the late 2014, I do plan on trading in, when I eventually upgrade my own setup. It's not worth me just passing it on to my parents, imo. Not with the screen ghosting issues.

If I do go with a low-end iMac for them, I'd want to upgrade it to an SSD. I've also heard that the 2018 Mac Mini is superior to the 2019 iMac, but haven't seen benchmarks to prove it. Not that the work my parents do with a computer would really need to be amazing, but it just has to last a good 10 or so years.
 

Mal67

macrumors 6502a
Apr 2, 2006
518
35
West Oz
You can get Luxor on the Mac App store. I have it on my Air. The low end current mini would be a good bet. I was always a big fan of the emac and was always sad that it couldn't take an intel processor.
 
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Dc2006ster

macrumors regular
Jun 9, 2011
211
41
Alberta, Canada
My wife and I are both septuagenarians and while I am comfortable installing updates etc my wife is not. She just wants to be able to turn on her computer and use facebook, browse the web, email, Youtube etc..very basic usage. She has a basic Mac Mini purchased from the refurbished store and it meets her needs. I suspect a Mac mini will be fine for your folks.
 

Cruciarius

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 18, 2013
84
12
Massachusetts
Take a look at a Chrome box or Chrome book. Probably all they would ever need.
Rather get something that lasts. My work used to have Chrome Books, but those things don't last long at all. Plus too small of a screen. Not to mention it's Windows. They'd have nobody to help them out, if they have a question about it.

I'm going to be suggesting the Mac Mini to them.
 

gelosi

macrumors newbie
Mar 24, 2019
1
1
Given all:

— retina 21 mac. Why: retina is way nicer for reading, camera, mic, and speakers in, minimal hassle with wires, good performance capacity. Stays cool for videos, not as fragile as iPad. Familiar design.

Mac mini: nice, but external camera, mic and speakers are making video calls ‚an echo problem‘ :/ and you still need a display, etc, etc... wires...

And yes, big screen + modern computer will enable video calls for real. I consider this an advantage.

Budget: getting first of 21 retina on ebay if used is an ok option. Will do a job (afaik it’s possible to add memory and swap hdd to ssd; can do it later )
 
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ChrisA

macrumors G4
Jan 5, 2006
11,602
404
Redondo Beach, California
Rather get something that lasts. My work used to have Chrome Books, but those things don't last long at all. Plus too small of a screen. Not to mention it's Windows. They'd have nobody to help them out, if they have a question about it.

I'm going to be suggesting the Mac Mini to them.
Mac Mini is a reasonable plan. Also buy a new disk drive to Time Machine.

BTW the Chromebook does NOT run Windows. It runs Chome OS which is Linux, just like Android is Linux. From a user's point of view, ChromeOS is very Mac-like. They are VERY easy to use but most a built cheap
 

akadafni

macrumors regular
Nov 8, 2015
231
159
So my parents currently own an eMac. Unsure exactly what model, but it's 12-16 years old. It can't be upgraded anymore for the OS or hardware. No browser even loads pages correctly. They can't spend a lot, but want the next computer to be their final computer. I'm tempted to suggest the low-end Man Mini, but if it's the last computer they buy, I'm wondering if the higher-end one would be more ideal. Either way, I can't think of how long either model would last.

They currently use the eMac for:

email
web browsing - what very little they can do with it
Microsoft Word

My dad also plays a game called Luxor, I think. Something like it anyway. Simple game, but he's also played that since probably the 90s. I know the Mac Mini can't do anything too intensive for gaming, but I hope it can run that...?

Any suggestions?

Also, if they do go with a Mac Mini, suggested RAM for the above? For storage, I'll hack to check to see how much space they even use on the eMac, but I'll suggest something based off that.

If I do go with a Mac Mini, I already have a 23" monitor I could hook up to it.
Get them a high end iPad and they can use Pages
 

iTurbo

macrumors 6502
Sep 9, 2008
298
356
I think the 27" iMac is the way to go. My Mom is in her 70s and she got a 2017 model and loves it. This was after the HD failed in her 2010 21.5" iMac. I ended up replacing the failed HD with an SSD (easy) and she loved that we were able to give it to my nephew.

I don't know if I've been 'lucky' or what, but my own 2012 27" iMac is still rocking solid. Fusion drive and all. Still current as far as OS version including APFS even.
 
Last edited:

Ruggy

macrumors 6502
Jan 11, 2017
278
160
Rather get something that lasts. My work used to have Chrome Books, but those things don't last long at all. Plus too small of a screen. Not to mention it's Windows. They'd have nobody to help them out, if they have a question about it.

I'm going to be suggesting the Mac Mini to them.
Chromebooks run on Chrome OS which is based on Unix the same as Mac OS, not Windows.

I bought one for my mother-in law-who is highly incompetent when it comes to computing and it does have a number of real advantages for old people.
They are really very simple to use. Very much like a cut down Mac Os. Browser based of course.

If you buy one which flips with a touchscreen then you've got a useful tablet and that can be a real plus for old fingers if you aren't comfortable with a track pad or mouse. No worying about right clicking.
No anti-virus and everything sandboxed. They update very easily, no driver issues.
Very cheap to buy. About a third of the cost or less.
It really is a bit like running a very old Mackintosh.

