: List for purchasing a Second Hand MB


RageBoyz
Feb 15th, 2011, 03:10 PM
Hi.
I am thinking of purchasing a second hand Mac as this is my wifes and I really should get one of my own.

Could someone please write a list of what exactly I should be a looking for when checking out the machine and if necessary, where to look?

Such as, if I want to check out the battery cycles, how many are left, and where to check for this.
That sort of thing.....

Just in case I dont think to check 1 or 2 very important areas..............


Thank you :)

kelman
Feb 15th, 2011, 10:36 PM
what is your budget? what kind of macbook? where do you live? what are you using it for?

CubaMark
Feb 15th, 2011, 11:20 PM
If you're looking at one of the polycarbonate MacBooks (white or black), check carefully for cracks along the front edge of the palm-rest area, around the ports on the left, and the back hinge area.

Any cracks, gouges, dents, etc., may be indicators that the machine was dropped, with potential damage to (at least) the hard drive.

Pull the battery and have a look around the innards for any signs of obvious mistreatment (there will be dirt, but you might find unexpected things).

Check the screen for dead or stuck pixels.

Battery cycles, etc. can be checked under "About this Mac" --> More Information (which launches the System Profiler).

Stick your nose up to the keyboard and smell it - if it was used by a smoker, this may be an issue for you.

Pop in a DVD to test that the drive works.

If possible, "Run the Apple Hardware Test. Macbooks come with the Apple Hardware Test on the Applications Install Disc 2, here are instructions on how to run the test Intel-based Macs: Using Apple Hardware Test (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1509)." (via askabouttech.com (http://askabouttech.com/tips-on-buying-a-used-macbook-pro/))

If you're considering something as old as a 2008 MacBook, try to find a late-2008 Aluminum model. I have one and I *love it*. It's a "MacBook Pro" 13" without the "Pro".

Two websites that have information / resources you may find useful:

Mac Specs, Prices, Answers, & Comparison @ EveryMac.com - Est. 1996 (http://www.everymac.com)

Low End Mac: Worth It! (http://www.lowendmac.com)

broad
Feb 16th, 2011, 12:20 PM
If you're looking at one of the polycarbonate MacBooks (white or black), check carefully for cracks along the front edge of the palm-rest area, around the ports on the left, and the back hinge area.


not really. cracks along the front palm rest are par for the course with those machines.

If you're considering something as old as a 2008 MacBook, try to find a late-2008 Aluminum model. I have one and I *love it*. It's a "MacBook Pro" 13" without the "Pro".


again, not really. the alu macbooks have lesser quality screens (unless you find one made last in the last 6-8 weeks they made those, lesser battery life (by about 2/3), they are usually slower and usually don't have backlit keys and no FW to boot

CubaMark
Feb 16th, 2011, 12:48 PM
You have ...interesting... perspectives, there, broad.

Cracks along the palmrest area may be "par for the course" but I wouldn't want to buy one. Cracks on the palmrest edge inevitably lead to missing plastic along that edge and serrated edges for your palms. Inadvertent suicide machines. Sure, Apple *might* still be fixing those out of warranty, but...

As for the Aluminium late-2008 MacBooks: I have no complaints about the quality of my screen. Battery life has always been phenomenal. And "slower"? Than what? Certainly not same-vintage polycarbonate MacBooks.

The lack of FireWire was initially a concern, but in practice turned out not to be a deal-breaker for me (haven't really missed Target Disc Mode).

The lack of backlit keys - well, none of the consumer-grade MacBooks had backlit keys, only the Pro models and the MacBook Air.

If it's within the OP's budget, I would certainly recommend the 13" MacBook Pro to gain FW, backlit keys, etc., but s/he didn't say they were going for the Pro line.

RageBoyz
Feb 16th, 2011, 01:48 PM
Thank you Cuba Mark. That is exactly what I meant by needing the right list of checks to make.

Curious where you look though to see how many cycles are left on a battery?

SINC
Feb 16th, 2011, 02:10 PM
Thank you Cuba Mark. That is exactly what I meant by needing the right list of checks to make.

Curious where you look though to see how many cycles are left on a battery?

Under Apple menu, top left of menu line:

About this Mac>More Info>Power

RageBoyz
Feb 16th, 2011, 02:16 PM
I was looking at an ad last night for one on CL.
It was a 2008 Mac, selling for $650

I went to that site where you enter the serial number and it tells you what its worth and it said $400.
In a response with the seller, I was told that he/she had been receiving tons of low ball offers of $350.
Perhaps that is why?

