Used Macs Worth It?

Discussion in 'Apple and Mac OS X' started by runnerguy1, Apr 24, 2017.

  1. thewanderlustking

    thewanderlustking Notebook Consultant

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    Does it, price, matter even? The OP states he can get a used Mac for $600, but wants to know if it is worth it, or just buy new. Maybe where he is, he can do so. But where I am, I can't get a reasonable Mac that cheaply. Still, I made a point that I would pay almost as much for an older Mac, than for a brand new one. And I explained why.

    So an argument here about how much of a Mac can you get for what price, is IRRELEVANT to the OP's question.

    Lets stick to the facts. Macs can, and usually do retain high value. If I could buy an almost brand new Mac for $600 where I am, there are reasons I would consider it. And there are more reasons for me to consider an older one at similar prices to new.

    Next, MacBooks retain high value because they are made MUCH higher quality built in hardware and operating system than ANY PC out there. They will outlast almost any PC by double or more, except for a Toughbook. But, flip side is a ToughBook still runs Windows, NOT OSX. An old MacBook Pro from 2012, is still perfectly relevant and fast. You show me a single PC that is just as good 5yrs later. Even a ToughBook 5yrs later, the price has gone from an unreasonable $3k plus, to a couple hundred dollars.

    But again, I want to add in that there is no real world where specs on a MacBook mean ANYTHING when compared to the same specs on a PC. You put a supposedly identical spec-ed mac head to head with a PC, the Mac will run circles around the PC and "feel" 2-3 times faster. Why? Because the OS inside the Mac is optimized for the EXACT hardware and configuration of the Mac. Windows is an os of compromises from the very start.

    The OP realizes this and states he wouldn't even seriously consider a used PC.

    If by "other poster" your referring to me, then no I can't find a single 2012 MacBook Pro 13" that is basically brand new in the box for any signsfigant amount under $900. In my area there isn't much available locally. So I go to eBay. More than a few times I have spent hours scouring eBay for another Mac at a price I would pay so the woman can have her own. I have yet to come across one for that magic pricetag of $600 that is nice enough.

    But yet again, it isn't as much about price, as SHOULD he buy a used one.

    Lets go back to that. If you can repair your own computer cheaply, replace a broken LCD, keyboard, etc... Then buying a used mac can make some sense. Especially if you want the ability or flexibility to upgrade. If don't have the ability to open up your Mac and do any upgrades or repairs...

    As well built as MacBooks are, they DO break parts. Or their users break them... I have put three mouse/touch pads into mine. Takes me ten minutes and costs me $25 or so for a "genuine" one. My video went out, thankfully while under Apple Care warranty. A motherboard is not cheap to purchase, or cheap labor to replace on these.
     
  2. z31fanatic

    z31fanatic Notebook Consultant

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    Not sure why you felt to make such a long post over nothing. I simply said that you can get more for your money than what you are suggesting.
    And there are no like new 2012 Macbooks. ;)
     
  3. thewanderlustking

    thewanderlustking Notebook Consultant

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    True, I can concede to that! Although mine is pretty darn pristine!

    As said in length above. what is ends up at is, macs are not anywhere near as cheap as a comparable PC. Although there aren't many comparable PC's either... But they are expensive for a reason. They are VERY well built.

    If the OP has a budget of only $600 or so for a mac, with careful shopping and a little luck, something can be found for that amount. (How good is another debate, how lucky may be more relevant.) And chances are for a little more initially, or with an upgradable Mac, you can come out ahead.

    But there are two things you have to consider on a used Mac that could be tipping point. No Apple Care UNLESS (maybe?)you find one of the rare ones still in the box that was never activated. It might be possible. But chances are not at a reasonable price. Barring that, getting one on eBay and paying for the square trade warranty might be smart. Unless the buyer is confident he can carry out most repairs. I would stay away from failed motherboards.

    The ULTRA ULTRA CRITICAL issue is, getting a locked out computer will SCREW YOU. I can break into just about any PC in 5-30minutes. Very few "normal" scenarios that can't be gotten around, and quickly. But it is impossible to even get past the login screen on a Mac without the password (unless you get stupid lucky and the password is password...) with even the most lax security measures in place. Yes you can wipe the mac, recover, change out the HDD. Whatever you do, if it is connected to an apple ID and you can't put that information in, you have a paperweight. I won't swear to specifics, but I think they do it by serial number that is hard coded into the motherboard. Whatever the exact details are, Apple does not make it easy to reuse a stolen computer, iPhone, or iPad. I have an iPad mini pro that I got legitimately. It was given to me by a friend. He bought it for his son. Son lent it to a friend. Friend locked it to his account. Nobody will admit to anything. My friend can't find his original receipt, or enough information (yet) to satisfy Apple that he has legitimately given it to me.

    If I sold my MacBook today, I would be in trouble. For some reason I can't even get into my Apple account. So there are simple and legitimate reasons you could get locked out.

    I won't even talk about MacBooks and trying to get into them. I can tell you for sure, wiping them doesn't get you in the clear...
     
  4. Jarhead

    Jarhead Perfectly Sane

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    Have you compared your MBP to any business-class laptop? I'd argue about your claim of MBPs being extremely well-built. I mean, they're decent for consumer-class machines but they don't really hold a candle to Thinkpads, Elitebooks, Latitudes, Toughbooks, etc.

