Older person's Mac... which do I get?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by M3G4, Sep 22, 2007.

  1. M3G4 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 4, 2007
    Location:
    Kent, UK
    #1
    Hi all,

    I'm trying to get an elder relative into computers, because she has limited mobility and I feel getting her online would make things a bit easier (online shopping etc) and also perhaps find more things that interest her. I think introducing her to the mac is a better idea that getting her a cheap dell (Windows, IMO, is far too daunting for new users, MacOS is much friendlier)

    Thing is, what machine do I get? How fast should the processor be? Bear in mind, it's best that the mac can support most websites, including flash based ones, java, etc. It'll probably also be used for DVD's and Word Processing. I was thinking along the lines of an eMac, or maybe a 600MHz G3 iMac? The budget is around £150-200. Being a post-PPC mac user, my experience of the older mac processors is limited so I'm not sure how they'd fare doing stuff a bog standard PC would do. I'm not ruling out G3/G4 towers or laptops - though mac laptops seem to hold their value just a little too well.

    Any ideas guys?
     
  2. queshy macrumors 68040

    queshy

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    #2
    Get no less than the 8-core Mac Pro with 16 gb ram :)

    Joking aside, I think you can find a cheap (but working) machine on Ebay. Unfortunately I don't know how capable the earlier macs were...
     
  3. anti-microsoft macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2006
    Location:
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    #3
    I'd recomend an eMac cheap, all-in-one and quite speedy for an elderly persons needs. You could probably find one from ebay within your budget.
     
  4. decksnap macrumors 68040

    decksnap

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2003
    #4
    If you can at least get a 1ghz G4 eMac I would. And something with 10.3 or higher. G3s are soooooooo slow.
     
  5. portent macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2004
    #5
    I think an eMac would be capable of just about anything, so long as it has a fair amount of memory (1GB or so)
     
  6. eRondeau macrumors 6502a

    eRondeau

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2004
    Location:
    Canada's South Coast
    #7
    You haven't mentioned vision problems, but that should be a concern. The CRT iMac's have a viewable screen area of about 13", and that might be a little small for the elderly. (Although you could change the resolution to 800 x 600.) I would think in the CRT range a larger eMac screen would be much easier to look at. Any flat panel would probably be quite acceptable though.
     
  7. kuebby macrumors 68000

    kuebby

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Location:
    SFV
    #8
    That may well be a concern, if not now then possibly in the future. I would recommend a G4 Mini; completed listings on eBay show quite a few that have ended for less than 200 pounds. Then you could buy, or even get free through Craigslist, a monitor that is a good size. That way in the future you could upgrade to a bigger monitor if necessary without scraping the whole computer.
     
  8. SkyBell macrumors 604

    SkyBell

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    Location:
    Texas, unfortunately.
    #9
    I recommend a G3 iMac (500 MHz or above) Or if your relative has vision problems, a G4 mini and a nice big monitor. (CRT is a lot cheaper, but if you want to spring for LCD, then go for it)
     
  9. seany916 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2006
    Location:
    Southern California
    #10
    If close to a retail store, get Applecare for the elderly person. & a Macbook so they can bring the computer in with them.
     
  10. taylorwilsdon macrumors 68000

    taylorwilsdon

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2006
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #11
    I guessed you missed the limited mobility and 150pound budget?
     
  11. zelmo macrumors 603

    zelmo

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2004
    Location:
    Mac since 7.5
    #12
    I am still using an iMac G4/800, and find it to be perfectly acceptable for browsing, email, Office, and watching a DVD now and again. Anything from this era or later in your price range would be suitable. The eMac, as many have already suggested, is a fine option as well.
    I'd stay away from a G3 iMac if you can. I got one for my Mom and she found it far too slow to make her want to use it. Now it sits in my closet, slowing Folding.
     
  12. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    #13
    I suggest a core solo mini. It should be cheap, and it could be hooked up to a TV to make life easier. I'm sure you can find one for under £150.
     
  13. MikeL macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2003
    Location:
    Bloomington, MN
    #14
    Be careful when purchasing an LCD for an elderly person. Most people don't think too much about pixel density. The best LCD for older eyes is a 19" that natively runs 1280x1024.

    Running an LCD at something other than its native resolution usually looks pretty bad. I'm amazed at how many people buy large screens and then run them at non-native resolutions. They'd have been better off with a CRT.
     