A.S.N.I. Decode your Mac's serial number. (http://www.appleserialnumberinfo.com)

In any event, the seller than told me looking around the site, yes, they said it was worth $400 but i undersand they quote the site of SellYourMac | Sell your used MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, iMac, Mac Mini, Powerbook G4, iBook, iPhone, iPod, Apple TV. (http://www.sellyourmac.com/) and then resell those $400 ones for $700 and up?
If so, I believe quite a few people are using that site as a means to gauge prices, and if so, unfair pricing?

RageBoyz
Feb 16th, 2011, 02:18 PM
Actually, I am not really sure if it is a Mac or MBP i am after----just looking around at this point. My wife has a MBP that i am using now---but she is far more adept at computers than I am.........so i might just go for a MB as i dont need what she does---again it will depend on the right deal

RageBoyz
Feb 16th, 2011, 02:23 PM
Looking at my wife's info on her battery. She has a 2009 MBP but she never takes it out of the home so its always plugged in.
I think she unplugs it once a month to drain and recharge.

Not sure if I were looking at this on another computer Id be able to tell if it was really that good or not.



(hmm forget that, the attachment didnt go up )

Myko
Feb 18th, 2011, 08:31 PM
Under Apple menu, top left of menu line:

About this Mac>More Info>Power

Thx for the tip, never even knew this existed!

John Clay
Feb 18th, 2011, 08:52 PM
The lack of backlit keys - well, none of the consumer-grade MacBooks had backlit keys, only the Pro models and the MacBook Air.


That's not true. The high-end aluminum MacBook had a backlit keyboard.

johnnydee
Feb 19th, 2011, 05:34 AM
And after you find that perfect Macbook in a like new condition be prepared to pay the same price as buying new because that is what you must be looking for and at!

Sorry to say but rock bottom prices and like new condition doesn't go together!
:clap:

screature
Feb 19th, 2011, 10:47 AM
And after you find that perfect Macbook in a like new condition be prepared to pay the same price as buying new because that is what you must be looking for and at!

Sorry to say but rock bottom prices and like new condition doesn't go together!
:clap:

That wasn't my experience when I bought my Macbook Pro several years ago. It was in perfect condition. It had a Marware keyboard and hand rest protector as well as a trackpad protector on it all of it's life. Not even a slight scratch on it anywhere and it had a new battery installed through a recall notice and it was at a significant savings to having bought it new.

Then when I sold it, it still was in perfect condition... it all depends on how the previous user takes care of their stuff.... ;)

Deals are out there you just have to be patient.

eMacMan
Feb 19th, 2011, 11:55 AM
If we are talking more than two years old I would include the cost of a new battery in the total cost. There is a good reason batteries are not covered by Apple's extended warranty.

You might get lucky but a weak battery is often the reason someone decides that now is the time to sell a laptop.

RageBoyz
Feb 19th, 2011, 12:40 PM
Hmm, good point about the battery. Makes sense!
In my case my laptop never leaves my home, hence is always plugged in except for recharge cycles that I do.

So what is the average number of years after a new Mac will need a new battery? 3 I am guessing?

broad
Feb 19th, 2011, 02:00 PM
You have ...interesting... perspectives, there, broad.

Cracks along the palmrest area may be "par for the course" but I wouldn't want to buy one. Cracks on the palmrest edge inevitably lead to missing plastic along that edge and serrated edges for your palms. Inadvertent suicide machines. Sure, Apple *might* still be fixing those out of warranty, but...

As for the Aluminium late-2008 MacBooks: I have no complaints about the quality of my screen. Battery life has always been phenomenal. And "slower"? Than what? Certainly not same-vintage polycarbonate MacBooks.

The lack of FireWire was initially a concern, but in practice turned out not to be a deal-breaker for me (haven't really missed Target Disc Mode).

The lack of backlit keys - well, none of the consumer-grade MacBooks had backlit keys, only the Pro models and the MacBook Air.

If it's within the OP's budget, I would certainly recommend the 13" MacBook Pro to gain FW, backlit keys, etc., but s/he didn't say they were going for the Pro line.

you compared the alu macbook to the macbook pro saying "its a macbook pro without the "pro". this is a completely erroneous statement so i simply pointed out some of the numerous differences between the machines.

