buying /selling a Mac? Get your facts right !

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Buying or selling a used Apple Mac

I currently own 6 computers (PC’s, laptops, Macs) and I’m always looking for parts and new machines. One thing I constantly find is people selling computers (Particularly Apple Macs) and they have no idea of what they are actually selling. Quite often, they will copy and paste a page of technical specs from Apple's website (or Wikipedia) and then put something completely different in the title.

 For example, older Macs use PowerPC G3, G4, G5 processors the newer Aluminium Macs have now gone to Intel (e.g. Core 2 Duo) processors. However, I still see people listing things like "Intel G5" - There's no such thing! I have also seen a Mac mini listed with a G3 processor - again there's no such thing. – and even if there was – I wouldn’t buy it. List it properly; stop wasting our time (and your own).You’ll get more money and I’ll get the machine I am looking for.

Apple Macs especially, retain a lot of their value and even second hand units several years old can still cost hundreds. Therefore, when you are spending a few weeks’ wages you need to know exactly what you are getting. A minor difference in spec could mean a big difference in value. Having to upgrade the hard drive, memory, and fit a wi-fi card, etc could prove to be false economy.

You also need to know that the software you want is compatible. An early Mac mini G4 will go for under £150 now. Whilst these older Macs may look like a bargain, do check what you want to run. For example, I have just purchased iLife 8 and iMovie 8 will not even install on my G4 eMac. The latest OS (Snow leopard) requires an Intel processor. So my advice would be to spend a little more, get an Intel and you should get a good few years out of it.

So this is where the FACTS come in, double check the technical specs against the title and any comments in the listing, I “often” find that these do not mach up. Ask the seller for the model number and look it up on Apple's website for the full specs (assuming the Mac is original and hasn’t been modified – has it?). Many Macs come with remote controls for playing music and video, so do ask if the seller has it. Many people don’t mention it (or have lost it).

By far some of the best software on the Mac is Apple's own suite of applications such as iLife (Inc Garageband!) and iWork (like office). With a new Mac, these tend to come bundled with it. iWork is usually a trial, but iLife should be the latest version - at the time. So do check if they have reinstalled the "old" version that it came with or the latest version.

Mac lovers tend to be loyal to the brand. Therefore, most people that sell Mac’s are doing so in order to fund a new one. Because of this, many want to keep iLife disks and OS disks, possibly even keep their Apple keyboard or mouse, so check which CD's are included.

So BUYERS: interrogate the seller and check out what’s on offer "exactly" and decide what you want to pay. I have seen so many conflicting listings, misleading titles, wrong spellings etc etc... you could end up spending a lot of money on what seems like a bargain, only to find youve bought an overpriced dinosaur.

SELLERS, if your listings aren’t correct then buyers will be asking for their money back or you may not even sell the item in the first place. It’s your mistake and you will have to pay the return postage as well (not good if you’re selling a metal Power Mac tower!).If your listing says Intel - then make sure it is.

 e.g. I have seen an Intel G5, if I bought this thinking its Intel and it was only a G5 - I’d be asking for a refund. I saw a dual core (Intel?) Mac for £119 (bargain) but it was actually a single core. G4. So PLEASE sellers, do you work properly.

    * List the correct and accurate details,
    * List everything (including all software),
    * List the model numbers (whats actually on the unit, not what you "think" it is)
    * Show pics of EVERYTHING (including keyboards and mice - often not photographed).
    * For goodness sake make the title accurate - there's no such thing as an Intel G5!!!
    * Some people take a dodgy photo of the screen showing the system profiler, listing the memory and OS version.
This is helpful,  but haven’t you heard of a screen shot?
    * an out of focus, camera phone photo of it sat on your bed doesn’t really help to convince me.
    * ......PLUG IT IN AND LETS SEE  IT WORKING!!!

Come on guys, make an effort. If you want to part me from my hard earned cash, then you’ll have to do better than that!

- thanks for listening.

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