Refurbished MacBook from Apple Store VS New MacBook.

Hey gang.

Looking for some advise in regards to upgrading to a current MacBook. I've got a iBook G4 that's six years old and simply won't run Snow Lepord or iTunes 9, even with ram upgrades. Time to buy up.

Going to the Apple Store Refurbished Mac page shows that I can save anywhere from $150 to $300 dollars off the standard list price by purchasing a "recertified" laptop. My only concern is about the reliability of buying a used product. Is the savings worth the risk?

I figured if Apple is selling the product themselves, including a 1 year warranty, then it's a legit source, but also wonder how the product testers can determine or anticipate 100% of the system component's reliability. For example, a given MacBook could test just fine, but that doesn't mean that some random part is going to go kaput a month after I buy it. The counter-argument is that if I buy new, I know that every component in the system is 100% brand new.

What do you guys think? Should I save a few extra bucks going with a refurb or just bite the bullet and buy new?

My budget is $1k to $1.2k. As an aside, can any Mac aficionados take a gander at the link and give an opinion on the best choice for a MacBook off that list? It doesn't need to be too powerful (i.e. run current games) or anything...just good for standard, generic home use.

Thanks for any help!

I'm not really sure where the risk is, here--You have the exact same warranty as with a "new" system.

Many recertified or refurb machines might never have been used more than a few times, and some of them might have just been cancelled orders that people returned for a larger size screen or something similar. We're not talking about a system someone has used for 8 months and then sent back in.

If you go new, yes, you are going to guarantee that no one has touched your system, but that doesn't mean it won't break down or have issues.

Was it Asz that just recently bought a refurb 13" Macbook Pro? I'm sure he, or whoever it was, can fill you on on the experience.

As for me, I would go for it. Apple has a good replacement/warranty program (well, maybe not according to some... ;)).

EDIT:

The new 13" Macbook Pros with the 2.26ghz processors run $999 for refurbs. I'd stick with that.

Considering that if it's from the new refresh, the Macbook can't be more than a few months old, and considering that you can't guarantee a brand new one won't go kaput (I mean, presumably that's why there are refurbs to begin with), you've got nothing to lose. It comes with a warranty, and I'm pretty sure you can still get AppleCare, so... why not?

The only thing I'd say to pay attention to is to make sure it's the model you want. When I bought my Macbook Pro new, I decided not to go with the refurbs because they were still from the previous generation, without some of the fancy new features.

Yes, it was I who recently bought a refurb 13" MBP. I can't say anything bad about buying a refurb over a new one. As unntralaffinity said, the newest MBPs just hit in July, so they're not old enough to get very serious use yet. After popping mine out of the box it was for all intents and purposes brand new. It was clean outside and in and I haven't noticed any kind of random erratic issues that are hardware related. It's most definitely worth the savings. The only real difference is that you don't get the pretty box with the nice box art on it. You still get everything else you would normally get (software, power cable, user guides, apple stickers, and cleaning cloth.) You get the same warranty and if that isn't good enough, you can still get the extended Apple warranty.

And hell, if you really want the box, you can have mine. The only thing I can see keeping it for would be if I decide to sell the laptop in 2011 when I graduate with my master's and decide to go backpacking for a year.

Awesome. Thanks for all the insight everyone.

SommerMatt's comment, "We're not talking about a system someone has used for 8 months and then sent back in." was exactly what I was worried about the most...getting my hands on hardware parts that could be potentially have been burned through 80% of their life cycle.

Think I'll likely go with a MacBook Pro 2.26ghz refurb.

However, unntrlaffinity/Asz bring up a good point about getting the latest-model MacBook released in July.

How do you know if the available refubs are from the new gen of macbook pro vs those manufactured pre-July? Are the model numbers different, or is there some other identifiable signature for the new vs. old models? Is there a feature-set that's noticeably different between the old and new laptops?

Aaron D. wrote:

How do you know if the available refubs are from the new gen of macbook pro vs those manufactured pre-July? Are the model numbers different, or is there some other identifiable signature for the new vs. old models? Is there a feature-set that's noticeably different between the old and new laptops?

Backlit keyboard is one way. Glass trackpad. Processor speed. Video card. Oh, and the 7-hour battery. Basically, all the features they threw in for the last refresh (such as a complete aluminum unibody without a removable battery). I'm almost positive that the refurbed Macbook Pro that Sommermatt pointed out is the same model as mine (2.26 core duo, backlit keyboard, 7 hour battery, etc.)

I love mine so far. And after the latest round of manually updated my drivers in Windows 7, I'm easily eeking 4-5 hours out of battery life after some tweaks to my power management settings. I wonder if it'll get even better once I get Snow Leopard and the improved Bootcamp drivers for the hardware that I couldn't hunt down manually.