you might think your screen is "quality" but that doesn't mean its the same quality as the screen in the pro, which again (unless it was made in the last 6-8 weeks of those being built, when they made a bunch using the screens that were about to go into the pro) it isn't. take yours and put it beside a 13" pro, put up the 10.6 aurora desktop background and examine the black levels and the smoothness of the transition between the various shades of purple and pink in the image. the alu mb screen isn't anywhere close to the quality of the screen in even the first generation pro,

your battery life may be "phenomenal" *to you* but again, its not the same as the life of the 13" pros, which use a completely different battery technology and realistically get ~double the battery life of the alu and polycarb macbooks. this is something that apple advertises and has been proven in numerous 3rd party tests

the lack of firewire might not be a concern *to you* but it might be to someone else

the backlit keys is a valid point because all 13" pro models have them, but only the high end 13" alu mb did, and there weren't all that many of those sold, so your chances of getting one of those vs the 2.0 model that doesn't have backlit keys are pretty slim.

re: slower, the alu mb base model (which probably sold at a rate of 3:1 vs the higher end one, if not more skewed) was only a 2.0Ghz, so in addition to being slower than the 13" pro (which started at 2.26ghz) it actually *was* in fact slower than the polycarb model which was available at the same time (which was a 2.13Ghz) and numerous polycarb models which came before and after it (2.16, 2.33, 2.2, 2.4Ghz etc)

the point im making is that you can't just go around making sweeping statements like that..they are untrue and can lead people to make bad purchases.

CubaMark
Feb 19th, 2011, 02:26 PM
you might think your screen is "quality" but that doesn't mean its the same quality as the screen in the pro,

Again, from what the OP has said, I daresay the quality of the screen on the late-2008 Aluminum MacBook would more than meet their needs. He doesn't sound like a hard-core pro-user. I'm simply commenting on my experiences with that particular model, which IMHO is perhaps the best Mac laptop I've ever owned (going back to the PowerBook 160).

which again (unless it was made in the last 6-8 weeks of those being built, when they made a bunch using the screens that were about to go into the pro) it isn't.

Mine is a week 42 (October) MacBook, number 1463 to be built that week.

the lack of firewire might not be a concern *to you* but it might be to someone else

Sure, it might. But the OP is coming from the Windows world, where FW isn't exactly a big item. The presence of only two USB ports might be a bigger impediment...

re: slower, the alu mb base model (which probably sold at a rate of 3:1 vs the higher end one, if not more skewed) was only a 2.0Ghz, so in addition to being slower than the 13" pro (which started at 2.26ghz) it actually *was* in fact slower than the polycarb model which was available at the same time (which was a 2.13Ghz) and numerous polycarb models which came before and after it (2.16, 2.33, 2.2, 2.4Ghz etc)

Perhaps - I'm not in the mood to waste time pulling up comparison performance charts from Accellerate Your Mac, etc. I'll simply note that the 1067mhz front-side bus compared with the 800mhz bus on the polycarb models from 2008 likely mitigates that difference somewhat, not to mention the GeForce 9400m video card vs. the Intel GMA X3100 in the polycarb.

the point im making is that you can't just go around making sweeping statements like that..they are untrue and can lead people to make bad purchases.

I certainly can, and will continue to do so. I offer my heartfelt, honest advice based upon my long experience with Macs and general knowledge. I take issue with the "untrue" assessment. Let's just say that we have different interpretations of the context here.

Now, back to regularly scheduled programming (since I doubt this little exchange is proving very helpful for the OP).

broad
Feb 19th, 2011, 02:53 PM
whether or not its heartfelt or honest is irrelevant. what you are saying is factually incorrect and thus it shouldn't be said

RageBoyz
Feb 19th, 2011, 03:10 PM
Its my husband who started this thread looking for a second hand Mac.

I am the wife ( cant sign into my own account as there is something peculiar at Ehmacs end preventing me from doing so here so using his )

But since I am the one with the MBP here and I do agree he likely only needs a regular MacBook, I dont have firewire on mine, but have 2 USB ports and hes right, having come from Windows originally myself, I dont understand this huge fasciation with firewire.

When it is it used and for what?

My digital camera I dont hook up to my MBP but insert a card into the side in order to read photos.
I dont believe firewire would charge my iPhone any faster would it? :)

I do have a Video Recorder with a built in USB connection so I dont even believe it could use firewire so when is it people are using it and for what????

Perhaps an iPod??? :confused:

RageBoyz
Feb 19th, 2011, 03:11 PM
Its my husband who started this thread looking for a second hand Mac.

I am the wife ( cant sign into my own account as there is something peculiar at Ehmacs end preventing me from doing so here so using his )

But since I am the one with the MBP here and I do agree he likely only needs a regular MacBook, I dont have firewire on mine, but have 2 USB ports and hes right, having come from Windows originally myself, I dont understand this huge fasciation with firewire.

When it is it used and for what?

