What should a first time mac buyer expect for under $600 used?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by kbjeff, Nov 7, 2009.

  1. kbjeff macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2009
    #1
    I primarily want a mac to use Keynote '09's Magic Move tool.
    I might also use it for Quicken.

    Always been a Windows user, so this is a brave new world! Like to find a good deal on Craigslist for any laptop or desktop that would fit this bill for under $600.

    Is that possible, and what specs/models should I look for (or stay away from).

    Thanks!
    Jeff
     
  2. MacMini2009 macrumors 68000

    MacMini2009

    Joined:
    May 22, 2009
    Location:
    California
    #2
    I've seen a Refurbished Mac Mini on Apple.com for as low as $399. Keep checking daily.
     
  3. boston44 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 8, 2009
    #3
    Anyone can get a great deal. I once got a 2.4 GHz Black Macbook with a 250 GB HD for $500. It's common you'll find a base whitebook for around $500-$600, or a mini.
     
  4. boston44 macrumors 6502

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    May 8, 2009
    #4
    oh, and stay away from the first gen macbook..tempting at the price, but way too old for today's technology.
     
  5. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #5
    It depends to some extent on what you want... I think in general, you should get one that has a C2D processor (not one that has a Core Duo processor), with Leopard or Snow Leopard installed (since, otherwise, you may also have to spend money on an OS upgrade as well as the new iLife, etc).

    If you have a display and a keyboard, the Mini is even available new in an under $600 configuration, and it's the only Mac anywhere near there. A refurb Mini might also be a good deal, since you'll still probably get SL and iLife 09 and not have to spend money on those. You'll have to figure out if the RAM on it is sufficient too, and if not, budget for space.

    Otherwise, you're probably going to be looking for iMacs or MacBooks (white plastic or aluminum, 13" -- not the MacBook Pro). They're going to be older relatively than the Mac Mini but at least in the case of the iMac they were at the kinds of speeds the Mini is at now some time ago. Otherwise the differences are self-explanatory -- iMacs use 3.5" drives and so tend to have a lot more space on them, they have big screens, etc.

    But anyway, in short, stay away from any Intel Mac that only has Tiger, and don't buy anything with a Core Duo or Core Solo processor -- these are Macs that came out right around the time of the Intel transition. Only Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Extreme, i7, etc.
     
  6. kbjeff thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 7, 2009
    #7
    Wow, you folks are great (and wicked fast as they say here in Boston). So, stay away from Core Duo... get at least Core 2 Duo.

    What is a "Tiger"?
     
  7. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #8
    You just happen to be on at a good time. :p But we try. It's a great community

    Operating system revisions have cat names. ...Panther was 10.3, Tiger was 10.4, Leopard was 10.5, and Snow Leopard is 10.6 (which just came out this year). Snow Leopard is a cheap upgrade from Leopard, but Tiger is a sign that it was one of the earliest Intel Macs (Tiger was the first version to come on an Intel Mac), and so just another sign to help avoid that very first generation.

    The history in more detail is summarized on Wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mac_OS_X
     
  8. boston44 macrumors 6502

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    May 8, 2009
    #9
    Oh you're in Boston..awesome. If you are looking on craigslist and think you find something worth buying, feel free to send me a link and I'll help you decide if it's a nice deal. I buy on craigslist very often, and you can find a lot of genuine, good mac deals if you look carefully. Good luck.
     
  9. boston44 macrumors 6502

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    May 8, 2009
    #10
  10. kbjeff thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 7, 2009
    #11
    Well, RI, actually... but I work in the Boston area.
    I will definitely take you up on the offer?
     
  11. MWPULSE macrumors 6502a

    MWPULSE

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2008
    Location:
    London
    #12
    most people would probably not recommend the first aluminium generation of macbook. There was a distinct lack of key features that many people regard as staple requirements for a decent mac computer-namely firewire. You can still pick one up quite cheap second hand if you dont require such things. As another poster has recommended wikipedia has alot more info, you can research up on the whole product line, that apple produces using apple.com, and www.wikipedia.org.

    Depending on your uses you might choose for a laptop, mac mini, mac pro, or imac-which incidentally have just been re-jigged/released :)

    hope this helps somewhat :)

    PTP
     
  12. kbjeff thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 7, 2009
    #13
    Boston44, how do I email you directly? I'm k*b*jeff*@**gmail*.com.
     
  13. Mexbearpig macrumors 65816

    Mexbearpig

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2008
    Location:
    Here
    #14
    Uhh. I don't think that was his MacBook. He was only checking craigslist near your location on your profile and found it.
     
  14. boston44 macrumors 6502

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    May 8, 2009
    #15
    Correct, I was just checking up on some deals since he's familiar with the Boston area. If you want to email me, pm me and i'll give you my address. I would probably recommend a laptop over a desktop though, as I feel you can get more for $600. The only iMac you'd get is the white one..
     
  15. kbjeff thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 7, 2009
    #16
    Yep, I got that... just don't know how to PM here.
     
  16. boston44 macrumors 6502

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    May 8, 2009
    #17
    click on my name and hit send pm.
     
  17. phas3 macrumors 65816

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    Oct 5, 2008
    #18
    can you add a couple hundred dollars ot your budget? If so you can get the new 999 unibody
     
  18. kbjeff thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 7, 2009
    #19
    Ha! I don't have that option when I click on your name.
     
  19. Mexbearpig macrumors 65816

    Mexbearpig

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    Dec 26, 2008
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    #20
    Yeah, if you could, you should definitely try to push your budget up a bit. At your budget you will get old technology and will only get older.
     
  20. kbjeff thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 7, 2009
    #21
    I REALLY appreciate your generous help here.

    Let's just say I also wanted to do some video editing and move up to a macbook pro. Looks like I could find something in the $800-$1200 range used.

    There doesn't seem to be much available in terms of video card RAM. It's looking like most macbook pro's of 6mo-2years old would have the NVIDIA 9400M as a base, and some of the 15-inchers would go to NVIDIA 9400M +256MB video ram.

    Would that base level NVIDIA be appropriate for video editing?

    How important would the jump from a bus speed of 800 to the newer 1066 be for video editing performance? (Or how noticeable in general?)

    By the time you get into 4GB RAM, you're getting into the $2k range new. So, maybe looking at something 1-2 years old with a slower bus speed and maybe dropping down to 2.0-ish GB processor speed to get into a $1k-ish price range.

    Thoughts?
     
  21. boston44 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 8, 2009
    #22
    You can get a refurb/used 15 inch for $1,200, and a refurb/used 13" for $1,000 from apple.
     

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