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Tips on buying a used Mac Mini (no lemons) / Fair Pricing?

 
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macmini2010
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Joined: 15 Mar 2010
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Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2010 5:44 pm    Post subject: Tips on buying a used Mac Mini (no lemons) / Fair Pricing? Reply with quote

Hello again,

As I posted earlier I recently reintroduced myself to Macintosh. So far I've been impressed (which I'm sure you've never heard from switchers). I have a few computers around the house, and am considering replacing some with Mac Mini's.

I have a few questions if you don't mind that I couldn't find answered recently (hopefully I'm not repeating anything) or were answered awhile back and the answers may have changed. Hopefully this thread will also answer other people's questions and convince some lurkers (ie. People who I was like until recently) to try Mac.

1. Mac2Sell lists G4 based Mac Mini's as under 100 (ie $50-70ish) however in classifieds/forum listings they tend to be listed at $200-350ish. I'd love to snag one at $50ish but I realize that supply and demand will probably mean they won't sell for that price.

What is a fair price range for G4 based minis
Intel Core minis?
Intel Core 2 minis?

I realize based on condition/mods/build to order options/accessories these prices will vary but what's a reasonable ball park figure.

2. I've seen a few people get bad Macs via Craigslist/Kijiji/some forums with unethical scam artists/etc. I'm guessing you should always try before you buy. What are signs/common failure points that can be easy to spot? Is there anything that gives away a bad mac? Are some of these failures easy to repair?

Again thank you in advance. If this has been posted elsewhere just post a link and consider my search skills bad.
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My cat themed collection:
- Mac Mini - Core 2 Duo 2.26/2/160/SuperDrive Snow Leopard
- iLamp 15" - 800/256/60/DVD Tiger
- Power Mac - G4 "Sawtooth" 450/2/80/DVD/ZIP! Panther
- Mac SE/30 192/30/SuperDrive Ocelot
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bazzlevi
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Joined: 06 Jan 2008
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Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would strongly recommend against getting a G4 mini as they are SLOW, and also, they are yesterday's technology. Get an Intel model so your OS upgrade path isn't cut short at 10.5

In the Austin area, you can get a core 2 duo mini for around $500, maybe less if you're lucky. The core duos can be had for between $400 and $500. Also look for deals on new models. After the latest hardware bump, MicroCenter put all of their previous generation models on serious discount ($100 rebate on top of an already low sale price).

And to avoid scams, you should try before you buy. This of course means you have to deal locally, which is my other advice for scam avoidance.
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Bandit Bill
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi fellow Canadians. bazzlevi I see your from Edmonton too Smile

macmini2010 a mini for under $100 seems totally unrealistic. Regarding G4 speed, they have no issues surfing the net, iTunes, mail etc. In fact I did everything with my G4 without issues, video trans-coding, light Photoshop use, watching .avi movies etc. That being said I would still recommend against the G4 unless can get one for <$150.

I'd say
G4 <$150-200
Single Core Intel <$300 (I'd try for Core 2 and avoid this one)
Core 2 <$400
Hopefully the RAM is maxed out at these prices.

Anything more than that and I would buy a refurb from Apple's site.

I'd stay away from Craigslist, Kijiji and eBay. After you figure out what you want you can post a WANTED add in the forum on this site. Most of the members here are extremely honest. Go back and look at their posts get an idea of their character and how long they have been on this site. Any of the regulars with more than eg. 50 posts aren't here to pull scams. No offense to those with <50 posts Smile

The main issues that I have seen with bad used minis tend to be bad logicboards. Usually the machine will boot and operate for 10 minutes or so then freeze up. Perhaps the user could send you a screenshot of the computers uptime along with the system profile.
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jb
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bandit Bill wrote:
Hi fellow Canadians. bazzlevi I see your from Edmonton too Smile


If he is From Edmonton, I wonder where he resides now?
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macmini2010
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Joined: 15 Mar 2010
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 5:02 pm    Post subject: Thanks Reply with quote

Well I purchased my first Mac Mini and love it, right now I have my PC's but I was hoping to expedite my switch over to mostly Mac household. My guess is I'll probably try to see (and cross my fingers) around 12 EST (I think that's what was said on other threads) at apple.com/ca for refurbs. If I can get a cheap G4 I may switch this Mini to HTPC, I'll go through the threads and google to see how Mini's and WHS act together. No rush I have PC's where I'll be putting the Mini's. I like the space savings/quiet running/power efficiency but I can chug along with what I have. Maybe I'll aim for a new Mac every 6 mos - 1 yr to slowly replace most of the PCs.

Just wanted a ball park figure, some stores have refurbs with warranties but they seem pricey. Basically try to get the best price on Early/Late 09's or a G4 if I can find one for a very good price.

As I slowly learn OSX I'll probably participate on a more in depth level, but right now I don't think "Hey where did the start menu go? And you mean I don't have to select a million preferences, paths and uncheck a whole bunch of options when installing software?" makes for great posts. Something tells me many here have already been down that path before.
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My cat themed collection:
- Mac Mini - Core 2 Duo 2.26/2/160/SuperDrive Snow Leopard
- iLamp 15" - 800/256/60/DVD Tiger
- Power Mac - G4 "Sawtooth" 450/2/80/DVD/ZIP! Panther
- Mac SE/30 192/30/SuperDrive Ocelot
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bazzlevi
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jb wrote:
Bandit Bill wrote:
Hi fellow Canadians. bazzlevi I see your from Edmonton too Smile


If he is From Edmonton, I wonder where he resides now?


Actually, I'm from Austin, Texas (Hook 'em Horns!), and I am living in Edmonton now.

I am not familiar with the reliability of craigslist or kijiji users here in Canada, but I was usually pleased with my transactions with folks on craigslist in Austin. So long as you conduct your business face to face, you can use your judgement and intuition to determine if it "feels right".
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gigaguy
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Austinite here. IMO Craigslist is a crapshoot. One thing, tho, most Mac Mini users may take better care than listers selling cheaper items. I prefer established ebay sellers or refurbs from Apple. My Mini is my only PC and I got a current loaded model on ebay, but from a local seller who was great to deal with.
My 2 or 3 previous Minis were Apple refurbs, a few came with surprise upgrades too. kinda different than getting, older, entry level Mins tho.
good luck.
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LeeH
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 1:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I picked up a 1.42mhz G4 mini off ebay for $66, It was listed as having problems which was a pretty easy and free fix, It came with a Macsense USB wifi adapter and all the original software disks so I can't complain. The ad listed it as showing artifacts on the monitor after it ran for a few minutes and that the ethernet port was dead. I tore it apart and cleaned it(the fan and duct was packed with dust and lint), I removed the heat sink and installed arctic silver 5 then reassembled. It works great and as far as the ethernet port goes its flaky but all I need is to replace the connector. Don't shy away from a mini that may freeze or suffers from artifacts on the display because 90% of the time its just an overheating problem that can be traced back to either an airflow problem or the thermal compound on the processor needs replaced. just my .02
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DannySmurf
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The reason you see G4 minis listed for so much is because they are not a commodity. They're very rare, because their original owners are still using them or have passed them on to family (or whatever).

I just sold my original G4 mini on Kijiji for $200.
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