opinions on Refurbished MBA

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Barbicide, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. Barbicide macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2009
    Location:
    Savannah, Georgia
    #1
    After reading through numerous threads here, I have learned a great deal but have a few questions as well. Being relatively new to the world of reasonable computing (made the switch in August .08 :apple: - iMac 24" 2.8-320G, Iphone 3g 2 weeks later), I can't describe how much better my daily life has become. Bought the same machine for my lady for Christmas and she's sees the light. This leaves one pc (laptop) in the stable. It looks as I have a buyer for that one and I'm looking at the refurb MBA in the Apple store.

    Not wanting to start another rev A vs. rev B discussion, what is the general opinion of this machine. Keep in mind that it will generally sit beside the couch so that I can do something while my lady feeds her appetite for horrible television. Email, web, constant contact, bento2 while at home and pretty much the same when on the road.

    For $1K, what is the general consensus? Money and weight are pretty major concerns.

    TIA.
     
  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #2
    I believe under normal use the rev a had core shutdown issues. However, since you're buying a refurb I'd venture to guess the machine would have been repaired "within spec" and should run fine for general web surfing and email. I have a rev b and I use it for that as well as for a few other tasks. I would think the rev b would be more apt to withstand more but again, a refurb rev a may be your ticket.
     
  3. Barbicide thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 23, 2009
    Location:
    Savannah, Georgia
    #3
    Jessica,

    I appreciate the response. You seem to have confirmed my thoughts about any previous issues with the rev A. I would think that Apple would have addressed these things before shipping them out the door.

    Anybody bought one of these? Impressions??
     
  4. dborja macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2007
    Location:
    Northern California
    #4
    My use of the MBA is similar to yours. For heavy lifting, I have an iMac. I bought the refurb Rev A 80GB HDD and it works great in this capacity. No heating and stuttering problems although I did install CoolBook and SMCFanControl for insurance.

    I'm very happy with my refurb Rev A MBA! :)
     
  5. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2008
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    #5
    I am not a fan of the original MBA. My experiences were absolutely horrible. However I did own the original MBA and NOT the refurbished model. Apple has rewritten some software and tried to come up with solutions to make playing video easier for the original MBA. If you want to do anything intensive or video, I would suggest you stay away from the original MBA.

    If you want a secondary computer, to do light Internet surfing (non video based), email, Word, Pages, or even Bento, it may just work. However, you must be willing to understand, research, and buy Cool Book. A lot of people have made their MBAs run much better by undervolting the CPU via Cool Book. The software is only $10, and the results, for most, equal an end to extensive overheating and core shutdown. Understand though that this does not completely eliminate the problems, and many experience very loud fan noise much of the time. There is a thread in this section on undervolting the original MBA.

    Good luck whichever route you go.
     
  6. miniConvert macrumors 68040

    miniConvert

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    Location:
    Kent, UK - the 'Garden of England'.
    #6
    Rev A MBA here that runs flawlessly. Long battery life, fantastic screen, great build. Happily deals with online video, word processing, general browsing/email/MSN and coding. If what you need is along those lines then the MBA refurb is for you :)
     
  7. MAG. macrumors member

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    Mar 19, 2009
    Location:
    NYC
    #7
    I use my Macbook Air (Rev. A) for web browsing/email purposes, and it's my main machine on the go :) . I never had a problem with it especially with the heat, but that could be because I have a solid state hard drive since I noticed that my friends MBA tends to be a little hotter in comparison to mine, but it could be for other reasons.
     
  8. miniConvert macrumors 68040

    miniConvert

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    Mar 4, 2006
    Location:
    Kent, UK - the 'Garden of England'.
    #8
    I forgot to mention that. SSD all the way. It makes a massive difference.
     
  9. Scottsdale macrumors 601

    Scottsdale

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2008
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    #9
    Well, you should tell the OP that the SSD in the original MBA that is refurbished costs $1199 on Apple.com. So, it's $200 more. But, the 1.8 GHz is only $100 more then, so total with 1.8 GHz and SSD is $1299. BUT, if you compare the value to original cost, the original 1.8 with SSD was $3099 when introduced.

    Is it really worth it when the OP says that money is a concern? $200 or $300 more, is that worth it? Just wondering myself?
     
  10. MAG. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    Location:
    NYC
    #10
    Yup, not only it's better for the heat control but it's a speedy! My Macbook Air boots in less than 30 seconds. Everything feels so snappy too. The moment you click the icon, is the moment the program launches. Take a look at this :D
     
  11. Barbicide thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2009
    Location:
    Savannah, Georgia
    #11
    Thanks for the feedback. I've been considering the SSD even though it is a bit more money than I was looking to spend. A buddy of mine is of the opinion that SSD is the only way to go, primarily -according to him- that the HD is going to be the Achilles' heel of the machine. Any thoughts about that?