My digital camera I dont hook up to my MBP but insert a card into the side in order to read photos.
I dont believe firewire would charge my iPhone any faster would it? :)

I do have a Video Recorder with a built in USB connection so I dont even believe it could use firewire so when is it people are using it and for what????

Perhaps an iPod??? :confused:

My xternal drives also have built in USB connections.......

CubaMark
Feb 19th, 2011, 03:17 PM
whether or not its heartfelt or honest is irrelevant. what you are saying is factually incorrect and thus it shouldn't be said

If I'm reading this right, you have your nose out of joint because I said: "It's a "MacBook Pro" 13" without the "Pro"."

My sincere apologies for being flippant. However, you're being a bit of a ****. Seriously - this superiority complex you appear to have is not contributing to resolving the OPs questions.

I'm happy to leave this silly discussion at this point. Truce?

Dr T
Feb 19th, 2011, 03:21 PM
...Battery cycles, etc. can be checked under "About this Mac" --> More Information (which launches the System Profiler)....]

Does the cycle count there show how many cycles are left (as the OP asked) or how many have been used up? The Apple website does not clarify this, referring only to "cycle count", not "cycle count left" or "cycle count used up".

So if a particular computer shows a Cycle Count of 45, does that mean 45 left or 45 used up out of the 300 expected? (It seems that 300 is the total number of number of cycles to expect from a battery?)

CubaMark
Feb 19th, 2011, 03:25 PM
having come from Windows originally myself, I dont understand this huge fasciation with firewire. When it is it used and for what?

FireWire is useful for connecting to devices that don't have USB on current models. FW was faster than USB 1.1., is more or less equal to USB 2.0, and will likely be phased out in the future completely with Apple's upcoming optical connections.

FW comes in 400 and 800 flavours, each having distinct plug shapes. FW 800 is useful for high-speed external hard drives, among other things, for example for video editors.

As I noted, for me the lack of FW was initially a big concern - but my MacBook Aluminum was an AppleCare replacement, and I wasn't going to argue :)

If you don't already have FW peripherals or the burning need to buy equipment that needs a FW connection, then you're correct - hubby don't need no FireWire.

Regardless, I don't want to push you toward the late-2008 model MacBook. it's now getting a bit long in the tooth (gawd, we're in 2011 already!). You should find the most recent-model MacBook that your budget can afford, taking advantage of the most recent technologies and future-proofing yourself as much as possible.

In case it hasn't already come up in this thread - keep an eye on Apple's refurbished listings (http://store.apple.com/ca/browse/home/specialdeals/mac) on the Apple Store online. You may find a good deal in your price range... and a quick search of EhMac will reveal that we're generally quite positive about buying refurbs.

SINC
Feb 19th, 2011, 03:28 PM
The cycle count is how many times it has been used. For example my current MBP that I keep plugged in 99% of the time has used 16 cycles since new in December of 2010. I only use the battery when I have to (once a month I run it down) and if Apple's estimate of 1,000 cycles in battery life on this one is correct, I have a lot of battery left.

rgray
Feb 19th, 2011, 03:35 PM
Curious where you look though to see how many cycles are left on a battery?
Under Apple menu, top left of menu line:

About this Mac>More Info>Power
Strictly speaking, the count given there is the cycles used not the cycles left. Try to get the seller to run CoconutBattery (http://www.coconut-flavour.com/coconutbattery/) which gives a detailed assessment of the batteries condition.
A.S.N.I. Decode your Mac's serial number. (http://www.appleserialnumberinfo.com)
At Klantenservice: Serienummers (http://www.chipmunk.nl/klantenservice/applemodel.html) you can just enter the serial number and it decodes all that info for you.
In any event, the seller than told me looking around the site, yes, they said it was worth $400 but i undersand they quote the site of SellYourMac | Sell your used MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, iMac, Mac Mini, Powerbook G4, iBook, iPhone, iPod, Apple TV. (http://www.sellyourmac.com/) and then resell those $400 ones for $700 and up?
If so, I believe quite a few people are using that site as a means to gauge prices, and if so, unfair pricing?
Check out Mac2Sell (http://Mac2Sell.net) for another evaluation (sorry if this has been mentioned already).

Personally, I am somewhat disinclined to take the seller's word for the value of any used item..... ;)

broad
Feb 19th, 2011, 03:42 PM
If I'm reading this right, you have your nose out of joint because I said: "It's a "MacBook Pro" 13" without the "Pro"."

My sincere apologies for being flippant. However, you're being a bit of a ****. Seriously - this superiority complex you appear to have is not contributing to resolving the OPs questions.

