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lil1998

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 1, 2010
27
0
Want to buy an early 2015 MBP. I've only ever bought refurbished Macs direct from Apple before, but this is too old. OWC has 3.1 GHz and a 2TB drive—I have a 1TB now and it isn't full but I'm a designer & photographer so files keep piling up—and I have bought small things from OWC before, claims it's in "mint" condition, but I've seen that more recent reviews for OWC are pretty bad! Also, it's a little confusing that the category is "used" and the product description only says it's been "inspected" but the category description is about refurbishing. Backmarket only has 2.9 GHz and 1TB and only calls it "good" (because "excellent" is sold out), but does use the word "refurbished" and shows a checklist of things that were tested, and the reviews are glowing.

OWC does have 14-day return policy, but that just makes me think of everything falling apart on day 15, haha. While Backmarket gives 30 days. Adding an extended warranty for both, and sales tax only for Backmarket, Backmarket ends up being $100 more for a half-size SSD. But what if it's more trustworthy? Am I overthinking?? Or are these non-Apple shops all essentially the same?

Thanks for any peace of mind you can give!
 

mdgm

macrumors 68000
Nov 2, 2010
1,665
406
What's the reason you need such an old MBP? Have you invested a lot in old software versions that won't run on current macOS? Have you considered running old software in a Virtual Machine, say getting a current Intel MBP and maxing out the RAM?

It appears that it's the 13" dual-core that you are looking at. The 2TB option at OWC is an OWC Aura Pro X2 SSD which is not a good choice if you want to use Bootcamp. If you want to use Bootcamp I would consider the 1TB option which is an OEM SSD.

I haven't bought refurbished Macs from them. Personally I'd be reluctant to buy a dual-core machine at this point.

OWC say the batteries have no less than 70% of original capacity. A battery with only about 70% of capacity left isn't in great condition and could need replacing soon. If you need to replace the battery that significantly adds to your costs and reduces any savings compared to getting a new machine.

I haven't heard of Backmarket.
 

KaliYoni

macrumors 68000
Feb 19, 2016
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3,731
Thanks for any peace of mind you can give!
Keep in mind that OWC and Backmarket are not exactly the same. OWC is a retailer and there aren't any third parties involved when you buy from them. Backmarket is a marketplace or trading exchange, similar to eBay or the New York Stock Exchange, that provides a venue with rules and regulations where buyers and sellers can meet.

If you're looking for "peace of mind"...well, if you've all but decided to go with Backmarket there isn't much any of us here can do to guarantee you have a good experience. Personally, I probably would prefer OWC regardless of what online reviews say because in the event of a delivery, quality, or refund impasse, it will be a much cleaner and direct process to file a dispute with my credit card issuer for a retailer than for a marketplace.
 
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lil1998

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 1, 2010
27
0
What's the reason you need such an old MBP? Have you invested a lot in old software versions that won't run on current macOS? Have you considered running old software in a Virtual Machine, say getting a current Intel MBP and maxing out the RAM?

It appears that it's the 13" dual-core that you are looking at. The 2TB option at OWC is an OWC Aura Pro X2 SSD which is not a good choice if you want to use Bootcamp. If you want to use Bootcamp I would consider the 1TB option which is an OEM SSD.

I haven't bought refurbished Macs from them. Personally I'd be reluctant to buy a dual-core machine at this point.

OWC say the batteries have no less than 70% of original capacity. A battery with only about 70% of capacity left isn't in great condition and could need replacing soon. If you need to replace the battery that significantly adds to your costs and reduces any savings compared to getting a new machine.

I haven't heard of Backmarket.
Embarrassingly, I don't even know what Bootcamp is! Can you please tell me the reason the 2TB Aura doesn't work well? I didn't realize that the lack of name/label after the 1TB options indicated those were OEM, I can understand this being safer.

I use Adobe CS6 for work (InDesign nearly every day, but also heavy use of Illustrator and Photoshop), and the information I receive for designing will always be in Office software no matter which client is sending it, and I have Office 2011. Unfortunately my clients don't pay me enough to switch to subscription Adobe CC yet (plus, the principle), although I suppose at some point I could at least update Office.

