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  1.    22 Jul 2017 #21
    Join Date : Jul 2017
    Posts : 12
    Thread Starter

    Quote Originally Posted by Berton View Post
    Frequently refurbished only means the product was purchased and the serial number entered into a database at the time of purchase meaning if the product got returned for whatever reason it cannot again be sold as new.
    I think you're right. The last used Mac vendor I used claimed to be testing the machines before re-sale, but once they shipped me three broken machines in a row with very easily discovered problems, it became clear the testing claim was an explicit lie. In other words, the machines weren't "refurbished" at all, but only resold. I might as well have been buying them off Ebay.

    It became hilarious in the end. Machine #2 came with a major problem (won't bore you with it) which couldn't be resolved by the vendor. So they tried to play the role of hero and said, we'll send you another even better machine as a replacement! Machine #3 arrived with a dead monitor. Obviously they hadn't turned it on even once.

    They then said, no problem, just return the machine. I said, sure no problem, my fee for shipping your broken untested junk around the country is $100 plus shipping. They balked for a couple weeks, but in the end paid that fee.

    I've been a big advocate of used machines for some time, but have basically grown somewhat suspicious of vendors who sell them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Berton View Post
    As long as the warranty is the same as if new the buyer's chances are the same. Sometimes off-lease are good deals.
    Well, chances aren't really the same, because the original buyer presumably returned the machine for some reason. If that reason was found and fixed, ok, that could work. The problem is, how do we know the vendor actually really did find and fix the problem? Because they say so? You basically have to buy a number of used machines from a vendor before you'll know what the deal really is.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  2.    22 Jul 2017 #22
    Join Date : Jul 2017
    Posts : 12
    Thread Starter

    Quote Originally Posted by margrave55 View Post
    I'm a die-hard Windows user ... but if you insist on finding a sub-$300 PC, just stick with your Mac.
    Ok, this comment wins the day.

    I was reading the reviews of the $300 laptops, and found one they thought was good. So I go to Amazon to scan the buyer reviews. Uh oh, not a pretty picture. Lots and lots of unhappy campers, and not over little things.

    So obviously it's a get what you pay for deal, which makes sense. But...

    There seems to be no way to solve this problem in a manner one can have confidence in.

    About a dozen years ago I bought a brand new $2000 Mac directly from Apple, supposedly the highest quality computer maker. Yep, you guess it, died an incurable death about a year out of warranty.

    On the other hand, we have two old circa 1997 Macs (current market value about $20) upstairs that are still working perfectly every day after all these years. Ok, they're really slow by today's standards, but they still work just as well as the day they came out of the box.

    So I tried buying used Macs from a used Mac vendor on the theory that 4 cheap used Macs are more reliable than a single new one. Good theory, really lame vendor, with no credible competitors.

    So ok, buying a $300 laptop is likely a bad plan. I can agree with that.

    But what's the alternative plan?

    I have no idea. It seems to be a roll of the dice crapshoot no matter what you buy, or who you buy it from, or how much you pay.

    Maybe I'll buy a hundred $10 used machines and just keep throwing them away one after the other until I find the magic gem. :-)

    No, wait, I've got it! I'll stop computing and go back to reading books from the library!
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  3.    22 Jul 2017 #23
    Join Date : Nov 2013
    Central Florida
    Posts : 346
    Win 7 Pro/32, Win 10 Pro/64/32

    Reading that quote, all I can say is "Au contraire Mon Fraire".

    I've been building and setting up new PC's since ~1980. Before I retired, I made a pretty good living at it.
    I can generally build a better PC than I could buy in any store. My current PC, that I'm on now, uses an 8 core AMD CPU, and a SSD hard drive, and six GB of RAM memory, and it's faster than most of the new PC's I'm called on to set up for my friends/customers.
    (even after I've tweaked and tuned them for maximum efficiency)

    If a Windows PC is lagging, dragging, or just not running up to expectations, it's usually because it was never set up properly.
    I spend a lot of time tweaking and tuning every PC that I set up, so that it runs as fast as possible. Windows is usually the problem, not the hardware.

    A MAC definitely has it's place in the overall scheme of things, but it's not for the average user. I have one friend who was given a MAC by her son. She runs it, but she hates it!

    Happy Trails, Mates!
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  4.    22 Jul 2017 #24
    Join Date : Jul 2017
    Posts : 12
    Thread Starter

    A key problem for Mac users is that while the Mac once was the exclusive focus of Apple, today two thirds of Apple's profits come from the iPhone.

    The iPhone Generates Almost Two-Thirds Of Apple's Profit - Business Insider
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  5.    22 Jul 2017 #25
    Join Date : May 2014
    Cross Plains, WI
    Posts : 318
    Windows 10 Pro x64

    I realize that buying off of eBay can sometimes be a crap shoot, but it really is the only way to go for a cheap but good laptop, like others have said. Look into used business models such as Dell Latitude, Dell Precision (likely not in your price point, but still a good look), HP ProBook or EliteBook.

    I purchased a Dell Precision M4800 in about February of this year from eBay. Paid over $600 for it all together, and couldnt be happier with the purchase. Business/commercial grade laptops are built far sturdier than home or consumer grade. They feature better, more robust hardware, the chassis are often constructed out of metal rather than plastic, and the biggest thing, the hinges are made larger, heavier and also out of metal so they last much longer.

    Buying a sub $300 laptop is... honestly its just asking for trouble. You will sub par performance, a sub par screen, sub par built in audio, just.... sub par everything. It will feel very clunky, very flimsy. It will be something like "Well, lets just toss this together without care and sell it." I would almost put money on my claim that my 3-4 year old Precision that I bought for ~$600 will kick the absolute crap out of any new laptop for the same price.
      My ComputersSystem Spec
  6.    23 Jul 2017 #26
    Join Date : Jul 2017
    Posts : 12
    Thread Starter

    Quote Originally Posted by ArazelEternal View Post
    Buying a sub $300 laptop is... honestly its just asking for trouble. .
    Yep, I get that now, agreed. The search for a $300 laptop has been cancelled. And I thank everyone here for helping me think it through.

    I realize my error now. I was willing to accept low performance in exchange for a low price, and thought that was the end of it. I really should have known better. While low performance is indeed acceptable for this purchase, lame junk cheapo hardware that explodes 2 months after purchase definitely isn't. In the Amazon reviews for one of the supposedly "best" cheap laptops I read many such reports, and it slapped me out of my wishful thinking dream.

    A business class refurb is still on the table, so I'll aim my research in that direction for now.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

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