First Time Mac Desktop Help Needed

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My family and I are new Apple converts. We all now have iPhones and iPods. I need some quick and simple Mac purchasing advice. If I do this right, we will get rid of all of our Windows Vista and 7 "ball-and-chains".

Need - My wife's Windows laptop needs to go soon. I want to set up a nice Mac desktop in her kitchen offce. She needs her computer for only personal finances, web browsing, and for digital picture storage (very little editing). Current picture storage need is 85GB.

Desire - 20inch or better screen. Decent speed. Stable. Software included. Good looking machine. Obviously used.

Budget - For our first-time experience I would like to spend <$500. More if need.

Advice would be greatly appreciated.
 
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Louisville, KY - USA
Your Mac's Specs
MBP 17" 2011, 2.3GHz Intel Quad-Core i7, 8GB RAM, MacMini 2011, 2.7GHz Intel Dual-Core i7, 8GB RAM
Refurbished MacMini or iMac - however either way, $500 is going to be hard to hit...
 
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MacMini or iMac

OK. Refurbished MacMini or iMac. Should I shop and purchase with Apple, Amazon, eBay?

Sorry but I am lost. If this was a PC build I could buy and assemble on my own... not there with a Mac yet. Looking forward to learning more.

Any help with further direction would be great. Model number to look for. Say $750 max including monitor. 20in or better would be fine.

I am looking at systems like: Apple iMac 20" 2.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo New 1TB Hard Drive 2GB Ram for $600
 
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Refurbished is as far as I know just via Apple store. Not Amazon, eBay, ...Unless you think used and then eBay comes back into the picture.

Apple refurbished store (US): Refurbished Mac Computers - Refurbished Laptops, Notebooks & Desktop Computers - Apple Store (U.S.)
(you get there when you go to Apple's home page, click shop and find "Refurbished" close to the bottom of the page on the left)

Refurbished products from the Apple store were returned before. But they are completely overhauled by Apple. So no scratches on the outside, brand new OS, ... Definitely worth looking into.
 

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