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Fullthrottledesigns
2010-06-23, 19:58
I was asked by my in-laws to find an iMac for them for their home. They don't have a computer now and loved my 20" G5 iMac,they just got some extra money and asked me to find one for them. What is a good price for a nice iMac either the G5 or intel will do. Any advice?:confused:

Maciej
2010-06-23, 20:13
G5 will not do, that's my advice.

Look Apple refurbished, thats my other $0.02. ...and cue 'scates.

Robo
2010-06-23, 20:27
What is a good price for a nice iMac either the G5 or intel will do. Any advice?:confused:

"Nice" is vague and relative. You should probably find out how much they're willing to pay, first. :)

dmegatool
2010-06-23, 20:42
PPC is dead... So many programs are intel only now. Well, a couples at least :)

pscates2.0
2010-06-23, 20:51
The current-generation refurb, for $999 (http://store.apple.com/us/product/FB950LL/A?mco=MTU0MzQ5Mjk), is the only thing I'd seriously recommend in the iMac realm.

It's the same model they'd get if they went to Best Buy or and Apple Store and dropped $1,199.

And really good specs. It was the one I was prepared to buy if this most recent repair on mine didn't take.

They'll get the whole package: fast computer, plenty of RAM and hard drive, 21.5" LED widescreen display, DVD burning, USB, FireWire, AirPort, Ethernet, iSight, a snazzy wireless keyboard and mouse, Snow Leopard and iLife '09. Out of the box this thing will be doing about anything they want...no extra RAM or anything else required.

:)

And, yeah...at this point, four-and-a-half years into the "Intel on Mac" era, I wouldn't even dream of fooling with a PowerPC-based iMac. They're going to get left behind (if not already), and that includes software from Apple themselves. Most of their recent stuff wants these Core 2 Duo processors, so why saddle yourself with yesterdecade's architecture and limitations?

Fullthrottledesigns
2010-06-24, 10:57
I think they're budget was under $1k so I will look into the refurb ones. I saw a few intel iMacs on craigslist from about $650 but I am not sure about buying from there...

This thread makes my G5 feel old, I need a new computer now. :wtf:

pscates2.0
2010-06-24, 11:30
Well, $999 is technically under $1k, so they should be set. :)

Yeah, you might find them elsewhere (CraigsList and places like that). And even here in Chattanooga, our local MacAuthority store is selling previous-generation (20" and 24") refurb iMacs for $799 and $899 (or thereabouts). But they only have a 90-day warranty or something weird like that. To me it's not worth it because what do you do if the graphics card or power supply takes a dive on day 96? Believe me, I just went through all this myself...it's no fun. :p

The thing that buying a refurb from Apple gets you is some peace of mind...they're going to come with the usual one-year warranty, and you've still got the option/ability to buy AppleCare and extend that for an additional two. That's three years of warranty coverage for a "used" product. That's tough to ignore!

If you buy some 2008-2009 Intel iMac from CraigsList, you may or may not have that (especially if the seller was like me and let that first year elapse and didn't purchase the two-year extension...now it's too late, and nobody can). Then you're truly rolling the dice, because anything that goes wrong will fall on them and be an out-of-pocket expense.

So if they can swing the $999, I think they'd be better off in so many ways (a modern, powerful machine that should take them through the next 3-5 years, the latest OS and software, plenty of RAM and storage and a solid warranty/coverage situation).

It's just a smart, safe way to go, IMO. Especially if they're not all that computer/tech-savvy and may have to rely on outside help or guidance (because part of AppleCare is phone tech support from Apple, which they may need at some point).

Robo
2010-06-24, 11:37
If the refurb iMac was too much, to be honest I'd go with a Mac mini before a used iMac from Craigslist/eBay, for all the reasons pscates described. A new Mac mini just came out...and if that's too expensive, indie stores are probably still clearing out their previous-gen Mac minis. You could probably get a brand new Mac for $499 now, if you shopped around. :)

pscates2.0
2010-06-24, 11:47
But here's the one thing to bear in mind on that (because I almost suggested all that too, then read the o.p. again). He says they don't have a computer now, so that means one of two things:

- They had one and it messed up or broke down (and they're looking for a replacement)

or

- They've never had one and this is their first time owning one

I don't know the answer to that

But if it's the latter, then they're going to have to buy a mouse, keyboard and a monitor. And I think it's preferable that the keyboard is a Mac-oriented one (whether it's Apple or third-party). And that might be tough to find, depending on where you live (and if you can find an Apple one at a Best Buy, they're so expensive).

