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Small business office computer/software questions
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Jun 26, 2013, 10:17 AM
 
Small business in a foreign country questions.

The business will hire an assistant who will sit in a nurse type of desk. It is one of those desks which the nurses are partially blocked from view from the patients and hides the computers that they are using. No remodeling or new desk will be bought. I will use what is already there.

I want to buy a Mac for the assistant to use. There will only be one computer. No internet will be provided. Only basic bookkeeping will be performed on the computer as well as spreadsheets and word-processing documents.

I want to buy a desktop Mac and a low end model at that given the above, and also to save money. However, the refurb store in the country only has iMacs from 2011 available (I want something from 2012 or 2013). The store only has suped up Mac Minis from 2012, and I just want a basic model. A basic brand new mini is cheaper than the refurbished suped up minis.

Questions:

1) Which Mac to buy? iMac or Mac mini. 2012 or newer please. There may be a need for a keyboard to have a separate numeric keypad to enter in numbers. Touch pad or mouse? Which monitor? If I do end up buying a May 2011 iMac (refurbished for $300 USD cheaper, which is not a good deal IMO for a 2011 iMac, 2012 yes), is the memory user-replaceable? I believe that only the high end iMacs from 2012 have user replaceable memory.

2) iWork or Office? I don't need anything with macros and I won't be sharing files. The idea is to save money. If I get internet, maybe iWork for iCloud may be beneficial?

3) Any other computer questions I should be having for such a small business as mentioned above? I may eventually stream videos from a DVD (copied to HDD) to an LCD via an Apple TV.
( Last edited by mindwaves; Jun 26, 2013 at 10:30 AM. )
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Jun 27, 2013, 06:11 AM
 
Any small business owners here?
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Jun 27, 2013, 09:57 AM
 
Originally Posted by mindwaves View Post
Small business in a foreign country questions.

The business will hire an assistant who will sit in a nurse type of desk. It is one of those desks which the nurses are partially blocked from view from the patients and hides the computers that they are using. No remodeling or new desk will be bought. I will use what is already there.

I want to buy a Mac for the assistant to use. There will only be one computer. No internet will be provided. Only basic bookkeeping will be performed on the computer as well as spreadsheets and word-processing documents.

I want to buy a desktop Mac and a low end model at that given the above, and also to save money. However, the refurb store in the country only has iMacs from 2011 available (I want something from 2012 or 2013). The store only has suped up Mac Minis from 2012, and I just want a basic model. A basic brand new mini is cheaper than the refurbished suped up minis.

Questions:

1) Which Mac to buy? iMac or Mac mini. 2012 or newer please. There may be a need for a keyboard to have a separate numeric keypad to enter in numbers. Touch pad or mouse? Which monitor? If I do end up buying a May 2011 iMac (refurbished for $300 USD cheaper, which is not a good deal IMO for a 2011 iMac, 2012 yes), is the memory user-replaceable? I believe that only the high end iMacs from 2012 have user replaceable memory.
See, the point about numbering your questions is that you put one question for each number...

You don't need CPU power and you don't need GPU power. A good display is a requirement, however. Any iMac from Late 2009 or newer would be fine - in fact, the 2011 21.5" model would be ideal, as you can both upgrade the RAM and the HDD is a 3.5" model (faster than the 2.5" ).

Input devices is so individual. Personally I think it's hard to use a trackpad with the big display on my 27" iMac. Just get the Magic Mouse - a replacement solution is cheap enough on the aftermarket.

Originally Posted by mindwaves View Post
2) iWork or Office? I don't need anything with macros and I won't be sharing files. The idea is to save money. If I get internet, maybe iWork for iCloud may be beneficial?
Pages is fine, and Keynote is great, but there is no matching the power of MS Excel. Unless your calculation needs are extremely basic, I think you will need Excel. It is also much more likely that whoever you hire knows Excel - it is not really something you learn, it's something you get used to.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Jun 30, 2013, 06:21 AM
 
Thanks, I will probably be going with a 2011 iMac and iWork. Only need Numbers for basic addition and some multiplication and to make some forms. I have been using Pages recently and like it.
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Jun 30, 2013, 02:49 PM
 
The needs outlined are really basic. Any desktop from the last 10 years will handle all that. Though the later machines will have better (and usually bigger) displays. Now if you want her to watch 1080p video while you're not there, you should pick hardware from the last ~6 years.

Someone's discard machine might do, just buy a new keyboard and mouse. With no internet connection, you don't even need a current OS. Security fixes are irrelevant when the computer isn't connected to anything.
     
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Jun 30, 2013, 09:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Security fixes are irrelevant when the computer isn't connected to anything.
Tell that to the stuxnet-blown Iranian centrifuges.
     
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Jun 30, 2013, 11:53 PM
 
Yes, the needs are basic, but I like new shiny things and refuse to anything too old. I am also thinking of getting Internet after all...
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Jul 1, 2013, 02:41 AM
 
I agree with P, get an iMac, and a 2011 model is a good choice: it already has Sandy Bridge -- which is plenty fast. Sometimes we tend to underestimate the average user: my father has not noticed the difference in speed after my brother upgraded his Mac mini with an SSD. (My brother was so upset that he was tempted to uninstall the SSD and put it in his computer ) I would think about upgrading the hard drive to an SSD: not only are they faster, they're also more reliably and quiet.

I would not recommend an old machine, because among this type of user, there is a tendency to keep machines forever, and a newer machine will probably work reliably for a longer period of time.

As far as software, I'd definitely go for iWork. I still hate Office, it's very un-Mac like, each time I launch it, I'm asked to make upgrades. (I bought it to open attachments mostly.)
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Jul 2, 2013, 01:06 AM
 
True, this computer may be used for a few years before being replaced. I just bought a refurbished 2011 iMac, which I will load with iWork later. It has a DVD drive which would be useful as I think I will make use of the drive for DVD videos, which the 2012 iMac and Mac mini cannot do (without an accessory).
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