Looking for advice on purchasing a USED Mac laptop

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My neighbor recently gave me a 17" ppc iMac they'd written off as dead. A little inquiry revealed the MB was populated with faulty electrolytic capacitors. I pulled it apart, recapped it, now I have a working iMac. Frankly, I'm amazed at what people will throw away... Next they brought over their sons intel-based 13" Macbook they'd written off as well. Hadn't been used in ~ 10 months. He'd dropped it (while running) off a bed. There was some bruised poly on the upper right corner and a vertical dent across the optical drive slot. To shorten the story, I diagnosed a failing HD (takes 3 min. to boot; numerous bad sectors), dead battery and possibly a failing optical drive. Evidently he has 'no money' to spend (~ $200 to fix this one), and will 'someday' purchase a new Macbook. So this one is back in a closet somewhere. He told me he'd give it to me when he purchased a new one and transferred his data off. Then he said he just might keep it. It's really unusable as it is due to the HD issue & spinning beach-ball syndrome. And no, he's not backed up. In other words, the story (and status) is changing daily. While the early twenty-something fools around, I decided to tack and started looking around on Craigslist. LOTS of used Mac laptops. I've narrowed it down to: 2006-early 2008 G4 1.67GHz PPC or Intel Core Duo that replaced it 12", 13" or maybe 15" (which is getting rather large) MATTE Screen Only! Either Macbook or aluminum Mac pro I've read that these years were built very well. Apple spits out so many models/versions it's hard to keep up. Any techs out there who are repairing these things on a regular basis? Weak spots? How best to evaluate HW on a potential purchase? Used pricing guidelines? Jump in anywhere . . .
 
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all i can say is dont get anything with the G series processors. Seriously outdated by now. Not worth the money unless you want to run linux on them.
 
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Sled: I don't think he would be smart if he just gave it to you. Clearly you can fix the things and make them functional. Just like you did with the first free-bee his parents gave you. Why don't you offer him 70$ for it. Then he will "give it" to you.
 
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Now that OS X 10.7 (Lion) is about to be released, you might want to consider a Mac which will run it. That means an Intel Core 2 Duo processor. An Intel Core Duo processor will not run Lion.
 

JHZR2

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I'd buy a 2008 MBP if I needed one. My 15" unit is a champ. Any laptop I'd buy used would get a fresh hard drive for sure...
 
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Originally Posted By: JHZR2
I'd buy a 2008 MBP if I needed one. My 15" unit is a champ. Any laptop I'd buy used would get a fresh hard drive for sure...
That, and a spare battery and possibly a charger too, We have replaced quite a few on our macbooks over the years.
 

sleddriver

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I asked him how much he was willing to spend on it. He said $50. I said done. No problems. Then he switched to I'll just give it to you when I buy a new one. Perhaps I'll up the price to $75 or $100 to see if it'll sweeten the deal.
 
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I wouldn't buy a used mac due to the ridiculously high resell and sellers' rose tinted glasses. A new one is a personal choice whether it is worth it or not, but not a used one. Now if it is free because someone gives you a broken one that you can cheaply fix, that's another story.
 

sleddriver

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Originally Posted By: PandaBear
I wouldn't buy a used mac due to the ridiculously high resell and sellers' rose tinted glasses. A new one is a personal choice whether it is worth it or not, but not a used one. Now if it is free because someone gives you a broken one that you can cheaply fix, that's another story.
Excellent point. I do intend to bargin and not worry at all about walking away if the seller refuses to budge from an unrealistic price. After all, some mac laptops are discontinued after only 7 months. True, many are unprepared for the reality of how far, how fast their purchase has fallen if it's older than 3 years. That's why I'm interested in 2007 and earlier. Plus, new macbooks are cheaper at retail than the 07 models, by 33% in most cases. Not quite up there with boats, but close!
 
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There several popular linux distributions made for the PPC architecture that are up to date. So even if Mac OSX stops at 10.5, linux distros are continually updated. YellowDog Linux, SuSE, etc...
 
