Used Refurbished MacBooks - What I need vs. cost
August 11, 2018 4:43 PM   Subscribe

I am on a super tight budget and am looking for a replacement MacBook. My wants are pretty simple. E-mail, Browsing, Microsoft Office and ability for Qucken software. With this in mind, what is a good baseline to work from Some sellers on e-bay who are well-received and sell in volume have some pretty good prices for year 2009 onward. What should I be looking for. All advice and laptop suggestions appreciated
posted by goalyeehah to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
2013 and later, unfortunately. High Sierra (current OS release, but not for much longer) is the last OS release to support 2009-2012 (very approximately) laptops, and you don't want your new laptop to go without bug and security fixes immediately.
posted by wotsac at 6:07 PM on August 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

Check out Swappa. ( I've only had good experiences there.
posted by 4ster at 6:10 PM on August 11, 2018

2013 and later, unfortunately.

If you can swing it, the 2015s get a newer generation of Intel processor with better battery life, but I don't want to overstate it. In practice for me, my work MacBook Pro (2013, i7) and my personal MacBook Pro (2015, i5) felt essentially the same to work on, but my personal one got at least two hours more out of a full battery. A little of that can be chalked up to the fact the i5 is slower than the i7 and thus just consumes less power, but most of the gain was due to the improved manufacturing process. But on the other hand, if the 2013 is significantly cheaper and you can deal with a 9-10 hour battery instead of an 11-12 hour battery, it's not really going to show its age much otherwise.
posted by fedward at 7:36 PM on August 11, 2018

For quite a few years, Apple has consistently updated the last three versions of macOS—in other words, the current release of macOS and the last two releases—with security updates. So, assuming Apple releases a new version of macOS every year, each release of macOS will be supported with security updates for roughly three years. But Apple provides no guarantees, and that’s just an informed guess. [x]

So if you buy a 2010 mac today, you might get another 2 years of security updates. If you do buy an older mac make sure it is running the latest OS or is capable of being upgraded - it will need a certain amount of RAM. Once Mojave is out in a few weeks from now you will no longer be able to download High Sierra.
posted by Lanark at 2:35 AM on August 12, 2018

Of the models supported by Mojave, the next OS version from Apple:

The 2012 MacBook Pro (non-retina) was the last laptop from Apple with RAM and hard disk easily upgraded. After that model, RAM is built-in and cannot be upgraded, so to semi-future-proof, purchase something with at least 8GB of RAM. SSD can be replaced if you have the proper specialty tools. See OWC or iFixit for more details.

In my opinion, for casual users, processor speed hasn't mattered for a decade. Get any speed laptop. The differences between 2013-2015 are improved battery life (which you'll notice) and faster i/o (which you may not.)

For light use, a machine with 4GB of RAM and 128GB SSD is fine.

If you do not care about future upgrades, the Los Angeles craigslist has laptops from 2009 or later for as little as $100.
posted by blob at 7:32 AM on August 12, 2018

Look at what NewEgg has! I work for the state of New York and we buy from them all the time because they're very reliable. I got a 2012 MacBook Pro with RAM upgraded to 16GB and a 512GB SSD for $650 a few months ago and I am SUPER-PLEASED with it.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 6:48 AM on August 13, 2018

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