Please talk me out of a refurb Macbook....

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Beccad, Feb 3, 2011.

  1. Beccad macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2011
    I'm really hoping someone here who uses both Windows 7 & Mac OS X will talk me out of this. I just saw that the Refurb store has listed 2.26 Ghz Macbooks for $759. I'm really tempted to order it and sell the Samsung QX410 laptop I just bought on Black Friday. Should be able to sell the Samsung for $700 +

    I would be getting less computing power (Core 2 Duo vs. Core i5) and a lot less hard drive (250 gb vs. 640 gb). But I would be gaining the Mac OS, which I am really beginning to prefer. For how I use a computer (light photo editing, word processing, heavy duty spreadsheet work, internet), the Core 2 Duo will be fine and I'm using my shiny new iMac + 2 large capacity external hard drives for primary storage.

    A little bit of a back story -- the Samsung is what headed me back in the direction of the Mac OS. Three weeks after I bought it, it died. Samsung's crappy customer service left me without a laptop for 2 weeks, so I dug out the iBook G4 that had been gathering dust for a few years. I bought the iBook in 2005, but never took the time to learn the power of Mac's OS, so I gave up and went back to a Windows laptop. For whatever reason, I found my way around the Mac much better this time around. In fact, I've been using the iBook instead of the (finally) repaired Samsung for everything except spreadsheets. I also bought an iMac in January. I've spent a lot of time on the iMac and I'm now totally sold on Mac.

    I think I could simplify my computing life if I went to one OS for all my personal computing, but I've already replaced or added to all my tech gadgets in the last year (except for my camera & 3rd gen iPod Nano). My husband is about out of patience for my tech purchases. I could probably get by with selling the Samsung and just using the iBook, but I am a heavy Office user and I would prefer to stick with Office 11. And I keep thinking a 6 year old laptop isn't going to last much longer.

    After all that rambling, I guess my questions are:

    1. Are Core 2 Duo Macbook users generally happy with their laptops, or do a lot of you wish you had spent the extra for a MBP?
    2. What are the two biggest advantages to sticking with only one OS?
    3. Do those of you who use both Windows and Mac feel using both platforms creates extra work to keep files in sync and backed up, etc?

    Thanks for any input that will help me decide to stick with my current setup, go for the Macbook, or wait for new MBP models!
  2. osx11 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 16, 2011
    Q1: The 13 inch macbook pro still has a core 2 duo processor. I have one, and especially if you just need office it will suffice.

    Q2: Drivers: If it works on one it will work on both computers. Easy file transfer.

    Q3: Yes, just stick to the mac OS. A lot cleaner and faster. Windows is no fun once you use mac os x.

    Refurbished products work just fine; they have the same warranty.

    However, the macbook pro also comes refurbished for $999. And trust me, you would be even happier buying that.

    Personally, I would wait until the macbook pro refresh (probably in next 3 months) because then you at least have the "newest" product for a year.

    In the end, I would buy a macbook pro. Whether you decide to buy refurb, new, or wait until the next gen. mbp comes out is up to you.
  3. ScaryMerry macrumors member


    Nov 29, 2010
    North Carolina
    I actually just bought the $999 MBP refurb the other poster mentioned. I was going to wait for the refresh, but with the issues with the SB processors making it look like the refresh won't be for a few more months, I went ahead and pulled the trigger- my PC is dying, it's new semester, and I desperately need a new computer. I figured that for $999, I was getting a pretty good deal, regardless of whatever refresh is coming. Anyway, I digress...

    What I came here to post is that you can run Win7 on a Mac. That's why I decided to switch- I use both OSs about equally, but I can't run OSX on a PC (and Macs tend to have better hardware/resell value). So get the Mac and put Win7 with Boot Camp or Parallels if you find yourself needing Windows still.
  4. vistadude macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2010
    Ok, I'll try to talk you out of it:

    1. You're going from a powerful core i5 processor to a core duo from 2-3 years ago.

    2. You'll be going to less than half the half the hard disk space.

    3. Half the RAM.

    4. No WiMAX, no intel wireless display.

    5. No metallic case.

    6. No chargeable usb port when the macbook is off.

    7. No memory card reader.

    8. 1 less usb port, no vga out without a $30 adapter.

