Choosing a refurb Macbook Pro advice

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Tomacorno, Oct 14, 2009.

  1. Tomacorno macrumors regular

    Sep 29, 2009
    The two that look good to me are:

    Late 2008 15.4 inch 2.4 G C2D Macbook pro with its discrete graphics card, larger screen and express/34 slot (but only 2 Gig RAM)

    Summer 2009 13.3 inch 2.53 C2D Macbook pro with its integrated graphics reportedly better (but smaller screen), SD slot and 4 Gig RAM.

    It has been difficult to find information on the performance difference between using the 9600M discrete graphics vs the integrated 9400M graphics. I saw people saying it made no difference and people saying that it was good to turn on the discrete card for games. There seemed to be a flurry of commentary on this when they dropped the discrete card but I don't see much talk about it now. Maybe it was assumed to be an issue and it is not?

    Both machines are going for $1299. I am sure that I will end up being happy with either, nevertheless, if anyone has any advice it would be appreciated. I will be living with this decision for a couple years :)
  2. nza macrumors member

    Apr 26, 2009
    If you're going to be living with it for a few years, go for the one with the 9600M GT card. While the integrated graphics are fine for almost all users almost all of the time, it is very possible that it will become a limitation at some point in the future, whether it be from gaming, video editing, or anything which makes your video card sweat a little. The speed difference in the processors is small enough that you would never notice it, and it's always nicer to have a larger screen IMO.

    You can upgrade the RAM yourself for ~$80, and that cost will go down with time, and that's only if you feel the need to. 2GB is plenty for most users.
  3. rnauman821 macrumors member

    Jul 18, 2004
    Go with the newer 13". I had a 15" discrete and honestly the dedicated card kicked in maybe 10 times. The 13" will be much faster than you need. The battery life will be better and the overall construction is better.
  4. Tomacorno thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 29, 2009
    Thanks for the responses. I figured that I would get conflicting data but as long as people put their reasons for their recommendation, it is helpful. One question about the discrete graphics card in the 15. My understanding was that you had to turn it on, log out, and log back in, in order to use it. Is this incorrect? Does it kick in as needed? And if so, will it be a bonus when using Snow Leopard? That is, Snow Leopard using grand central dispatch could off load some computing to the graphics chip if necessary.

    I found some discussion where people thought that the addition of the discrete graphics was in anticipation of Snow Leopard, but then of course, they got rid of it for most machines before Snow Leopard was released making that seem less likely.
  5. madog macrumors 65816


    Nov 25, 2004
    Korova Milkbar
    While most problems with bad hardware will happen within the first year, I would personally suggest purchasing the AppleCare down the road with the money you are saving.

    Apple doesn't typically use brand new parts when fixing their computers, so whatever was originally wrong with the machine will have been replaced with refurbished parts (aside from some things that are always new).

    As opposed to say, an old device refurbished with new parts. It's an old device refurbished with refurbished parts. However, that's not always the case.

    Original case, original screen, new hard drive, refurbished logic board, for example.

    I'm not saying this is somehow wrong or bad, but just that regardless of what the item is you're more likely to have problems with a refurbished item than a new item.
  6. Tomacorno thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 29, 2009
    Refurb parts

    I had not thought about the idea of refurb parts in my refurb machine - admittedly not a big leap. My daughter bought a refurbed iPod Touch a while back and I could not find any thing on it that made it seem less than brand new. I think for the 2008 machine I am a little fixated on the idea of the 9600M GT being included when that option would run me $2000 on a 15 inch MBP now - of course, a 15" MBP with all around better specs.
  7. runebinder macrumors 6502a


    Apr 2, 2009
    Nottingham, UK
    Probably more than a little bit biased on this one but I'd say go for the 15". Bought the same model myself as a refurb and love it. One of the main reasons I went for it was due to the dual graphics. The resolution's better personally and prefer the bigger screen, and the speakers are a step up on the 15".

    Depends on how much portability you want, my colleagues 13" is great for that, however the 15' aint too bad either, fairly light for a notebook of it's size.

    Yes you do have to log out swap between the 9400 and 9600 which can be a PITA, was hoping Snow Leopard would fix that, but alas wasn't to be.

    Once we start getting some apps that use OpenCL, then the 9600 will be a definite plus, from what I've read it'll be able to use both the 9400 and the 9600 with the CPU for parallel processing, that will give it a big boost over the 13".

    Whatever you opt for I'm sure you'll enjoy your purchase, best of luck with what you go for :)
  8. VideoShooter macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2004
    Refurb's are fine. If not... Apple will replace it. 'nuf said.

    Now onto choices.

    I'd go unibody 15 if you can afford it. If not... the low end 13.3 (2.26 for $999), you won't notice the CPU speed change. Use the extra $300 for a 7200 rpm drive.
  9. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    I'd spring for the 15.4" MBP. It is unibody right? Even if it's not, the discrete graphics card of any 1 year old MBP will kick the integrated card's butt any day. You have to log out, but it's better to have the option than not to. And for resale purposes, the discrete will give you an easier time. It also improves you daily usage.
  10. Tomacorno thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 29, 2009
    Purchased the 15" uMBP

    Thanks for the responses. I went with the refurbed 15" uMBP. It was in transit when the new iMacs were announced. I figured if they seemed to good to pass up I would send the MBP back unopened. Luckily I decided to open the MBP because I really like this laptop. It makes my work Windows laptop feel clumsy to use - partly because of the Touchpad. After a couple days of use I don't know how I worked without one. The screen is great. The machine is snappy. It runs cool unless I have the 9600 enabled - and even then not too bad.

    I ordered some adapters so it can work with some of my existing stuff - FW400 to 800 for my previous backup, mini display port to dvi for my hdtv. I will add more RAM shortly. And look forward to a few happy years of computing. :)

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