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Ask Max: What is the best used Mac desktop for kids?

Asked on 04/20/2009:

Hi Jacob,

I am a recently new convert to Mac for personal computing. The iLife software fits all my needs. Though I still have to use a PC for my corp. job, I am contemplating upgrading 9-year-old son's computer. He will only use the computer for Internet, internet gaming (ie. Spore), uploading pics & videos. I am thinking Mac would be the most user-friendly to upload video & post onto YouTube via iMovie. Now that you know what our needs are, which Mac do you recommend? I want enough memory, ram & ample graphic card to handle the above applications. I am lost in the hardware terminology between iMac and Mac Towers??? It seems my son wants to stick with a traditional desktop vs. laptop.

What do you recommend from your used Mac inventory?

Thank you!



The iMac is a good solution for a kids desktop system. Because of the requirements of Spore, I would suggest that you focus on used Intel-based iMacs.

I would also recommend that you at least look at the new iMacs as they have many of the features that your son would need for the game, without having to buy those features later. Also, because of the child's age, you should have this computer in a public space with a separate "Parental Controlled" account setup. Here is a link to an older article I wrote about kids and computers.

It is a little outdated but the methodology in the article is applicable and the Parental Controls are similar in Leopard as they were in Tiger. Keeping the computer in a public space will also allow you to double task this system as a general family computer, that will help soften the initial expense of the computer.

Hope this helps


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