    9. Likely an older video card (I think the refurb is a 9400?).
  5. iMacThere4Iam macrumors regular

    Dec 28, 2009
    Well, to put my two cents in, a short response would be: wait for the new MBPs if you've got your heart set on going all Mac.

    You didn't say if you have Office 11 installed on the iMac, on the PC, or both. If it's on the iMac, you don't need a Windows box, plain and simple.

    So, tell the hubby that one can never have enough Mac gear, sell the PC, and buy that new MBP when it's released.
  6. rjbruce, Feb 3, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2011

    rjbruce macrumors regular

    Jan 7, 2011
    St. Louis, MO
    1. Buy new MB, preferably after refresh for most bang for $, although the refurb will suit your needs.
    2. Set up somewhere husband will see it.
    3. Commence argument and bring up something from 2-3 years ago where he was dead wrong.
    4. Celebrate your victory and new MB. wanted to be talked out of it....uh...don't do it?
  7. JustSomeDude macrumors regular

    Apr 10, 2010
    1.) Convince your husband it was his idea that you should get a mb or mbp. Fortunately, my wife doesn't do this (or does she :confused: ), but I've seen some wives good at this.


    2.) Convince him it would be a great valentine day's present.

    Seriously, you could just sell the samsung and keep using the ibook until it dies. Then you'll have to get a laptop (since going computerless doesn't sound like an option.) The ibook may even get through one or more refreshes of apple's laptops.
  8. Beccad thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2011
    Well, I already did this with the iMac. I set it up and waited for him to notice. I've always got Harley chrome, pipes and kits to make said Harley louder, faster, or shinier to bring up when my tech spending becomes a topic of conversation. And I think Harley accessories are right up there with Mac when it comes to cost.

    No other approaches mentioned will work with him-- he stays away from computers at all cost. About the only technology he will touch is his GPS and the Tivo, every once in a while he will pick up my iPad to look something up on the web. Heck -- he's still using his original Razr phone.

    After considering this a little more, I'm really glad I didn't pull the trigger on the $759 Macbook last night. The Samsung QX400 is well equipped and I don't want to go that far backwards in specs with that particular Macbook (even if I don't absolutely need the processing power). In fact, I would really like the computer if it weren't the fact that Samsung's customer service is about the worst I've ever experienced and it's running Windows. But in the Macbook line, I know I will end up being happier with a MPB model.

    Since I got a good Black Friday deal on the Samsung, I should be able to sell it for at least what I paid for it if I sell it before it gets too old. So, its going to Craig's List this weekend. I think I'll just work with the iBook until the new MBPs are released, then figure out if the updates are worth paying for or if I'll be happy with a refurb model of the MPB's that are out now. I do have Office for Mac '11 on the iMac (Office '04 on the iBook). I'll have to change my habits a little, but I can certainly make do with the older laptop until I decide what MBP to buy.

    Thanks for the input, everyone!
  9. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030


    May 20, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    I'd get the Samsung in a working condition and then sell it along with that iBook, use the money to save for the bottom of the line 2.4GHz i5 15" MacBook Pro. Or buy THAT model refurbished for even cheaper. Otherwise, a refurbished white MacBook is a decent deal. Either way, sell the Samsung and the iBook. If you get the lower-end i5 15" MacBook Pro, or its next refresh equivalent, it'll have more than enough for you to dual-boot it with Windows should you want the best of both worlds. The Core 2 Duo is a downgrade, but not all that much of one. If you were to get anything with a Core 2 Duo at this point, I'd strongly recommend that at the very least, it has an NVIDIA GeForce 320M, so not the refurb you're seeing for $759, but the one you're more commonly seeing for $849 as that IGP/Chipset is better and faster all around and not solely with gaming either. Tell the husband that you're trying to both simply the amount of computers you have while making the sensible upgrade decisions while it's computer buying time and that once computer buying time is over, you won't be shopping for tech things until it's time to consider an upgrade 5-6 years down the road. Kind of hard to argue with that kind of logic unless finances are simply too tight for it. But even then, I'd say save up.

