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Old Mar 7th, 2005, 11:12 PM   #1
 
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Friend 2Buy2Mac's for Kids--Need Advice, Pls;-)

Hi,

My friend has a boy almost twelve and a girl around 9. They were going to get two new pc's but, suddenly decided on their own that they wanted Mac's! I guess the iPod "Halo" effect is true!!!

You guys are going to burn me but, I was suggesting one PC and one Macintosh to cover all the bases. Thought the girl would like the Mac! This was prior to there own decision.

Okay, heres his request:

Two Mac's for two Kids rooms side by side. Wants them networked to one Highspeed line and one printer.
Want's the best deal possible and wants to "deal" for the peripherals (sp?). I thought initially he wanted to stay with his Old monitors but, now he wants LCD/Flat screens.
He like's the Mini but, what he doesn't yet know/understand is that Best Buy doesn't stock them with DVD-RW-Superdrives.
Wants to go to the store and buy them on site!?!

Is a superdrive a necessary with the Mac!
Guys, he's looked at the eMac and likes its form factor but, truth be told I'd hate to help him buy it unless it was a killer deal! Isn't eMac at EOL?!?
I think he would be less favourable to the iMac price point. Again, I don't really think it wise he buy the iMac as well because of all the noise issues that ppl have mentioned and I hate to say this but, I don't like the iMac in it's latest incarnation. I really tried too, honest!


So, here's my dilemna! I want my friend to be happy with his purchases and get a great deal. His kids are anxious so it appears he'll be buying these prior to Tiger's release. His kids don't play "games" on their computers but, the boy mentioned the mine game (what's it called?-darn it!) that comes with windows-where can he get that for free online?

Okay. I'm suppose to be a convert but, I think Apple needs a revision of the eMac and even new iMac-change it's style and heat/fan issues! The mac Mini seems great but, I don't like the slow harddrive....guess you can't have everything! Of course, you guys are going to tell me to get him to stock the ram so where in Ottawa, should this be done as well!

I know I had more questions-guess I'll have to add some stuff later. As you can see I'm all over the page right now on this.

Please, help out best you can. I know my comments on the Apple hardware disappointment is going to cause some debate but, your expert advice on what he should purchase would be much appreciated!!!

Thank-you! Hope we can give him great options.

Best Regards,

davidslegend

p.s. I need to figure out exactly the deal my friend could get from Apple. This would include student discount/coupons from Apple. This way we can go into Best Buy where he can barter for that price or better it! Okay, this may seem unrealistic but, this is what my friend wants so I will try and help him out here. I do believe Best Buy can be pushed a little on price though. No?!?
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Old Mar 8th, 2005, 01:23 AM   #2
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Oh boy. Here we go. I'll try to make the points as brief as possible (always a challenge for me).

Mac or PC:
Given that they're not game addicts, Mac all the way. I think that the Windows platform is simply too precarious an environment for young people, given the ease with which trojans and viruses can be surreptitiously installed. My good friend in Vancouver -- a man of "pure" soul and integrity -- somehow contracted some porn adware that he couldn't get rid of... and it had exposed his daughter to pornographic images. Your friends there DON'T need that.

Also, they'll possibly grow into the whole illegal (but seems normal because everyone does it and don't understand the principles involved) peer-to-peer file swapping thing (hopefully not). Using a Mac for this is safer, as you never know what you're really downloading from someone until you've decompressed it and run it... and all the malware out there is windows compatible. Mac users fly under the radar.

So, unless there is specific Windows-only software they require, get them Macs.

As for preparedness on the Windows platform for future employment/whatever, I see that as an illusion. The reality is that, if they grow up to work in a corporate environment, they'll get a handle on opening programs and handling files by using their Macs and the orientation to Windows will be pretty painless. They would NOT be allowed to do anything else, anyway. ANY system installation, tweaking, troubleshooting etc. is strictly delegated to the IT department and they don't want people screwing with the PCs. So, if one was left to that extent of their Windows end-user experience, what's to really learn? How to troubleshoot Windows problems is about all that's left. And who needs that? They can cut their word processing and spreadsheet (and even database) teeth on Appleworks and graduate to MS Office/Mac when the time is right.