    As for accessing a computer that isn't yours (OSX, Windows, etc.), that's trivial to do without the login screen. You can simply take the hard drive out any plug it into your computer to get the data, or if it doesn't have a removable drive, simply take a Linux USB drive (or equivalent) and boot into that OS instead of the computer's OS.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2017
  5. thewanderlustking

    thewanderlustking Notebook Consultant

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    My personal experiences of Business Class laptops has been a couple Panasonics of the semi rugged variety, a Toshiba Tecra M5, and some Fujitsus. Even the Panasonics fell short for me there. The Fujitsus were extra nice, but didn't seem to last any longer than a normal middle of the road laptop. The Tecra lasted me a while, but I bought the on-site warranty with it. And that warranty was the only reason it survived. I killed keyboards every 3-6 months. A couple hard drives. A couple DVD drives. A Motherboard. And I forget what else. I knew the technician and his family by first names.

    So what do you consider a good business class laptop of higher quality and comparable or lower price?

    Now comparing my MacBook Pro to a fully rugged ToughBook, not as simple. ToughBooks are so well built... But the MacBook still outshines in many ways. Keyboards on Macs are in a whole different class of quality. There is a reason so many media creators (like writers especially) prefer the MacBook. Sure, buy an apple keyboard and plug it into a PC. Not the point lol...

    Even if you can get past the front door on a MacBook with these methods, you then have to deactivate it from the previous owners account. Once in though, this could be easy enough. But if it was actually stolen (or reported stolen) and the VIN flagged, you can't load anything onto it. Or not OSX anyways.

    I would love to hear more jarhead! Perhaps best taken to a PM though heh... The basic thing is that while perhaps an account locked MacBook is easier to solve than a locked iPhone or iPad, it still is not something most legit owners or average computer users wants to tackle, or has the ability to solve. It is messier than a PC. Apple did a pretty good job in this area.

    Still lots of good for and against. And I am pretty sure that I am at least typing way too much info for the OP to process hahaha...

    Let me throw out one last thing. I would be highly interested in a MacBook Pro 13" 2011 or newer in good shape for $200 and up to $400. So if I am truly wrong that a good choice can't be found in this low price point, prove it! Help the OP and I find some!
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2017
  6. Mobius 1

    Mobius 1 what is quality control?

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    fanboi detected
     
  7. thewanderlustking

    thewanderlustking Notebook Consultant

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    Haha! Well I only own one MacBook. But I do have half a dozen PC's. All those are ToughBooks lol. I was a DIEHARD PC only user laughing at the Mac fanboys for years. Then I used one for a week, and got it.

    For media creation, there is no better. I write a lot, use my Mac for photography, and some minor video editing. Out on the road or in the shop, I use the ToughBooks.

    Anyways I have much more money and time invested in my ToughBooks. So that should balance my fandom status to more manageable levels... ;)
     
  8. Jarhead

    Jarhead Perfectly Sane

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    Well, I'd rather have my Thinkpads or my Elitebook if I wanted something durable. Just my personal experiences, but I've never had any issues abusing the hell out of those things (usually in terms or dropping them on concrete/asphalt/etc from chest height and up at an angle, sometimes while they're powered up), whereas while I was at college (where I saw MBPs a lot), they seem to bend too easily and I've seen my fair share of physical damage, especially to the displays (cracked glass, damaged LCDs, etc). Worst damage I have on any of my business laptops is purely cosmetic (for example, an edge on my Elitebook is scratched to hell because of a parking lot).

    I don't have to get through anything in order to get to your data; if I have physical access to your machine, I can grab your files, simple as that. OSX's, Windows', Linux's, etc login screens are only secure against the lowest common denominator. Now, you can protect your data if you encrypt it, but encryption tools exist on all major operating systems so which OS you run is moot (my favorite tool is Veracrypt, and previously TrueCrypt). However, any security an OS environment offers is not going to be set up out of the box, so if you forget to do that (for example, whatever Apple is selling off as their LoJack equivalent) as well as take basic precautions (like writing down the laptop's serial number), it would be trivial to resell a stolen MBP (or other laptop) once the thief is done stealing your unprotected, sensitive data.

    Regarding keyboards, personally I don't really like the keyboard on the MBP, or really most laptops keyboards. The key travel is too shallow and flat keys aren't all that comfortable to type on (this is as much a complaint on my Elitebook as it is any Apple laptop). My favorite laptop keyboard would be on my Thinkpad W520 (or any --20 and earlier) and X61t; key travel was decent and curved keys are pretty nice (the back/forward keys near the arrow keys are a nice bonus). But, if you're a serious writer or anyone who uses a keyboard for a living (like me, a software dev), a separate keyboard will be far better than a laptop keyboard, and on top of that a mechanical keyboard is far nicer than any membrane keyboard. I currently use a Das keyboard with Cherry MX Blues (thoughnid recommend Browns if you're using a mechanical keyboard at work), but I'd rather use my previous keyboard (Logitech K120) over any MBP/Elitebook/etc keyboard.

    You claim that MBPs are best at media creation, but make no mention of workstation laptops with Quadro/FirePro GPUs? Uh-huh.....

    VINs are for cars.

    ------------------

    Personally though, I don't want to get sucked further into an Apple vs XYZ discussion. People who fetishize operating systems or companies are just odd in my book. There are reasons to buy a MBP (mainly if you use OSX/macOS-only software, or want to play with UNIX/BSD without having to install the OS yourself), though none of the reasons you've listed are all that convincing.
     
  9. jaug1337

    jaug1337 de_dust2

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    This thread has derailed. Lol
     
  10. Jarhead

    Jarhead Perfectly Sane

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