New Mac User - What to get my son now...

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by NiftyBritches, Apr 4, 2005.

  1. NiftyBritches macrumors newbie

    Apr 4, 2005
    Cedar Park, TX
    I've been lurking around here for a while really enjoying the site and all the threads - advice on what to buy, etc. I wish I had found this site before I entered the Mac universe, but I couldn't be happier to be a Mac user now.

    On my birthday, at the end of January, I finally had enough of my aging Compaq Armada laptop and left the house in frustration thinking I would go buy a new PC laptop to replace it. Off to CompUSA and I noticed the corner where the 'Apple Store' is. That sure is nifty stuff. About an hour later, I left with my new 12" iBook!!! All I can say is...WOW! Glad to be here!

    OK, now with the question. I have a just-turned 4yr old boy who really likes to play games on the computer. I can't believe how good he is with the trackpad, regular mouse, etc. Anywho, I don't like goldfish dust and cheese stick slime on my pretty new iBook, so I was thinking about getting him a machine. What are thoughts on looking for an older G3 iMac in the 400MHz + range? Would those run Panther? I have no experience with earlier versions of the OS, so I would like to have 10.3+ installed on it. Funds are limited, or I would be all over the Mini for him. Thoughts? Recommedations? Anyone running Panther on a 400MHz or so G3 iMac?

    Thanks for any advice you guys/gals can offer.
  2. auxplage macrumors 6502

    Nov 11, 2004
    Virginia Beach
    I read all the time on here about people using Panther on iMac G3s (they always say slowly). I read yesterday about someone running Panther on a 233mhz Powerbook. Your young son will not notice the difference (speed) anyways. It will be perfect and effective - just not fast. No real gaming machine except for older games and little ones.
  3. Ugg macrumors 68000


    Apr 7, 2003
    I just gave my old iMac G3 400 to my mother. She'll just be using it for scanning photos, e-mail, internet, word processing, etc. I think it'll last a good few years. I never installed panther on it, it still has Jaguar and it is very slow even with 384 megs of ram. I would think Panther would run a little slower.

    For your son, especially if he is into games, I would seriously consider a G4. Even if it is only a 700 mhz.

    On the other hand, with the release of the Mac Mini, G3s can be had for less than 400 dollars. So, even if he only uses it for a couple of years it would be worth it, but..... a Mac Mini can be had for 499 plus another 150 for a monitor and keyboard and mouse.

    Tough call, but good luck!
  4. h0e0h macrumors 6502a


    Aug 30, 2004
    West Monroe, Louisiana
    you could always just buy him his own external keyboard and USB mouse so he wouldn't actually have to touch the computer. I mean, you can get a 17" LCD monitor, wireless keyboard and wireless mouse for like 250. That's probably the route i would take. That way you could leave the iBook closed and sitting up on a shelf or something so he wouldn't get his sticky things on it.
  5. biohazard6969 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 23, 2005
    toronto canada
    i'm running panther on both a 400 mhz imac G3 and a 333 mhz powerbook G3, they both work fine, and i don't find them that slow, keeping in mind the processor speed, it seems to run adequately. what kind of games, i understand it won't be anything demanding, prlby like disney stuff
  6. ham_man macrumors 68020


    Jan 21, 2005
    I think that a good 400 mhz G3 iMac would work out well. Your son would not know the difference, as I doubt that he will be doing Photoshop or iMovie ;). It should be a relatively cheap buy, so it can be a machine to take all the crap that your son can dish out. It is good to expose him to the computer and all that it has to offer, just make sure that you have some parental controls on the internet...:p

    BTW, did you go to the CompUSA in Gateway Plaza? I actually like that one. They have some good deals on older model iBooks...
  7. TrashCanDan macrumors member

    Apr 1, 2005
    Phoenix, AZ
    Im running 10.2 jaguar on my old G3 iMac DV and works fine for basic stuff like internet and iPhoto, so Im sure it would do fine with games... good luck!
  8. 840quadra Moderator


    Staff Member

    Feb 1, 2005
    Twin Cities Minnesota
    What about one of these


    or one of these

    LC 575

    Apple has been building kid friendly comptuers for many years. Granted the second image is of an old 68k computer, but you have to remember that there were 100's of games available and still can be found.

    I have an LC 575 in my collection (the second image), it currently has 30 kids Games (toddler and grade school learning games), and is on loan to my friends daycare. The computer is a favorite with the kids. It has built in speakers, and uses older Macintosh ADB keyboards and mice. You can find a good used 575 on Ebay for less then $30 easy.

