Which Mac for Parents?

Saluki Alex

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 26, 2006
283
0
Illinois
Well my parents old HP is on its last leg, partly because of its age and partly because it still runs Windows ME (worst OS ever made, even by Microsoft's standards). Anyway, after they've heard me praising Macs to high heaven, they've decided to go that route as well. I've decided on the Mac Mini for them as they'll only be using it for the internet, MS Office and Quickbooks. So my question is, should they go for the Solo or the Dual Core Mini? I'm already planning on ordering 1 GB of RAM with it (I'd normally install the RAM myself like I did on my MBP but I don't feel like trying that with the Mini).

Thanks
 

WildCowboy

Administrator/Editor
Staff member
Jan 20, 2005
17,276
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For their needs, the entry-level model should be fine...
 

zorg

macrumors regular
May 3, 2006
184
0
I agree, the entry level looks fine for what they need this computer for. A little more RAM could be nice though.
 

Saluki Alex

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 26, 2006
283
0
Illinois
I was already planning on the 1GB of RAM since they'll be using MS Office. Let's hope a Mac isn't too much of a shock to them, I just picked up USB drive for them tonight so they'd stop using floppy disks to back up their files. I've tried to impress upon them the virtue of backing up, especially since they have a lot of important files to deal with, my Dad is the Mayor of our town and my Mom is the town Clerk, so it'd be more than just personal stuff that'd be lost if (and when) their PC goes belly up.
 

jsw

Moderator emeritus
Mar 16, 2004
22,910
41
Andover, MA
My parents (outside Peoria, IL) just got my hand-me-down 800MHz 17" iMac. It was a bit of a change for them, and things aren't as intuitive to someone who's very used to PCs as you might think, but they've adjusted well and now can play Solitaire (well, Free Cell) on both systems.

The core solo will be fine for them, but I highly recommend setting up VNC/Chicken of the VNC so you can log into their system and see what they see so as to help them out - which will be more often than you might think.

Also, .Mac isn't a bad deal for backup/sync purposes if you want something semi-automated for parents that rarely or never back up.
 

Saluki Alex

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 26, 2006
283
0
Illinois
jsw said:
My parents (outside Peoria, IL) just got my hand-me-down 800MHz 17" iMac. It was a bit of a change for them, and things aren't as intuitive to someone who's very used to PCs as you might think, but they've adjusted well and now can play Solitaire (well, Free Cell) on both systems.

The core solo will be fine for them, but I highly recommend setting up VNC/Chicken of the VNC so you can log into their system and see what they see so as to help them out - which will be more often than you might think.

Also, .Mac isn't a bad deal for backup/sync purposes if you want something semi-automated for parents that rarely or never back up.
Thanks, I hadn't thought about using a screen sharing program which would be work pretty well for them as I don't think they'd be too keen on calling AppleCare when they can call me instead.

I think instead of getting .Mac, I'd get them an external hard-drive and set it to back up automatically. They'd never use any of the other .Mac features, and I don't think they'd want to pay $100 a year to backup their information. But having it backed up offsite might be something I'll look into for them.
 

D34th

macrumors regular
Apr 14, 2006
186
0
Connecticut
Saluki Alex said:
Thanks, I hadn't thought about using a screen sharing program which would be work pretty well for them as I don't think they'd be too keen on calling AppleCare when they can call me instead.

I think instead of getting .Mac, I'd get them an external hard-drive and set it to back up automatically. They'd never use any of the other .Mac features, and I don't think they'd want to pay $100 a year to backup their information. But having it backed up offsite might be something I'll look into for them.
I agree with you, and basically everyone else. Entry level Mac Mini with a gig of RAM and an external hard drive. Sounds perfect to me...
 

disconap

macrumors 68000
Oct 29, 2005
1,800
2
Portland, OR
A second USB drive, or even the one they have, would be good for off-site backup. I have a friend who keeps one in a safe deposit box at his bank and pulls it out once a month to back up his active USB drive...
 

jwdawso

macrumors regular
Jan 13, 2002
120
7
iMac

Get them a refurbished iMac! For $500 more than the 1.5GHz mini, it's a bargain - more disk space, way better graphics, plus a new display and keyboard! They will love it!

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512MB (single SO-DIMM) 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM
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j26

macrumors 68000
Mar 30, 2005
1,505
18
Paddyland
Don't forget that once they see the possibilities, they may want to do more with it.

But yeah, the basic model should be fine (or that iMac - for sheer prettiness)
 

emptyCup

macrumors 65816
Jan 5, 2005
1,482
1
Unless money is an issue, I also think an iMac is a better value. Also, its simple design makes it easy to put anywhere. Whatever you decide, I suggest you get them Apple Care. Besides peace of mind (yours, since if anything goes wrong it was your idea to buy a Mac), the phone support people are very patient and are always available to walk them through anything. Better than a screen sharing program.

My father-in-law is the kind of guy that must read all the manuals before he does anything. If either of your parents are like that get them Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Tiger Edition by David Pogue.

Best wishes
 

WildCowboy

Administrator/Editor
Staff member
Jan 20, 2005
17,276
1,193
It always amazes me how people talk about $500 like it's nothing around here, particularly when it's not their money. His parents want something for internet, Office, and Quickbooks. That's about as basic usage as you can get. They already have a monitor/keyboard/mouse that they can likely use for a Mac mini.