    As for your questions:

    1. I'm not a Core 2 Duo based "MacBook" owner, but my server model Mac mini is essentially a less mobile version of the 13" MacBook Pro, which is more or less similar to the white MacBook and I'm pretty happy with it so far. I'm sure I'd be even more jazzed with it in a mobile package, but that way I wouldn't have the dual-500GB drives to have my 1TB of storage, so it all works out. But I'm also going to be springing for a low-end 15" MacBook Pro. Essentially, I'm having my laptop be the faster and more capable of my two machines while the desktop is there for storage and when I'm at my desk and want to use a Mac that isn't my laptop. Though until I have enough money to buy said 15" MacBook Pro, the mini is more than adequate for use as my primary machine.

    2. There isn't an advantage to sticking to one OS. There is, however, an advantage to having all of the data that matters not be on Windows, and that's because Windows is prone to all sorts of things that makes it wise to back-up, wipe, and re-install everything from time to time and that's annoying to have to do when your data is a factor to consider.

    3. No, because everything that matters is on my Mac and, as such, I have nothing critically important residing on either my Toshiba running Ubuntu, nor my PC tower nor NetBook, everything that matters is on my Mac. (The mini Server is the only of those machines that wasn't gifted to me somehow.) When I have two Macs, I'll move my music, pictures and documents over to the 15" MacBook Pro leaving the huge files and downloaded movies on the mini Server.

    Yeah, refurbished models tend to not factor as much into the "you should wait until soon after a refresh to buy" argument. They are all pretty fantastic deals too, unless you like having a pretty box or CTO options.
  10. Beccad thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2011
    Well, here I am a few weeks later and still without a Mac laptop. When I started hearing refresh rumors, I decided to wait. I think at this point, when I get out the credit card it will be for one of the i5 refurbs that you mentioned. I am going to sell the Samsung first. No bites from Craigs list. I'll try again one more time, then I guess I'll put it on eBay. The iBook, though, is staying. It's my way of making sure my grandkids prefer Mac AND it keeps them off of my new computer. (Garage Band is something they spend a lot of time on -- I have a feeling once they see it on my iPad, the iBook won't get near as much use though.)

    Now here's the part where you have me second-guessing myself again. I have organized all of my data so that everything that matters is on the iMac (and a couple of externals), or Dropbox. The Samsung could die (again) and it wouldn't be nearly as painful as when it died the first time (or when the Dell died, or when my Toshiba laptop freaked out.....) So, the sensible thing would probably be to use the laptop I already invested for a few years. But a big part of me wants to be done with Windows for all of my personal stuff and have everything on one platform. I know I wouldn't be satisfied without a laptop (even if Steve does say we are in a post-PC era). And I can swing it financially. Decisions, decisions....

    Thanks for the thoughtful input!
  11. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030


    May 20, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    A much easier way to keep them off of your computer is to put up a password. As for getting them to stick with Mac, they are less likely to want to stick with the platform if their only experience with the Mac is with an old iBook that is constantly limiting them. Though you do seem the type to have a lot of tech, so I guess do what you want, the iBook won't yield you more than $200, and it's almost not worth selling if it has a G3 in it.

    The lower-end i5 refurbished might be a pretty good deal. The performance difference between the new low-end and either i5 model is pretty fantastic if you're not a gamer, but pretty lackluster if you are (CPU gets a nice boost, but the GPU is slower than its predecessor's GPU on the lower end 15", though the newer higher-end is better in both regards than its predecessor)

    Again, Windows is a pain to rely on data and preferences for. I don't back up my Windows machine as the only data on there are programs and I have all of the reinstallation media for everything. I have everything on my Mac and I wouldn't have it any other way. If you're looking to ditch Windows, I say do it. If you want to keep it around in case of a rainy day, put it on one of the two Macs you have by way of Boot Camp. Again, I'm in support of selling the old computers that aren't useful and buying one that is, though if you have an iMac, an iPad, and those two computers, I can see why it might be hard to justify the purchase of a MacBook Pro to your husband. As someone who has more computers than one realistically needs, I see where you're coming from.
  12. Beccad thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2011
  13. darknite38 macrumors regular

    Nov 18, 2010
    Why should I talk you out of a refurb macbook? It is good.
  14. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Exactly. There are i5 and i7 refurb MacBook Pro too.

