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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Aug 27, 2009
    Posts
    6
    Kids' machine? What should I buy?
    OK, the crappy old windows machine that my kids use has finally bit the dust, and I need to replace it with a used Apple of some kind. There are a lot of g4s around out here for $150 or $200 that I could pick up easily enough. And I've already got a couple of extra monitors and keyboards sitting around, so there's no need to go the iMac route. But is it worth it to drop a little money on a used but working g4 with OS10.4.11 on it, or should I just bite the bullet and spend a lot more money on one of the intel machines?

    Right now, all they're interested in is something to surf the Disney and nickolodeon sites, along with illicit Pokemon downloads, but I'm getting the sense from some of the posts on this forum that the g4's just won't handle the newer video protocols very well. But, jeez, it's not like I'm made of money or anything.

    Right now I'm using a 2 ghz intel core 2 duo mini that suits me just fine, and so I don't need or want a better machine for them than what I have.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2


    Member Since
    May 15, 2008
    Location
    Cape Cod
    Posts
    112
    Specs:
    2006 macbook, 2009 mac mini
    Cheapest route, share your mini with the kids. best long term value is a new $599 mini that will last them a long time even when they start using it for homework stuff as they grow. A used g4 would be fine If all you can spare is The $200. My 8 year old uses an old around 2001 hp with celeron for games and online stuff. Really just share yours. They won't hurt it.

  3. #3


    Member Since
    Aug 18, 2009
    Location
    UK/Belgium
    Posts
    157
    look at the software you'll be needing to use once they hit school homework time.
    If you're happy with the programs out there to run on powermacs, then get the cheap option.
    If you think you'll have to upgrade and spend more money to get intel-only programs working, consider going straight to intel.
    Waiting for the game that takes full advantage of a 124bit, 3.5GHz, 8-core, 64Gig-RAM system.

  4. #4

    pigoo3's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 20, 2008
    Location
    U.S.
    Posts
    35,787
    Specs:
    2011 13" MBP 2.3ghz, 8gig ram, OS 10.8.5
    I have three thoughts:

    1. How long do you expect this computer to be "usable" for your kids?

    If you only expect them to get 1-2 years of use out of it, maybe the $200 computer is ok.

    2. How "good" of a Windows computer did you have that "bit the dust"? If it was "really" old & crappy...then your kids may not notice if you get an equally "old & crappy" Macintosh (not that any Mac is truly crappy)!!

    3. If your kids are switching from a Windows computer to a Macintosh...do you think they will have any "switcher" issues? Or are they familiar with Mac's from using your Mac Mini?

    Some stuff to consider,

    - Nick

  5. #5


    Member Since
    Aug 27, 2009
    Posts
    6
    One reason for buying another machine is that if I let the kids use my mini, then I can't use it. And they do spend a fair amount of time on-line.

    The old Dell I that just died (I'm thinking a hard-drive failure, myself) was free to us about 4 years ago or so, and was made almost exactly 7 years ago. But it was old and increasingly virus laden, and had no original disks, so I'm disinclined to spend dollars to resuscitate it.

    I'd like them to get 4 years out of it, at least, since I'm cheap and don't want to spend more soon to buy yet another machine. And I will say that I normally use these things until they die or are just TOTALLY obsolete. Until a year or 2 ago, I was still using for isolated tasks an old Apple Performa with a video card, and I still have a g4 Cube that I also use semi-regularly. although I am trending more and more towards exclusive use of the mini. And, no, before you ask, I'm not going to give them the Cube. Too many bank and other sensitive data on it for kids to mess with.

    As far as switcher issues, I doubt they'll have any. One is a good Mac user already and the other is young enough she won't really notice.

  6. #6

    Chilbear's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jun 14, 2007
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    574
    Specs:
    2xiMac24 w Parallels 6 (1x White, 1x Aluminum), iPhone 3GS with iOS5
    Give them the Mini and buy yourself a used iMac then. Everyone wins. Stay in the Intel mode from now on is my suggestion. One set of tools and OS disks.

  7. #7

    iPod Nano's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 15, 2009
    Posts
    1,096
    Specs:
    White MacBook. iLife '09. iWork '09. Mac OS X 10.6
    I'd say for the kids a refurbished PowerBook G4 would do it, but be warned: the Aluminum and Titanium cases are EASY to break if dropped. A plastic case is actually better, so you could go with a White MacBook. It's your choice, but in any case they need to be taught how to handle a laptop carefully without dropping it.
    Chris K.

