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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > MacBook: New vs Refurbished

MacBook: New vs Refurbished
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Skipperjay
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Nov 20, 2007, 02:28 AM
 
I am in the market for a black MacBook. I am in no rush and am considering waiting for a great deal on
a refurbished model from the Apple Store with a full Apple warranty. Are there factors that I should consider before purchasing a refurbished model?
     
mduell
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Nov 20, 2007, 02:53 AM
 
You might get better specs than you pay for.

It might have some scratches on the case.
     
chefpastry
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Nov 20, 2007, 07:03 AM
 
I sold a first generation MacBook and used the money to purchase a 2.0GHz Core2Duo MacBook from the Apple refurb store. The refurb was in perfect condition (no scratches at all) and has been working flawlessly. YMMV...
Mac Pro 3.2x8 - 48GB - EVGA GTX 680 - Apple Remote - Dell 3007WFP-HC
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Simon
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Nov 20, 2007, 12:27 PM
 
I have never received a refurb with scratches. On the other hand, of the six refurbs I have ordered, three came with better than advertised specs.
     
DigitalEl
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Nov 20, 2007, 01:45 PM
 
My refurb MacBook C2D looked brand new when I got it. The only way you'd know it was a refurb would be the price I paid and the fact that it came in a generic brown box instead of the pretty one you'd get from The Apple Store.

In fact, it's been such a non-issue, I had to knit my brow for a sec to even remember whether my MacBook was indeed a refurb.
Jalen's dad. Carrie's husband.  partisan. Bleu blanc et rouge.
     
JustinHorne
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Nov 20, 2007, 09:09 PM
 
Originally Posted by DigitalEl View Post
My refurb MacBook C2D looked brand new when I got it. The only way you'd know it was a refurb would be the price I paid and the fact that it came in a generic brown box instead of the pretty one you'd get from The Apple Store.

In fact, it's been such a non-issue, I had to knit my brow for a sec to even remember whether my MacBook was indeed a refurb.
Same, no complaints at all.
     
dustrho
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Nov 20, 2007, 10:25 PM
 
I'm also considering purchasing a refurbished Macbook or Macbook Pro, which would be my first ever Mac. I've always been a Windows man, I've been working in IT for the last ten years working on Windows products, and it's about time for me to make the switch.

Regarding refurb Macbooks and Macbook Pros, has anyone had problems with dead pixels on their displays? That would be my biggest worry, as I could care less if there were a few scratches on the casing.

Chris Rhoads / Forum Admin & Webmaster of Sandtroopers.com
     
bob-nine
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Nov 21, 2007, 12:08 AM
 
I am in the same boat here (IT guy, 20 yrs), wanting a Mac at home.

Did you guys buy the Apple Care?
     
~bash $
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Nov 21, 2007, 11:26 AM
 
Originally Posted by dustrho View Post
I'm also considering purchasing a refurbished Macbook or Macbook Pro, which would be my first ever Mac. I've always been a Windows man, I've been working in IT for the last ten years working on Windows products, and it's about time for me to make the switch.

Regarding refurb Macbooks and Macbook Pros, has anyone had problems with dead pixels on their displays? That would be my biggest worry, as I could care less if there were a few scratches on the casing.
I haven't had a dead pixel on a Mac laptop since 2000, when one actually did appear on my Pismo. But since then, my TiBook, 12" PowerBook, 2 MacBooks, and my current MacBook Pro have had zero dead pixels. Not a bad track record.

Originally Posted by bob-nine View Post
I am in the same boat here (IT guy, 20 yrs), wanting a Mac at home.

Did you guys buy the Apple Care?
I think the ansatz is that Apple Care is a great deal for laptops and less of a good deal for desktops.
     
tinkered
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Nov 21, 2007, 01:12 PM
 
Apple Care is a mixed bag. I recommend to people who don't ever want to do hardware work on their computer and would rather apple just fix things.

On the other hand, if you get apple care you are locked into not messing with your hardware in any way that voids the warranty. On a laptop that is altering anything but RAM. If you think you may want to swap out a hard drive, either as an upgrade or as a means of recovering data, then don't get the apple care.

If you are like the IT guys I know you won't be able to resist peaking under the hood and voiding the warranty, so why pay for a extended warranty?
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bob-nine
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Nov 21, 2007, 03:26 PM
 
Sounds like you know me well.

The first thing I want to do is put my own large HDD inside.

Thanks for the input.
     
SierraDragon
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Nov 21, 2007, 05:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by dustrho View Post
I'm also considering purchasing a refurbished Macbook or Macbook Pro, which would be my first ever Mac. I've always been a Windows man, I've been working in IT for the last ten years working on Windows products, and it's about time for me to make the switch.