Chances are, they're not going to find one of these mythical $499 Mac minis. But if they do, it'll probably be like my Mom's...the 2007 model (which went so long between updates, remember?) and with the 950 graphics, 80GB hard drive, 1GB RAM, etc. And then FullThrottle, or someone else, is faced with breaking that damn thing open (it ain't fun or easy) and installing additional RAM so the thing has at least a usable 2GB (which is another extra purchase to fool with).

I'm big on the iMac - especially the ones currently going for $999 at Apple's site - because they address and solve all the above: the keyboard, display (a gorgeous 21.5" widescreen LED, no less) and mouse are included, as is 4GB RAM. There's nothing extra to budget for, hunt down, buy and piece together. It's truly a "one-box...open it and go!" solution.

That has to count for something, depending on the type of user you are and your overall savviness when it comes to buying computer-y stuff (and knowing where to look).

You get into Mac minis, especially for people who don't already have the other items needed, and the drawn-out, nickel-and-diming pain-in-the-butt that could result (from having to go buy 3-4 other items just to make it useful) might be better avoided by going with an iMac.

If they've already got a monitor, mouse and keyboard (hopefully a Mac-formatted one...it's just easier), then yeah...maybe the mini would be a better option. But he didn't convey that in his opening post, so I'm going to have to assume they're starting out with nothing and seeking the entire works, from scratch.

But if that's not the case, I'll gladly reassess/tweak my initial recommendation :)



EDIT: Okay, with closeouts/clearance of previous-generation minis, you might be able to find one in the ~$499 area. But you'd have to scour your local computer places or indie Mac shops. And, believe me, not every town has those. :)

EDIT #2: Also, even Apple's online store is constantly out-of-stock on refurb Mac minis (like, oh, right now, for instance :p ). For whatever reason, that's the one Mac there that isn't predictably, consistently available as a refurb. I've seen the Mac mini section greyed-out/empty for weeks at a time, with nothing offered, whereas the iMac, MacBook and other products always seem to have stock for sale. My Mom and I had to play a waiting game last year when she got her refurb Mac mini. It seemed like the day she decided to get one, the stock went away and we spend nearly two weeks checking the store and waiting for them to appear again.

Robo
2010-06-24, 12:12
@pscates Oh I totally agree that the refurb iMac is the way to go. It's a great value at $999. I'm just saying...if they're not willing to drop $999 on a computer, I'd spend ~$700 on a Mac mini + cheap LCD + peripherals before I spent ~$700 on some early Intel iMac from someone on Craigslist. The Mac mini would be "messier," but it'd have a warranty, the newest software, &c.

Fullthrottledesigns
2010-06-24, 12:14
Well I showed my wife the refurb iMac for $999 and she says she thinks they are more in the $500-750 range which really limits their options now. They had a laptop from like 1999 with windows 98 but it recently quit working so they are looking for a replacement. They will be starting fresh so no monitor keyboard/mouse anything.

I told them about the Mac mini because I got my grandmother one when they first came out as a first computer and she has loved it. But I am looking for the best option for $500-750 and now I know my options are limited...

dmegatool
2010-06-24, 12:23
iPad ?

If all they do is web surfing, email, ... The only reason I wouldn't buy this to my parents is the lack of camera for video chat. If they don't use that, it could be an option...

pscates2.0
2010-06-24, 12:24
Okay, well cool. That helps to know, and know we know we need to focus on an older iMac or a Mac mini-based solution.

And I get what you're saying, Robo...I'd choose a refurb mini over a CraigsList iMac too. But when I heard "under $1,000" I was hoping $999 fit the bill. :)

But now we know it doesn't, so it gets a little more interesting... :devil:

Dang, it's a shame there aren't some older 20" iMacs on the refurb store...because I saw one of them going for $749 earlier this year. They had some of the previous-generation 20" for $749-849. If one of those ever popped up again, that would be awesome!

Currently there are no Mac mini refurbs at Apple.com, so those would have to be found somewhere else. Does Amazon or MacMall carry discontinued/close-out stock? Or is it all sent back to Apple? I don't know the procedure there, with these reseller outlets.

EDIT: FullThrottle, would they be open to a MacBook? Because those have been on the refurb store, going for $759, for a few weeks now. It's the previous model, released in October 2009 with the new Unibody design, LED display, glass trackpad, etc. Or do they want a desktop (iMac) with a larger 20" display? The MacBook is currently unavailable, but it should pop up again soon...it's pretty constant.

EDIT #2: I Googled "20-inch clearance iMacs" and this was one of the first links:

http://www.macprices.net/desktops.shtml

I know nothing about them, and I have no connection whatsoever. I'm simply including it to show that there are 20" aluminum iMacs out there to be had for under $750. Not sure what comes with them, or any of the coverage/warranty info (or if these kinds of companies and sites are legit and trustworthy), but it might be a good jumping-off spot to start your search?

