iMac, Gateway 4SE or tower

My dad, who is 89, just had his hard drive implode. The company that sold us our computers says that they can replace his processor with a tower for $1000. I told him we need to look into the iMac and Gateway 4SE, since he has expressed an interest in a slim screen. I’ve heard that iMac is very simple to use and that is important for him. His friends use the argument about not many programs available, but hey he isn’t going to run out and buy a bunch of programs anyway. He says that he would like to get a digital camera, so this is also a consideration. What would you suggest he do with his $1000+? Is there something else?

I bought an indigo iMac in June of 2001 ($900) and have no complaints. The TV commercials were right…you can literally set everything up in under 10 minutes. It works great with my digital camera, easy to download and view pictures. Easy to use and efficient.

I vote iMac, but I am one of those people who always recommends Macs. They are easy to learn, easy to use, reliable (mostly), and unless your dad is needing some really obscure software, he can do anything on a Mac that he can do on a PC. I can almost guarantee that he will have less trouble using a digital camera, or any other peripheral, with a Mac than a Windows machine.

If you live near an Apple store, take him there. The staff is generally very knowledgeable and helpful, and have cameras and stuff on hand to demonstrate how easy everything is. They also have shelves and shelves of compatible software of all kinds.

There is a currently active thread on SDMB about “what should I install on my (new) computer”. If you go there, you will see that for PCs the conventional wisdom seems to be “select a spartan stripped down set of applications that you really need and don’t install other stuff”. So much for the argument about program availability! The iMac will be able to run a wider range of programs than almost anything else he can buy, and unless he depends on Microsoft Access, Autodesk AutoCAD, Lotus SmartSuite applications, or Corel Office applications he’s not likely to have to resort to emulation. Almost everything else (except some games and proprietary corporate-designed PC software) is available as Mac software (classic, MacOS X, Unix, or Java).

I must say, though–a dead hard drive does not a dead computer make. As much as I’d hate to dissuade anyone from joining the ranks of happy Mac users, ummm…is there a reason why you don’t just buy a replacement hard drive and stick it in and restore his OS and apps and files and stuff from backup? Or, minus backup, use the System Restore CD and reinstall commercial apps from CDs and whatnot?

AHunter3, they told him that the processor was outdated. I wondered myself, but know that the RAM probably is only about 32 bytes.

32 bytes?

Definitely outdated. I bet the vacuum tubes are getting harder and harder to replace, and loading those punch cards must be tiresome.

::shakes head:: 32 bytes? Never mind the vacuum tubes, does it use electricity?

All of “kids” got my 70 yr old father-in-law an iMac three years ago. It has served him well without any of the geeky technical problems expected with most computers.

Well, that reminds me of my first computer from Tandy that had 48 bytes and yes it used electricity. :o

Shows me up as the youngster that I am. I thought even the early hobbyist computers had a kilobyte or two. I know the Apple I would go up to 65K although only 8K was on-board RAM (the rest was attached in some modular fashion if you needed and had it).

So, you’re right again: it was 48k.

:o [sup]so stop embarrassing me.[/sup]

iMac. It’ll save him lots of trouble. The new iMac with flatscreen is a little over $1000, but usually places like chip in extra memory, a printer, etc. so it’s a great value.
The iMac comes with iPhoto for organizing pictures and support for just about any digital camera, out of the box. No drivers to install or mess around with.

I consider myself to be a Mac advocate. Regardless what I’ve used at work, every personal computer I’ve personally owned since 1988 has been a Mac. The new iMacs seem to be well designed, attractive little units, and I’ve found OSX to be rock solid, easy to learn, and a pleasure to use.

Even so, I’ve got to wonder if your dad really wants to learn a new OS at 89 years. Unless his old computer ran something like DOS, OS/2, or Windows 3.1, he might want to consider sticking with the OS he knows. If he’s used to Windows 95 or later, XP is probably the way to go. I’ve heard that there’s a classic interface to make XP look more like 95 or 98.

If he’s used Macs before, or if he’s used to something very unlike either OS, the new iMac may be just the ticket.

Also, if you don’t want to go with a Gateway, remember you can get a 15 inch LCD monitor for that tower for about $400.

The computer he used for years had Windows 3.1 and he’d only been using the computer that crashed for a short time. He was somewhat baffled by Windows 98. So would the iMac still be the best bet?

:wink: [sup]Thanks to all for the help[/sup]


I agree. The iMac is going to be more user-friendly.

I’m bumping this just to see if there is anyone that thinks the iMac is a bad idea. There is an Apple Store in Germantown (Memphis) as well as a Gateway Store nearby, so we are going there on Wednesday.

A couple of things. For the same functionality or same software, Mac is more expensive than PC. If you want a flat (I take it to be an LCD) screen, you can have very good LCD for the PC also.

So it really boils down to a personal preference. Has your dad been using Windows? If so, I would recommend staying with it. The Mac interface is different, and there certainly is a learning curve.

You may also consider checking local screwdriver shops. They are the people who build computers from parts.

The iMac has a top-notch LCD display, true digital. Those are very expensive and most PCs don’t come with a digital monitor connection, do they?
If those stores are close, just go and check the computers out. Put some pictures on them, try some programs…

Go with the iMac. They’re more user friendly, the OS is more reliable, the hardware, historically, is better made (which is why they’re more expensive), and, I must grudgingly admit, they’re pretty (I hate using that as a marketing tool for a computer).