Seeking honest answers about buying a desktop for my parents - UPDATED

Discussion in 'iMac' started by SiMBa37, Apr 25, 2011.

  1. SiMBa37, Apr 25, 2011
    Last edited: May 10, 2011

    SiMBa37 macrumors regular

    Jul 5, 2010
    New York
    Hey guys, need some advice.

    My 60 year old parents have basic computer literacy and they have been using windows laptops for life. They mostly check email, pay some bills, and use quickbooks for their small business. Their 3 year old Dell laptop with Vista died after years of regular crashes.

    Based on their usage (mostly desk bound with little need for portability) I convinced them that a low profile all in one desktop is the way to go.

    I narrowed it down to an HP 200xt series core i3 vs a base iMac i3 but running windows 7 via a boot camp partition. If they did get the iMac I would configure it so the default is boot into windows. I'd love for them to use OSX but I dont think they are ready for the learning curve.

    Their #1 concern is reliability of the computer. Personally I feel Apple hardware will last longer than HP, Dell, Toshiba, etc. But as stated above, what they know as a computer OS has been windows and that's where it will stay for some time.

    Any thoughts.

    UPDATE: Skip to post from 5/10/11
  2. 184550 Guest

    May 8, 2008
    I'd say the iMac with Windows 7 is the way to go.

    At least if they ever get curious about OS X then it's already there and waiting.
  3. VPrime macrumors 68000


    Dec 19, 2008
    London Ontario
    I would suggest a windows only computer. No need to pay the extra cost if they are not going to use OSX at all.
    Reliability well, HP isn't really that bad. But if reliability is a big issue then don't get an all in one. Buy a small tower + monitor and it will be easier to repair if something does go wrong.
  4. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    My kids have been using iMacs running primarily Windows for over 3 years now with few problems. In that time they have been heavily used for video game playing and have been booted back and forth between OSX and Windows and have had no trouble outside of an initial video card failure taken care of within warranty (1 month after purchase).
  5. B.A.T macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2009
    Do you have an iPad or iPhone they can play with? That might be a way of gauging their interest in OSx? Otherwise stick with an all windows machine.
  6. 184550 Guest

    May 8, 2008
    I had a one year old HP laptop die on me due to an engineering problem with the heat sinks. That's why I ended up get my iMac last June.

    Though my parents last two desktops have been HPs and they've lasted.

    Hit or miss I suppose.
  7. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    If they will be sticking with Windows I'd suggest a Dell or HP desktop, and a business rather than consumer model. The commercial models (most of my experience with Dell Optiplex) have been rock solid but I've had trouble with every consumer system I've laid my hands on.

    I don't think it makes sense to buy a Mac and use it only in Windows, but if you do, for something like this that isn't demanding, a Mac mini with a decent (but not Apple) monitor and a Windows keyboard would be best. The mini's are known to be the most reliable Macs probably because they run cool.
  8. svenn macrumors 6502

    Aug 11, 2010
    If it will run Windows 100% of the time, why waste money on the apple tax? Seems unnecessary to me. If the hardware did break so badly it could not be fixed, you could just replace with a new pc and still be ahead, or at least close to what you would spend on one imac. For those uses, though, I think hardware reliability would be about the same.
  9. SiMBa37 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 5, 2010
    New York
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8H7 Safari/6533.18.5)

    My father in law got an hp dv notebook 2 years ago that recently died from a logic board failure. My hp mini 311 netbook has BSOD plenty if times. I've had Dell and toshiba laptops die at the 2.5 and 3 year mark. This is what scares me about Windows only machines.

    I'd prefer an all in as they don't want a sea of cables to deal with, and aside from RAM, they dont ever upgrade internals. Still not sure what to do. Reliability is the #1 issue.
  10. bushman4 macrumors 68020

    Mar 22, 2011
    Are your parents really interested in learning OSX or are they looking for a user friendly computer that will serve their needs which sounds like more web surfing than creativity.
    Sticking with a Windows PC might be more advantages and less challenging. I say this only because they know the Windows landscape. Besides why pay for an Apple and run Windows on it makes no sense in your parents case.
    HP has an interesting All-IN-One called the Touchsmart. Your parents might enjoy this as HP is reputable and the Touchsmart has a touch screen as well as a mouse. Some Touchsmarts have a Blu-Ray player, TV tuner etc.
    Remember regardless of what you decide.....You want your parents to be happy!
  11. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2009
    Folsom, CA
    With due respect I think you are under estimating your parents ability to learn. I'm sure if they are of average intelligence they can easily learn OS X. Why not get them the iMac, if they run into problems there is so much information available on learning OS X either on the web or via books or even an Apple Store it's not even funny. Sure it's new but people have the ability to learn stuff up until they die and 60 is hardly old these days.

    First ask them if they're game and if they're willing help them take the plunge.
  12. meb91 macrumors member

    Jul 19, 2010
    Yeah, the general concepts of using the computer are not much different between OS X and Windows. It's kind of like getting a new car where the shifter is on the floor instead of the column, and the e-brake is a handbrake instead of a foot pedal. The differences take some getting used to but overall the main idea of driving is the same.
  13. ktbubster macrumors 6502a


    Jan 20, 2007
    I also say... see if they are game to run OSX and then go Imac. You can get awesome deals in the refurb store for what they need.

