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Old Nov 5, 2012, 11:43 PM   #1
Mark D
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Refurbished Laptops Any Different, Maybe?

This summer I had two different iMac units that were refurbished - the first had multiple dead pixels, the second a large dent on the arm. It so happened that after a couple days use before sending the original back, I decided I didn't like desktops and wanted something portable. But I would not have kept either one anyhow. I am in college and saving money is of utmost importance, but I cannot have visual defects on my computer. Even though it says scratches/dents are within tolerance on the website, everyone raves about how they are awesome and just like new with no flaws - but all it resulted in for me was a month of customer service nightmares. Not exactly sure why but I recall someone on here a while back saying they'd expect that to happen more often with desktops. Maybe because they're bigger and easier to hit against things I don't know. Is it worth my time to try to save $200 on my Macbook Air?
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Old Nov 6, 2012, 03:05 AM   #2
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It really all depends on how much you can spare. You have to realize that even as a student, money is time. And if you can save yourself a months worth of going through the hassle of getting it fixed or going to the genius bar for repairs by spending an extra $200 for a brand new one, then go for it. But obviously, food, rent and tuition should take precedence over buying any new Mac product
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Old Nov 6, 2012, 04:27 AM   #3
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I picked up a refurb blackbook for my daughter about a year ago. It now has the battery bulge issue. I was satisfied with the physical appearance and state of repair except for the almost dead battery.

I picked up a brand new in box late 2011 15 in MBP from Microcenter for about $900 less than what Apple was charging when it was new. In fact, the Apple refurb store offered the same model with the same specs for $200 more than what I paid. I got a deal. If there is a Microcenter or Frys nearby, you might consider checking out any deals they might have on either refurbs or remaining new in box recent but not newest models.
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Old Nov 6, 2012, 08:49 AM   #4
Mark D
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Haha well - you're right I'm fortunate to be able to get an Apple product at all. I live at home and have a full scholarship. I do still need to have a car, insurance, etc. But obviously the finance is something only I can decide - I'm just trying to get a rough sampling of the rate of incidence for refurb Macbooks having scuffs, knocks, that kind of thing. I've heard of that battery buldge thing before and it's probably a coincidence - I'm actually quite solid on buying refurbished from a performance/reliability standpoint. It's just the physical appearance that has me unnerved.


Other thing - I've seen such mixed reviews regarding the sufficiency of 4GB of RAM. When you consider that one can't get, or at least order, the refurb with 8GB, it seems pretty absurd to pay $220 for RAM. That's the difference for the 8GB new model even with the education discount. Might I find myself in a rut 2 or 3 years from now with the stock amount of memory? The most important thing I'm trying to comprehend is how interchangeable RAM and SSD are. Clearly they are physically different things, but they both seem to have the effect of making the system more responsive. Is it possible that having an SSD might thwart the need to have more RAM for longer than an identical system running a 5400 drive?


EDIT: One last consideration is that the price difference will allow me to get an external monitor much sooner.
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Old Nov 6, 2012, 12:28 PM   #5
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When you consider that one can't get, or at least order, the refurb with 8GB, it seems pretty absurd to pay $220 for RAM.
I'm currently spec'ing out a 13" air, and it's $90 to upgrade from 4GB of RAM to 8GB w/ student discount ($100 without), not $220...

And yeah, I'm also curious about cosmetic defects on refurb products. Like OP, I trust that they will work and be reliable (especially since you can get Applecare), but how much do they clean up the machines before selling them?
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Old Nov 6, 2012, 03:34 PM   #6
Gris Gris Man
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I just received a refurb MacBook Air this week ...

There's not a flaw on it anywhere, absolutely same as new. I'm very happy. As I'm in education I was happy to get an even better deal via the refurbished unit and plan to buy more refurbished Macs in the future.
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Old Nov 6, 2012, 04:02 PM   #7
Mark D
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Does anyone have insight to my earlier question about whether they would feel comfortable having 4 GB of RAM 2 or 3 years from now? I'm not a real power user as likely evidenced by the fact I'm in the market for an inexpensive air; I'm an enthusiast photographer and use Adobe Lightroom a lot, Photoshop only on occasion.
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Old Nov 7, 2012, 09:02 AM   #8
bvanlieu
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The biggest issue to me with the air and retinas is no user upgradable ram. you can't predict the future and new OS and programs rarely consume less.