Fullthrottledesigns
2010-06-24, 12:25
I don't think an iPad would be very practical for them.

Fullthrottledesigns
2010-06-24, 12:28
I figured with the new Mac mini just released there would be older Mac Minis readily available, that was why it was my first thought.

pscates2.0
2010-06-24, 12:36
iPad ?

If all they do is web surfing, email, ... The only reason I wouldn't buy this to my parents is the lack of camera for video chat. If they don't use that, it could be an option...

They'd need a "real computer" to get it all set up and going (but FullThrottle could do that, I guess...are you guys all in the same town?).

Also, they'd need WiFi (which, if they had an laptop already, they may already have?). Can't imagine owning an iPad without being able to get online...

But yeah. I was going to suggest one earlier, but your opening post mentioned "iMac", so I didn't want to deviate that far from your request... :D

But dmegatool has a point...if they're just going to surf and e-mail, that's a perfectly valid option (assuming you're in the same town and you can activate it and set it up for them on the front-end before handing it over). What did they do on their PC laptop? Surf and e-mail? Or do they need Office, greeting card programs, Quicken, Photoshop Elements, etc.?

Ooh, because even if they got a full-on Mac (iMac or Mac mini), the software - if they happen to do the sorts of things above - will factor in too, right?

pscates2.0
2010-06-24, 12:40
I figured with the new Mac mini just released there would be older Mac Minis readily available, that was why it was my first thought.

I thought so too, but that Mac mini section has been dead since last week. And even then, at one point, they only had that slotless "server" model available, and it was $800-something. :err: That's no help.

Yeah, where are all the previous $599 models that got replaced by this new aluminum mini a week ago? Usually when a model is updated, you see the older ones showing up (that's always the case with the iMac and the MacBooks). I assume many of these might be in-store display units/trade show demos? Things like that? Or are they all customer returns? Or a bit of both?

Because every Apple Store on the planet, 1-2 weeks ago, just sent all their older-style Mac minis somewhere, right? It's not like the white top models are still available for purchase, so all that stock has been sent somewhere. I assume back to Apple? Maybe they're getting cleaned and inspected, and they'll start showing up soon?

Fullthrottledesigns
2010-06-24, 12:41
They used word and the internet for the most part some Skype. They had a Sprint network card but I think they are ditching that for cable Internet...

I am in the same area so I will be setting everything up for them.

Luca
2010-06-24, 12:42
Maybe you need to look at cheaper options. A barebones PC is probably the only way you can get a decently new computer with a warranty in the $500-$750 range. Hell you can get something with a monitor, keyboard, and mouse for $500 easily.

If you're severely Windows-phobic you could always look for a simple Linux distro, although I'd rather deal with Windows than Linux when it comes time to do over-the-phone tech support.

"Okay, mom, type 'sudo...' no, S-U-D-O, not P-S-E-U-D-O..."

And then you can just do some research and figure out how to hackintosh it. Although if you're planning on doing that, I'd do the research first and THEN buy, since it's much easier to make a hackintosh if you use specific parts.

Fullthrottledesigns
2010-06-24, 12:43
Here is a Mini I found on craigslist...

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/nva/sys/1808782473.html

Fullthrottledesigns
2010-06-24, 13:15
Maybe you need to look at cheaper options. A barebones PC is probably the only way you can get a decently new computer with a warranty in the $500-$750 range. Hell you can get something with a monitor, keyboard, and mouse for $500 easily.

If you're severely Windows-phobic you could always look for a simple Linux distro, although I'd rather deal with Windows than Linux when it comes time to do over-the-phone tech support.

"Okay, mom, type 'sudo...' no, S-U-D-O, not P-S-E-U-D-O..."

And then you can just do some research and figure out how to hackintosh it. Although if you're planning on doing that, I'd do the research first and THEN buy, since it's much easier to make a hackintosh if you use specific parts.

The issue with that is I don't have much experience purchasing PC's which brand is reliable? I am no good with PC stuff...

pscates2.0
2010-06-24, 13:16
Here is a Mini I found on craigslist...

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/nva/sys/1808782473.html

That might be a pretty decent deal! :eek: And it has 4GB RAM already installed...you can't beat that. And iWork '09, a keyboard and mouse (Apple keyboard, to boot). And I just noticed the Snow Leopard upgrade disk. Dang...

Maybe that's what you need to jump on? And then try to find an inexpensive 19" LCD? My Mom got one from Target (a Westinghouse) for around $169 or so, and that's been nearly two years ago. I think you could definitely come in under $750.

Robo, what do you think? You know this stuff.