  8. #8

    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
    Location
    Keller, Texas
    Posts
    49,450
    Specs:
    Late 2013 27" iMac, iPad 3, iPhone 6s+, iPhone 6+, 3 iPods, Sierra
    To the OP:

    I hate to say this but a less than $300 netbook would be plenty for your kids. Wal-Mart and Sams Club for example have an Acer Aspire with XP Home for less than $300 brand new. (10" glossy display, 1 GB of memory, 160 GB HDD, WiFi, 3 USB ports and fairly nice trackpad and keyboard). I love Macs but in some situations a very inexpensive PC makes better sense.

    Netbooks are small and compact. Keyboard probably not comfortable for most adults, but the ladies and kids with small hands will find it OK.

    Hey, just my opinion.

    Regards.

  9. #9


    Member Since
    Aug 28, 2009
    Posts
    11
    Specs:
    MacBook 2.0ghz
    Quote Originally Posted by chscag View Post
    To the OP:

    I hate to say this but a less than $300 netbook would be plenty for your kids. Wal-Mart and Sams Club for example have an Acer Aspire with XP Home for less than $300 brand new. (10" glossy display, 1 GB of memory, 160 GB HDD, WiFi, 3 USB ports and fairly nice trackpad and keyboard). I love Macs but in some situations a very inexpensive PC makes better sense.

    Netbooks are small and compact. Keyboard probably not comfortable for most adults, but the ladies and kids with small hands will find it OK.

    Hey, just my opinion.

    Regards.
    Very very good idea...maybe I can improve on it. The OP could purchase a used netbook. I could have purchased a used Acer One for $150 a couple of weeks ago...but then decided not to because it wasn't a Mac!!!

  10. #10


    Member Since
    Aug 27, 2009
    Posts
    6
    Yeah, the cheapo netbook sounds nice price-wise. The reason that I want to go Apple, though, is that the way my 11-year-old trolls on the net for pokemon-related crap means that any machine he uses is exposed to a whole slew of ugly viruses. And I'm tired of paying large $ for anti-virus bloatware which doesn't actually work very well. Apple is more expensive on the front end, but it's much less hassle and much quicker for me as I try to deal with the kids' machine.

  11. #11


    Member Since
    Jul 18, 2009
    Posts
    473
    Specs:
    Macbook Pro 13"
    Then get an old Mac.

    You posted that you want

    1. Cheap

    2. A Mac


    Both describe an older Mac...

  12. #12


    Member Since
    Aug 27, 2009
    Posts
    6
    So having said all of this, is a 5-7-year old G4 I can pick up for $150-$200 going to be able to web-surf and play kiddie games, or is it going to be just as slow as a 6-year-old Dell? And therefore a waste of money.

    Should I just bite the bullet and drop the $350 or $400 I'll need (at a minimum) to get a G5 or an intel machine?

  13. #13

    pigoo3's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 20, 2008
    Location
    U.S.
    Posts
    35,787
    Specs:
    2011 13" MBP 2.3ghz, 8gig ram, OS 10.8.5
    Quote Originally Posted by mrpixlaw View Post
    So having said all of this, is a 5-7-year old G4 I can pick up for $150-$200 going to be able to web-surf and play kiddie games, or is it going to be just as slow as a 6-year-old Dell? And therefore a waste of money.

    Should I just bite the bullet and drop the $350 or $400 I'll need (at a minimum) to get a G5 or an intel machine?
    I wanted to mention that I purchased a fully functioning 400mhz G3 iMac the other day for $20 bucks!

    Sometimes these do not come with a keyboard...but since you have some extras...you're good to go!

    - Nick

  14. #14


    Member Since
    Aug 27, 2009
    Posts
    6
    That's the dilemma I'm facing. There's a guy out here selling G3 first gen imacs for $20, and a variety of G4s for $50 to $200 each, depending on model and specs (old/slow power macs cheapest, emacs and imacs in the middle and quicksilvers and MDDs at the top). But no G5s.

    So I'm spending WAY too much time angsting over the cheap/slow/less functional(i.e., G3 and G4) vs. the more expensive/faster/more functional and longer lasting (G5).

    Can you tell I'm a tad neurotic?

  15. #15

    pigoo3's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 20, 2008
    Location
    U.S.
    Posts
    35,787
    Specs:
    2011 13" MBP 2.3ghz, 8gig ram, OS 10.8.5
    Quote Originally Posted by mrpixlaw View Post
    That's the dilemma I'm facing. There's a guy out here selling G3 first gen imacs for $20, and a variety of G4s for $50 to $200 each, depending on model and specs (old/slow power macs cheapest, emacs and imacs in the middle and quicksilvers and MDDs at the top). But no G5s.
    Well I must be honest...with the sort of money you've mentioned wanting to spend ($150-$200) earlier in this thread...you're certainly not going to get a G5 (unless you're really really lucky)!

    Why not pickup one of those G3 iMacs...and see how it works out. If the experiment fails...you're only out $20 bucks.

    Good luck,

    - Nick

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