And then everybody jumps in and says "Hey, buy something twice as expensive!"

It's like somebody trying to decide between a Corolla and a Civic, and everybody jumps in and says "You should get a BMW 3-series! You'll love it!" While their statement is quite possibly true, the value of the extra money spent in light of the person's needs is all likelihood just not there.

You can do a lot with $500.
 

AstrosFan

macrumors 6502
Jul 26, 2005
334
0
WildCowboy said:
It always amazes me how people talk about $500 like it's nothing around here, particularly when it's not their money. His parents want something for internet, Office, and Quickbooks. That's about as basic usage as you can get. They already have a monitor/keyboard/mouse that they can likely use for a Mac mini.

And then everybody jumps in and says "Hey, buy something twice as expensive!"

It's like somebody trying to decide between a Corolla and a Civic, and everybody jumps in and says "You should get a BMW 3-series! You'll love it!" While their statement is quite possibly true, the value of the extra money spent in light of the person's needs is all likelihood just not there.

You can do a lot with $500.
Well said - I was thinking the exact same thing.
That being said, the one thing I would double-check before you buy them the Mac Mini is that they definitely want a desktop replacement.
My parents were in the market for a new computer about a year-and-a-half ago, and I ended up getting them an iBook (transitioning from an old Windows 98 desktop). I also set them up with wireless internet in the house.
Now, they can't imagine having a desktop computer - they love the flexibility of moving the laptop around the living room, kitchen, etc.
Not trying to suggest you automatically spend more money, but simply that you double-check the desktop vs. laptop question before purchasing.
Refurbished G4 iBooks are ~$700 on the Apple website; of course, with the rumored impending release of the iBook replacement, the price might get even cheaper.

If you decide on the desktop, here's another vote for the Mac Mini - I think it will meet all their needs!
 

Josias

macrumors 68000
Mar 10, 2006
1,908
1
Go for that iMac. If you get a Core Solo mini with 1 GB RAM and Mighty Mouse and Keyboard, it's around $800. Then you're gonna need a screen, which is minimum $200, you're ending on $1k. The iMac is $1100, only 100 bucks more. It will last a lot longer, and though it only has 512 MB RAM, you can be sweet and buy the a nice 512 stick for $100, or they can do it themselves. I know they could use their old windows '98 screen, keyboard and mouse, but what is than the point of getting a mini? BTW, with the iMac, they won't need an extra USB-drive, so it will be a lot cheaper in total. Get the iMac!;)

And with the iMac, they get a sweet 17" apple screen. Un-beatable, unless they wanna double the mini's price and go for a 20" ACD. :p
 

disconap

macrumors 68000
Oct 29, 2005
1,800
2
Portland, OR
Man, SO agreed on the money thing. I mean, I get that it's worth it, but some of us are broke and just mod what we have for what we can afford. $500 is a lot of money for me right now, I wouldn't view that price increase as a selling point, especially for an Imac, which isn't very upgradeable...

Now were a G5 quad $500 more, I'd say "heck yeah, I don't need my car". ;)
 

Saluki Alex

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 26, 2006
283
0
Illinois
Ok, I talked to my parents and they seem interested in the iMac, if they go that route, they'll get a new one, I'm not a big fan of refurbs (I know some people are going to say that refurbs are fine, but nevertheless). The reason for their interest in the iMac is because of the LCD and that it's an all in one package. Although they may still decide on the mini. We'll see, and as that old HP needs more and more restarts every day, the time for a Windows free house is getting nearer. :)
 

puckhead193

macrumors G3
May 25, 2004
9,243
467
NY
i'm in the same boat as you and trying to convince my parents to get ride of their Pentium II gateway running 98. Money isn't really a huge factor, just something that will last a long time. I'm thinking the dual for my rents. But they plan on doing the exact same thing with their mini, internet, MS Word, and some tax program...
 

Max on Macs

macrumors 6502
Feb 25, 2006
286
0
Milton Keynes, UK
I'm trying to convince my parents to buy a Mac too. I think they'd go for a Mac mini since price for them is a part of the factor (although not a big part I admit) and they like their big screen and such they already have although my dad really loves the simplicity of the iMac 20-inch with wireless keyboard and mouse (though he thinks the Mac mini is neat too). Problem with my parents is they won't do anything until they have to, and our PC has another year or so left in it I reckon (although it does have a power supply issue, it's had that for over a year and it doesn't seem to be degrading).
 

mikes63737

macrumors 65816
Jul 26, 2005
1,133
310
The core solo should be fine for them, but I think that they will be MUCH happier with the iMac.

I am trying to convince my parents to switch over to the Mac, but I'm gonna stop. My dad freaked out upgrading from Windows ME to Windows XP (because the colors were different), so I don't think that he'll be switching to OS X any time soon. Or even Mac hardware (because on the mini and the iMac the power button is on the back).
 

Agathon

macrumors 6502a
Jan 19, 2004
708
60
Go for the iMac. Once you count the cost of a decent monitor, keyboard and mouse (because the old ones will be pretty horrible by now) you aren't that far off the cost of the 17" iMac.

It's a wonderful machine: the best I have ever owned. There's something to be said for an all in one machine that is simply beautiful.
 

luminosity

macrumors 65816
Jan 10, 2006
1,365
0
Arizona
iMac, but I'd go for the core duo if you get a mini. More power for the future, and that means more longevity.