I've also never used a Virtual Machine, I don't even know if you have to reboot every time to use it or if you just switch it on and off. I genuinely don't know how fast running a new computer full-time in VM is (only turning it off for times that I am only using internet/streaming?) compared to a computer that is running High Sierra natively. I've tried searching for this info but perhaps am not phrasing it correctly to find any comparisons.

My current laptop is 2010, and definitely on its last legs. In theory I'd love to upgrade it by more than 5 years, but there's so much praise for the 2015 MBP! And honestly I also prefer the options of the older ports on the 2015 MBP. But it's hard not to think about the fact that I've had the battery and HD replaced on my 2010 MBP before, while with the 2015 that's not possible. At the same time I can currently only work for about 2 hours off charger so 70% battery sounds kinda doable?

**EDIT: OK I started over on the OWC configuration page and now it says "genuine Apple" on some 1TB options, it seems to vary which ones are unlabeled SSD brand (I guess they aren't actually configuring them, these are just the available ones).
 
Last edited:

lil1998

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 1, 2010
27
0
Keep in mind that OWC and Backmarket are not exactly the same. OWC is a retailer and there aren't any third parties involved when you buy from them. Backmarket is a marketplace or trading exchange, similar to eBay or the New York Stock Exchange, that provides a venue with rules and regulations where buyers and sellers can meet.

If you're looking for "peace of mind"...well, if you've all but decided to go with Backmarket there isn't much any of us here can do to guarantee you have a good experience. Personally, I probably would prefer OWC regardless of what online reviews say because in the event of a delivery, quality, or refund impasse, it will be a much cleaner and direct process to file a dispute with my credit card issuer for a retailer than for a marketplace.
I actually didn't realize this, I thought "backmarket" was just a name. Would definitely prefer a retailer, and I've used OWC before so I like that (but have only bought things like memory & drives, and it's been so many years since the last purchase).

Is the 2TB SSD from OWC a good choice, or is 1TB safer as the other reply says (because 2TB is not OEM)? I tend to shy away from larger drives and SD cards (all my external drives are 1TB and my SD cards are 64GB) because I worry about losing too much with a failure. But I do like the idea of having more scratch space for work, and in 2021 perhaps 2TB is not considered abnormally large...?
 

mdgm

macrumors 68000
Nov 2, 2010
1,665
406
Bootcamp is for booting into Windows (not running in a Virtual Machine). If you will be sticking with always booting into macOS the OWC drive is fine.
 
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KaliYoni

macrumors 68000
Feb 19, 2016
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Something to keep in mind with SSDs, memory cards, and USB memory sticks is that solid state storage only lasts for a finite number of write operations. Essentially, each "cell" of memory degrades a little every time something is written to it. This means that larger capacity drives have the potential to last longer because writes are spread over a larger number of cells.

As far as reliability and safety, if you don't keep backups of your critical data already, you should start right away. Then you'll be protected against losing anything in the event of a failure, theft, or hack.
 
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Yebubbleman

macrumors 603
May 20, 2010
5,672
2,225
Los Angeles, CA
Want to buy an early 2015 MBP. I've only ever bought refurbished Macs direct from Apple before, but this is too old. OWC has 3.1 GHz and a 2TB drive—I have a 1TB now and it isn't full but I'm a designer & photographer so files keep piling up—and I have bought small things from OWC before, claims it's in "mint" condition, but I've seen that more recent reviews for OWC are pretty bad! Also, it's a little confusing that the category is "used" and the product description only says it's been "inspected" but the category description is about refurbishing. Backmarket only has 2.9 GHz and 1TB and only calls it "good" (because "excellent" is sold out), but does use the word "refurbished" and shows a checklist of things that were tested, and the reviews are glowing.

OWC does have 14-day return policy, but that just makes me think of everything falling apart on day 15, haha. While Backmarket gives 30 days. Adding an extended warranty for both, and sales tax only for Backmarket, Backmarket ends up being $100 more for a half-size SSD. But what if it's more trustworthy? Am I overthinking?? Or are these non-Apple shops all essentially the same?

