20" iMac Intel Refurb Experience

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ackzot, May 8, 2006.

  1. ackzot macrumors newbie

    May 8, 2006
    For those interested in shopping for a 20" iMac Intel stock model, you have the option of a refurb unit for $1399 (which is $300 lower than the listed $1699 price) from the online Apple store. Well, at least this option exists for those in the US.

    I spent a long time debating between the refurb unit vs a CTO 20" iMac. I wanted the 256mb VRAM, but in the end I didn't think $375 was worth more VRAM. I actually used the money I saved to buy more system memory. I thought I would share my experiences in case someone else wanted to check out the refurb option. Also, please keep in mind that I am coming more from a switcher point of view (although I have dabbled in macs on a very limited basis on and off for several years).

    Why iMac?

    I like World of Warcraft. Its the first consumer machine that plays WoW well. I also like iPhoto and the space considerations. I don't plan to take it outside, so I didn't care for a Macbook Pro. The iMac replaced a Mac Mini and an AMD Windows PC that I assembled myself.


    The 20" iMac came in the brown refurbished box. It was well packed and came with unit, keyboard, mighty mouse, etc. Basically everything that was listed on the Apple website. When I booted up the iMac, I wonder if there would be any special bonuses as you hear stories of people getting extras on their refurb machines. Sadly, mine was a stock model. Nothing new or extra. I ordered the unit on 4/30/06 and it arrived at my house on 5/3/06. I choose free shipping and I live in Arizona, so it didn't take long at all.


    In general, the item was in good condition. There is only one small flaw. There is a small black dot underneath the acrylic. The location of the dot appears halfway between the left edge and the Apple icon in the middle in that great white space. Its probably 1/3 of an inch below the LCD border.

    It is a bit distracting and soured my experience a little. But on the other hand, I saved $300 and the machine was more or less perfect beyond this little flaw. When I actually use the iMac, I don't notice the flaw as I am more focused on the screen. When it boils down to it, I like the iMac and can live with it. It's my flawed little baby. :)

    The LCD on the iMac is very nice, much better than my Dell. It is brighter and more vibrant.

    Other Comments

    1. Faster than my 1.25 G4 Mac mini
    2. Moving the system information from the Mac mini to iMac was simple and relatively quick/painless.
    3. Had to buy a miniDVI to DVI cable. Hangs a bit, but you can't see it from the front. Wish it was included, but Oh well.
    4. Extended desktop is great as I am using a 2005FPW Dell (20" widescreen) with the iMac. But the iMac LCD is much brighter.
    5. The Superdrive is Matshita. Wish it was Pioneer. Oh well.
    6. WoW performance is acceptable. Still tinkering with the WoW settings.
    7. Airport seems to be working well (Linksys Wireless-G router)
    8. The $300 I saved was applied to buy 2 GB of memory from OWComputing.
    9. Bluetooth mouse choices are terrible. Wish there was other bluetooth desktop options.
    10. Mighty Mouse is terrible for WoW. The right click is not consistent enough.

    Final Comment

    The refurb experience can be summarized in one line. If I had to buy an iMac again, would I buy refurb? If I didn't have that one little flaw I mentioned earlier, I would say a resounding yes. But for the cost savings, I dont think I have any regrets. I would buy a refurb iMac again and keep my expectations reasonable.

    For those who are looking at refurbs, I think its reasonable to say that you can expect a stable, well working model. Cosmetically, it might not be on par with brand new machines. Or at least with new machines, it is easier to justify to bitch more if it's not a perfect machine.

    PS I wonder if there is any type of artwork or design that I can apply to the white empy space that's easy to do and looks good...
  2. benyaimin macrumors member

    Jan 19, 2006
    Sounds pretty sweet. I may buy a refurbished iMac soon as well.
  3. topgunn macrumors 65816


    Nov 5, 2004
    I bought a 20" refurb iMac CD for work. When I started it up I was VERY pleased to find that it had a 500GB HD and 2GB of RAM. I had already purchased 2GB of RAM but I sent it back since I obviously didn't need it anymore. Funny though, when I saw that it was nearly maxed out, I was a bit upset that I didn't get the 256MB of VRAM, too.

    This is my 3rd such experience with refurbs coming with better than advertised specs. The first two were both Power Macs. One had a 9800 pro rather than a FX5200 and the other had 1GB memory over 256MB.

    One of the main reasons I buy refurbed units is the possibility of getting much much more than you paid for.

    Edit: I forgot to mention, this "new" iMac has a bit of an uneven backlight along the bottom and sides. It is actually darker than the rest of the screen and it is a bit distracting. Should I send it in for service? I am afraid that if I do, they may send me a stock refurb instead.
  4. Kirbdog macrumors regular


    Feb 3, 2005
    Whistler, British Columbia, Canada
    Good to Know

    I'm glad to hear a few more positives about refurbs. I ordered a refurbished 20" intel iMac this morning. Let the waiting begin.
  5. Joeytpg macrumors 6502


    Jul 1, 2004
    Vienna, Austria

    don't worry about the right click.....i used to have problems with it at first, but after a little while you get used to clicking in the right spot, and almost never ever miss the right click. :)

    i have WoW too.......great game.
  6. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    would WoW play better if you unhooked the external LCD? (because you're sharing VRAM now...)

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