    The Classic OS is super easy to deal with. Many websites are available online to assist with questions.

    A first computer dosen't need to be expensive, and with the low money invested, you can get lots of cool games for your kid!!

    Otherwise.. a B&W G3 is a good OSX compatible computer..


    They can be upgraded plenty, and are available for ~$150
  9. crap freakboy macrumors 6502a

    crap freakboy

    Jul 17, 2002
    nar in Gainsborough, me duck
    Hope this is of some help.

    My 3 year old daughter as been using Macs since she was 2 and more importantly for the first six months it was a iMacdv 400Mhz. Now even though it does run Panther there were some limitations. All of the sites in her bookmark bar have educational games based on flash, and simple though they are graphically she prefers to run them full screen which does result in 'some major' slowdown in the animation and especially when typing in fields. Personally I'd bite the bullet and get a refrurb eMac, although that may be more than you want to spend. Save your money and don't be tempted to buy software games they get bored too quickly, theres some great website content out there for free eg. nick jnr, sesame street, cbeebies, disney etc etc. Infact I'm happy to say is all very educational, hats off to them.
    Oh although you probably do this, I've given Zoë her own login account running basic finder with Safari, DVD Player in the dock. Never had any problems with her screwing up my account proably due to the fact I've given her her own little world on our computer.
  10. dubbz macrumors 68020


    Sep 3, 2003
    Alta, Norway
  11. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

    Apr 26, 2002
    My 10-year old daughter grew up on a Mac, and right now has a 600mhz Blue iMac. She cruises the Internet (parental control from Norton) and plays LOTS of games. It runs Panther, and has things like Starry Night. X apps run perfectly, albeit a bit slow for MY taste, but not hers. The Net is Fast. Also\, the Classic games run just fine. Now, if I can make her take care of the CD ROM's that the games require!
    My take: A 400-800 G3 would be FINE for a 4-year old. VERY fine. The Jumpstart series was a great tool, and helped her do very well in school. Get the boy a computer. Let him live in that world, because it IS his world.

    MIGHT as well do the "Parent/Bragging" thing...
  12. wordmunger macrumors 603


    Sep 3, 2003
    North Carolina
    If you do buy an older mac and want to run Panther on it, you're going to need at least a 10 gig hard drive. That's probably going to be your major limitation. Anything with USB and 128 MB of RAM will run it, but a lot of those older computers don't have big enough hard drives.

    I'm currently running Panther on a 300 Mhz iBook with 192 MB of RAM and a 10 GB HD (upgraded from the original 3-4 Gig HD). It works fine, as long as you're not doing much multitasking (and typically this isn't something kids do). I've also got it on two 450 Mhz cubes with 256 MB of RAM and 20 GB HDs. It's a lot more comfortable on these models -- I can even run 3 or 4 apps at a time on them. One of them even runs Garageband!
  13. zelmo macrumors 603


    Jul 3, 2004
    Mac since 7.5
    My son, who will turn 4 later this month, uses our 800MHz iMac G4 all the time to play simple games (mostly under Classic) and web games from Sesame Street, Noggin, Disney, and the like. Occasionally, he also gets to use either my PowerBook or my wife's Vaio laptop, but mostly it is the iMac for him.
    This Mac is the family computer, so he has to share it with his older (16) sister. That means he does not eat or drink at the computer, and that he has to clean his gloriously grubby little hands prior to using it. We limit his computer time to under an hour a day.
  14. NiftyBritches thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 4, 2005
    Cedar Park, TX

    Yes, I went to the Gateway CompUSA. It's pretty cool and not usually very crowded.

    My son will be playing mostly games on the internet - like, disney,, etc.

    A friend of mine bought him a game too - one of the Jumpstarts I think.

    Stuff like that is the maximum he would be playing.

    I thought of one of the old PowerMac towers too as they are cheap, but space is also another main concern, and they are a little too large. An all-in-one unit is most appealing.

    I will look into one of the older machines for now, then maybe by next year when he's intering Kindergarten, he can take over the iBook and I'll have saved enough for the mini+20" ACD that look so nice... ;)

    Thanks to everyone for your responses. It's been very helpful!
  15. Falleron macrumors 68000


    Nov 22, 2001
    Well, I have a 350Mhz iMac running OSx.3.8 running just fine. Its used everyday for email, web and Microsoft Office 2004 stuff. Its no speed demon, but I have no complaints with it. The only thing I have that has been upgraded is the RAM. It has 576Mb RAM. RAM is the key on older machines I think.
  16. plinden macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2004
    This is an interesting thread for me - I'll be thinking about this for my soon-to-be-three yr old daughter.