Thanks for any peace of mind you can give!

Honestly, I bought that same machine from a seller on eBay. It was in damn near flawless condition. I paid to have Apple replace the battery (which also results in a new unibody/top case and keyboard) and I'm honestly not upset that I did so. You don't get the warm and fuzzy feeling of a warranty or a money back guarantee or a return policy, but that's also why you, when dropping it off at Apple, have them run diagnostics to make sure that everything is in tip top shape. Plus you end up paying WAY more than those machines are even worth. Unfortunately, you do need to know what you're looking for and what questions to ask of sellers, but there are definitely some decent Macs being sold that are older than you'd think and in better condition than you'd expect a 6 year old 13" MacBook Pro to be in.

Bootcamp is for booting into Windows (not running in a Virtual Machine). If you will be sticking with always booting into macOS the OWC drive is fine.
Is there anything particularly bad about running OWC drives in Windows? I've posed this question before (both to OWC and on these forums) and have been told that there's no issue. Though, I might be worried about Windows trying to enable TRIM when the drive has its own function (and therefore shouldn't ever have TRIM enabled in the installed OS).
 

mdgm

macrumors 68000
Nov 2, 2010
1,665
406
With at least some Mac models the OWC Aura Pro X2 drive doesn't work with Bootcamp. I haven't read anything as yet to suggest that OWC has resolved that problem with this particular SSD model.
 

lil1998

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 1, 2010
27
0
One thing I was seeing of concern was that older MBPs were crashing during sleep with the Auro Pro X2 drive. But after combing through many other threads, it seems that was a bigger issue with 2013/2014 MBPs than 2015. Would prefer 2TB if it's reliable (despite my general fear of relying on large drives), and I'm verrrry close to fully believing it's reliable!

This isn't even an urgent purchase as I'm finally no longer on the road and back to using my 2009 iMac, but the specific configuration I'm eyeing on OWC has already sold 4 since I first asked this question... I'm going to have to make this decision soon, haha.
 

lil1998

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 1, 2010
27
0
Honestly, I bought that same machine from a seller on eBay. It was in damn near flawless condition. I paid to have Apple replace the battery (which also results in a new unibody/top case and keyboard) and I'm honestly not upset that I did so. You don't get the warm and fuzzy feeling of a warranty or a money back guarantee or a return policy, but that's also why you, when dropping it off at Apple, have them run diagnostics to make sure that everything is in tip top shape. Plus you end up paying WAY more than those machines are even worth. Unfortunately, you do need to know what you're looking for and what questions to ask of sellers, but there are definitely some decent Macs being sold that are older than you'd think and in better condition than you'd expect a 6 year old 13" MacBook Pro to be in.
I'm really happy to hear that! Annoyingly, OWC chat reps won't answer very specifically, I tried 2 times to try getting different answers. The only thing I could get them to nail down was that on their site, "used" means "refurbished" (except I don't fully buy this because why use both terms throughout, and a refurbished machine should have a new battery). But I guess if they have multiples of each possible configuration, they can't really know the battery health of each. What I'm thinking is that perhaps there will be a battery replacement someday but hopefully not needed immediately. The longer I ponder buying this model, the more I think I just can't give up the 2015 ports, and don't think getting a brand-new machine to run in a VM 90% of the time really makes sense either.

I did consider eBay as I bought my iPhone SE off eBay and it was perfect. But the same configuration (3.1Ghz i7 16GB 1TB) with one seller was only $150 less than the one OWC says is "new, open box" and another seller only $750 but if I replace the battery for safety that's another $200, right? Arghhh I hate this kind of decision-making!

**EDIT: actually to be fair, both these eBay sellers offer 3-year warranties while with OWC I'd have to buy an extended plan separately...so the savings is actually significant. Hmmm.
 

ignatius345

macrumors 604
Aug 20, 2015
6,648
10,700
**EDIT: actually to be fair, both these eBay sellers offer 3-year warranties while with OWC I'd have to buy an extended plan separately...so the savings is actually significant. Hmmm.