Ha...that's where I used to live, Woodbridge! My wife was stationed at Quantico for about a year back in 1996. I worked at the Potomac News there on Smoketown Road near the mall. We loved it there. We were so happy to see an IKEA at Potomac Mills (we'd been spoiled by living in California prior to that, and we loved our IKEA). We'd drive to Manassas to eat at Red Hot & Blue, and we loved walking around Occoquan by the river...all those little shops. :)

Fullthrottledesigns
2010-06-24, 13:26
Haha I live in Manassas now, I love it I grew up in Lorton and have lived here all my life. I can't keep my wife out of IKEA, I hate building furniture though...

pscates2.0
2010-06-24, 13:34
We probably crossed paths... :D

We really had a nice time there. We were there for a full year, so we got all four seasons (which we were used to in the South, but had missed living out in SoCal). We liked going to Potomac Mills and IKEA, and then we'd visit Fredericksburg and Manassas, and went up to DC 3-4 times to sightsee. Drove to Maryland out to the bay. Flew in and out of both Reagan (it was called something different then, I think?) and Dulles several times. We had a huge snowstorm that winter, and it was the first time I'd ever seen snow up to my car door handle...I shoveled for days! :p

Nothing but good, fun memories from the year or so we spent in Northern Virginia.

:)

Fullthrottledesigns
2010-06-24, 13:39
Glad to hear, it is a nice place to live. It was just called National airport before Reagan National.

pscates2.0
2010-06-24, 13:43
Are you going to call the CraigsList seller on that $550 Mac mini? Man, I'm thinking maybe you should (or them...somebody). When I read what all is included, I know you couldn't get all that for that price new. The 4GB RAM alone will feel nice and keep you (or anyone) from having to open that $#%^@ Mac mini case. That's gotta be worth at least $300 right there... :D

Luca
2010-06-24, 13:48
The issue with that is I don't have much experience purchasing PC's which brand is reliable? I am no good with PC stuff...

In that case forget about it. You don't want to go with something you don't know. It'll just cause more problems for you and your in-laws.

That used Mac Mini looks like a great deal BTW. If you're familiar with Macs then you should get that or something like it.

Fullthrottledesigns
2010-06-24, 15:13
I emailed them, I am waiting on a response...

If they don't want it I might get it for myself.

Edit: computer is available, should I go ahead with this option?

FFL
2010-06-24, 18:22
I emailed them, I am waiting on a response...

If they don't want it I might get it for myself.

Edit: computer is available, should I go ahead with this option?

It looks like a winner to me.

A key point is that it is under a year old, so you can pick up a cheap AppleCare policy on Amazon (using affiliate link of course!) and you're really stylin'.

pscates2.0
2010-06-24, 18:42
I emailed them, I am waiting on a response...

If they don't want it I might get it for myself.

Edit: computer is available, should I go ahead with this option?

Yes. I don't think you're going to find such a feature-packed, complete Mac of recent vintage (and decent specs) for a better price. You don't have to go looking for RAM, keyboard or mouse, and you've got the ability to put on Snow Leopard and, as FFL said, be sure to get AppleCare so they're covered until summer of 2012.

If $750 was their upper limit for everything, this gives them $200 to find a suitable display. And folks here can point the way to that (New Egg or places like that), unless you can find some local retail good buys.

But yeah, for $550 for a year-old Mac mini with all those extras (and the ability to add AppleCare)...I say go for it.

EDIT: I just read the ad again...yes, get it! :D

Look at it like this: you're getting it for $49 off what it cost new 11 months ago...doesn't sound all that amazing on the surface, but factor in that you're also getting:

- iWork ($79)
- 4GB RAM (about $9,000 if ordered from Apple :p okay, not really...more like $100, which isn't as bad as they've been)
- Apple Wireless keyboard ($69)
- Snow Leopard ($29)
- Logitech V479 ($30 seems to be the average price I see from a Google search)

That's ~$307 worth of stuff they don't have to buy, and that they're getting for nothing.

And here's a 20" DVI 16:9 (1600x900 resolution) LCD for $120 from New Egg (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824009158). I assume this would work with the mini (can't imagine why not).

They're into this for around $670 total.

FFL
2010-06-24, 20:43
And here's a 20" DVI 16:9 (1600x900 resolution) LCD for $120 from New Egg (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824009158). I assume this would work with the mini (can't imagine why not).

l.

Looks good.

Like most cheap LCD monitors, though, it only ships with a VGA cable, so you'll need to pick up a DVI monitor cable.

curiousuburb
2010-06-25, 05:25
That looks like a deal... plus no taxes. :)

pscates2.0
2010-06-25, 07:21
Yeah, I forgot! $550, flat, for all that stuff...even better.

Fullthrottledesigns
2010-06-25, 07:25
Yea I am going to go by tonight and take a look, thanks again for all the advice. I will post an update if we pick it up or not.