Which Mac?
Well, if the G5 iMac is out of the question, price-wise, then I'd go with Mac Minis. Don't allow your dislike of the iMac's look to prevent them from making such a choice based on THEIR personal tastes, however. These would be thier macs; not yours. Even though the eMac has some speed surprises here and there when compared to the Mac Mini, the existence of the Mac Mini has really driven a nail into the concept of the CRT in my view: big, heavy and hot. That's what they are. Given how the specs on LCD panels have improved over the past couple of years -- and how the prices have gone down -- I'd suggest CRTs only in the cases where rock-solid colour accuracy and detail are required... although when I watch movies on my LCDs, the picture is pretty damned nice. The thing with LCDs is to make sure you get ones with a MINIMUM of 16 millisecond response time. many are getting down there as are their prices. DVI connection would be bonus, ad i have a DVI compatible 17" LCD waiting for my Mac mini that i bought for $305.00 after rebate (and they're even cheaper now). Having said that, my two work LCDs are VGa and watching movies on them is a pleasure. if they want to go cheaper and they're not intent upon watching movies on them, LCDs with 25 milliseconds would do.

Also, keep in mind that there have been many reports of the Mac Mini having brightness weaknesses with some CRTs.

As for Apple redesigning the G5 iMac, I got one thing to say: LMAO! Not gonna happen. Taste is obviously subjective, but the overwhelming response to Apple's work on the G5 imac has been nothing less than GUSHY! This, from not only Mac-centric reviewers but Windows-centric ones, too. And besides, the design is only just over six months old. They'll run with this form factor (and it is IMO the best form factor they've done for the iMac... although the G4 was excellent as well) for at least three years. So get used to it.

As for quiet, the Mac Minis are very quiet.

As for the eMac being EOL'd, I've heard rumor of this but I can't confirm it (maybe some ehMac Mac retailers can pipe up on this?). But, if they ARE EOL'd... then when in the lifespan of a computer design do you think you can get the best deal on it? The beginning of its life, when everyone wants one (like the Mac mini)? Or.....?

Configuration:

The reason why BestBuy doesn't have any Mac Minis with Superdrives is because Apple offers the Superdrive as a build-to-order option, ONLY.

As for whether or not a Superdrive is necessary, it depends on what they want to do with their computers. Do they shoot video? and do they want to author it to DVD? That's the obvious question. beyond that, a DVD burner is handy for archiving large projects... if one does large projects that is. If they're going to be using it for "typical' consumer use and NOT to author home movies onto DVD, then the stock combo drive would be fine.

Now, I seem to recall that iLife '04 allowed burning of DVDs within iDVD onto Superdrive-equipped Macs over a network. if my recall is correct, and if this feature has been carried over to iLife '05, then they COULD save a hundred bucks by getting one Mac Mini with a Superdrive and the other stock (I really hope that I'm not confusing recent feature additions to Adaptec Toast on this point... )... they could also buy a stock Mac Mini, locally -- and sooner... if they can find one.

As for RAM, 512MB, as you already know. Are you comfortable installing it, yourself? Frankly, I'm trepeditous of me doing it. I don't think I'd break it, but it would break my heart to scratched the thing... and the noises the thing makes when "cracking" it open are fear inducing at first (or so I've read).

So, that's my recommendation on which Mac to get. The Mac Mini offers a good bang for the buck and flexible peripheral options.

What to get, where to get it and how much will it cost:

Regarding student deals, you'll have to do the legwork yourself on that. You will also have to confirm my assumption about burning iDVD sessions over a network and whether or not they'll be burning DVDs in the first place. if they want to burn DVDs, the bigger drive is a serious consideration. Not only is the DV media hungry for disk space, but iDVD (or any DVD authoring program) requires GIGS AND GIGS of scratch disk. if they don't want to burn DVDs the 40Gb stock drive should do fine. I think, however, that with the system and all the apps installed, that eats up about eight gigs right there. others may want to confirm this, but it's something to keep in mind.

I would definitely get them Apple's own keyboards. Not only are the Command keys labeled properly, but they also include TWO MORE USB PORTS., resulting in having two available USB ports when the keyboard and mouse are connected. Their prices have gone down (regular price: $39.00). As for mice, get them whatever they want to pay for, but optical should be a no-brainer. Keep in mind that Expose works really well when triggered off of a multi-button mouse. Also, I have a preference for trackballs, rather than dragging a mouse about the desk. Different strokes for different folks, though.

