Feet on the ground – head in the clouds.

A perfect computer for my parents: $400

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They don’t want, or need, anything fancy. So they say. I agree. My parents basically use a computer for a few things: word processing, email, web browsing and the occasional PowerPoint. My parents don’t even play music while at the computer, but they need the ability to hear videos they watch online.

We don’t have a ton of money, and if we did we could easily have gone a bit overkill. Not that they wouldn’t enjoy something a bit newer and nicer, they just don’t need much, just something to replace a PC with a toasted motherboard. After putting their old hard drive in an external enclosure, I set out to replace their PC.

This process was essentially scouring craigslist.org for deals in our area and getting in contact with potential sellers. Things I look for include why people are selling, what attitude they give you about how they take care of their stuff and all original parts.

  • ~The ‘why’ is often the most telling thing, look for people upgrading to something newer of the same brand or product. A G4 iMac we bought was from someone who just bought an Intel Core 2 Duo iMac. This could be nothing, and it could be that they liked the original and treated it nicely.
  • ~Seller’s attitude is harder to detect, but if they look like they’d flip their lid if you keyed their car, it’s probably a well-protected product.
  • ~All original parts just means it was never the victim of any anger attacks. I could sell you plenty of Dell computers, minus the original keyboards. Steer clear of those little indicators of neglect.
  • 17\

    This is what I ended up with: 17″ G4 800MHz iMac with the arm mount monitor and dome top (not the ones that fooled the Danish police) 768MB of RAM, a 320GB hard drive and a SuperDrive. It included OSX 10.4 (Tiger), Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop. I was also surprised with all of the original discs for the software. After about a day of installing updates, Firefox extensions and bookmarks, personal photo library and some music I took it to my parents. The side of the screen is great for holding post-it notes I’ve put up to help them get used to the new platform, but so far I’ve had one “How do I do…” phone call, so they must have a bearing already.

    There were plenty of deals on both craigslist and eBay about this good for between $300-$500, and you can easily get 2-3 years use out of a computer like this. Anyone else find similar deals? I’d tell you about the PC I got for $400 but by now it’s not even close to that good of a deal, I don’t want to sound so biased…I’m truly curious about computers for the old folk in their lives. This is the most common topic for my family to ask me about. Just trying to do a bit of research.


    Written by unastronaut

    April 5, 2008 at 5:04 am

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