    Plus, the 64G SSD seems like it might be a bit small, even if I do the re-install (English only, ect...). Iwork and Bento 2 are a must have.

    One more thing, when the machine isn't sitting at the house, it will be on my back, as I cycle pretty much everywhere. Road cycling, not off-road, but how sensitive is the drive to the movement that comes along with being on a bike.

    I'm sure that I am over-analyzing that aspect of this purchase but I'd like to get a couple-three years out of this thing.

    To that point, I'm hoping that sort of life-span is reasonable, yes?
     
  12. trip1ex macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    #12
    What is the verdict on the Rev. A for iPhoto? I have about 12gb in photos.

    How about iMovie?

    Just curious.
     
  13. PsyD4Me macrumors 6502a

    PsyD4Me

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    Mar 11, 2009
    Location:
    under your bed
    #13
    i still have rev A amd never had heat shutdown issues...
     
  14. tubbymac macrumors 65816

    tubbymac

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2008
    #14
    For the uses you described a refurb A should be plenty fine. This machine works well out of the box for light tasks such as email, web browsing, chatting, and general consumer stuff.

    It doesn't work out of the box for high quality video. For that you will need to worry about keeping the heat down, making sure it's properly ventilated, and even resorting to non Apple software like coolbook.

    I have an SSD on my MB and the 80 gig HD on the Air. For casual use I really don't see much of a difference. Programs load faster and web pages come up faster, but most people don't keep reloading programs enough for that to be an issue and most web pages load plenty fast even on an HD anyway.

    On your bike, as long as the machine is either off or in sleep mode your HD will be perfectly fine. The drive heads get parked when the HD isn't in use so they can take the bumps without scratching the platters.
     
  15. mshaf macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2009
    #15
    Rev A I just bought is perfect for the uses you list. I think the refurbs are much better than what others bought originally.
     
  16. darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #16
    If you don't watch much flash video, hulu, youtube, etc., then the Rev A should be fine for your needs.
     
  17. jamesryanbell macrumors 68020

    jamesryanbell

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    Mar 17, 2009
    #17
    Wow, even web videos cause heat problems?? Geez.
     
  18. tubbymac macrumors 65816

    tubbymac

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    Nov 6, 2008
    #18
    Not all videos. Flash videos. For some reason Adobe Flash is still kinda terrible on OSX.
     
  19. jamesryanbell macrumors 68020

    jamesryanbell

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    Mar 17, 2009
    #19
    Hmm. Learn something new every day. :) I didn't know that.
     
  20. O. Frabjous-Dey macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2006
    #20
    I just picked up a refurb Rev A, so I'm chiming in here with one more datapoint in the hopes that it will help someone:

    As far as I can tell, they've solved all of the problems that plagued the original Rev A. I haven't even needed to install Coolbook - it can play XviD in Movist using 23% CPU, and runs hi-res YouTube videos at about 88% CPU (and I think those CPU measurements are out of a total of 200%, one of iStat Menu's quirks) without overheating or shutting down the core. Much better than I expected, especially without Coolbook!

    My only complaints:
    - Terrible battery - between 2 and 3.5 hours depending on use. Charges slowly, about 1 hour for 1 hour used. I'm going to recalibrate it tonight and see if that makes a difference.
    - Backlighting is pretty uneven, but that's a problem with all MacBook lines. Screen is TN, but still much better than the MacBook's.
    - There are VERY faint gray horizontal lines.

    For $1k, I think it was a great deal.
     
  21. O. Frabjous-Dey macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2006
    #21
    I've been running a high-res Flash video for an hour now to run down the battery. The CPU temperature is constant at 63F, with the fan at 2500 RPM. (I've seen it spike up to about 6500 RPM under heavy, heavy use - for example, while compiling a Ruby gem yesterday. Even then, no threat of core shutdown. Flash video is taxing, but not that taxing.)

    Hope this helps someone!
     
  22. O. Frabjous-Dey macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2006
    #22
    More comments:

    Laptop HDs are pretty rugged. They're vulnerable to physical shock while reading and even more so while writing, but assuming you've slept or turned off your laptop while biking around, you don't need the SSD's near-immunity to sudden movement.

    64GB is more than enough for all of your applications. Much more than enough. User files are what fill up a hard drive. You'll want more space if you're a big music listener or movie watcher, or if you deal with huge PhotoShop or movie files (but in the latter case, an Air is definitely the wrong tool for the job).
     

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