Used iMac for a child

Discussion in 'iMac' started by dcpmark, Apr 17, 2011.

  1. dcpmark macrumors 6502a

    Oct 20, 2009
    First, let me congratulate all you iMac owners. When I started shopping for an used iMac for my 5-year old I was stunned to see how much 3-4 year old iMacs have retained their values! These things are not cheap, and they are 4 generations old (about to be 5)!

    I'd like to spend no more than $600, but I'd like it to be a 8,1 or 9,1 model if possible for no reason other than it's not too old. I want this computer to last 5 years or so, and components can fail after a time. The smallest sized screen and slowest processor would be fine, though.

    Any suggestions? I might have a line on 9,1 20" educational iMac for $600. Would that be a good deal, given list was $899 in 2009 and it's not as upgradeable as the other iMacs?

  2. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
    Go back to 20" white with the C2D -- 2.16 can take 3 gigs of ram and run great -- its what my kids (both under 7) use. works with all the flash stuff perfect.

    20" AL iMacs had horrible screens -- and the later models had integrated video.
  3. dcpmark thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 20, 2009
    What was the problem with 20" screens in early 2008 or 2009 models?
  4. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
    They are really bad TN based panels.

    They can only be viewed from pretty much straight on -- if you are sitting to the side you cant see the screen.

    There are also issues with banding color and shifted color -- but that doesnt really affect kids too much.

    Ive got 2 of those 20", going to replace them as soon as I can.
  5. dcpmark thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 20, 2009
    Thanks for the info! Was the problem corrected for the 21.5 inch iMac? Did the 24" screens in the 8,1 and 9,1 models suffer from the same issues?
  6. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
    24" used IPS displays, they are perfect.

    21" and 27" LED IPS displays, even better. Apple kinda bragged about it when they first came out.

    but you wont find a 21" for $600...
  7. Alexjungle macrumors member

    Jun 7, 2007
    I got my 4yr old an i7 quad imac. He encodes video and edits professional photos and racks up itunes account. Little bugger!
  8. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    My 12yo daughter has a white 17" and it runs most stuff just fine. Software for small kids is not terribly demanding. If you get a white unit, make sure it's a Core 2 Duo. My sons have the first gen aluminum 20". The screens are not great by any stretch. Servicing is easier on the aluminums even though you have to pull the glass off. You should be able to get a good white 20" for well under $500 although budget in a replacement for the hard drive.
  9. dcpmark thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 20, 2009
    Thanks for all the advice!

    So does everyone think the 2009 2.0ghz 20" edu iMac for $600 is not a good deal, and that I should go for a 2006 and get a new drive for around $500? That's hard to wrap my brain around. :)
  10. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
    Its not a bad deal, but not great.

    Theres no need to get a new drive for an older white iMac. Its not like your kids are doing what Alexjungle kids are.

    Odds are they wont use any drive space ever. 250 gigs is plenty.
  11. miamijim macrumors 6502

    May 26, 2010

    OMG is it just me or is an i7 quad iMac just a little bit outrageous for a 4yr old.

    I am a Mac fan, I love my iMac, and my iPhone and my iPad, I do believe however that they are all luxury items that you earn the right to own by working your butt off.

    By buying your 4yr old these items how will they ever learn the value of grafting for the good things in life.. I have a 3yr old and I will be damned if he is getting a Mac anytime before starting high school.
  12. CBGFilms macrumors regular

    Oct 16, 2008
    I've got an early 2008 iMac, got it in 2008 too, it's been doing fine! I'm upgrading to a newer system next week as I need more power!

    But the screen really is fine, the viewing angles as someone else mentioned won't be really noticed to the average user if I'm honest. I've been doing fine with it!
  13. dcpmark thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 20, 2009
    Just wanted to update this thread with my own personal experience so others can decide for themselves.

    I ended up getting a excellent condition an early '08 2.4ghz 20" iMac (8,1) for $500. The screen is very nice, and I have no problem sitting next to my son and seeing the screen. I'm not sure why some have been so critical of this screen, but if you have any doubts, try it for yourself. It easily handles all the flash stuff, even stuff my old PowerMac 2.0 DP G5 struggled with, and is modern enough to last for years to come. If you want an all-in-one or don't have an extra keyboard and monitor, this seems like the perfect machine to start your kids on.

