Deciding between 15" refurb high-end MBP and new low-end MBP

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by bingong, Oct 30, 2011.

  1. bingong macrumors newbie

    Oct 30, 2011
    Hi guys.. I'm looking to buy a MBP that can play games decently since the latest version has come out, but need some advice regarding my choice. I'm deciding between 2 models: the early 2011 high end 15" model, refurb version, and the current generation low end 15" model. I'm a student, so I can get the new version for $2,348, and the refurb model is $2,278. As far as I can see there are 2 significant differences:

    1. 512MB GPU (new) vs 1GB GPU (refurb)
    2. 500GB HDD (new) vs 750GB HDD (refurb)

    Off-hand the refurb still seems a no-brainer, given that it has slightly better specs and lower price, but I always have some qualms about getting refurbished products as they are not fresh from the box. It would have been an easy choice for the refurb if they were 200-300 dollars apart, but for 70 dollars (about 55USD), and improved specs that don't really seem that significant, I am a bit unsure about making a choice.

    Factors for refurb:
    + Slightly cheaper
    + Better specs

    Factors for new model:
    + Fresh from the box
    + Not much more expensive
    + Possibility of upgrading some parts (e.g. more RAM)

    Therefore, I would appreciate it if someone could give me some advice regarding this, especially if there are significant differences (e.g. weight, performance of components, battery life) that I have missed out. Also, I would like to ask if anyone could advise, based on historical trends: 1) when the refurb versions for the new models MIGHT be out, and 2) when the refurb version for the early 2011 model MIGHT drop its price? Thanks a lot!
  2. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    Maybe you should list what processors are in which model? Otherwise no way to tell how equal they are.
  3. Prodo123 macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2010
    The only real difference between the two that CAN'T BE REPLACED is the GPU.
    512MB vs 1GB? Kind of obvious there.

    Hard drive and RAM should NOT factor into your decision because they can be user-replaced with whatever you want.

    Apple refurbs are practically fresh from the box.
  4. some idiot macrumors member

    Oct 12, 2011
    You state that you're interested in gaming. The 512mb difference in VRAM can't be ignored. I'd go with the refurb. You won't be able to tell it from new.
  5. bingong, Oct 31, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2011

    bingong thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 30, 2011
    Thanks for the replies. I did a little research based on what you all were saying and I think VRAM really makes a difference. As for the processor, I think both are 2.2GHz quad core Sandy bridge processors. And for HDD and RAM, I still have to consider them as any upgrades I do will still cost additional money, even if I could install them myself.
    [edit] I get what you mean now Prodo. But if I'm not wrong getting additional pieces for manual upgrade would cost more than simply configuring the model with better parts at the Apple store because I am paying for two items.

    Have a few last questions:
    1. someidiot and Prodo123, you were saying that refurbs are practically new.. But it seems that some online users have said that their sets sometimes have scratches on them. I'm assuming these sets were used before, returned to Apple, then retested and repackaged. But the fact remains that these laptops were used and might have some noticeable usage effects right? Or am I wrong to say this?

    2. If I were to wait for a refurb price adjustment for the early 2011, how long would I have to wait based on old trends? Would the price change only after the late 2011 refurb sets have appeared?
  6. thuglove macrumors member

    May 12, 2011
    Buy the refurb. I actually prefer refurb macs to new ones.
  7. bingong thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 30, 2011
    Thuglove: Why is that so? Is it because of the double Apple-certified procedure? And do you know if refurb products might bring scratches/usage deterioration with them?
  8. StarHunter macrumors newbie

    Oct 14, 2011
    The 2.2Ghz Core i7 in the new base is the i7-2670QM while the old high end used the 2720QM so they are not the same thing. The 2670QM has lower turbo and it doesnt have VT-d for virtualization. That and the 512mb ram difference on the card makes me recommend the refurb as most refurbs are just macbooks returned in the 14 day return period.
  9. jmai, Oct 31, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2011

    jmai macrumors newbie

    Oct 31, 2011
    Where are you located? In the states...

    The older high-end (MC723) new is currently priced out at $1950-$2000

    EDU discount on the new low-end here knocks the price down $1699 + Tax.
  10. jmai macrumors newbie

    Oct 31, 2011
  11. bniu macrumors 6502a

    Mar 21, 2010
    get refurb. The only scratch on my 5 month old refurb was my own fault. Also keep in mind that refurbs that you order are just the minimum specs that Apple will guarantee. They've been known to come with upgraded specs, like mine was ordered with 4 gigs of ram but it arrived with 8! Perhaps after you order a 2.2 refurb and apple realizes they're out of 2.2 refurbs, it may just be your lucky day when they decide to send you a 2.3 refurb and decline to charge you the difference.

    For most of my electronics, I prefer buying refurbs, the "drive off the lot" depreciation is paid by someone else, the product has been double certified, and you may get lucky with upgraded specs...
  12. bingong thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 30, 2011
    Thanks for all the advice guys. Feel more confident about getting the refurb now, I'm probably getting it once I get the spending urge. And jmai I'm in Singapore, so the prices are in SGD.
  13. Ant.honey macrumors regular

    Oct 14, 2008
    New York City
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A334 Safari/7534.48.3)

    I've had two refurbs and they were indistinguishable from new. One did come with extra ram. I too like the idea of double checking - I do the same with camera lenses. I only went new this last time to get around problematic sata III issues.

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