Experience buying a Mac Pro Refurb

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by leadfeet, Nov 16, 2010.

  1. leadfeet macrumors newbie

    Aug 30, 2010
    I purchased a refurbished 2010 Mac Pro, base model from Apple, with Applecare. Unit arrived fine, did a little testing (Apple Hardware tests), and some memory, disk testing, booted fine.

    I loaded my 3rd party memory, hard disks, an SSD, etc, used the Migration Assistant to get all my stuff over. Then, every 1-2 days, the keyboard or mouse would not wake the Mac Pro. This was consistent, but impossible to reproduce at will.

    I called Apple support, was escalated up a level or two. The guy was very good, and found the exact problem in the "Kernel Logs" in less than 1/2 an hour. (the CPU was asking the USB controller for it's configuration descriptor, and USB controller was failing to return it, therefore nothing on the USB bus would work after that point). The technical guy declared the unit Dead on Arrival, as it was plain as day in the logs. This was within the 14 return period after the initial purchase. I didn't want a repair, I wanted a non DOA unit.

    Then the run around in the sales department. There were no equivalent refurbs available. First they wanted to charge me $350 extra for a new one, then $200, then $99. I insisted that they owed me a working base Mac Pro, refurb or not, for the price I paid, $2119. After 3 hours on the phone (!), they finally agree to just ship me a new base model Mac Pro. It didn't make any difference to me whether it was new or a refurb, since the warranties are the same.

    To Apple's credit, not 15 minutes after I get off the 3 hour marathon phone call, Apple calls me back, profusely apologizing for the run around in the Sales Dept.

    I get the new Mac Pro (I now had 2 in house, for the price of one!), perform the same basic checks on the new unit. I simply moved my memory, disks, etc into the new unit, and ship the DOA unit back. I was careful to ship the DOA unit back with same hardware it came with. Apple paid for all shipping, and at 50 lbs a pop, it can be expensive.

    A week or two later, all seems well. Am pretty satisfied with Apple's response to a DOA unit, especially with a problem that is nearly impossible to reproduce. I ended up with a new Mac Pro for the price of a refurb, but I'm not sure it was worth the hassle.
  2. blackwoodfx macrumors member


    Nov 15, 2010
    Las Vegas, NV
    How did the specs of your refurb configuration compare to the base model of the new unit? Did you get improved hardware overall or did you simply compromise with a "new unit" premium?
  3. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    I bought a 2010 refurb myself. It's always my fear that the reason someone returned it is for an intermittent problem that doesn't show up in tests, but only with prolonged use. Therefore Apple would test the returned unit and flip it around as a refurb while it still has the original problem.

    So far it's been great though, no problems except once it wouldn't shut down nicely via the shut down command and I had to use the power button.
  4. leadfeet thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 30, 2010
    The refurb I ordered was a base 2010 Mac Pro, 2.8Ghz quad, minimum everything else. The new one I received as a replacement was the same. I loaded it with 12G, 4x1T disk drives, SSD boot in the spare optical bay, all from OWC.

    Now that everything seems rock solid, I will say that the quality and design of the case and components is far above any other "tower" computer I've ever seen. It all aluminum, amazing mechanical design. Other than the PCI card stuff (ATI graphics board and card slides), you'd be hard pressed to find any plastic at all, maybe a bit in the connectors.

    The Mac Pro is the Rolls Royce, and the HP/Dell equivalents are Chevy's. When I run a stress test, 100% CPU time on all cores, accessing all 12G of ram for hours (or days!) on end, the other fans don't even come on - I only hear them when I restart or boot.

    A satisfied customer, despite the run around in the sales dept.
  5. steffi macrumors 6502a

    Jun 7, 2003
    So my refurb will arrive tomorrow and want to evaluate it as best I can so that I don't have any of these kinds of issues. Probably stick with the default hardware before adding anything else. What's is the minimum you should do to evaluate a refurb? It wouldn't be in Apple's interests to pass on suspected problematic machines are refurbs. They are most likely returns that have had their issues fixed and certified. Given the shipping cost of a Mac Pro you figure they have every incentive to see that you get a 100% working machine and not DOA.

  6. mds macrumors 6502

    Oct 6, 2006
    I get my refurb Friday. Hope it wasn't your old one!!:D
  7. leadfeet thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 30, 2010
    Go slowly, and methodically.

    1) Set the machine up with only the Apple supplied hardware and your monitor. Turn it on, and hold the D key down to boot directly to the diagnostics. Run the extended diagnostics. Undo the tape on the bottom to get the mouse to work, batteries should be installed.

    2) When this works, restart, and boot into OS X. Create your user account, etc. Do not run the Migration Assistant, or anything else.

    3) Use the computer like this for a bit, web browse, etc, for at least a few days. Try some of the memory testers, install updates, etc. You are buying a $2-4K computer, buy some tools that at least test it!


    4) After you are satisfied the hardware is ok, shut the Mac Pro down and unplug it, add your hardware.

    5) Rerun the Apple Diagnostics (D at reboot), run the extended tests again.

    6) Re-Install the OS, on your disk of choice, and create your user account, run the Migration Assistant or whatever, and move your stuff over to the Mac Pro.

    Yes, it's a process, but you get the idea - make sure the hardware and software, out of the box from the factory, works first, then add your hardware and software.

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