    Again, this is just my experience.
  14. WardC macrumors 68030


    Oct 17, 2007
    Fort Worth, TX
    I handed my Mom one of my machines -- a 2.0GHz C2D 20" Aluminum iMac, and it is a great machine for her (4GB of RAM). I honestly think the display is great, very sharp, bright, and good color accuracy. It's a far better display than the Samsung 22" I use at work....and the machine feels faster than my Mac Mini 2.26GHz. This machine can be had for around $600 if you search in the right places.

    If you are getting an iMac, make sure it's at least a 2.0GHz Core2Duo and has 4GB of RAM. That will make sure it is proofed for the future.
  15. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
    Thats great, and a great deal. It should last for many, many years to come.

    My issues with the screen were more from me standing behind it, or maybe looking from a larger angle. and color was pretty critical for me.
  16. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    So, in your opinion, you should never buy anything for your 4-year-old, because he didn't "work his butt off" for it? :rolleyes:

    You probably already know this (at least I hope), but a child that age isn't really geared to learning life lessons along the line of what things cost, hard work, etc. Keep it simple for them until they're a bit older.

    Whose loss is that, exactly?

    My son got his first computer (new) for his third birthday. He got it because he was familiar enough with how to use one, but I didn't want him using mine or my wife's. He's learned a great deal from using it, and it put him about on par with his classmates in terms of computer knowledge when he started kindergarten last year. I can't imagine not letting him learn to use one.
  17. fanspeed macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2007

    ditto, I was thinking the same thing, another anoying my kid so special helicopter parent. bet my kid beats up his kid and steals thier iMAC
  18. dcpmark thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 20, 2009
    miamijim: It's just you. Well, you and fanspeed. Do you seriously believe that Alexjungle not only bought his 4-year old an i7 quad iMac, but that said 4 year-old "encodes video and edits professional photos"?? You guys can't be that stupid, because NO ONE is that stupid. HE WAS MAKING A JOKE.

    fanspeed: If he's really, really lucky, perhaps when your kid gets out of prison he'll be able to get a job cooking up hot and tasty french fries for the kids of all those annoying helicopter parents. You know.....the kids that made something out of themselves. But hey, thanks for douching up an otherwise informative thread.
  19. AlphaDogg macrumors 68040


    May 20, 2010
    Boulder, CO
    Good. I'm glad someone realized it was a joke... My faith in humanity has been restored.
  20. clyde2801 macrumors 601


    Mar 6, 2008
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    It was?!?

    <goes online, frantically tries to cancel mac pro order for his six year old>
  21. zurichuk macrumors regular

    Feb 23, 2011
    My 4 and 5 year olds are not encoding videos, but the other night they were watching cartoons on my computer. I said to them, 'Last one, then bedtime'. Cartoons are around 6 mins long.

    Around 15 mins later I hadn't heard the end of the cartoon and wondered why, little buggers had worked out how to click the mouse on the progress arrow at the bottom, everytime the cartoon got near the end, they dragged it back.
  22. SundayDuffer macrumors 6502


    Jun 25, 2011
    My 4-year old nephew youtubes Thomas the Train and gets on every time he comes over to my place.
  23. coolspot18 macrumors 65816

    Aug 16, 2010
    PCs are good for kids, because they have time to maintain them.

    Cheaper too, less hurt if they break one.

    Not to mention , the majority of their friends and schools are equipped with PCs these days.
  24. MacHamster68, Jun 27, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2011

    MacHamster68 macrumors 68040


    Sep 17, 2009
    i guess a white 17" core duo or core2duo will be fine for most kids to use for the next couple years to come , just look for the versions with the ATI x1600 (128mb vram dedicated gpu) as they do HD videos like youtube and online flash based games work too ,instead of the IG versions with old Intel GMA950 (shared memory) which struggle at HD videos and online games

    on the other hand i think for most 4 year olds to start with a iMac a G3, G4 , G5 will do fine untill they get to primary school
  25. dcpmark thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 20, 2009
    What prompted my purchase was the fact that my old G4 Cube he was using was failing miserably at flash-based sites like PBS Kids. I switched him to my old Power Mac 2.0 DP G5, advertised as a "supercomputer" in 2005, and while it did better the constant loud fan noise told me that it was straining.

    Steve was right about at least one thing......Flash blows.

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