Macbook under $500? Reliable place to buy used/refurb?

EliteRetard

Diamond Member
Mar 6, 2006
5,953
43
136
#1
My experience is only with Windows PCs and OEMs. I know about sites like the Lenovo/Dell outlets and such...but I was just asked about buying a Mac for $500 or less. I kinda laughed at the idea and said "good luck, maybe you'll find something stolen on craigslist". However I did say I'd at least do some browsing to see what I could find. Looking at places like Amazon/Walmart etc show there are quite a few ancient Macbook Pros from 2011/2012 and a light sprinkling of ultra low end Airs from 2013/2014. Most reviews are suggesting that these devices are utterly smashed to heck, have unusable batteries, or other severe issues. I did look for an official apple refurb site, but the only stuff I found was modern units near $1k.

Anybody with more Mac experience or whatnot that may know a good place to find a decent Macbook at $500?
Dream list would be any size/shell 4th gen i5 or better, 8GB RAM, 240+ GB SSD or 7k RPM HDD or any SSHD
 

XavierMace

Diamond Member
Apr 20, 2013
4,307
6
126
#2
Yeah, I don't see those specs happening for that budget. $600 might get you close to that if ebay/Craigslist is an option.
 

TheStu

Moderator<br>Mobile Devices & Gadgets
Moderator
Sep 15, 2004
11,973
8
91
#3
I see decent quality Retina 13" MacBook Pros on Swappa for around $650 pretty regularly (8gb+ RAM, 256gb+ SSD).
 

thecoolnessrune

Diamond Member
Jun 8, 2005
9,311
33
126
#4
Yeah, the dream list is completely not happening. If said person you are talking to wants to pay the Apple tax you can however get safe deals off of Swappa (which I highly recommend). You could get a decent condition first-gen unibody MBP in 13" form for around that price.
 

Insomniator

Diamond Member
Oct 23, 2002
6,258
7
106
#5
Why do you want a 5-6 year old macbook? Surely there are better options, even a hackintosh.
 

Jimmy Pham

Junior Member
Feb 23, 2018
2
0
1
savvycomsoftware.com
#6
My friend told me that We can buy it from Reseller, the price is expensive than other place but it's warranty for us. But 500$ for a macbook even used or refur, i don't think it's exist.
 

thecoolnessrune

Diamond Member
Jun 8, 2005
9,311
33
126
#7
Yep, I would say so. I've bought and sold regularly on Swappa. It's just like using Buy It Now on eBay, but you have several more protections related specifically to Technology Sales that makes it, in my opinion, more abuse-proof. From their help section:

To sell your device on Swappa, it must satisfy the following criteria:

Required:
  • Device is fully functional including screen, all buttons, ports, and camera (if applicable).
  • Device ESN is clean and ready for activation by a new buyer. (See Ready for Activation section below)
  • Device has no cracked or chipped glass, water damage, or other structural integrity issues.
  • Device has a functional battery included with sale.
  • Device must have no outstanding financial obligation with the carrier and must be fully owned by the seller. (See Outstanding Financial Obligation section below)
  • Device and seller must otherwise qualify for sale in accordance with our Terms of Use.
More information on device condition standards can be found here.

Not Allowed:
  • Devices with any cracked glass (on screen or body) cannot be listed.
  • Devices with water damage or missing moisture indicator stickers cannot be listed.
  • Devices with blacklisted / blocked ESNs, or otherwise not ready for activation, cannot be listed. (See Ready for Activation section below)
  • Devices with missing or non-functional keys, buttons, ports, or other components cannot be listed.
  • Devices in which the ESN has been altered or "repaired" cannot be listed. (See ESN / IMEI Integrity section below)
  • Devices with ESN stickers behind battery removed (if applicable) cannot be listed. (See ESN / IMEI Integrity section below)
  • Devices with money owed on a payment plan (e.g., EIP) cannot be listed. (See Outstanding Financial Obligation section below)
  • Devices that are currently OS locked (e.g. iCloud lock) cannot be listed. (See OS / iCloud Locked section below)
  • Devices which has been returned to a seller and repaired more than once due to functional issues cannot be listed.
  • Devices that are pre-production / prototype units, or that have been factory recalled for defects cannot be listed. (See Fit for Resale section below)
  • Devices marked "Not for Resale" due to being a pre-production, prototype, promotional, demo, or display-only unit cannot be listed.
  • Device chargers and power cables that are frayed with exposed wires (for device categories that require chargers)
For devices not allowed in our primary marketplace, please refer to our broken devices page for more options.