Regarding refurb Macbooks and Macbook Pros, has anyone had problems with dead pixels on their displays? That would be my biggest worry, as I could care less if there were a few scratches on the casing.
Refurbs are great and you can return a refurb if necessary, no problem.

-Allen Wicks
     
SierraDragon
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Nov 21, 2007, 05:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by ~bash $ View Post
I think the ansatz is that Apple Care is a great deal for laptops and less of a good deal for desktops.
I will offer an opposing viewpoint. At US$349 AppleCare is a very expensive way to add warranty to years 2 and 3 of a MBP's life. Most warranted failures occur in (free coverage) year one, and most of what does occur in years 2-3 either is not covered (e.g. damage, theft) or can be performed for less than $349 with newer/better replacement parts anyway (e.g. hard drive failure). Better IMO is to put that $349 aside to contribute to your next laptop purchase.

Note that I recently saw on another thread a fellow debating between 2 used aluminum G4 Powerbooks: price range $300-375. Buying AppleCare that starts after a box is already a year old, one is by definition insuring a box when it is already becoming tech obsolete and is losing value fast.

Mac pro laptops do not fail at anywhere near the rate in years 2 and 3 that would justify $349 for covered issues insurance on a year-old box.

No problem waiting until the end of year one if one does want AppleCare. Apple will email you multiple times reminding you that you can still buy AppleCare. Apple probably makes much more money on AppleCare than on any other product...

-Allen Wicks
     
mduell
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Nov 21, 2007, 07:27 PM
 
Most credit cards (Amex, Visa, etc) will double the manufacturer's warranty (but not beyond 3 years), so you're really only picking up coverage in the 3rd year with AppleCare.
     
DigitalEl
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Nov 21, 2007, 08:44 PM
 
I've never bought AppleCare for any of my 5 Macs, 6 iPods or iPhone, despite quite possibly the worst luck ever with Apple stuff.

- My first 2 iMacs were DOA and swapped out, no problem.
- My 12" aluminum PowerBook was DOA and swapped out, as well.
- My first iPod (an original 5GB) died after a week or two and was swapped out, too.

In addition to the exchanges, my PowerBook went back to Apple when the lower bezel screws came loose (can't reach 'em w/o special tools) and my new baby, a white, Core 2 Duo MacBook also went back when its bezel separated from the screen at the bottom.

All failures were right away or within warranty. It would seem I'm due to get burned for not getting AppleCare, but it hasn't happened yet.
Jalen's dad. Carrie's husband.  partisan. Bleu blanc et rouge.
     
Skipperjay  (op)
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Nov 22, 2007, 01:32 AM
 
I have bought AppleCare for my last two desk tops and have been quite pleased with this service. More importantly, I have purchased Apple's One-On-One
program. For $99 a year, we are allowed to have a private tutorial as often as once a week at the local Apple Store. We have had three tutorials in the last three weeks. The first two were used to help acquaint us with our new iMac and OSX.5 Leopard and the third was an intro to Photoshop Elements 4. It is obvious that we will well get our money's worth.
     
SierraDragon
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Nov 22, 2007, 02:58 AM
 
First I have heard of One-On-One. Sounds like a nice program.

-Allen Wicks
     
VetPsychWars
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Nov 22, 2007, 08:09 AM
 
My refurb 17" MacBook Pro looked like new. Only problem so far was a failure in the keyboard lights, but that could have happened to a new computer, too.

I did get the AppleCare. I know that I will likely not need it, but on the other hand, a new logic board or LCD is pretty darned expensive.

Tom
     
JoshuaZ
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Nov 23, 2007, 11:09 AM
 
Originally Posted by VetPsychWars View Post
My refurb 17" MacBook Pro looked like new. Only problem so far was a failure in the keyboard lights, but that could have happened to a new computer, too.

I did get the AppleCare. I know that I will likely not need it, but on the other hand, a new logic board or LCD is pretty darned expensive.

Tom
I ended up having the hard drive replaces twice and my Superdrive replaced once during the three years I had my 12in powerbook. AppleCare was a lifesaver. I've got a neighbor whose 12in Powerbook needs a new HD, but the cost of the HD and installation is more than he would get for it on eBay. (Its way out of AppleCare protection, but it makes you think.)

AppleCare on laptops is a must. Desktops, a maybe.
     