You might also check MacMall.com - they often have good deals, and if you want Parallels+Windows, they'll often have a package deal on that. I think they also sell refurbs with the same refurb warranty you get direct from apple.

VMWare Fusion seems much better thought of than Parallels, FWIW.

Aaron D. wrote:

How do you know if the available refubs are from the new gen of macbook pro vs those manufactured pre-July? Are the model numbers different, or is there some other identifiable signature for the new vs. old models? Is there a feature-set that's noticeably different between the old and new laptops?

The easiest way to tell is by the clock speeds. The older unibody 13" and 15" (modern MBP) had a base 2.4GHz speed, the newer 13" have a base speed of 2.26GHz and the 15" has a base speed of 2.53GHz. Theres a breakdown on the wikipedia page highlighting the differences to look for. Scroll down past the Unibody section for the chart.

MBP Wikipedia

Macbook along with iMacs might receive an update in a few weeks - that's the rumor. If I was getting just a plain 'ole Macbook I would wait to see if the rumors pan out.

I've had great refurb experiences. Products have been like new. I couldn't tell they were used and they were wrapped up just like new. ONly difference was I got a brown box instead of one with fancy photos and logos.

By the way go to AppleInsider.com and click on the link at the top to their price chart. They'll show prices from a variety of e-tailers and retailers for the different Macs. And often by clicking through with them or typing a code you'll get a small discount- usually ClubMac or MacMall. The prices from some of those places can be close to refurb prices especially since Apple charges some tax. (Although in my experience the tax rate from refurb orders from apple.com are about half the actual tax rate whatever reason.)

Asz wrote:
Aaron D. wrote:

How do you know if the available refubs are from the new gen of macbook pro vs those manufactured pre-July? Are the model numbers different, or is there some other identifiable signature for the new vs. old models? Is there a feature-set that's noticeably different between the old and new laptops?

The easiest way to tell is by the clock speeds. The older unibody 13" and 15" (modern MBP) had a base 2.4GHz speed, the newer 13" have a base speed of 2.26GHz and the 15" has a base speed of 2.53GHz. Theres a breakdown on the wikipedia page highlighting the differences to look for. Scroll down past the Unibody section for the chart.

MBP Wikipedia

The really REALLY easiest way is to just do a search in the Apple refurb store for "Macbook PRO." Before this last refresh, there WERE no such things as 13" Macbook Pros-- the older aluminium models were just called "Macbooks."

Just a quick update that I pushed my order through for a MacBook Pro 2.26ghz refurb at Apple Store online.

Not long after info gathering in this thread, the Pro refurb models disappeared off the website. It took a bit to get them back in stock, but I'm now the proud owner of one, that should be arriving next week.

Thanks to everyone for all their help and guidance, it made me a lot more confident about my purchase!

With Windows 7 just around the corner I'm getting that laptop itch again.. (its been 6 months!) I had the new HP Envy 13" in my cart today at $1900 but it just has an ATI 4350 for a GPU.. (which is better than my current HP's ATI 3450) but still... $1900 is pretty crazy for a 13" laptop despite how great the screen is supposed to be.

I keep thinking Apple is close to refreshing the 13" Macbook Pro with a better GPU at $1200.. ARGH!

I do wish across the board there were stronger GPU options in the 13" class laptops.

TheGameguru wrote:

With Windows 7 just around the corner I'm getting that laptop itch again.. (its been 6 months!) I had the new HP Envy 13" in my cart today at $1900 but it just has an ATI 4350 for a GPU.. (which is better than my current HP's ATI 3450) but still... $1900 is pretty crazy for a 13" laptop despite how great the screen is supposed to be.

I keep thinking Apple is close to refreshing the 13" Macbook Pro with a better GPU at $1200.. ARGH!

I do wish across the board there were stronger GPU options in the 13" class laptops.

Why would they refresh the 13" pro, when it just launched a few months ago? I highly doubt they'd do this until at least a year has passed.

I've heard rumors of the baseline 13" Macbook (the white model) will be upgraded sometime possibly soon, though.

With Windows 7 about to release, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Apple update a few of their lines to take some of the spotlight.

billt721 wrote:

With Windows 7 about to release, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Apple update a few of their lines to take some of the spotlight.

... and it looks like the Apple Store is down, which means upgrades. If they upgrade the iMac line with the rumored i7 and blu-ray, I might have to look into selling the iMac that I bought in the spring and upgrading.

My most recent MBP is a refurb (15" 1680x1050) and when it arrived it was in such pristine condition it may as well have been new. I've had coworkers with less stellar Mac refurb experiences, but mine have all been great.

computer wrote:

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IMAGE(http://gggadgets.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/scotty_hello_computer.jpg)

Parallels roached my Boot Camp drive. So, yes, stick with VMWare (or Boot Camp for higher-end gaming).