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The latest Mac OS that will work with PPC processors is Leopard. Snow Leopard will work only in Intel Macs. Lion will work only in Macs with Intel Core2Duo. You don't have to have the latest OS by Apple. I still have Tiger OS in many of my machines, and I find no need to upgrade to a higher OS in them. I also have newish Macs with Snow Leopard installed.
 
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Originally Posted By: ToyotaNSaturn
There several popular linux distributions made for the PPC architecture that are up to date. So even if Mac OSX stops at 10.5, linux distros are continually updated. YellowDog Linux, SuSE, etc...
But what is the point of buying a used mac just to run linux? you can get much better deal running the typical pc based hardware instead.
 
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The point is cost. A hard drive is cheap, install from USB stick (if possible) and you'll probably never use the optical drive again. Total cost? Around $50 for the PPC to come back to life, albeit plugged in all the time.
 
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I wouldn't touch one with a PPC. I've used my fair share of both PPC and Intel powered Macs and the PPC ones always struck me as being very slow.
 
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Originally Posted By: ToyotaNSaturn
The point is cost. A hard drive is cheap, install from USB stick (if possible) and you'll probably never use the optical drive again. Total cost? Around $50 for the PPC to come back to life, albeit plugged in all the time.
You can get a similar performance used PC (x86) for $50, and it can use every software out there for x86 linux without having to rebuild from source code for PPC linux. So, why bother?
 
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Whatever you do make sure it has at the very least a Core2Duo inside or else you won't even be able to run OSX Lion, the lastest version of OSX and possibly the last meaning for all future updates you will probably need C2D at the very least.
 
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Originally Posted By: Scorch
Whatever you do make sure it has at the very least a Core2Duo inside or else you won't even be able to run OSX Lion, the lastest version of OSX and possibly the last meaning for all future updates you will probably need C2D at the very least.
Yup. My Core 2 MacBook Pro I bought in '06 is now officially on the outside looking in!
 
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When a mac is running right "mine" you can touch the speed...Its flat amazing. It's a 10' 15" 250G HD, 4G DDR3, I think its an intel 2.53GHZ????. BUT the It is always going in for service for ram sticks, HDs, batteries. I had an HP DV 6500 that I had for 5 years maybe.... It was AWESOME I wish I kept it. It was 10x more reliable than the POS I POST with that cost $1350 .... Buy a Windows laptop, this from a mac pro user
 
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Originally Posted By: PandaBear
Originally Posted By: ToyotaNSaturn
The point is cost. A hard drive is cheap, install from USB stick (if possible) and you'll probably never use the optical drive again. Total cost? Around $50 for the PPC to come back to life, albeit plugged in all the time.
You can get a similar performance used PC (x86) for $50, and it can use every software out there for x86 linux without having to rebuild from source code for PPC linux. So, why bother?
The non-profit I volunteer with has a pile of PPC Macs that are getting seriously long in the tooth, I think a lot of them are on 10.3.9. A PPC Linux build might be a good option for a software build that is actually maintained. We would not pay $50 each to replace these with PCs.
 
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sleddriver

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Originally Posted By: uc50ic4more
Originally Posted By: Scorch
Whatever you do make sure it has at the very least a Core2Duo inside or else you won't even be able to run OSX Lion, the lastest version of OSX and possibly the last meaning for all future updates you will probably need C2D at the very least.
Yup. My Core 2 MacBook Pro I bought in '06 is now officially on the outside looking in!
What size is your screen? Did the core 2 preceed the core 2 duo? What issues (if any) have you had with yours? I found a 15" Macbook Pro, from an original ownwer, from 07, that I'm very interested in. I'm suspicious of many that students have had. I'm willing to bet they've led a hard life. The (dinged) case usually has a story to tell. One guy spilled milk on his kybd (yuck), another water (no thanks), used frequently on a bed I bet they get hot. I was amazed at the amount of dog, cat & ??? hair I found in the one I opened up. There are LOTS of models on craigslist. And many are asking more than what they're worth. (digital boat). Have to keep culling...
 
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