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Old 10-02-2010, 01:26 PM
 
1,160 posts, read 2,095,863 times
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After my last laptop was stolen on public transit, I realized that due to the nature of my work -- which is computer-dependent -- I really need a back-up. Pre-owned makes the most financial sense, but I'm not savvy in this particular area of purchase.

Are there any general tips that you can suggest? Should I purchase locally, in person? Would online be cheaper? What should I ask about the computer? Are there general things to look for? Is it possible to get a computer with a guarantee that's more than 30 days? I guess what's of most concern is that I only use Apple computers. I've been seeing a lot of high-end used laptops on the market that are only a couple of years old, and this sends up red flags.

BTW, I'm looking at a Powerbook G4. Sentimental reasons.
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Old 10-03-2010, 03:35 AM
 
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I honestly don't know much about the reliability of used Apple computers. A laptop is difficult and expensive to repair compared to a desktop. What I usually recommend to PC laptop buyers is to buy a 2 year old Dell or something with 1 or 2 years still left on the at-home warranty. If you can find this scenario with an Apple, I dont see why not go for it. If a laptop makes it through a year without hiccups, there's a good chance that it doesn't have any unusual problems.

Laptops are tempermental after 3 or 4 years and it can be a hit or miss. So take into consideration how old a laptop is and how long you plan on keeping it in determining how much you are willing to pay.
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Old 10-03-2010, 11:33 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
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It is a real grab-bag out there. If you can, find a "reconditioned" one that originally lived in a company environment.
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Old 10-03-2010, 11:45 AM
 
Location: Planet Eaarth
8,955 posts, read 17,976,196 times
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Good places to buy a "used" or "refurb" mac.........

Refurbished Used Mac Computers - PowerMac G3, G4, G5 Systems

Buy and Sell Used Computers, Used Apple Computers, Used Apple Notebooks - MacOfAllTrades.com (http://www.macofalltrades.com/glossary_a/175.htm - broken link)

Refurbished Mac - Apple Store (U.S.)
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Old 10-03-2010, 01:53 PM
 
Location: Las Flores, Orange County, CA
26,345 posts, read 83,926,729 times
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I've been really happy with dell outlet. Scratch and dent, refurbished. I love the drop down box filters to find just the right config of memory, hard drive, screen size, etc.

Dell Outlet - Refurbished Computers - Refurbished Laptops - Refurbished PCs | Dell
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Old 10-03-2010, 01:54 PM
 
Location: Pomona
1,955 posts, read 9,665,693 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJBest View Post
I honestly don't know much about the reliability of used Apple computers. A laptop is difficult and expensive to repair compared to a desktop. What I usually recommend to PC laptop buyers is to buy a 2 year old Dell or something with 1 or 2 years still left on the at-home warranty. If you can find this scenario with an Apple, I dont see why not go for it. If a laptop makes it through a year without hiccups, there's a good chance that it doesn't have any unusual problems.
My computers are all off-lease Dells which are checked/refurbished/sold by Dell themselves instead of some third party. Like CPO programs for cars, you figure that they keep the best for themselves and sell off all the lesser graded ones to someone else. They come with a warranty, and if you really feel the need, there's always Squaretrade for an extended warranty.

DFS Direct Sales > Dell Refurbished Laptops`Used Laptops`Used Notebooks`Dell`PCs`Desktops`Monitors`Parts DELL Deals
SquareTrade Warranties | Extended Warranties for 70% Less Than Retail | Electronics Insurance Alternative

Apples are generally quite reliable, though hard to service. They have the refurbished section ... and that's it. All others are used/refurbished by a 3rd party, which can be quite a hit and miss. The warranty period is a good giveaway ... anything less than 3 months, be afraid. Anything just warranted by the store selling it, be afraid.