The down sides are, the drive on them is very small which is ok if you want to save everything in clouds or on a thumb drive but otherwise is a pain. No big videos
They are ok for mail, surfing etc, but very slow on anything graphics intensive. Ok for editing photos but that's about it.
They won't use imessage, face time or co-ordinate with the iphone.
And the biggy: Google. It's basically a surveillance device for google mining your data.
For a lot of people this isn't a problem as they have Android phones (some chromebooks will run Android apps too) and if you have an android phone then you've the advantage of everything co-ordinating same as iphone and the mac.
You can get round the Google issue though: set up a new gmail identity with a fake name, date of birth etc and make sure you keep private info out of it. Buy cards in store for Google play then you load your account with credit for apps and you will never have to give them your credit cards.
Personally, I'd still rather pay for Apple.
I don't know about that game.
Worth having a think about especially if they are going to have to learn a new OS anyway, and if money is tight.
It won't last 10 years but I doubt any new machine will nowadays in my experience.
 

GFLPraxis

macrumors 604
Mar 17, 2004
7,092
404
So my parents currently own an eMac. Unsure exactly what model, but it's 12-16 years old. It can't be upgraded anymore for the OS or hardware. No browser even loads pages correctly. They can't spend a lot, but want the next computer to be their final computer. I'm tempted to suggest the low-end Man Mini, but if it's the last computer they buy, I'm wondering if the higher-end one would be more ideal. Either way, I can't think of how long either model would last.

They currently use the eMac for:

email
web browsing - what very little they can do with it
Microsoft Word

My dad also plays a game called Luxor, I think. Something like it anyway. Simple game, but he's also played that since probably the 90s. I know the Mac Mini can't do anything too intensive for gaming, but I hope it can run that...?

Any suggestions?

Also, if they do go with a Mac Mini, suggested RAM for the above? For storage, I'll hack to check to see how much space they even use on the eMac, but I'll suggest something based off that.

If I do go with a Mac Mini, I already have a 23" monitor I could hook up to it.

I don't like the Mac Mini idea simply because you're introducing wires. If something goes wrong, you've got multiple points of failure. The monitor might be off or have lost power, or the computer itself, etc.

I'd do an iMac just because it's an all in one, like the eMac. No cords to trip over, less power plugs, etc.

If you have the money, I'd get the lowest end 27-inch iMac. (Large screen for hard of vision. You can lower the scaling to increase font sizes.)

If you don't, I'd get the lowest end iMac with 4K display. (Spec differences won't matter to them day-to-day, but the differences are staggering- quad core vs dual core, Radeon GPU vs integrated, so it'll last and be supported a lot longer.) Except, upgrade to a Fusion drive for $100 or SSD for $200. You don't want to be booting off a physical drive with no SSD. Then get Applecare.
 
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Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
"I'd get the lowest end 27-inch iMac. (Large screen for hard of vision.....")

Actually......as someone who is probably around the same age group as the parents whose future new machine is being discussed here, give-or-take a few years on one side or the other, it may be that a 21.5" iMac would be far easier on them and their vision than a huge 27" screen. Why? If they do mostly things which involve text and reading, doing that on a smaller, more contained screen surface is actually easier than having to sweep one's eyes and move one's head back-and-forth in order to take in all that is on a larger screen. I noticed this years ago when I had a 30" ACD and eventually found myself preferring a smaller 24" ACD instead. These people are not going to be used to a huge monitor screen if they've been using an eMac all these years -- those things were small, 15" or 17", if I recall correctly. Scaling of fonts can be done on a 21.5" iMac just as easily as on the large 27" iMac.

My vote for their use would be for the 21.5" iMac with SSD -- forget the silly Fusion Drive and that dog-slow 5400 rpm platter/spinner drive! In the end the SSD will provide a much more pleasant and less frustrating day-to-day experience each time they sit down at the computer.

Speaking for myself, I've noticed that as I've been getting older that I really prefer things to be simpler, uncomplicated.....and an iMac, especially the smaller, more basic one, would definitely be less complicated for them for any number of reasons than a Mac Mini with separate external monitor and connections. They're used to the all-in-one setup and from what has been said they just want to get on the computer and do things such as check email, browse the web from time to time, play a game or two....and that's it. Keeping it simple just seems like the best approach in this situation.
 
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MRrainer

macrumors 65816
Aug 8, 2008
1,172
629
Zurich, Switzerland
New MacMini i3 128GB SSD, but with as large a screen as you can get. And add lots of RAM.

According to my copy of MacTracker, the last eMac (2005) had 80 or 160GB HD. So 128GB would suffice IMO.

The iMac GPU is wasted for their use-cases.

My mother uses a 2012 i5 Mini with 16GB RAM and a 256GB SSD. Works perfectly.
 

richmlow

macrumors regular
Jul 17, 2002
126
39
Hi Cruciarius,


I would recommend the 2018 Mac Mini baseline configuration (3.6GHz Quad-core Intel Core i3, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD (storage)). This goes for $799 from Apple, cheaper if you can find it in the Apple Refurbished store.

Good luck.


richmlow


So my parents currently own an eMac. Unsure exactly what model, but it's 12-16 years old. It can't be upgraded anymore for the OS or hardware. No browser even loads pages correctly. They can't spend a lot, but want the next computer to be their final computer. I'm tempted to suggest the low-end Man Mini, but if it's the last computer they buy, I'm wondering if the higher-end one would be more ideal. Either way, I can't think of how long either model would last.

They currently use the eMac for:

email
web browsing - what very little they can do with it
Microsoft Word

My dad also plays a game called Luxor, I think. Something like it anyway. Simple game, but he's also played that since probably the 90s. I know the Mac Mini can't do anything too intensive for gaming, but I hope it can run that...?

Any suggestions?

Also, if they do go with a Mac Mini, suggested RAM for the above? For storage, I'll hack to check to see how much space they even use on the eMac, but I'll suggest something based off that.

If I do go with a Mac Mini, I already have a 23" monitor I could hook up to it.