4g is ok if you are a light user and you stay on 10.6.8. You going to do that for 3 years? Doubtful.

On a fixed ram system 8 is a minimum IMHO. 16 preferred for a 3-5 year use plan.

My 2010 Mbp is limited to 8. The iMac has 20.

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Old Nov 8, 2012, 04:04 PM   #9
Mark D
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Well 8 is actually the max. I'm going to wait a little longer to afford that option. If not I'll always wonder what it would've been like to have a brand new model and more RAM.
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Old Nov 8, 2012, 04:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Well 8 is actually the max. I'm going to wait a little longer to afford that option. If not I'll always wonder what it would've been like to have a brand new model and more RAM.
On a system where you can't upgrade the memory, I would strongly recommend maxing it out.

I snagged the almost top-end 13" Air last night from the refurb store (2.0ghz i7, 8 gb RAM, 256 gb hard drive). Hopefully it's in good condition!
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Old Nov 9, 2012, 02:12 PM   #11
Mark D
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I snagged the almost top-end 13" Air last night from the refurb store (2.0ghz i7, 8 gb RAM, 256 gb hard drive). Hopefully it's in good condition!
Sweet. I really wish the base model could be ordered with i7. I store nearly everything on external drive so 128GB is fine. The SSD is a much more expenisve updgrade than the processor.
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Old Nov 9, 2012, 02:57 PM   #12
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Sweet. I really wish the base model could be ordered with i7. I store nearly everything on external drive so 128GB is fine. The SSD is a much more expenisve updgrade than the processor.
Honestly, I don't think the i7 is a huge upgrade. The only differences are a small clock speed increase and a small cache increase.
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Old Nov 15, 2012, 12:35 PM   #13
tshrimp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark D View Post
This summer I had two different iMac units that were refurbished - the first had multiple dead pixels, the second a large dent on the arm. It so happened that after a couple days use before sending the original back, I decided I didn't like desktops and wanted something portable. But I would not have kept either one anyhow. I am in college and saving money is of utmost importance, but I cannot have visual defects on my computer. Even though it says scratches/dents are within tolerance on the website, everyone raves about how they are awesome and just like new with no flaws - but all it resulted in for me was a month of customer service nightmares. Not exactly sure why but I recall someone on here a while back saying they'd expect that to happen more often with desktops. Maybe because they're bigger and easier to hit against things I don't know. Is it worth my time to try to save $200 on my Macbook Air?
I may get some backlash here, but I remember being that starving College student, so I will recommend something....Have you thought about getting a New Windows based PC? New PC will be less money than the referb mac and just as fast. Should have anything you would need. Don't get me wrong it is no mac, but will still be a good system and can get you past your college years. Good luck to you.
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Old Nov 20, 2012, 10:48 PM   #14
Mark D
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I may get some backlash here, but I remember being that starving College student, so I will recommend something....Have you thought about getting a New Windows based PC? New PC will be less money than the referb mac and just as fast. Should have anything you would need. Don't get me wrong it is no mac, but will still be a good system and can get you past your college years. Good luck to you.
I appreciate your help...but that's sort of the whole point. I have a perfectly fine Windows computer but I hate Windows.
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Old Nov 21, 2012, 01:18 AM   #15
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I bought a refurb iPad before, no issues. you should really try to get over minor cosmetic issues, though, at least for now...plenty of time to be picky later.

Apple is banking on SSD performance making up for lack of memory. is it a good compromise? best thing to do is to get one and try it yourself - load up some big psds and spreadsheets, do some other work, see how it is. Apple has a very flexible return policy for this purpose.
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Old Nov 21, 2012, 01:43 AM   #16
moxxey
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I've bought refurbished kit for our office (and my home) since they started offering refurbished Apple kit, many years ago.

Never had any issues and we have had a lot of kit. Remember refurbished kit goes through extensive testing, before it's put on-sale. Kit from the factory, doesn't get this testing, so you might find refurbished kit to be less likely to break.

Most refurb kit consists of items people order and then cancel, ex-demo and similar. It's not normally kit where people see issues, return, and Apple simply put back on-sale. Normally if there is an issue, Apple sends it off to have a part replaced, before it's considered a refurb. You won't normally get a dent, as an example.
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Old Nov 21, 2012, 01:50 PM   #17
Mark D
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Thank you to everyone for your input. I have decided I don't want to settle for 4GB of RAM, so it will definitely be a new one.
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