    Honestly, yeah, the learning curve from windows --> mac is far easier (in my experience anyway) than the other way around, so why not try? Most of my friends go mac and... well, rarely go back (completely anyway - i know there are exceptions) and after a week or two of fiddling around on it, they probably won't have any issues, especially because of the BASIC stuff they do. Web surfing and email is pretty similar.

    It may take about a week or two to get used to the way the windows work (minimizing/max/the dock and the way programs close etc), and which key commands to hit (command vs. control) and which side of the window to go to close it... but after that week or so adjustment period, I bet they will be just fine, not to mention, less crap to deal with with anti virus stuff and various updates and all around maintenance. My parents are the same age (albeit my dad is super computer literate) and learning new things like this (especially with all the videos on alone!) isn't that hard.

    Ask them, and then switch em, they wont' regret it (AND you can always say they have the option to go back if they hate it)

    edit: ALSO - if they had a laptop with vista, I assume at one point they were using XP (unless they just learned vista from teh get go) ... and then they would be moving to windows 7. I do know they are all more similar than OSX and windows obviously... but really, if you can learn the weird little features from XP to Vista, and then hop in again to some of the new quirks in 7... Vista to OSX isn't much more time spent anyway.
  14. sassy404 macrumors member

    Jun 14, 2009
    I never used a computer until I was dare I say 68, my son decided it was what I needed, so I started with a laptop on Windows. It wasn't very long before he decided that an iMac was the one for me, as that was his preferred computer. I have now used it for three years,and apart for the odd occasion when I have had to call on him have had no problems.So you are never too old to learn.It may be the fact that I didn't use Windows for long that I found it easy.
  15. jborko macrumors member

    Jan 17, 2011
    I reckon that Mac OSX is much easier and user intuitive than Windows.
    My grandparents who never in their lives touched a computer were so fond of the iPhone and they learned how to do things in practically no time (browse the web, use skype, take and send pictures, etc, etc...
    Snow Leopard is really easy to use and Lion will be even better according to me...
    On the other hand if they have experience with Windows and do not like to change anything stick to it and buy something else (not iMac) - will be much cheaper...
    One last advice... Why not iPad? I think it can fulfill all their needs (at least the ones you mentioned in your first post).
  16. blevins321 macrumors 68030

    Dec 24, 2010
    Winnipeg, MB
    If I were in their situation, everything else aside, I'd be most worried about switching Quickbooks. Are the Mac and Windows versions the same? Or is it like the Windows vs Mac Microsoft Office difference. After all, that's their livelihood.
  17. Adam- macrumors member

    Mar 28, 2011
    When i started university in the first year, me and two other people who i meet had HP laptops, by the end of the first year, 3 of them had failed due to overheating. I liked the look of my HP laptop but we found them pretty unreliable
  18. SiMBa37 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 5, 2010
    New York
    This is a realistic concern. For them, Quickbooks is a necessity for the small business. I haven't heard great things about QB for mac, then again QB for windows isn't all that, but it is the program they use and their accountant uses.

    The 2 main advantages I see to getting an iMac as opposed to a windows all in one desktop (space saving design is a must) would be 1) hardware reliability compared to windows based OEMs, and 2) the option that down the road they can start using Mac OSX, although in the beginning I would have to configure it natively boot into a windows 7 partition on boot camp.

    My big question now: is running windows 7 on an iMac a way to make the machine as unreliable as an HP, Toshiba, Dell, Sony?
  19. thatisme macrumors 6502


    Mar 23, 2010
    United States
    You could always go the iMac route, boot into OSX for all of the casual stuff. Load Win 7 into Bootcamp, but run Fusion to access quickbooks and Windows programs along side the Mac programs. They always have the option of booting to Windows instead of OSX if the need arises.
  20. bennettave macrumors member

    Mar 18, 2011
    My parents were basically in the same boat. They used to call me every other week with some sort of "my printer stopped working", "i can't get _______ to work", etc.

    I told them to buy a mac 6 years ago when they were in their mid-sixties. They use mostly internet and email, and didn't have any problem taking to osx.

    I mention them because I think they would say it has made them very independant, which they love. They even decided to get an iPad, loved it so much they now have an iPad2.

    Sometimes change is good?
  21. Pintail macrumors member

    Apr 20, 2011
    Quickbook user chiming in.

    The program is difficult to deal with and not fun in either language, but even harder to switch.

    Make sure they make a backup of their account onto a USB stick, actually two just to be safe.

    Then run it off a Windows version of either bootcamp MAC or a PC. I tried to do the switch to MAC Quickbooks and I'd rather have a root canal.

    On the other hand, just bought my mom an iPad and she loves it!

    Good luck.
  22. meb91 macrumors member

    Jul 19, 2010
    I've run Windows on several different Macs, currently I have a Windows 7 partition on my iMac I use for occasional gaming. In my experience it always runs very well. I haven't had any driver issues because Apple does a good job of supplying all the ones you need and making sure they work properly. However your Windows partition is still prone to the same virus/spyware issues of course that any computer running Windows is.
  23. Cheffy Dave macrumors 68030

    Cheffy Dave

    Feb 5, 2007
    Sunny Florida, on the Gulf Coast in Homosassa Fl
    see, old doesn't = dumb!:D;)
  24. ktbubster macrumors 6502a


    Jan 20, 2007
    I second this. Use fusion for quickbooks (no new software, I found it quite reliable, and it runs in teh background so quickbooks will be easy in full screen on teh windows portion) and then osx for everything else. (surfing etc, - this will cut down on possible virus issues too if you keep mail and surfing to the osx portion)

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