Buying refurb machines... a good idea?


macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 10, 2002
Brooklyn, NY
I currently have a dual gig G4 at home and wanted to get a portable machine. I work freelance and am a full-time grad student.

I was thinking of getting a new 800Mhz, 640 MB iBook but then noticed that for a few hundred more, I could get a refurb G4/800 Tibook from Small Dog. I have always been skeptical of used hardware but have read otherwise.

Is a TiBook too much computer considering my machine at home? Would the iBook handle what I need - Director, Flash, Reason, Photoshop, etc...

Any advice would be much appreciated,



macrumors 6502a
Apr 30, 2002
Refurbs are fine

If you read the fine print on refurbs, they basically come with a FULL warranty just like new machines. Just because it's a refurb doesn't mean the computer was thrown out of the 20th floor window. A refurb could mean having bad RAM or a bad hard drive and the owner returned the machine. When a company recieves their machine back from the customer, it is illegal to fix it and turn around and sell it as a new machine at full retail price. This goes the same for open box items. Just by opening the box and then returning it will knock the re-selling price down considerably. Sooooo....yes, buy a refurb and don't worry about it breaking. In Apples case, they go though their refurbed machines with a fine toothed comb. As for running all of those apps you mentioned...I run those same apps on my 400MHz G3 PowerBook and they run smooth with no problems or lag. So the iBook will be great as well as the TiBook. It just depends on how much computing power you're going to need while on the road. Hope this helps.


macrumors newbie
Nov 27, 2002
Rochester, NY
A few months ago I purchased a "refurbished" emac from a large internet retailer. It had multiple problems that would have required sending it in for service. I eventually got a refund, but I will not buy refurbished again.


macrumors 6502a
Apr 30, 2002
Originally posted by raydz
A few months ago I purchased a "refurbished" emac from a large internet retailer. It had multiple problems that would have required sending it in for service. I eventually got a refund, but I will not buy refurbished again.
The eMac was doomed from the beginning. The eMac was not a good move for Apple at all. I'm sorry about your eMac though. My girlfriend is getting ready to buy a Mac for college and it didn't take me too long to convince her not to get the eMac. I had her read some of the threads here and she was amazed at all of the problems the eMac had. She will be getting an iBook soon.


macrumors regular
Apr 25, 2002
Northeast U.S.

I think the 800MHz iBook is better because it has a smaller footprint and this is great for portability. Both machines have a 32mb Video card (both the iBook 800 and powerbook 800 have a 32mb ATI 7500). The powerbook accepts more memory and has a faster bus. More output and input options. CD Burning speed is something to consider. So is hard drive size.

What i would not consider is the fact that the unit is refurbished.
What i would consider is buying an apple care protection plan with EITHER of the two. I can not stress how important it is for a portable. It goes for $249 and covers 3 years of ALL support types. Laptops are susceptable to more issues and the cost of repairing them is much higher than desktop machines.

Let me give you some examples:
My iBook has had 3 hard drives(~$300 each), a display hinge(not sure of price), and battery ($287) replaced. I've had it for 18 months. My point is to buy an extended warranty from Apple. You're insane if you don't.

All I say is think of your own needs on which laptop to buy. Brand new and refurb won't matter. You shouldn't even think of it as refurbished if you're buying a protection plan from apple. Just think of which computer you'll be happier with.


macrumors 603
Jun 25, 2002
LaLaLand, CA
For "light" stuff, you can always get an iBook.

Apple has some good deals on Refurbs now, too. As does Shop around, you can get some good deals. And if the Refurb doesn't work, you can always send it back. Just get the extended warranty.


macrumors 65816
Jan 1, 2002
Until my new iBook 800, every Mac I have ever owned was a refurb, and the iMac I bought for my parents, and my fiancés iBook. They are just as good as new hardware with a nice cut in price.

$287 for a battery? Whew! What kind of battery was that!?

By the way, this iBook is everything I wanted and more for a great price. I am very hard to please, also.



macrumors 68020
May 9, 2001
I would get the iBook, just because is new. It would be very hard to work with Director in the iBook, not much room. The processor will hadle well any apllication. I'm running After Effects in a Pismo.

You may get the Ti and you can get very lucky. The problem would be the hard drive or who knows. I would recomend you to take it to a repair center and tell the guy if he find something un-unusual in that computer. In case you see something "fixed" you may talk to the dealer telling them if you can exchange the computer.

A few years back I got a powerbook from a reseller and the computer was used, it gave me no problem but later on I bought a 20" monitor and it gave me problems, out of focus all the time.

I rather buy used computers sometimes from know people. But if is refurbish and you can stablish a good relaion with it plus the 3 months warranty do it.


Moderator emeritus
Jun 25, 2002
I have really good luck.

I have two different floor models which I bought at CompUSA. One is over 3 years old now. Of course, this probably isn't the same as refurbished (they could be refurbished) but they certainly got a work out. I like buying machines that I've seen working week-after-week.

With the iMacs and eMacs, I think you'll always see a lot of refurbished machines because of the price point.


macrumors 68000
May 6, 2002
Brooklyn, NYC
I bought a refurb Cube the day after they got discontinued. Got it for less than half price and it served me well for a long time. It was in mint condition and warrantied. Bought mine 3rd party so you should be safe. They are refurbed by Apple so they get the same QC as a new machine. Go for it.


macrumors 68040
Oct 28, 2001
San Luis Obispo, CA

You will be sooo much happier with a G4. Check this out....

Some guy rated his iBook 800MHz with 32MB Grahpics and stuff with a program called xBench. It got a total score of about 50. I rate my G4 400MHz with 768MB of RAM and I get a score of around 71.

We all know that the G4 is way faster than a G3. And for a few 100 dollars more, you get a bigger screen, nice computer, WAY faster computer, a computer that will last longer, a computer that can handle more RAM, a computer with more output options, and thats all I can think of for now....

Just trust me, get the powerbook.

People say "I run those programs on my G3 xxxMhz with no problems at all!"

Sure, now go try running those programs on a G4 667 or above and tell me if you see a difference :rolleyes:


macrumors 65816
Jul 15, 2001
can you purchase apple care to get a problem sorted? Or is it too late? Do you have to buy it within your first year warranty?
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