    Glad to see that I'm not the only one attempting to indoctrinate their child - when I take my daughter to CompUSA she gets much more excited at the Apple corner than anywhere else. Ok ... it's because of the Apple logo ("there's an apple! 'nother one! 'nother one!") but it's cute and it looks like she knows what she's talking about.
  17. krollster macrumors member

    Jul 24, 2002
    My ibook G3 500 runs panther with no problems except a bit of slowness now and then when I forget I'm not on a G4 and open too many apps. Panther is reliable on the machine too...last time I updated the software and required a restart it had been chugging along for 26 days without any hitches. Considering I use it every day almost and put it to sleep after I reckon that's not too shabby. Make sure you've got more RAM than stock though...
  18. BrianKonarsMac macrumors 65816

    Apr 28, 2004
    man i wish i had a computer when i was 3 years old, i felt spoiled to have a nintendo!!

    i didn't get my first computer (a Macintosh LCS2 i think it was called) until i was close to 10-12, but man that 8 way paint in ClarisWorks was better than any game I could think of. :D
  19. NiftyBritches thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 4, 2005
    Cedar Park, TX
    Nintendo at 3? I think we had Pong, then an Atari at about 8-9 years old with combat and PacMan. My first computer was called Tommy Tutor. You could use it to program Basic and have your name flash across the screen, or different colors. My first PC was in college. I want to say it was a Magnavox 386SX running a Windows clone called GeoWorks or something like that. I remember financing it for $1,000. The 'internet' didn't exist as we know it, so it was a 24kbs??? modem to download pics off of bulletin boards. It took about 10-15 minutes to download a normal pic, sometimes up to 45mins.

    Scary to think about what my 4yr old will be able to do... :eek: The parental controls in Tiger are looking very good to me right now...
  20. tristan macrumors 6502a

    Jul 19, 2003
    high-rise in beautiful bethesda
    The Mac Mini for Mini-me

    Hard to get much cheaper than the mac-mini. Is is the monitor/keyboard? You can get those used very cheaply from some person who's upgrading their PC.
  21. JzzTrump22 macrumors 65816

    Apr 13, 2004
    New York
    Pich yourself up a mini. Those things are pretty up to par in the gaming world. Plus it won't burn a hole in your wallet. You would just have to get your own monitor, keyboard, and mouse.
  22. LeeTom macrumors 68000


    May 31, 2004
    I'd say go for the fastest G3 iMac you can afford, or an eMac if possible. The all-in-one design will be a lot more kid-proof than a Mini or older G3 with a separate monitor. a ~500MHz G3 with a lot of RAM should do great.
  23. Scooby_Doo macrumors member


    Apr 5, 2005
    Signed up Just for this


    As a long time mac user, and having fond memories of being a mac user as a kid, I found it necessary just to sign up to MacRumors and reply to your message.

    My two cents is to (since money is an issue) purchase an older all in one iMac G3, like you had planned, many companies sell them such as PowerMaxx. This one I pulled out since it is cheap, has a DVD drive so he/she can watch movies, and a respectable Hard Drive:

    Or you could try and eBay one.

    At any rate, I would simply install OS 9 on the machine, as it would run much better on these machines than OS X, and most of the educational software still runs on OS 9.

    From there I would find some classic Software that is avaliable for free, that is kid friendly. The Macintosh Garden has much of this "abandonware" that I'm sure many mac users on here will find nostalgic, and still great fun:

    I recommend the games:
    Sim City 2000 (or the original)
    KidPix (the most fun children's painting program ever)
    Widget Workshop (Software that emulates a "how things work" style book)
    Lemmings or Worms (Fun little strategy games)
    Glider Pro (fly a paper airplane around a house, a Macintosh classic)
    any of the AfterDark Sets for fun/funny screen savers.

    The best part is these are all free, and many work in OS X Classic so you can try them out for yourself to see what I mean!

    Hope this helps, cheers

  24. queshy macrumors 68040


    Apr 2, 2005
    Get a powermac G5 dual 2.5 GHZ machine - it'd be a good idea to max out the ram to 8GB, might as well get 2x250gb hard drive ,gigabet ethernet , superdrive, and the rest. Defintely, get the 6800 ultra card so it will be able to power the two 30" displays ! :D
  25. NiftyBritches thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 4, 2005
    Cedar Park, TX
    Thanks queshy. What a great idea. I'll have his limo driver take him right over to the Apple store and pick that up. Perhaps right after his massage this evening. :rolleyes:

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