Quote:
Laptops are tempermental after 3 or 4 years and it can be a hit or miss. So take into consideration how old a laptop is and how long you plan on keeping it in determining how much you are willing to pay.
Besides age, it's how it's handled too. One that went through the daily rigors of traveling to and from class in a backpack will be a lot more worn in a year versus a 3 year old model that spent most of its time on a desk or the occasional travel in a dedicated laptop case.

Last edited by Narfcake; 10-03-2010 at 02:08 PM..
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Old 10-03-2010, 01:55 PM
 
85 posts, read 84,713 times
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Another refurb lover! Very cool.

So I got the white MacBook (Apple - MacBook - The $999 notebook.) used as well as the 1st-gen Pro (it has the Intel Core 2 processor, but not yet up to the Core 2 Duo). I got one from eBay and one from a friend, both used, both much cheaper than anything you'd get new. The things to pay attention to are type of processor (always choose Intel) and processor speed (2.0 Gh is the minimum you want to have).

I put 2 Gig of RAM in each and they run exactly like the brand-new Pros on the market.

Other things to invest in: a laptop lock, and a memory stick so you can back up your files (I carry an 8 Gb memory stick myself).

With pricing, it is a mixed bag. Some people don't know the worth of their machines, and sell them for less than average. Keep in mind that the new pros range from $1100 to $1700, so if you're seeing the new Pros for an insanely low price (say, 500 bucks), you're more than likely looking at a "for parts only" machine that some unscrupulous dealer is trying to pass off as a working computer.

If you see some models you like, feel free to PM me with links.
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Old 10-03-2010, 04:20 PM
 
1,160 posts, read 2,095,863 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Narfcake View Post
Apples are generally quite reliable, though hard to service. They have the refurbished section ... and that's it. All others are used/refurbished by a 3rd party, which can be quite a hit and miss. The warranty period is a good giveaway ... anything less than 3 months, be afraid. Anything just warranted by the store selling it, be afraid.
I agree. If a machine is seriously flawed, generally, it can be returned for a refund, unless it breaks or malfunctions due to the fault of the purchaser. I would look askance at any pre-owned computer that was only months old -- there's generally a good reason it's on the market. I'm sure some people just want to upgrade, or maybe they have to sell one of their computers due to financial circumstances. However, the problem with a used machine is the same as with a used car -- you really do not know the circumstances that drove the former owner to sell it.
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Old 10-04-2010, 01:23 AM
 
Location: Not far from Fairbanks, AK
16,724 posts, read 29,324,467 times
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I would buy refurbished instead of old or used, since it comes with a warranty, and because the newest Mac OSX is incredibly nice and stable. Also, you will save some cash by buying RAM from Crucial, Kingston, and such.
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Old 10-04-2010, 04:07 AM
 
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
7,139 posts, read 9,058,977 times
Reputation: 7748
Quote:
Originally Posted by Melissa78703 View Post
After my last laptop was stolen on public transit, I realized that due to the nature of my work -- which is computer-dependent -- I really need a back-up. Pre-owned makes the most financial sense, but I'm not savvy in this particular area of purchase.

Are there any general tips that you can suggest? Should I purchase locally, in person? Would online be cheaper? What should I ask about the computer? Are there general things to look for? Is it possible to get a computer with a guarantee that's more than 30 days? I guess what's of most concern is that I only use Apple computers. I've been seeing a lot of high-end used laptops on the market that are only a couple of years old, and this sends up red flags.

BTW, I'm looking at a Powerbook G4. Sentimental reasons.
1. A G4 is just too old. Go for at least a Core 2 Duo MacBook/MBP.

2. Check the price on Mac2Sell before you buy, so you don't over pay.

3. Look for any evidence that the laptop has been dropped or suffered liquid spillage. That would be damage to the case, or sticky keys. In which case you shouldn't buy it at any price.

4. Don't pay extra for pre installed software, unless they also include the disks with it. If you want pirated software, you can pirate it yourself for free.

5. Consider a refurbished Mac from Apple.com instead. Sometimes the prices are lower then used machines are. And they fully backed by Apple's warranty.
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