I have configured a Mac Mini setup at the Apple educational online store for a friend of mine who is a music teacher. I have attached a PDF of this test order. It'll give you an idea as to what to expect -- which frankly aint nothing to write home about! I added 512MB Apple RAM to this BTO order. You can get cheaper elsewhere, but the difference is not huge and it's a helluva lot more convenient f you're going to order via the Educational Store. Now, if they wanted a gig of RAM? That'd be different!

And given that there's a $100.00 mail-in rebate on printers, I;d BUY ONE even if you didn't need it. For starters, it's new. And with the rebate you'd be paying the same amount of money as you would for ONE typical printer cartridge!

Also, if they want to get into basic Garageband stuff, I'd say that 512Mb could do the job. i loaded up a basic instrument setup in garageband and checked the memory usage. It was close to the 512Mb mark, but I don't think it would be suicide to run with it. heck, you could even trick one mac mini out with the Superdrive, 80Gb drive and 1Gb RAM, leave the other one stock (plus 512Mb RAM), stack them together, and if their rooms are side by side, run their keyboard cables to the "cluster" and swap them around when one kid is doing any heavy lifting. Sounds dumb, but it could save a few hundred bucks. And with fast user switching in OS X, each kid's sensitive emails from their girl/boyfriends would be safe from their bratty brother/sister.

As for cheap RAM and if you want to install it yourself, Canada Computers has a mail-in rebate for 1GB of mac mini compatible RAM. there was a thread about it here at ehmac just a day or two ago. they also have great prices on LCDs. I got a 17" BenQ FP737s ("s" as in matching silver) with 16ms response time, nice brightness and contrast specs AND DVi connecability as well as VGA (it didn't come with a DVI cable though. That'll run you up to $30.00) for $305.00 after mail-in rebate. They'll surely ship to you in ottawa.

So, there ya go. that's my input. Guess it was LONGER than i thought it would be. how typical of me
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Last edited by Macaholic; Jun 8th, 2007 at 03:40 PM.
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Old Mar 8th, 2005, 02:22 AM   #3
 
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Macaholic! You're amazingly crazy!!!
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Old Mar 8th, 2005, 02:29 AM   #4
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I need help

And it could all be crap, too!
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Old Mar 8th, 2005, 03:02 AM   #5
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Get them eMacs or Minis with Combos skip the Superdrive.
Over managed decision making in my mind.
You'll wait forever on minis with SDs to little benefit.
eMacs are walk in and get em NOW.
Just get decent ram.



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Old Mar 8th, 2005, 03:36 AM   #6
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I dunno. He asked if he really needed a Superdrive. The answer is "it depends".

They already have CRTs and are leaning towards flat panels. eMacs will give them more of what they already have (albeit new ones).

MacDoc's right about the waiting for BTO Minis though.

But davidslegend if you're paranoid about getting them into the right thing for them, then think about your options clearly.

MacDoc, just out of curiosity, can you clarify that thing about burning DVDs over a network? Was it Toast 6? Or iLife 04? Or niether?
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Old Mar 8th, 2005, 04:20 AM   #7
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What thing??? I wasn't engaged in any discussion of that - only making bootable install discs.

BTW there are used eMacs about with SDs - maybe get one mini Combo and one eMac/SD.

If you buy right the first time it's easy to do some swapping for extra features later but don't make the poor kids wait and DON'T focus on gaming.



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Old Mar 8th, 2005, 04:24 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacDoc
What thing??? I wasn't engaged in any discussion of that - only making bootable install discs.
All I'm asking you is if you know which application (iDVD or Toast) can burn over a network. I am not taking issue with any point you may have made in your post; I'm just asking a question.
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Old Mar 8th, 2005, 08:29 AM   #9
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Get them each an iBook.

The coolness factor alone will win him points for years to come and if he invests another $80 in a wireless router, he'll find the kids hunched down in the family room with their iBooks happily being part of the *family* while noodling with their on-line *friends* instead of isolated and chained to the desks in their rooms.

My much younger grandkids have my old iBook and they love it - and their parents love it. It doesn't take up any room, they don't need big, honkin' desk space to keep it on and the parents can keep an eye on them while they're using it.

As far as cost goes, by the time you add up the cost of the Mac Mini, a monitor, keyboard, mouse, desk, chair, and so on, you're pretty close to the price of the iBook.

iBooks are pretty sturdy so there's no much to worry about them getting broken unless the little darlings are really hard on their toys.

Take care, Margaret
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Old Mar 8th, 2005, 08:31 AM   #10
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A little out of context Maca - I have no idea.


Ibooks would be an awesome choice.



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