Specifically for MacBooks, the important protections to me are that it must be *fully* functional, nothing cracked, battery functional, and cannot be locked to iCloud. All those are things that can screw you over on eBay and require disputes, but on Swappa it's a very quick breaking of Swappa rules, which will get you a refund. That said, I've not yet had any bad deal on Swappa. The people I've worked with there have been great (so far) :)
 

Shmee

Memory and Storage, Graphics Cards
Super Moderator
Sep 13, 2008
3,801
52
126
#8
Honestly I think the macbook pros from circa 2012 were the best apple products, as they are easiest to work on and repair. Easy to upgrade RAM and they can take any 2.5" SSDs. They are popular and support the latest OSX. I have seen a lot of these macbooks and repaired/upgrade quite a few, typical issue is HDD dies, so replace it with a 2.5" SSD.

I would say either buy a new macbook, or go back far enough to get one easy to work on IMO.
 

kritisharma

Junior Member
Aug 29, 2018
9
0
1
#9
MacBook Pro carries an Intel HD 4000 graphics processor, HD FaceTime webcam, a LED-backlit display and the no button glass multi-touch trackpad. With two USB ports, Bluetooth, Firewire port, Thunderbolt port, and an SDXC card slot, you are sure to be completely satisfied with this laptop. It is available at best price $430 at opensky.
 

ZGR

Golden Member
Oct 26, 2012
1,824
41
126
#10
Honestly I think the macbook pros from circa 2012 were the best apple products, as they are easiest to work on and repair. Easy to upgrade RAM and they can take any 2.5" SSDs. They are popular and support the latest OSX. I have seen a lot of these macbooks and repaired/upgrade quite a few, typical issue is HDD dies, so replace it with a 2.5" SSD.

I would say either buy a new macbook, or go back far enough to get one easy to work on IMO.
I'm still using my 2012. By far my favorite laptop I've ever used. My original 750GB HDD died a few weeks ago, but I quickly replaced it with an SSD. Having 2 drives on a Macbook is awesome.

I occasionally see 2012's go for around $400-$600, but it is hard for me to recommend. HD 4000 and the GT 650M are getting old, but I still use HD 4000 for most tasks. The cost for such old hardware makes me feel iffy.

Reapplying the thermal paste is a breeze and so is replacing the keyboard and battery. I've killed my keyboard from soda/juice 3 times now. I treat my Mac horribly, yet it shows no sign of dying.

I love the matte display for the 15" model. 1680x1050 is kind of an old resolution now, but it fits really well for work.

Another problem is recommending the base 15". It comes with only 512MB of VRAM for the 650M vs the 'full' 1GB. That is a big difference. So is the paltry 1440x900 which feels a little too pixely.

Thermals are also a big problem out of the box, but that is easily remedied with proper reapplication of the thermal paste. I have been overclocking my 650M from 775 MHz to 1050 MHz on the core, and 2000 MHz to 2600 MHz on the memory since I've owned this machine. Another problem is the 80W power cap. My machine will throttle not from thermals, but rather it hits 80W power consumption when under extreme load. The i7-3720QM at 3.4 GHz all core + an overclocked 650M sucks a lot of juice...

But the large amount of IO, 2 drive bays, and easy repairability make it the last Macbook I will most likely own. My friends' have a 2015 and 2017 model and the amount of dongles freaks me out. Yuck.

I do wonder when HD 4000 and GT 650M will be unusable. How much life does the logic board have?
 

Spicedaddy

Platinum Member
Apr 18, 2002
2,264
0
81
#11
I have a 2015 MBP 13", last model with ports on it. I don't use it much, it'll last for many more years. The current models would be a downgrade for my usage. (no HDMI, no USB-A, crappy keyboard)

2015 might be more than your budget, so go down from there (2013-2014 MBP13)
 

Plar

Junior Member
Aug 6, 2018
22
0
16
#12
I think for such an amount you will not be able to find a poppy with such parameters. Try to increase the amount and buy what you need. I don't think it's worth buying something that you won't be able to use for a long time.
 


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