Picking the Right Apple: A Guide to Apple's Mac Lineup: Page 4

Posted November 19, 2008

Ryan Faas

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Another, more recent revelation, is that Apple has implemented content protection on the computers to prevent copyrighted content purchased from the iTunes Store to be played on devices that might digitally record it. (This is based on the same technology that is implemented by Blu-ray players and most HD set top boxes such as those from cable companies).

You may want to keep this in mind when planning purchases of any devices (such as third-party displays, projectors, and HDTVs) – either looking for compatible displays or opting for an earlier Mac model with a standard DVI port output.

Used or Refurbished Macs

If your budget is limited, you might also consider purchasing a used or refurbished Mac. Like a good car, most Macs tend to offer pretty good performance even if they’re a couple of years out of date.

You can sometimes find good deals on sites like eBay or Craigslist or other classified outlets. If you are in the market for a used Mac, however, you should investigate the age and models within your price range. In some cases, the difference in price between a used Mac and a newer model aren’t worth opting for the lower cost in the long term (also like a good car, Macs tend to hold their resale value).

With support for pre-Intel Macs uncertain in Apple’s upcoming Snow Leopard release of Mac OS X, your best bet for a used Mac is most likely one of the Intel models introduced in the past two years (all of which also offer the ability to run Windows if needed).

That said, an earlier iMac or Mac mini can make a very good option for someone who just needs basic Internet access. EveryMac and Low End Mac are two sites that can be helpful for researching past Mac models.

Apple itself also offers offers refurbished Macs for sale. Refurbished Macs can come from a variety of sources (such as used demo machines, business leased machines that are returned at the end of the lease, and customer returns). Apple does certify that these Macs have been restored to factory conditions and functionality and does offer a one year warranty. While many users report no problems with refurbished Macs, you may want to opt for extended warranty coverage if you purchase one, just to be on the safe side.

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Tags: video, Apple, Intel, Mac OS X, MacBook

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