Refurb Macbook Pros - How current?
August 25, 2008 1:57 PM   Subscribe

A friend of mine (ahem) is eying a refurbished MacBook Pro. (Even though a new one is supposedly imminent, we're sticking with refurb in this scenario.) How many generations old are the units in Apple's refurb store? How can you tell? Does the 2.4GHz 15" model there today include the "new" LED monitor technology introduced in February, for example?

The Macbook Pro page brags: "The 15-inch and 17-inch LED backlit displays are lighter, more power efficient, and they deliver full screen brightness the instant you turn them on." And I know that was introduced on the 15" first in February. But you could get a 2.4GHz 15" MBP before then. There's a matrix at Wikipedia, but it notes "Merom" versus "Penryn" there, and of course the official product details don't tell you the chip codename.

Basically, does the refurb story only carry refurbs of the current product line? I'd guess so but want to be sure. Thanks!
posted by pzarquon to Technology (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Low End Mac's profiles section is what I usually use to figure it out.
posted by spilon at 2:12 PM on August 25, 2008

Best answer: Look at the part numbers. The first letter different for refurb, compare the remaining digits.
posted by wongcorgi at 2:22 PM on August 25, 2008

I've seen models 1 generation older than the current generation in the refurb store, but only very briefly and sporadically, especially right after an update.

Apple-History Is another good site to compare models by looking at specs.
posted by Science! at 2:24 PM on August 25, 2008

Best answer: Apple commonly has items from several generations back in the refurb store. Availability varies on a day to day basis, although items 2 or more generations prior to the current generation tend to be more rare (they often get sold quickly, since the old machines are usually sold at an extremely steep discount).

That being said, the LED displays for the 15" models were introduced in June of 2007 with the Santa Rosa Macbook Pros. All of the 2.2, 2.4, and 2.5Ghz 15" MacBook Pros have the LED displays; it's the older 2.16 or 2.33GHz Core 2 Duo (or the oldest Core Duo) machines that have the FL displays. The 2.16 and 2.33s were still sold last month, and may make a reappearance; they're the ones you want to avoid if you're planning on getting an LED.

wongcorgi also has the right idea. You can get the product number by adding the machine to your cart.
posted by eschatfische at 2:45 PM on August 25, 2008

Looking at the store, the refurbs are of the current model. Sometimes there will be refurbs of the previous model, but I haven't seen that in a while.

The Multi-Touch trackpad was introduced in the February revision (wikipedia link), and since this page mentions the refurb as having it - the other giveaway was the hard drive size as the old revisions came with 120 or 160GB drives, not 200GB.
posted by heeeraldo at 2:50 PM on August 25, 2008

The 15" mbp 2.4ghz for sale at the apple refurb store DOES have the LED backlit display.

You can figure this out by looking at the graphics chip. The mid/late 2007 & early 2008 models come with the GeForce 8600m GT graphics chip and a LED backlit display. The 2.4ghz mbp one generation older is known as just "15" Core 2 Duo" and comes with the ATI Radeon X1600 graphics chip and standard display.

Thanks MacTracker!
posted by J-Garr at 2:55 PM on August 25, 2008

The refurb MacBook I bought a few months back was the May 2007 top-end model (two gens back) sold below the bottom-end price. I probably messed up not going with the Santa Rosa, but it suits my needs.

Since the Apple range is fairly small, you can usually tell from the model number in the 'Learn More' link: right now, you've got the FB134, FB133 FB487LL and FB513LL.
posted by holgate at 2:57 PM on August 25, 2008

You can just tell by the specs and original selling prices. The current 15's have 200GB and 250GB drives and retail at $1999/$2499. Previous generation models could have those drives as CTO options, but they'd be listed at higher original selling prices.

So all of the 15's currently listed on the refurb site are current. The first several 17's are last gen.
posted by BryanPayne at 3:11 PM on August 25, 2008

Response by poster: Fantastic information and tips, all. Thanks!
posted by pzarquon at 3:52 PM on August 25, 2008

Just as a bit of related info, the 2.33 GHz 15 inch MBPs that have the intel "Napa Refresh" chipsets don't support 4GB of ram either, although you can install 4GB and About this Mac will show that you have 4GB, it will only address 3GB. I recently encountered this problem helping a friend install more ram in his system.
posted by hellslinger at 12:51 AM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

I bought a refurbed MBP about a month ago and it is the same model as the current one, with the new LED.

Looks like the new model will be released on September 9th, and I'd expect the prices for the current model refurbs will drop. I wouldn't buy one now unless I really needed one. I was really annoyed that I had to buy one in July, but my crappy Dell notebook's motherboard finally died on me and I had little choice.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 11:48 AM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

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