  14. jjo macrumors member

    jjo

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2007
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
  15. Finder9 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2007
    #16
    Older g4

    a 400mhz powerbook g4 can run 10.4, office, keynote, mail, safari, firefox, ect..:apple:
     
  16. FJ218700 macrumors 68000

    FJ218700

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2007
    Location:
    Blue Dot, Red State
    #17
    my grandmother (84 years old) rocks a 1.25 GHz eMac. I've found them to be pretty reliable. You can pick them up for a few hundred on eBay.
     
  17. California macrumors 68040

    California

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2004
    #18
    The iMac G3 slot load with one gig of ram and a new hard drive should be had for around 150 USD. These are excellent workhorses. I got my mom one and she learned so well on it at seventy years of age that she now has an iMac G5! The laptops were too much for her. The G3 imacs just sat on the desk, unlike laptops which get banged around with use.
     
  18. MacinDoc macrumors 68020

    MacinDoc

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2004
    Location:
    The Great White North
    #19
    There's this iMac G5 on eBay, but it looks like it will probably go over your budget (currently £143). On the other hand, the seller is willing to meet the buyer for pick-up, which would save you on shipping if the seller's location is convenient for you.
     
  19. LizKat macrumors 68040

    LizKat

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2004
    Location:
    Catskill Mountains
    #20
    An apple-refurb'd mini, and get Applecare on it. Keyboards and monitors abound for not a lot of money. Big advantage is if it ever needs service, it's not a 40-pound bulky monster like the eMac could suddenly become. Maybe eMac is even more than 40 pounds.. anyway not something an elderly person is going to want to try to schlep in for repairs.
     
  20. faroukabad macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2006
    #21
    I just got my 77 year old mom a core solo Mac Mini about four months ago, picked it up used for around 500 bux shipped, and she loves it. Even though her memory isn't so good, she's still doing pretty good with it, she can send and receive e-mail and download pics of her digital camera. She likes the fact that it starts up pretty fast, unlike the old Athlon Windoze box she used to have.
     
  21. MacinDoc macrumors 68020

    MacinDoc

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2004
    Location:
    The Great White North
    #22
    Remember, M3G4's budget is £150-£200. Refurb Mini is £499.
     
  22. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    #23
    :eek: My god, that's just highway robbery. I'm sure ebay can provide the OP with a decent mini at around 150 or 200 quid.
     
  23. LizKat macrumors 68040

    LizKat

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2004
    Location:
    Catskill Mountains
    #24
    Pawn the guitar and the amps to make up the difference... I'm almost serious. There is nothing on the planet much more irritating than taking an eMac in for service, you could ask my sister (twice).
     
  24. question fear macrumors 68020

    question fear

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    The "Garden" state
    #25
    I play tech support regularly for my grandmother's craptastic HP computer.

    Here is what I have learned about older, non-computer friendly people and their computers:

    -Get the simplest, easiest setup you can for her. Make it idiot proof.
    -Put all the programs she needs on the dock.
    -Make sure you have a username with admin privileges and give her a locked down user login instead, preferably one that can't access system files*.
    -If she can read an emac screen ok, I think they are the best bet. It's all in one so you'll have a much easier time with wires and power buttons and such, and while that's not something we think about often, if you have someone who isn't used to computers they might get intimidated by too many wires leading places, and remembering to turn on the computer plus the monitor, etc. One button.
    -Speaking of one button, for the love of all that is good in the world make sure she does not ever get her hands on a two button mouse. If she has any hand-eye coordination issues at all she will have a lot of difficulty with right-clicks, it seems instinctive to people who grow up with computers but for someone who is first touching a mouse as an adult, the concept of using your palm to move it and your fingers to click can be difficult, and she might have a tendency towards using her whole hand for clicking and moving.

    I know this is ridiculously detailed, and your relative may get comfortable very fast with her computer, but I just wanted to share the things I wish I'd learned a few years ago. Also remember that an elderly relative who is sharp and can use a computer comfortably now may have more difficulty as she gets older, and so teaching her less steps early will help ease a lot of frustration if general old age makes using her computer more of a challenge.

    *(I know it's far less likely on a mac than on a PC, but you'd be surprised at what random clicking and dragging can do to a computer, especially important files. I don't even think the engineers who built windows know you can do what my grandmother has done to her computer through indiscriminate clicks.)
     

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