HazMacFan
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Nov 26, 2007, 10:09 AM
 
I would say its even worth it for the iMacs. I got it on an iBook that is now almost out of AppleCare and I haven't used that service once. On the iMac which got a year left on its AppleCare I had a new logic board and a new power supply. The Apple Repair guy told me neither was covered by any warranty after the initial one year warranty. Lucky I had AppleCare on that iMac. My latest iMac is two months old and I haven't bought AppleCare yet, waiting till its almost one year old, or for a better price on it.
24" iMac 2.8 C2Ext,15" MBPro 2.2 C2D,20" iMac 2.0 G5,12" iBook 1.2 G4
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~bash $
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Nov 26, 2007, 09:04 PM
 
Heh, as it turns out I never buy warranties for anything. Very seldom do I regret that, but it has happened once or twice. Strangely, hasn't changed my personal attitude toward em or my warranty buying habits.
     
ShortcutToMoncton
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Nov 27, 2007, 05:59 PM
 
Mine has what appears to be one stuck pixel. I noticed it about a month after I got it this September – it's red, about an inch up and to the right of the bottom left-hand corner. Sometimes it bugs me a little just because it's red and kinda bright, but usually it's not an issue.

I do have some slight issues with the case, although only one is refurb-related. On the left-hand side, the narrow band right above the card slot is slightly bent "out", ie. if you look down at the side of the machine, everything is flat except at that point, where the metal curves outward. If I press on it, it bends back in, but of course it doesn't stay that way.

My other issue is wear and tear on the metal itself. On the left-hand side just below the speaker there's a "wear spot" right along the plastic that seems to be caused by rubbing when the lid's closed. It's dark gray and shiny. It's only been 2 months and already it's about 1cm long. I'm wondering what my options will be under warranty in 8-10 months, because it's obvious this is a cosmetic issue with the laptop itself, and not my use.

greg
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Skipperjay  (op)
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Nov 28, 2007, 02:04 AM
 
Originally Posted by ShortcutToMoncton View Post
Mine has what appears to be one stuck pixel. I noticed it about a month after I got it this September – it's red, about an inch up and to the right of the bottom left-hand corner. Sometimes it bugs me a little just because it's red and kinda bright, but usually it's not an issue.

I do have some slight issues with the case, although only one is refurb-related. On the left-hand side, the narrow band right above the card slot is slightly bent "out", ie. if you look down at the side of the machine, everything is flat except at that point, where the metal curves outward. If I press on it, it bends back in, but of course it doesn't stay that way.

My other issue is wear and tear on the metal itself. On the left-hand side just below the speaker there's a "wear spot" right along the plastic that seems to be caused by rubbing when the lid's closed. It's dark gray and shiny. It's only been 2 months and already it's about 1cm long. I'm wondering what my options will be under warranty in 8-10 months, because it's obvious this is a cosmetic issue with the laptop itself, and not my use.

greg
I'm wondering what laptop you have and where you bought it? Have you communicated with the seller and are any of these defects covered under your warranty.
It sounds like the condition of your reconditioned laptop is not up to the same standards as some of the other posters. I'm wondering if you had any recourse when you first noticed these problems?
     
Mojo
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Nov 28, 2007, 04:37 PM
 
AppleCare available through the L.A. Computer Company Web site is heavily discounted... The $349 policy that Mr. Wicks loves to use in his arguments against AppleCare can be had for $239. That is around $10 a month, which seems like a reasonable amount to pay for the level of coverage Aple offers. Many people spend a whole lot more than that every month on lattes...
     
ShortcutToMoncton
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Nov 30, 2007, 05:45 PM
 
Originally Posted by Skipperjay View Post
I'm wondering what laptop you have and where you bought it? Have you communicated with the seller and are any of these defects covered under your warranty.
It sounds like the condition of your reconditioned laptop is not up to the same standards as some of the other posters. I'm wondering if you had any recourse when you first noticed these problems?
It's a refurbished model, bought from the Apple Store.

I think the "condition" is pretty good; I've got one stuck pixel, which apparently is unlucky but not uncommon, and I've got the almost-unnoticeable issue of a slightly bulged-out side. The slight wear mark after two months' use wasn't there when I got it but was visible after a couple weeks' use, so I might be able to argue a little there.

greg
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lowbuzz
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Nov 30, 2007, 11:39 PM
 
Replacing the hard drive voids the AppleCare warranty on the entire machine - or just the hard drive?
They seemed to make it very easy to replace hard drives in the new machines, as though it was expected?
     
mduell
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Nov 30, 2007, 11:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by lowbuzz View Post
Replacing the hard drive voids the AppleCare warranty on the entire machine - or just the hard drive?
They seemed to make it very easy to replace hard drives in the new machines, as though it was expected?
Replacing the hard drive in the MacBook voids the Apple warranty on the hard drive. Of course the new drive probably has a better warranty (3 years if not 5) than the Apple warranty was anyway.
     
   
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