I'd be super careful about a "warranty" from some random eBay seller. OWC is a reputable company with a super long history of selling Macs and Mac accessories. I think you'd be rolling the dice a bit with a random eBay seller. No telling whether they'd even exist in 3 years, much less whether (or how) they'd handle a warranty.
 

KaliYoni

macrumors 68000
Feb 19, 2016
1,679
3,731
I hate this kind of decision-making
If that's the case, you might be better off buying a new machine or buying an Apple-direct refurb. Why spend so much time and energy trying to make the "perfect" purchase of a Mac that is close to becoming obsolete? Check out the rumors about the next MBP: ports and MagSafe charging seem to be coming back! Not to mention a processor that Appie isn't dropping.

Plus you will face similar (stressful?) decisions when 6+ year old components inevitably need to be repaired or replaced. Remember, dedicated hobbyists love this stuff. That's why you can find so much info on how to keep old computers–and cars, and houses–working. But if grinding through this stuff is not fun, why torture yourself?
 
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mdgm

macrumors 68000
Nov 2, 2010
1,665
406
One thing I was seeing of concern was that older MBPs were crashing during sleep with the Auro Pro X2 drive. But after combing through many other threads, it seems that was a bigger issue with 2013/2014 MBPs than 2015.
In a recent Boot ROM update (available with latest Big Sur update and Mojave/Catalina security updates) the 2013/2014 have got the same NVMe driver used in the 2015 for a long while now. However, if on an old Boot ROM the update needs to be done with an OEM SSD installed. I have the latest Boot ROM on my mid-2014 MBP and no hibernation issues with the OWC 2TB Aura Pro X2 SSD. It’s easy to replace the SSD.
 
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bearmaster1

macrumors member
Feb 12, 2018
38
26
Los Angeles
Just wanted to chime in to OP. I bought the entry level 2015 15" MBP from backmarket about six months ago. It replaced the 2010 MBP that my daughter had been using as it slowly died. I could not be happier with the computer received from Backmarket. It was listed very good but was a 9+/10 score in my book. Good battery life, everything works, cosmetically very good. The keyboard feels slightly funny compared to my 2013 13" MBP, but nothing to complain about. All that and it came with a 1 year warranty, which I think is important when spending $700 on a used computer.
 
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lil1998

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 1, 2010
27
0
Just wanted to chime in to OP. I bought the entry level 2015 15" MBP from backmarket about six months ago. It replaced the 2010 MBP that my daughter had been using as it slowly died. I could not be happier with the computer received from Backmarket. It was listed very good but was a 9+/10 score in my book. Good battery life, everything works, cosmetically very good. The keyboard feels slightly funny compared to my 2013 13" MBP, but nothing to complain about. All that and it came with a 1 year warranty, which I think is important when spending $700 on a used computer.
Thanks. I spent so long overthinking this— about if I have clients who no longer accept me using CS6 in the future, if running High Sierra through VM on a brand-new computer is the same speed as running natively in the 2015 MBP, but ALSO thinking too long about whether I needed to buy from OWC or if other marketplaces are fine—that the OWC ones actually sold out! ("so long" means just TEN DAYS since I posted this question). I definitely worried if my questions would alert people to pay attention to OWC inventory, too. I'd swear there were still 14-15 remaining of the "new in box" version, as well as several in other conditions, like...yesterday?? Sigh.
 

KaliYoni

macrumors 68000
Feb 19, 2016
1,679
3,731
I spent so long overthinking this
You might find this book interesting:
 

pshufd

macrumors G3
Oct 24, 2013
9,921
14,428
New Hampshire
I've used the 2015 13 (work issued) before and performance and thermals were always issues. The fans would come on when I ran Zoom. The 2015 15 has much better CPU horsepower.

In any event, I'd consider a 2020 MacBook Air M1 if it's in your budget. It way outclasses the 2015 MacBook Pros except in the area of ports.
 
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