Thoughts on current (early 2015) options for a cheap, family, desktop computer

I was recently asked by a friend for advice on buying a reasonably priced family computer; I’m sharing my opinions and asking for your thoughts.


  • kids homework (project research and documentation),
  • kids learning to type and use a computer,
  • some gaming (minecraft & sims!),
  • Skype,
  • email,
  • affordable

My Response

If Mac, then something like this Mac Mini would be good (~ £470, but you’d also need mouse, and keyboard, so maybe £520ish or more):

Mac Mini

If Windows, then I’d recommend something like this Acer Aspire; also tiny, less expense (~ £350), comes with everything except screen:

Acer Aspire

If your budget is tighter than that Aspire there are similar ones around, plus refurbished Windows PCs are way cheaper. To keep up with changing requirements of software the specifications are reasonably good, so you could go down a notch (i.e., less RAM, slower CPU, smaller hard drive), but then it would become annoyingly slow that much sooner.

The specs to look for when shopping around for a PC:

So. How does that sound to you? Any suggestions?