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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Jul 16, 2014
    Posts
    3
    What should I be looking for in a used Mac?
    Hello, I am a lifelong Windows user that would like to try using a Mac for a change after having several computers fail on me recently. I have used Macs at school but never owned one, so I'm not sure which one is right for me. I am a student and currently between jobs, so I can't afford a new one, even with an educational discount. Therefore, I've been looking at used ones on Craigslist and ebay and places like that, but even models from 4-5 years ago are still around $500. Is that normal? I understand Macs hold their value well, but I also don't want to overpay for something outdated that won't last or may need to be upgraded. I am also looking at some models that include expensive software like Adobe Creative Suite, Final Cut Pro, etc. since I might need those for school and it seems like a deal if I'm getting them with the machine, right? For example, here are some typical specs:

    White unibody Macbook 2010 running Mavericks
    New 500gb hard drive, 4 GB RAM, new charger
    2.26 Intel Core 2 duo processor
    Includes CS5 and MS Office
    $450

    Does this sound like a good deal or too good to be true? The weird thing is this ad keeps getting bumped to the top and replaced with a different part of town but it's clearly still the same seller...could it be stolen? How can you tell something like that? Are there things I should be checking for when I inspect it to see if the seller has portrayed it accurately? And exactly what is the deal with something like CS5...should I be getting the serial number or discs for the software?

    Finally, I am looking to use the computer mostly for schoolwork, but I am in digital media, so that would involve some light audio & video editing as well as the usual writing papers etc. Is the example above capable of handling that? I would prefer a Macbook Pro for the portability, but am willing to go with a Macbook or desktop as well, if the specs and price are right. As much as I love the idea of a Macbook Air, it has no disc drive and isn't really upgradable, so it's not practical for my needs. Also, does it matter if it has firewire or not? I'd like to digitize some old videotapes and I'm not sure which input would be best for that. I think that's it. Please give me some suggestions. Thanks!

  2. #2
    chas_m
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by LittleTalks View Post
    Hello, I am a lifelong Windows user that would like to try using a Mac for a change after having several computers fail on me recently. I have used Macs at school but never owned one, so I'm not sure which one is right for me. I am a student and currently between jobs, so I can't afford a new one, even with an educational discount.
    As much as I applaud your wanting to buy a Mac, I can't see you getting a "good one" for less than $500. If that's beyond your budget, maybe now just isn't the right time to be stepping up to the Ferrari of computers.


    Therefore, I've been looking at used ones on Craigslist and ebay and places like that, but even models from 4-5 years ago are still around $500. Is that normal?
    Yes. A 2010 or later model would be a good choice in most cases. But obviously it's not going to last as long as a new one. I'm writing this on a 2009 MacBook Pro that has been a great machine for me, it only has ONE flaw and that's that it has kind of a lame video chipset. As I'm going further with RAW photography I'm feeling the pain on that. But other than things that require a lot of video oomph, I've been super happy with this thing and it generally works very well for what I do.

    I am also looking at some models that include expensive software like Adobe Creative Suite, Final Cut Pro, etc. since I might need those for school and it seems like a deal if I'm getting them with the machine, right?
    No, it's not a deal at all. You'll want to avoid these "deals" unless the owner is specifically including the original disks and a transfer of ownership to you as part of the package. You really DON'T want what is probably pirated software on your investment for a variety of reasons, starting with an inability to update or rely on support if something goes wrong. People who are sketchy about the legitimacy of the software are also the sort of people who are going to fib about any problems or hidden defects in the machine. Bottom line: no legit software = no sale.


    White unibody Macbook 2010 running Mavericks
    New 500gb hard drive, 4 GB RAM, new charger
    2.26 Intel Core 2 duo processor
    Includes CS5 and MS Office
    $450
    Yeah, that's too much (even if the software is legit). A MacBook is a very basic computer and doesn't have much power. It would be fine for all the basics, but nothing graphics intensive.

    could it be stolen?
    Yes it could be.

    How can you tell something like that?
    You can't, really, other than the seller doesn't have the original discs, original receipt, original software ...


    Finally, I am looking to use the computer mostly for schoolwork, but I am in digital media, so that would involve some light audio & video editing as well as the usual writing papers etc. Is the example above capable of handling that?
    If you're talking 1080pHD video, then no. It would be unsatisfactory for your needs. Otherwise yes, that machine could work but it would be quite slow by comparison to modern machines.

    My advice would be to look at the refurbished section of Apple's website. More recent machines at very good prices *with warranty* and legal software.

  3. #3


    Member Since
    Jul 16, 2014
    Posts
    3
    Yeah, that's too much (even if the software is legit).
    Okay, so what would be a good price, then? I was thinking $300 is more reasonable and I could probably afford that, but I can't find anything that cheap. There is a local place that sells used Macs with a warranty, but they are still quite expensive for their age.


    A MacBook is a very basic computer and doesn't have much power. It would be fine for all the basics, but nothing graphics intensive.
    Is there a big difference between a Macbook and a Macbook Pro? I thought the Pros just had a faster processor and better display, or there more to it than that?

    Thanks for the advice!

  4. #4

    harryb2448's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 28, 2007
    Location
    Nambucca Heads Australia
    Posts
    24,442
    Specs:
    iMac, i7 4GHz, 32GB memory, 1TB Flash Storage, OS X.12.6.
    Similar models, the Pro is a little faster and a little more upmarket. Have a read of this. And sure offer $300 and see what the seller says. Point out as chas m says, unless the discs and activation codes are included, they are illegal. Remember used computers are a buyers market as the owner wants to unload and get somethng else.


    https://discussions.apple.com/message/25221600
    Last edited by bobtomay; 07-18-2014 at 07:24 PM. Reason: fixed link
    Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!

  5. #5
    MacInWin
    Guest
    Harry, the link you posted leads to a deleted message from Apple. Can you check it and fix it if needed?

  6. #6

    harryb2448's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 28, 2007
    Location
    Nambucca Heads Australia
    Posts
    24,442
    Specs:
    iMac, i7 4GHz, 32GB memory, 1TB Flash Storage, OS X.12.6.
    How very odd. Try it again:-

    https://discussions.apple.com/message/25221600
    Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!

  7. #7

    harryb2448's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 28, 2007
    Location
    Nambucca Heads Australia
    Posts
    24,442
    Specs:
    iMac, i7 4GHz, 32GB memory, 1TB Flash Storage, OS X.12.6.
    Opened just fine like before. Wonder if Apple are killing some threads?
    Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!

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