Things to check when buying a used laptop

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by alexxn, Jun 9, 2011.

  1. alexxn macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 14, 2009
    Location:
    S. Fla
    #1
    So I'm looking at a used MB Pro that seems like a good deal, Mid 2009 15" MB Pro, 2.8Ghz C2D, 8GB RAM, 500GB HD for $999, condition is 9/10

    I checked the serial number he gave me to confirm the specs and also have found that it has AppleCare until January of 2013

    I told him we would need to meet at a Starbucks or similiar which he agreed to.

    What all should I look for besides the obvious, bright screen, cosmetics, optical disk, etc etc ?

    Thanks !
     
  2. davids8477 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
    #2
    Check the actual serial number on the bottom of the laptop. The S/N shown in the software can be hacked. Also check for the specs - in about this mac - to ensure that all is correct. Do a verify disk in Disk utilities. Get the original disks that came with the laptop.
     
  3. palpatine macrumors 68040

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    May 3, 2011
    #3
    I never buy used computers, but if I did, this is what I would do.

    1) Take it to an Apple store.
    It doesn't matter if it has Applecare. The owner might have screwed around inside and voided the warranty. Only the Apple store people will be able to confirm that it still qualifies. Have the owner take it in (it's his computer) and ask them to confirm that the computer is still covered under warranty. If they won't (i think they will, but let's say they don't) he can make up a problem. Maybe he hears a strange noise from the drive or something.

    2) Hook it up to the Internet
    Make sure the wireless is fine, do some of the surfing you normally do, and see how it looks. You'll need these for step #3 too.

    3) Run some apps
    Put it through its paces. Start streaming a movie, turn on itunes and get something running, and maybe even run something like handbrake to really tax the processor. Take a look at iStat, see how things look, and listen to the computer. Any funny noises? Memory stats look kosher?

    4) Sign a piece of paper (two copies--one for him and one for you)
    This is basic stuff, but hardly anyone does it, even for major items. If he won't do it, then something is fishy.
    http://www.documatica-forms.com/usa/computer-bill-of-sale/form.php?cset=yes

    If something happens later, you'll have his address (get it off his drivers license), phone number, etc. And, you'll have written proof that will pretty much guarantee a good outcome if you have to go to small claims court. No paper = no help.
     
  4. Dadioh macrumors 65816

    Dadioh

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Canada Eh?
    #4
    Things I would check...

    1) Dents. Most of the time cosmetic but a good size dent could indicate future issues from the shock (e.g. disk drives)
    2) Dead/stuck pixels. Use solid colors for background and look closely.
    3) Open text edit and make sure all the keys work. Pay attention for "crunchy" key action that could be sign of sugary liquid spill.
    4) Battery condition. Open "about this mac" - more details - power and check the number of cycles and full charge capacity.
    5) Sleep. Make sure it sleeps OK when you close the lid.
    6) Temperatures. Run CPUtest (free app) to heat the processors up and make sure they stay reasonable (I don't like to see anything higher than high 70's C). High temps could be just dust plugged heat sink(s).
    7) Swing the display (gently) from partially open to fully open a few times and make sure there is no intermittent video (bad cable).

    Could be more. Those are off the top of my head...
     
  5. palpatine macrumors 68040

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    May 3, 2011
    #5
    All good ideas, especially the advice about the keys. the only thing that caught my eye was the temp. If he puts it through its paces, I would expect the temperature to climb well above 70s. I am at 56 right now just using Chrome. I often climb into the 80s when performing demanding tasks. I am not familiar with that program, though, so I am not sure exactly what it is doing.
     
  6. alexxn thread starter macrumors regular

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    #6
    All good advice, I'm doubting we'll be able to do the Apple store thing which is a bummer, BUT I can certainly check for obvious signs of wear or tampering etc.
     
  7. palpatine macrumors 68040

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    May 3, 2011
    #7
    If you cannot do the Apple store thing, you are taking a huge risk. To mitigate the potential for getting screwed over, make sure to put something on that paper about not having voided the warranty by doing unauthorized modifications. Later, if it turns out that the person did mess around inside, this paper will back up any claim you make in court about him misrepresenting the product.

    If you think this paper (or the Apple store visit) sounds over the top, read the post elsewhere in this forum by the guy who got scammed a few days ago and see what you think afterwards. I always do this when I buy something used (never computers, but the principle is the same) from somebody. If someone is scamming you, you can be sure they will balk when you ask them to sign the paper.
     
  8. alexxn thread starter macrumors regular

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    #8
    Oh I definitely read that post about being scammed, I'll see what kind of feeling I get when I meet him and the paper will definitely need to be signed or no deal ;)
     
  9. palpatine macrumors 68040

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    May 3, 2011
    #9
    good on you :)
    and, you said the most important thing. if it doesn't feel right in your gut, then don't go through with it.
     
  10. Dadioh macrumors 65816

    Dadioh

    Joined:
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    Canada Eh?
    #10
    I guess it depends on the Macbook model, processor model, and fan profile being run. The first thing I do on my Macbooks is install Fan Control and bump the speed profile. I find Apple lets things get a lot toastier than I prefer. On stock settings I guess you can get into the 80's.

    CPU Test is free program that runs Fast Fourier Transforms (FFT's) on the processors. Basically the equivalent of Prime95 in the PC World. It gets things as hot as you will ever see on the processor if you use small FFT's that fit in the processor L1 cache. It is standard practice for me to run this for about 30 minutes to see how hot my Mac could ever possibly get.
     
  11. alexxn thread starter macrumors regular

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    #11
    Actually just found an even sweeter deal - Mid 2010, 15 inch, 2.66Ghz i7, 4GB RAM, 500GB HD, has Office 2008 and Adobe CS5 Master, Applecare until 9/7/2013

    All for $1K !
     
  12. alexxn, Jun 10, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2011

    alexxn thread starter macrumors regular

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  13. gulu macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2011
    #13
    I bought my first macbook pro that is 2011 15" I7, 2.2GHz ATI 6750M for $1834 with shipping, no tax from ebay, no scratch, no dent, no any problem, power cycle 14, registered on apple website when I received it, 1 year warranty 'till April, 2012. Upgraded to 8G memory after 1 week, waiting for good deal on SSD now.

    Thank GOD! I started go back to church again. :p

    Be sure seller has good feedback, well, it's a basic.
     
  14. alexxn thread starter macrumors regular

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    May 14, 2009
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    #14
    So I ended up picking this up from someone I found:

    2011 Base 15", i7 Quad, 2 months old, in the box, immaculate and wiped clean for $1200 -

    No Applecare but I have almost a year to get it :D

    I had the seller sign a "Bill of Sale" so to speak as well, it works fantastic ;)
     
  15. cloroxbleach4 macrumors 6502a

    cloroxbleach4

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    Dec 28, 2007
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    #15
    Great Machine! Even Greater Price!

    Craigslist?
     
  16. alexxn thread starter macrumors regular

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    #16
    Yup

    A MAC hater who wanted a 17" Asus laptop more than anything ;)
     
  17. dagamer34 macrumors 65816

    dagamer34

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    May 1, 2007
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #17
    Same specs from eBay for only $1815 plus it was brand new and sealed. And I believe the AppleCare warranty starts as soon as the device has been turned on and connected to Apple's servers for the first time.

    Probably not going to buy laptops straight from Apple anymore. There's too much savings to be had.
     
  18. cloroxbleach4 macrumors 6502a

    cloroxbleach4

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    #18
    Very lucky. Enjoy your machine.
     
  19. dagamer34 macrumors 65816

    dagamer34

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    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #19

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