I'm happy to leave this silly discussion at this point. Truce?

its not a superiority thing. its very basic...

people come here and ask questions and take what they are told as fact. if you don't have the right answers, which you obviously don't in this case, you shouldn't be answering the questions. then to go on and call me an a$$ because i am correcting your errors and to deny the facts of what i am saying (again erroneously) and maybe its actually you who is making a donkey of themselves and not me, eh?

broad
Feb 19th, 2011, 03:43 PM
So if a particular computer shows a Cycle Count of 45, does that mean 45 left or 45 used up out of the 300 expected? (It seems that 300 is the total number of number of cycles to expect from a battery?)


that means 45 used out of probably about 350. most pre-unibody intel macbook/mbp batteries should be good for around 350 charges.

CubaMark
Feb 19th, 2011, 04:36 PM
...i am correcting your errors and to deny the facts of what i am saying (again erroneously) and maybe its actually you who is making a donkey of themselves and not me, eh?

:lmao: I am very comfortable with the probable opinion readers of our respective posts might have. Feel free to post my errors with your corrections to assist in that process. :lmao:

CubaMark
Feb 19th, 2011, 04:38 PM
that means 45 used out of probably about 350. most pre-unibody intel macbook/mbp batteries should be good for around 350 charges.

Just FYI, here is my Battery information...

Charge Information:

Charge remaining (mAh): 3263
Fully charged: No
Charging: No
Full charge capacity (mAh): 3678

Health Information:

Cycle count: 627 :eek:
Condition: Normal

broad
Feb 19th, 2011, 05:27 PM
:lmao: I am very comfortable with the probable opinion readers of our respective posts might have. Feel free to post my errors with your corrections to assist in that process. :lmao:

i did that already, but ill post it again for you since you seem to be a little on the thick side.

you compared the alu macbook to the macbook pro saying "its a macbook pro without the "pro". this is a completely erroneous statement so i simply pointed out some of the numerous differences between the machines.

you might think your screen is "quality" but that doesn't mean its the same quality as the screen in the pro, which again (unless it was made in the last 6-8 weeks of those being built, when they made a bunch using the screens that were about to go into the pro) it isn't. take yours and put it beside a 13" pro, put up the 10.6 aurora desktop background and examine the black levels and the smoothness of the transition between the various shades of purple and pink in the image. the alu mb screen isn't anywhere close to the quality of the screen in even the first generation pro,

your battery life may be "phenomenal" *to you* but again, its not the same as the life of the 13" pros, which use a completely different battery technology and realistically get ~double the battery life of the alu and polycarb macbooks. this is something that apple advertises and has been proven in numerous 3rd party tests

the lack of firewire might not be a concern *to you* but it might be to someone else

the backlit keys is a valid point because all 13" pro models have them, but only the high end 13" alu mb did, and there weren't all that many of those sold, so your chances of getting one of those vs the 2.0 model that doesn't have backlit keys are pretty slim.

re: slower, the alu mb base model (which probably sold at a rate of 3:1 vs the higher end one, if not more skewed) was only a 2.0Ghz, so in addition to being slower than the 13" pro (which started at 2.26ghz) it actually *was* in fact slower than the polycarb model which was available at the same time (which was a 2.13Ghz) and numerous polycarb models which came before and after it (2.16, 2.33, 2.2, 2.4Ghz etc)

the point im making is that you can't just go around making sweeping statements like that..they are untrue and can lead people to make bad purchases.

broad
Feb 19th, 2011, 05:29 PM
Just FYI, here is my Battery information...

Charge Information:

Charge remaining (mAh): 3263
Fully charged: No
Charging: No
Full charge capacity (mAh): 3678

Health Information:

Cycle count: 627 :eek:
Condition: Normal


anomalies aside (i have seen batteries that test as "ok" on the apple battery test that have 900+ charges, i have also seen batteries that show as "replace" after 70 charges) *most* batteries of that vintage should be "good" for around 350 charges. ie, the batteries are designed to hold ~80% of their original full charge capacity up until that point. after that the battery would be considered consumed.

boukman2
Feb 19th, 2011, 05:42 PM
unfortunately, with lithium ion batteries, the number of charging cycles is not the only thing determing battery life. lithium ion batteries deteriorate even if they are not being used. a few years down the road, a macbook which has only ever been used plugged into the wall may not have much more life left in the battery than one which has been through many charging cycles.
so be careful buying a replacement battery. check the manufacturing date if possible.

boukman2
Feb 19th, 2011, 05:49 PM
great site about batteries:
Battery information from Battery University (http://batteryuniversity.com/)

and for lithium batteries:
How to prolong lithium-based batteries (http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/how_to_prolong_lithium_based_batteries)