    In addition, Mac OS X is much more efficient than Windows and won't suffer PC slow down.
  15. Old Muley macrumors 6502a

    Old Muley

    Jan 6, 2009
    Titletown USA
    When it comes to any tech/tool/appliance purchase I trust my wife implicitly. She's alway coming home with good deals on things that are usually two or three notches nicer than I would have bought.
  16. Sirolway macrumors 6502

    Jun 13, 2009
    I got fed up having both a laptop and a desktop, so I'd sell the lot & buy a MBP - possibly with an external screen if you want the real estate at home.

    I have a 2009 13" MBP (core 2 duo) & love it to bits. I swapped the drive for 500GB (easy) and pretty much everything is on here. I have a 2TB TIme Capsule just in case...
    I had figured on upgrading once lightpeak (thunderbolt) because available, but I reckon I'll hang on for another year as my current machine still seems pretty quick (although Aperture isn't as snappy as I'd like)

    I'm an IT Consultant working in the world of windows & defected about 5 years ago. It's gratifying to see more & more Windows-based IT professionals choose OS X for their personal machine. Or am I just noticing them more now that I have one?!

    So I say consolidate everything & buy the dream machine that you won't regret ...
  17. sarends macrumors member

    Nov 17, 2009
    MBP 15 Would be Very Nice

    I was a CTO for 23 years, until 5 years ago. Now I own my own storm restoration company. While in the IT world I was pretty fixed on PCs for my personal machines. I have 5 kids - my oldest daughter was the 1st to jump to Macs and (carefully) broke the news how much more she loved her MacBook. Then my oldest (art student) son went to a Mac Mini plus an iMac. Then my 2nd to the oldest (computer science grad) son jumped to a MBP running Parallels and an SSD drive and loved it. He programs and develops all over the map and loves his Mac.

    Finally I went to Macs about two years ago beginning (believe it or not) woith an old PowerBook for my youngest (who was constantly getting her Dell infected). Then I bought a white MacBook. The end of the story . . .

    Now I riun my business with a 27" iMac and I have a 17" MBP for my personal machine. My wife has a 15" MBP. My 15 yr old daughter has a 13" MBP and my youngest daughter has a white MacBook.

    I love the Macs - my life is SOOOOO much simpler with the Macs. I love them all - they all work. I am getting an IPAD 2 next week and plan to mount it in my work truck on a telescoping arm. I will use it for sales presentations and to record notes to myself while driving. I will also use it to access my business software which is 100% Google DOCS plus some Dropbox files.

    I would drop your Samsung in a heartbeat - the sooner the better, and buy the best MBP you can afford. I will guarantee you you will love it. Now that the new quads are out, the refurb store has some nice I5 MBP 15s for sale. Bump the ram to 8 GB and add an SSD - it will scream. Best of luck!
  18. Beccad thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2011
    Got out the Credit Card

    Both of my personal machines will be Macs when the UPS guy arrives tomorrow! I decided to go with this 13" Macbook Pro Refurb:|2646295&cid=AOS-US-AFF-FEED

    My choice is admittedly a compromise -- though the price is great I'm not excited about Core 2 Duo and I'm clear that the graphics on this machine are subpar. Because of cloud storage the HD size is fine; I will definitely increase the RAM. However, for use as a secondary, portable computer, I think it will suit my purposes. The current generation iMac is my primary machine, this one should be fine for mobile work. Plus, I have the option to return it if I put it to the test and I'm not happy with it.

    So, I'm able to meet my primary goal of eliminating Windows from my non-8 to 5 life without adding much more to the cash I've laid out for technology products recently. (I've had several bites on the Samsung I re-listed on Craigs List, so it will hopefully be gone soon).

    I do appreciate all of the input -- it gave me plenty to consider.

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