Which Mac for Child?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by steeler, Jan 30, 2008.

  1. steeler macrumors regular

    Jan 30, 2008
    When I was young, our family had an Apple ][e that I believe enhanced my learning abilities and just made learning more fun. Now as a father, I'm looking to purchase a Mac for our 4 year old to use. For the most part, we'll use it together, but I also can see him using some educational games, educational software, and programming with less supervision as he learns more during the next few years. It also should be able to smoothly run Internet based flash games and video. I believe that the right exposure to computers at a young age is critical and I want him to have an opportunity similar to mine.

    We don't really have the space for the permanent setup of another desktop computer, so I was looking at laptops (iBook or Powerbook). Based on these requirements, I think I need a G4 running at least 800 MHz, but 1 GHz would be better. Is that enough power, is it too much power?

    EDIT - Our budget is to spend as little as possible (isn't it always), but still get something that will meet our needs. I'm thinking $400-$500.

    What Mac would you get for a child?
  2. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2006
  3. yeroen macrumors 6502a


    Mar 8, 2007
    Cambridge, MA
  4. Sky Blue Guest

    Sky Blue

    Jan 8, 2005
    An eMac would be good, if you had the space..less room for 'accidents' than with a laptop.
  5. wordmunger macrumors 603


    Sep 3, 2003
    North Carolina
    I have an iBook G4 (1.2 GHz) that can handle all that. Make sure you've got plenty of memory -- mine has 768 MB. I think 256 MB would probably not be enough.

    Educational software is usually not too hard on a system, but it does tend to eat up HD space. That might be your biggest issue using a laptop rather than a desktop.

    I bet you could go as low as 800 MHz and still be fine. That's about the bottom limit though. I honestly don't know if you'll be able to find a computer with those specs for $500.
  6. steeler thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 30, 2008
    I have considered iMacs, eMacs, and Mac minis, but the problem is that we don't really have space to set up something that needs a monitor and keyboard. Part of the reason for looking at laptops was to have something that could be easily set up and taken down when not in use.

    I can look for someplace to put a desktop permanently. How about the processor type and speed?

    EDIT TO ADD (based on wordmunger's response):
    I have been following iBook and Powerbook auctions on eBay. Several (with appropriate specs and in decent shape) have ended in the $400-$500 range during the past week or two, so I know it's possible. I'll have to be diligent though. Thank you for the response on the processing power.
  7. mavherzog macrumors 6502

    Jun 11, 2005
    Columbus, WI
    I think it will definitely enhance your child's computing experience to have a dedicated area to do his/her computing. Plus, it is less hassle for you...not having to clear off a space and get the laptop out. Additionally, you'll be far less likely to have an accident that will result in tears (from both you and your child). :)
  8. netdog macrumors 603


    Feb 6, 2006
  9. Eric Lewis macrumors 68020

    Eric Lewis

    Feb 4, 2007
    CANADA? eh?
    Get the latest 1.25ghz iMac G4 with 768mb ram

    they run for 400-500...and its worth it!
  10. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2006
    Haha...yea, an 8 core with 32 GB of RAM, :p
  11. aethelbert macrumors 601

    Jun 1, 2007
    Chicago, IL, USA
    There was someone on here a few months ago that bought his daughter (like 10 or 11 years old) a fully tricked out 8 core mac pro...
  12. jamesarm97 macrumors 65816

    Sep 29, 2006
    I have a Mini for my kids and wife. It sits in a small draw / cubby hole that comes below a lot of desks. All you need on top is a small flat screen lcd monitor and a keyboard. I use a wireless keyboard and you can move it out of the way. With that said, the cost of a Mini and keyboard / mouse / lcd, I would go with a low end iMac.
  13. David G. macrumors 65816

    Apr 10, 2007
    Don't forget the 8800 GT. Your'e a bozo if you don't get that.

    Now for a serious reply. I too think it would be good to have a dedicated place for this kind of setup. The thing is, you don't need to have a desktop to do that (obviously). An iBook G4 with a processor above 1Ghz would a last a fair while for his needs.
  14. Hawkeye411 macrumors 68000


    Jun 6, 2007
    Canada EH!!!
    He's 4??

    Why don't you buy him Tickle Me Elmo or a puppy.
  15. brop52 macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2007
    Buy an old G4 iMac or eMac and you'll be golden. Very sturdy machines.
  16. Ryan5505 macrumors regular

    Apr 12, 2006
  17. harcosparky macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    I would avoid a notebook at all costs.

    You say you will be there with him 'most of the time'.

    Those kids are QUICK and during the time you are not there things will happen.

    We gave our kids older G4 Power Macs ..... keyboard and mouse are all they are exposed to, computer sits below and behind the desk.

    This way if they ever violate the NO DRINKS rule and have a spill, all that might be lost is the keyboard and mouse.

    Do the math ---> 4 Year Old + Laptop Computer = Repair Bill

    Been there, done that !!!
  18. jamesi macrumors 6502a


    Sep 13, 2005
    Davis CA
    id look for a powerbook ti. part of me wants to say that you can get away with 667mhz, he is a kid and educational software doesnt have high requirements. perhaps the 800mhz model would last a bit longer. the ram is cheap enough now that you can probably get 1 gig for it without breaking the bank
  19. TimJim macrumors 6502a

    May 15, 2007
    iMac G4's are really nice, the one with the nice tilt/swivel screen.

  20. Fearless Leader macrumors 68020

    Mar 21, 2006
    I really liked that machine, and they are pretty cheap too. But if space is not an issue go with an emac. or a powermac g4.
  21. tgildred macrumors 6502

    May 1, 2007
    w/ 30" ACD.
  22. CJRhoades macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2007
    Lafayette, IN
    For a 4 year old?? Jeez... I wish I had a mac when I was 4.:rolleyes:

    Anyway, try to get your hands on a 1GHz or higher iBook G4. There small, rugged, and plastic! Or for something more stylish, a 12" PowerBook G4.
  23. Fearless Leader macrumors 68020

    Mar 21, 2006
    Your kid is lucky. My family got a windows 3.1 box when I was 4. I did really like that thing though.
  24. Chris204 macrumors regular

    Jan 9, 2008
    Get a lower end 20" iMac. It doesn't take up much space at all because it's so thin.
  25. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    17" iMac Core 2 Duo (GMA 950) for $699 refurbished.

    Failing that an eMac would be a suitable tank.

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