What to replace family computer with?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Vigileo, Dec 27, 2018.

  1. Vigileo macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2018
    Hey all, I'm looking to replace a family PC on a budget with an Apple/MacOS device. I have a nice monitor and a usable keyboard and mouse (probably would replace at some point). I'd like to have all devices (iphone , ipad, my work computer which is a 2018 MBP) all on the same ecosystem. It would need to do a few things: run Microsoft Excel/Word/PowerPoint, store videos/photos, connect to a printer/scanner (preferably wireless but not a deal breaker), run several open browser tabs, allow the kids to do homework/play educational games/watch YouTube or NetFlix. I would also store some of our financial stuff on it.

    I've been looking at used Mac Minis from OWC and picking some upgrades. I've also looked at used iMacs, but since I have a monitor I haven't looked hard. Any thoughts? I'd like anything we have to last several years yet be as cheap as possible.

  2. j569mxr macrumors newbie


    Mar 16, 2018
    Since the Mini was (finally) updated that would be what I would recommend to family with the same question(s) - since you already have a keyboard, mouse and monitor. I would not really consider a previous generation Mini unless that is what your budget requires. It'll be slow, but will accomplish what you're looking to do. Not sure when Apple will no longer support OS X updates for it though so that would be my biggest issue.

    I have one that's used as an iTunes/media server and it works well for that. I would not want to have to use it to do much of anything else. The rest of my answer focuses on the new Mini.

    Not sure what monitor you have but keep in mind the Mini has Thunderbolt and HDMI connections, so if you're rocking an old-school VGA monitor expect to spend a few bucks for a dongl..err adapter.

    Additionally, there is only one USB-A port so if you're using multiple hard drives expect to upgrade or at the very least, purchase some dongl..err connectors for them as well.

    My last caveat is that at the starting price of $799, you won't get much in the way of internal storage. 128 GB total and expect the OS to take up about 15-20gb to start with.

    Once you start adding it all up you probably won't be saving much money by going with the Mini over an entry-level iMac but at least you can feel better by not wasting the peripherals you already have.
  3. MRrainer macrumors 6502a

    Aug 8, 2008
    Zurich, Switzerland
    Please state your budget (and your location). Apple does not do "cheap" computers anymore, in case you didn't get the memo ;-)
  4. revmacian macrumors 6502a


    Oct 20, 2018
    If you do go with a Mac mini from 2014 or before, the first thing you want to do is upgrade the HDD to an SSD. I am currently using a late 2014 model Mac mini, base system, and the device is rather slow - it takes 21 seconds to double-click a file to have it opened in Numbers and 14 seconds for a Pages file. You might want to upgrade the RAM to at least 8GB , the 4GB in the base 2014 model isn't going to be efficient for much longer.

    You also might want to check the Apple Refurbished site as well, there are previous model Mac minis there that are spec'd better than higher priced 2018 models.

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