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Looking to purchase a Mac desktop...should I go new or used/refurbished?

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#1 Dave Finlay

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 09:54 PM

As an aspiring filmmaker/editor, one of the things that's held me back from further success is the lack of a Mac. To be specific, the lack of regular access to Final Cut Pro (7), which is still the gold standard in the editing industry. I've post-produced on Windows alternatives such as Sony Vegas Pro and now Premiere Pro CS6, but haven't worked much with FCP7 let alone X, which has shut me out of several job opportunities that called for proficiency in the latter.


I'm not too fond of Apple products to be honest...they're too expensive for my broke ass, and one could save a lot of money by purchasing a PC or Android device with similar or better specs. However, I'm willing to swallow my pride and the hit to my wallet to get ahead in my career, so I'm buying me a Mac.


I've already researched my options prior to making this thread, so let me keep it short but sweet:


- Not looking to spend more than $1500.

- Out of the question: Mac Mini (too underpowered for its price range, no discrete graphic card), MacBook Air (same), MacBook Pro (my ideal choice, but even the 13' models are too underpowered AND expensive for my budget)

- Looking into a new 2012-2013 model 21.5'' iMac (decent balance of affordability, portability and power) or a used/refurbished Mac Pro tower (most 2010-2013 models still seem to have good specs for video editing, would enjoy the expandability options lacking in the iMac)


Here's the  21.5' iMac (2012-model) I have in mind:




And the kind of used Mac Pro tower (2009 model) I have in mind:




I'm trying to wrap my head around the advantages/disadvantages of going with either (USB 3.0 & Thunderbolt? Built-in optical drive? Multiple cores?) as well as the risks of buying used/refurbished hardware (I'm guessing that many of the Mac Pro towers out there have taken a beating from years of heavy processing), but am overwhelmed by it all. Any suggestions as to which kind of Mac I should go with? Any suggestions on which Mac retailers/resellers I should hit up as well? Any help would be appreciated, thanks!

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#2 Kilroy


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Posted 20 June 2014 - 08:36 AM

USB3 and Thunderbolt are for items you will connect to the machine.  Unless you have a particular device that needs one or the other then that will make your decision for you.  This should not be a core part of your decision, unless you already have a device that won't work.


Used and refurbished are personal choice.  Refurbished does have an advantage that it should be verified to be working, this doesn't necessarily apply to used, depending on where you purchase from.  I believe you can get a refurbished machine from Apple with the same warranty as new.


Here's a posting about Apple refurbs

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