Eternal question: New/Refurb?


Finally getting a rather large paycheck in mid-month and I have about $2100 (that’s AUD, USD would be $1500) to spend on a new MacBook, and I’m trying to figure out my best use. I was worried it was going to take me a lot longer than that for something to come in, and I’ve been on my polycarbonate MacBooks running Linux, unable to edit or do graphics work for a while, especially since my Mac Pro kicked the bucket.

I do graphics and video editing, specifically with Adobe products. My concerns are that the SSD amounts and RAM amounts seem very tiny indeed, like going backwards. My 2012 had RAID 0 SSDs with 500GBs and 16GBs of RAM. I am not prepared to transition away from MacOS yet, so because of work, I still need it. Which means, I’m kept in the ecosystem at least another couple of years.


I wouldn’t look at a new Mac these days… prices are insane.

Refurbs are often not a big enough discount to really scream for attention.

Maybe a local authorised repairer has some bargains that customers didn’t pay for the repairs?


I need something with a warranty. Used market is pretty poor in Japan. Not worth it. a 2011 15/17 still goes for well over $1000. No warranty and GPU issues inbound.


Sounds like you’ve answered your own question. Refurb from Apple at least gets you a warranty, refurbs from resellers get you a warranty which is shorter but theres something, at least. And given that there’s barely any difference between refurb price and new… go new.


How much faster are these things REALLY compared to 2012s? Is the 2018 i5 that much faster than the 2012 i5, despite being a lesser amount of mhz? Is it more cores? More threads? Is the 8GB of RAM faster/more efficient than the 16GBs of RAM I had in my 2012?

Otherwise, I’m having a hard time justifying buying something I can’t even work on. I’m concerned that I’m going to end up with something less capable than what I already had without any user expandability, except it has a nicer screen. I wish the used market in Japan wasn’t garbage.


About twice as fast in multi-core performance according to the Geekbench scores in Mactracker. It’s not just the processors, though they are faster and have 6 cores now; It’s the disks and RAM as well.

I’ve bought quite a few refurbs over the years and always found them good. Sometimes they’re well priced compared to new, sometimes not.


To be clear my 2012 was really fast. Over 900/mbs read/write speeds with my RAID 0 2x250GB Samsung Evo SSDs and 16GBs of RAM. My only complaint about my 2012 was its screen. That’s really it. I do not care about thin and light.

Oh, I don’t want a touch bar (or more accurately I don’t want to pay for it), so actually the 13" would be a 2017 model. Just not sure a 2017 with a 2.3ghz i5 and 8GBs of DDR3 RAM 2133 is going to be better, or much better, performance wise than my 2012 with 16GBs of RAM (maybe it was 1600?). It kinda feels like I’m only paying for the screen and MacOS.


Surely it’s worth waiting until Apple have had their rumoured October event (or at least until they say their holiday lineup is unchanging to Xmas as they do each year if that event never happens)? A brand new MacBook Air replacement may be good enough instead of an old Pro?

As to the SSD speeds… the new Pro laptops have got RAID0 twin NVMe SSDs in one part (ie two half drives half the total size) with a very fast controller chip (T2) that gives you FileVault for free effectively. They are seriously fast (~3000meg I think!).

A 2018 mac is HEAPS faster than any Mac from 2012 - mainly due to SSD and CPU generation inprovements (ie hardware HEIC / HEIV decoding etc).