Buying ex-display?

Toby Marsden

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 23, 2006
Hi folks,

I'm planning to buy a new Macbook Pro when Merom's finally announced. I was going to go for a 17" model, 7200rpm and max out the RAM for video editing. I need a laptop for presentations, going to see clients, etc so a Mac Pro on its own isn't an option right now. I'm guessing the machine will retail for about £1600 plus VAT (c. $3000), plus cost of Crucial RAM, which I can just about manage.

BUT I happened to spot an ex-display MBP in a local retailer, 15.4", 1.83GHz, 512MB, 60GB 5400rpm, for £630 + VAT today. It's not what I was after originally, but it would save a load of cash, and £1000 gets me 2/3 of the way to affording a Mac Pro in a few months time.

The things I'm concerned about buying ex-display:
- Battery. How will it have fared being plugged in 12 hours a day, 7 days a week and maybe not calibrated properly to start with?
- It's going to be a very early build - what are the main hardware problems I should try to check before buying?
- Dirt on trackpad - luckily the thing's mostly clean as it's been locked in a perspex cage, but the trackpad is exposed and has got a bit dirty. Can it be cleaned with a slightly moist cloth, or nail-varnish remover, or...?
- Resetting the machine to factory default -- it's coming up "Register your new Mac" now, can I quit this to play with OSX before buying? I read Cmd+Q somewhere? Is it easy to put in OSX DVD and reset to factory default when I get it home?
- Warranty. The retailer says it has 12 month Apple warranty - but can I take it straight to Apple with any problems or do I have to go through the retailer and risk them messing about with it in an attempt to fix it?

It's tempting to get a MBP for less than the price of a MB, and this price is much less than the refurb prices on the Apple Store online. If they can give me a 7-day no-questions asked return policy, I think I might do it.

Thoughts anyone?!


macrumors 68020
Aug 30, 2006
I don't see any reason why you wouldn't be able to reset it to factory settings. Also you shouldn't need to go through the retailer for the warranty, I don't think they would have registered it to themsevles because it's going to be sold on, surely all it is is a generic one that's been taken out of the box for display? so it wouldn't be registered to the retailer i don't think. The battery on the other hand, i'd check that first, because i'd be slightly worried seeing as it's been plugged in 24/7.
the trackpad should be easy enough to clean, i can't see how it would have gotten stained beyond cleaning. As for the early build, I don't know enough really, although I have heard that the airport connection has been slightly dodgy on some, because of the metal casing, but don't quote me on that:D


macrumors 68000
May 15, 2005
NG9, England
The ex-display models we sell at work are largely okay and we alwasy restore to factory default before the customer takes it home.

Since I am running the same spec machine, I would say to snap it up if you are happy to go with the 15.4" and not 17.1". However, I'd check the HD as no MBP has ever come with less than 80GB of storage.

Toby Marsden

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 23, 2006
Thanks guys -- In that case I'm sure the 60GB was a typo in their spec sheet, but would be good to check. And yes, it's just a standard, new -> display -> ex-display machine, not registered - I just wasn't sure if Apple expected you to handle warranty issues through the retailer rather than direct if you didn't buy it direct. You can tell I'm a switcher!

I'll try to check for the 'whine' and for heat problems (though if I can't get past the registration screen in-store that might be difficult - can't imagine that rotating cube is too processor intensive!) -- any other early build gotchas I should look for?