New bottom-line 15" MBP or refurbished top-of-the-line?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by mkjaer, Jun 21, 2009.

  1. mkjaer macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2009
    Hi there,

    I'm in the market for a new 15" MacBook PRO to replace the 1st generation one I currently have. You can imagine how happy I was when the new lineup was announced.

    I went to my local Authorized Reseller on Friday to pick the bottom-line 15" MBP up. Unfortunately they were out of stock, but they will get new shipments tomorrow or Tuesday. While I was there, however, I was offered a refurbished demo model, what I think is the old top-of-the-line 15" MBP.

    New $1699 15" MBP specs:
    2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    4GB of memory
    250GB hard drive
    NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics
    +New, built-in battery
    +SD Card Slot

    Refurbished 15" MBP specs:
    2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    4GB of memory
    320GB hard drive
    NVIDIA GeForce 9400M + 9400M GT with 256MB of memory
    +Old, removable battery
    +ExpressCard slot
    +Used for less than a month as an in-store demo model

    Now I'm in a bit of a dilemma around which one to get. I haven't seen the refurbished model with my own eyes but it should be as good as new. I don't plan on using the ExpressCard / SD-card interfaces, so that should be factored out of the equation.

    They have the same amount of memory and almost the same CPU (is there a big difference between the 2.53GHz and the 2.66GHz model?) The two major differences are:

    1. The battery
    2. The additional 9400M GT graphics card in the refurbished model

    The additional graphics card is a big factor. I do light Photoshop work and my current RadeonX1600 has served me pretty well, I don't need expreme performance enhancements over that. However, I hear that Snow Leopard should be able to get some more juice out of the graphics card with OpenCL etc. Is it worth investing in the additional 9400M GT?

    The battery life is extremely important to me. I use it for school and would like to squeeze 5 hours out of the battery. I wore my current removable battery out in about 1 year, so even though the new batteries can last for longer I will probably need to swap it eventually. How much milage am I going to get with the old, removable battery? I would be willing to buy an extra battery so I could swap between them.

    The two cost about the same, and they are both eligible for AppleCare (which I'm planning on getting).

  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    This now battery life vs. GPU power. If you don't do gaming or other GPU intensive work, you don't need 9600GT. I would get new one because it has better battery and its RAM is expandable to 8GB.
  3. joehahn macrumors regular

    Jun 15, 2009
    flip a coin lol

    but seriously, if you get the new one you can get a free ipod and printer, if you buy the old one you get a better computer. pick your poison
  4. mkjaer thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2009
    I'm not in the US and I'm not eligible for the ADC student discount (I think it's called) since I'm in high school. But thanks.
  5. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    The refurb one is a better computer, is tested and tried, while the new one has all of the - admittedly attractive - allure of a brand new product. Personally, I'd go for the refurb and enjoy it until some really serious changes come down the tracks in the next few years.

    Cheers and good luck
  6. Bengt77 macrumors 68000


    Jun 7, 2002
    The back to school free iPod program works in any country, including those in Europe. You might wait for that if a free iPod is important to you. But for the choice that's before you now, I'd choose the old MacBook Pro. I'd say if you don't need the 9600 GT, you won't need 8GB either. It's your pick, indeed. I do think the Express Card slot is nice extra that will let you add any card type reader.
  7. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

    Sep 22, 2006
    Are you going to use Windows a lot? The 9600 is forced in windows and destroys the battery life.
  8. bsolomonny macrumors regular

    Jan 10, 2007
    Not true. Apple discontinued the back to school free ipod / printer program here in Taiwan. Apparently Taiwanese students don't deserve free printers and ipods:mad: . I am in a similar boat, considering the refurb 2.53 umbp and the new model umbp with the ipod mentioned above (i will have someone bring them over to me in Taiwan). Considering there is a 50% chance that someone will screw up the rebate in the US i think the 2 systems represent the same out of pocket cots. Any suggestions?

    I probably don't need the gpu but don't want to miss its' benefits when SL is released.

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